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AfDB to provide $60m facility for wheat cultivation in Jigawa

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has expressed its readiness to provide a 60 million dollars facility to Jigawa Government for the expansion of wheat cultivation in the state.

The Director of Agriculture and Agro Industry, AfDB, Dr Martin Fregene disclosed this when an AfDB delegation paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Umar Namadi at his office in Dutse.

Fregene, who expressed happiness over the rapid achievements of Namadi within a few months in office, especially on agriculture, said that the bank would partner with the state to revolutionise agriculture in the North-West.

He, however, suggested that Jigawa should prepare to go for 100,000 hectares in the next dry season and 250,000 hectares the following season, against the current 40,000 hectares being cultivated.

Fregene said that the bank would accompany Jigawa all the way to achieve irrigation activities; thereby, increasing access to water in the land, improving growers’ skills, employing more youth and creating more value to wheat growers.

On his part, AfBD’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina announced the AfDB’s commitment to transform agriculture for the betterment of everybody in Africa.

Adesina, represented by Mr Olalekun Williams, Special Envoy to the AfDB’s President, recalled that in January 2023, 34 Heads of Government in Africa met in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss how Africa could feed itself.

“Nearly all African countries import food that can be grown in Africa and the amount of foreign exchange used to import food can be diverted to improve our agriculture.

“So, the main objective of the Feed Africa Initiative is to enable Africa to feed itself; and to feed itself in such a way that is efficient, sustainable and is competitive.

“In that sense Nigeria as a member country developed what is called Nigeria Country Food and Agriculture Delivery Compact.”

He said each country that was represented in Dakar prepared its country compact in order to meet its food security targets.

Adesina said that the compact focused on five important staples in each country, adding they should be produced to substitute for import.

“The staples selected by Nigeria are wheat, rice, maize, cassava and animal husbandry.”

The AfDB’s president, however, expressed happiness about the ongoing agricultural revolution taking place in Jigawa.

He said that if Jigawa was contributing about 40 per cent of the nation’s wheat production in 2024, it meant Jigawa would be in the forefront of contributing to the Nigeria Food Agriculture Delivery Compact.

“We will like to use Jigawa as a demonstration to what is possible in Nigeria with purposeful leadership and support from the government to the teeming farmers as clearly seen.

“The essence of the compact is to mobilise political, financial and technical support for the five staples,” he explained.

Adesina said that if Jigawa could demonstrate that wheat was growable in Nigeria, then the bank could extend the same model to other crops like rice and maize which were seriously needed in the country.

Responding, Namadi thanked the management of AfDB for its intervention programme in many areas of development in Africa, especially on agriculture pertaining initiating programmes geared toward addressing food crisis in the continent.

The governor commended the bank for its laudable food initiative programme under leadership of Adesina.

He described Adesina as a premium Nigerian whose quality of leadership was exemplary, adding that the people and government of Jigawa would not betray their trust in the new partnership.

Namadi noted that apart from the Nigeria’s green revolution programme in the 80s, there was never a food solving problem like the one introduced by Adesina when he was a minister then on rice revolution programme.

The governor said that most of the developmental projects coming up on agriculture were as a result of the Adesina’s legacy of rice revolution.

He reassured the delegate that the state government was totally committed to harnessing the potential of agriculture in the state.

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Heirs Holdings inaugurates HH Group Directors’ annual summit

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…Convenes over 100 HH Groupwide Board Members –Celebrates “HH Impact”

Heirs Holdings (HH), the leading pan-African investment company, convened over 100 board members from acrossall HH investee companies, at the HH Group Directors’ Annual Summit.

The HH Group Summit,held at the iconic Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abujafrom June 13 – 16, 2024, drew on the experience of board members of investee companies from sectors where HH invests: healthcare, power, energy, technology, financial services, hospitality, and real estate. Also present were trustees of the Group’s philanthropy, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which catalyses young entrepreneurs across Africa.The convening providedthe opportunity to reinforce the Group’s strong governance practices and identify opportunities for innovation and impact, as well as celebrating business achievements.

Speaking at the HH Group Summit, Tony O. Elumelu, CFR, Group Chairman, Heirs Holdings, emphasised HH’s mandate to ‘build to last’ and to “build for impact”. He said: “Over the past decade, we haveinculcated in our business thecriticality of strong corporate governance practices. We only invest for the long term, strategically and patiently. These twin commitments are fundamental to our success; we are indeedbuilding to last, redefining success in every sector we operate in, and demonstrating our purpose to improve lives and transform Africa”.

The HH Group Summit culminated in a closing ceremony and dinner, hosting influential figures across Nigeria’s public and private sectors, including the Vice President of Nigeria, His Excellency, Senator KashimShettima, GCON, Federal Ministers, Ambassadors, policy makers and leaders of civil society.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Vice President Shettima remarked, “When the history of Nigeria and indeed Africa’s banking history and revolution will be written, one name will stand out – having carved a niche for itself and engraved its name on the walls of banking and Africa’s entrepreneurship.

Tony Elumelu has become an enigma, a banking colossus, a power industrialist, and a force that cannot be ignored. He is one of our own who believed in Nigeria and threw his heart into it. He is a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur and indeed a philanthropist, who has given life meaning to millions of Nigerians and Africans.”

The successand impact of Heirs Holdings reflectsthe philosophy of Africapitalism, the belief that the African private sector can change the course of African development, but that it must be committed to doing good and doing well.

