Sunu Group appoints Alexandre Atte Ahui as Chairman

By Favour Nnabugwu




SUNU Participations Holding has appointed Alexandre Atté Ahui as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the remainder of his current term of office as Director.

Ahui is replacing the founder of the group, Papa Pathé Dione, who passed away on 12 January 2023.

Atté Ahui started his career in 1973 at the Union des Assurances de Côte d’Ivoire, a subsidiary of UAP. The insurance professional then served as General Manager of AXA Côte d’Ivoire and SUNU Vie Côte d’Ivoire.

Issofa Nchare joined the Board as an independent Director. A lawyer and economist, I. Nchare previously worked as Head of the Insurance Division in the Cameroonian Ministry of Finance and as Secretary General of CIMA from 2015 to 2020.

With these changes, SUNU’s Board of Directors is now made up of:

Atté Ahui, Chairman Société Financière Dione, Director with Anta-Caroline Dione as its permanent representative SUNU Finances Holding, Director with Patrice Desgranges as its permanent representative Papa-Demba Diallo, Director Federico Roman, Director
Christian de Boissieu, Independent Director
Issofa Nchare, Independent Director

Global insurance brokers market expected to hit $105.33bn in 2023

By Favour Nnabugwu
The global insurance brokers market is expected to grow from $98.82 billion in 2022 to $105.33 billion in 2023 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.6 percent.
The insurance brokers market is expected to grow to $130.35 billion in 2027 at a CAGR of 5.5 percent
The countries covered in the insurance brokers market are Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, South Korea, UK, and USA.
The insurance brokers market consists of sales of insurance products by entities that act as intermediaries (i.e., agents or brokers) in selling annuities and insurance policies.
This market excludes the direct selling of insurance products by insurance companies. The value of the market is based on the fees or commissions paid to brokers by the insured, both commercial and personal.
According to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) of India, the Life Insurance Corporation of India sold 2.17 crore insurance policies in the fiscal year 2021-2022 which was an 3.54% increase from previous year’s 2.10 crore policies. Therefore, the increasing demand for insurance policies drives the growth of the insurance brokerage market.
The market value includes the value of related goods sold by the service provider or included within the service offering. Only goods and services traded between entities or sold to end consumers are included
An insurance broker is a person who is authorized to sell insurance and frequently collaborates with numerous insurance providers to provide customers with a range of products.
North America was the largest region in the insurance brokers market in 2022. Western Europe was the second largest market in the insurance brokers market.
The regions covered in the insurance brokers market report are Asia-Pacific, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, South America, Middle East, and Africa.
The main types of insurance brokers are life insurance, general insurance, health insurance, others. Life insurance in the insurance brokers market refers to the contract between the insurer and the insurance policyholder that promises to pay a total sum of money upon the death of an insured person. The services are offered in various modes, such as offline, and online mode. These are used by corporate, and individuals.
The increasing demand for insurance policies is expected to fuel the growth of the insurance brokers market over the coming years. The demand for insurance policies has risen due to the availability of security services and customized financial services to clients.
The impact of COVID-19 is predicted to limit the growth of the insurance brokers market over the forecast period. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of millions of people, affected supply chains & business sectors, and disrupted economies worldwide.
The coronavirus outbreak has several impacts on the insurance sector, from employee and business continuity concerns to customer care considerations to the financial outlook. For instance, the Indian insurance industry’s productivity has been hit by 30% in March 2020.
The pandemic has pushed the insurance industry to heavily depend on digitalization for selling new policies, setting up claims, and making other transactions. Therefore, the impact of COVID-19 restraints the growth of the insurance brokers market.
The integration of AI in the insurance sector is a key trend gaining popularity in the insurance brokers market. The combined power of AI and human creativity enables the Intelligent Broker, an automation programme for the insurance industry. Brokers will be able to resolve complicated obstacles, produce innovative products and services, and join or build new markets.
In addition to this, AI in the insurance industry will improve customer service and prevent customers from fraud. In 2021, 60% of the insurance companies are targeting AI to be used in decision making and to reduce manual input, which has doubled in the last two years.
Pension fund investment in FG rose by 4.92℅

By Favour Nnabugwu
The pension fund investment in Federal Government securities rose by 4.92 percent from  N9.19trillion as of September 30, 2022 to  N9.64trillion as at December 2022 last year.
The National Pension Commission (PenCom), stated in its Fourth Quarter 2022 report that the increase in the value of investments in FGN Securities was majorly due to additional investments in this asset class during the quarter.
 The report showed that the total value of pension fund assets as at December 31, 2022 was N14.99 trillion, which comprised of N10.72 trillion RSA ‘Active’ Funds I, II III and V; N1.19 trillion RSA Retiree Fund IV; N1.57trillion Closed Pension Fund Administrators (CPFAs); and N1.48 trillion Approved Existing Schemes.
Fund VI Active and Retiree Fund amounted to N36.20 billion.
A breakdown of the fund further showed that pension fund assets were mainly invested in Federal Government Securities (FGN), which accounted for 64.33 percent of total assets.
The report read: “The composition of investments in FGN Securities includes FGN Bonds at 95.60 percent; Treasury Bills at 2.06 percent; and Agency Bonds, Sukuk and Green Bonds accounting for 2.34 percent.
Nigeria, 9 other countries rank top 10 in air pollution

By Favour Nnabugwu
Nigeria is among the top 10 African countries with air pollution in the world with 36 percent of pollution ranking 18th in the 5th Annual World Air Quality Report.
First on the list of the othe 9 countried is Chad with 89.7 percent air pollution, followed by Burkina Faso with 63.0 positioned as number 6th; Egypt is 9th with 46.5 percent; Sudan is 12th with 44.6 percent; Rwanda is 44.0 percent, 13th; Uganda is 39.6 percent, 17th; Ethiopia is 31.3 percent, 23rd;  Ghana 30.2 percent, 27th and Gabon 25.0 percent, 32nd
The biggest threat to environmental health in the world still involves air pollution. Over six million deaths annually and 93 billion days of illness are attributed to poor air quality globally. The total economic cost exceeds $8 trillion, or 6.1% of the annual global gross domestic product. Numerous health conditions, such as asthma, lung diseases, heart disease, and early mortality, are brought on by and made worse by exposure to air pollution.
Populations that are already at risk are most severely affected by air pollution. More than 90% of deaths attributed to pollution take place in low- and middle-income nations. There is a higher risk of developing or worsening health conditions in children under the age of 18, pregnant women, and older adults who are exposed to air pollution.
As a result, it is important to know the air health of the region you’re residing in, which is why IQAir, an organization mandated to fight the effects of polluted air. IQAir also operates the world’s largest free real-time air quality information platform.
 The air quality scientists at IQAir examined data from over 30,000 air quality monitoring stations spread across 7,323 locations in 131 countries, territories, and regions for this year’s report.
According to the data collated, Africa continues to be the continent with the lowest representation, despite an increase from 13 countries represented in 2021 to 19 countries included in this year’s report.
 Out of 54 countries, only 19 have enough information on air quality. The data analyzed for this report comes exclusively from empirically measured PM2.5 data collected from ground-level air monitoring stations. The PM2.5 measurement data in this report is aggregated from both regulatory air quality monitoring instrumentation and low-cost air quality sensors.
These devices are operated by government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and individual citizens who contribute to the monitoring of their local air quality.
PM2.5 concentration describes the amount of fine particulate aerosol particles up to 2.5 microns in diameter and is used as the standard air quality indicator for the World Air Quality Report. Measured in micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3 ), PM2.5 is one of six major air pollutants commonly used in the classification of air quality.
Tanzanian, AfDB sign for Kakono Hydropower project

By Favour Nnabugwu


Tanzania and the African Development Bank (AfDB) signed a loan agreement for a total of $161.47 million (or about Sh374.9 billion) to be used in financing the Kakono Hydropower Project in Kagera.

The 87.8 MW project, whose total cost exceeds Sh700 billion, is also financed by the European Union (EU) and the French Development Agency or Agence française de développement (AFD).