To date, HH investee companies employ over 40,000 people across 20 African countries, the United Kingdom, UAE, France, and the United States of America. The HH portfolio includes investments in Heirs Energies Limited, Africa’s leading indigenous-owned integrated energy company, that produces over 40k bpd, which is transforming resource-based value chains, making African resources work for Africa; Heirs Insurance Group, championing financial inclusion and leading the digital transformation of the insurance ecosystem in Nigeria, with a mission to democratise access to insurance; United Capital Plc, a leader in Investment Banking, Asset Management, Trusteeship, Securities Trading, Wealth Management, and Consumer Finance;Nigeria’s largest quoted conglomerate, Transcorp Group Plc, whose subsidiaries include Transcorp Power, one of the leading producers of electricity in West Africa and Transcorp Hotels Plc, Nigeria’s foremost hospitality brand; our healthcare brands, Avon HMO and Avon Medical, which are providing Nigerians with access to quality healthcare; Afriland Properties, a real estate investor and developer; technology brands, Redtech and Heirs Technologies, championing digital transformation; and the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Africa’s Global Bank, which serves more than 45 million customers globally, across four continents.

The HH Group also boasts three NSE listed stocks each worth over N1trillion (SWOOTs) within its portfolio and manages an investment portfolio size worthN10.6trillion/USD7.1billion.

Heirs Holdings’ philanthropy, the Tony Elumelu Foundation, has impacted 1.5 million young Africans, and disbursed US$100 million in seed capital to 20,000 young African entrepreneurs across all 54 African countries, whose businesses have created over 400,000 jobs.

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SIFAX Shipping partners ECU Worldwide to boost LCL export

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By Seun Ibiyemi

SIFAX Shipping Company Limited, a subsidiary of SIFAX Group, has sealed a partnership deal with ECU Worldwide, the world’s number one LCL player, to boost export activities from Nigeria.

Less-than-Container Load (LCL) is one of two main types of containerised transportation services.

The other is Full-Container Load (FCL). LCL is optimal when an entire container isn’t filled up. LCL allows the transportation of small cargo volumes without paying for the whole container.

The partnership will help business owners and exporters whose consignments are less than container load to access the international market.

According to MD, SIFAX Logistics Company Limited,  Paul Linden, this service was offered in response to inquiries from various customers who are desirous of exporting their products but do not have the required huge volume.

He said, “We know that many SMEs and business owners are desirous of accessing the international market, but are hampered by their lack of large volume.

“This service is designed particularly to address this concern. It will boost Nigeria’s export and be a game changer for our small and medium-scale businesses. We have put all facilities in place to ensure the business runs smoothly in partnership with ECU Worldwide.”

AGM, SIFAX Shipping, Adekunle Owobamirin, noted that all arrangements have been perfected to make the service a success.

“Our partners from ECU have inspected our warehouse and we have already assigned dedicated staff who would work on this service.

“ECU Worldwide and SIFAX Shipping is the first consolidator partnership to offer dedicated LCL export services from Nigeria to the world. Our partners have established 2,400 direct trade lines with a presence in over 180 countries.

“This will allow all our customers to export their goods anywhere in the world,” Adekunle said.

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RIFAN applauds NAICOM,  IGP over compulsory insurance enforcement

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The Retail Insured Family Association of Nigeria (RIFAN), the country’s largest community of insurance consumers, has praised the Commissioner for Insurance, Olusegun Omosehin, and the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, for their recent efforts to enforce mandatory third-party insurance.

RIFAN’s major aim is to restore public confidence in insurance policies.

This commendation follows a meeting on June 11, 2024, where Omosehin visited Egbetokun at Louis Edet House, Force Headquarters in Abuja to discuss the enforcement of compulsory third-party insurance.

Omosehin highlighted the illegality of driving without valid motor insurance and announced that the benefits attached to third-party insurance have increased to N3 million.

Responding to Omosehin’s request, Egbetokun committed to deploying the Deputy Inspector General of Operations to ensure the enforcement of this mandate.

RIFAN’s Director General, Ali Theophilus, expressed support for this initiative and indicated RIFAN’s readiness to collaborate on enforcement and public awareness.

He emphasised that proper enforcement could significantly boost premium income for the insurance industry, facilitating easier claims payments and enhancing public confidence in insurance.

He said getting the enforcement done is also in line with the Road Traffic Act for any vehicle plying Nigerian roads to have 3rd party motor insurance.

Theophilus commended the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for his proactive steps towards enforcing third-party motor insurance and urged him to extend this message of hope to all police officers and relevant law enforcement agents.

He emphasised that third-party insurance benefits every vehicle user, including law enforcement personnel, regardless of their career or social status.

He pointed out that many law enforcement officers neglect this insurance under the guise of “Esprit de Corps,” which does not cover damages in the event of an accident. This negligence costs the insurance industry over N15 billion annually, which could otherwise be added to premiums to facilitate claim payments.

Theophilus reiterated the importance of third-party insurance, explaining that while it does not cover personal vehicle damage directly, it covers damages caused to other vehicles due to negligence. This coverage can help settle such claims, benefiting all parties involved.

Furthermore, Theophilus urged the IGP to enforce licensing for insurance agents through an initiative he called “Operation Show Your Licence.” This would reduce the prevalence of fake agents and help NAICOM reach its goal of increasing licensed insurance agents to three million by the end of the year.

He called on the Nigeria Police Force and all law enforcement agents to join RIFAN to unite in restoring public confidence in the insurance industry. He stated RIFAN membership benefits, including easy access to claims payments, unique insurance covers, and professional advice etc.

Theophilus also announced plans to collaborate with underwriters to create a funeral insurance policy as an additional membership benefit, particularly in Southern Nigeria, where funeral expenses are significant. RIFAN plans to hold town hall meetings to educate grassroots communities about the importance of insurance.

Theophilus called on the IGP, law enforcement agencies, the Commissioner for Insurance, the Director General of NIA, and underwriters to register with RIFAN to help build the insurance industry of Nigeria’s dreams and restore public confidence in insurance.

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