The government signed an agreement with the AFD on its portion of the deal, totaling 110 million euros, just one week prior to yesterday’s new development, according to Finance and Planning Minister Mwigulu Nchemba, who spoke during the signing ceremony (about Sh272.6 billion).

The 35 million euro (Sh86.7 billion) grant from the EU, which will be managed by AFD, is the final amount of the total project cost that has not yet been agreed upon.
Following this important milestone, I request the grant arrangement between AFD and EU to be expedited in order to have the full package of financing ready for the project,” Dr. Nchemba, stated.

He emphasized that increasing on-grid energy production from the least expensive renewable sources is the Kakono Hydropower Project’s overall development goal in order to address the electricity deficits in north-western Tanzania.

In the northwest corner of Tanzania, in the Lake Zone, where expensive diesel generators are frequently turned on to either supplement the grid supply or improve the quality of supply to avoid protracted blackouts and brownouts, the development of the project will replace the use of fossil fuels.

Dr. Nchemba predicts that the project will be finished in five years. It will entail building an 87.8 MW hydropower plant as well as a primary school, a health center, and a 28 km long asphalted access road that is part of the Project. He continued by saying that this will ultimately result in an improvement in the local communities standard of living.

He continued by saying that the project also entails the provision of evacuation facilities and the execution of the plan for environmental and social management and monitoring. The Third Five Year Development Plan (FYDP III) of the country and the broad plan of the Sixth Phase Government are both supported by the Kakono Hydropower Project.

Dr. Nchemba also added that the targeted objective is to create a competitive and industrial economy for human development by strengthening the business and investment-enabling environment, productive infrastructure, reliable access to energy, and systems for education and training

Guinea Insurance revamps operation to boost profitability 

By Favour Nnabugwu
The management of Guinea Insurance PLC has assured policyholders that the company has repositioned to make profit in 2023.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Ademola Abidogun, disclosed this at this year’s Nigerian Association of Insurance and Pension Editor (NAIPE) first quarter CEOs’ Forum with Guinea Insurance Plc in Lagos.
He said in the last three years, the company has reduced its losses from N700 million to N200 million to N20 million.
According to him, you will discover that based on what we are doing now, we will make profit by the end of the 2023 financial year.
“Moving from the negative position that we were, we have done a lot in terms of shaping the company and we are still going to do a lot this year in terms of revamping the entire operations of the company, in terms of the outlook, and in terms of being more visible.
“Our priority for this year is to ensure that we deliver profit to all the stakeholders. The era of making loses is gone. This year we will continue with the work we have done which we have started seeing results and this will lead us to delivering value to all our stakeholders because that is the time you can talk about people coming to invest in the company.
“We are also working on the negative mind-set of the people about the company. We operate an open administration, and we do not do things that are against the law”, Mr. Abidogun stated.
Speaking further he said, “This year we have started on a very good note. We are doing over 400 per cent of our production compared to the same period last year, and we have not even gotten to the end of the first quarter of the year.
 With what we have done so far and our plans going forward, I believe we will be able to deliver value to our shareholders because it is only when you are able to deliver value and make profit that people will want to come and invest in your business. As a matter of urgency, I believe this year we can do that,” Guinea Insurance boss added.
In the area of corporate governance, he said “We pride ourselves as a good corporate governance company by complying fully with relevant regulations.
 We have zero tolerance for regulatory infractions. It is something that everybody is aware of and we always take steps to ensure that we do not fall foul of the law in anyway.
“We are committed to reduce expenses and increase turnover, increase topline and manage underwriting properly with proper reinsurance. We are also looking at businesses that we take and we make sure that we don’t just take any business
We are very optimistic and very deliberate in our analysis. We track expenses, track businesses that we do, we do a lot of analysis to ensure that we change the story.
“We have people who are business-driven that have the interest in the business, who are ready to push us to the level we want to be as a business,” Mr. Abidogun said.
Seplat Energy denies allegations against CEO, Board.     



he Nanaging Director of Seolat Energy, Nr Roger Thompson Brown


By Favour Nnabugwu



Seplat Energy Plc has denied the allegations against its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Roger Brown and Board of Directors of the company as true, malicious and misleading

There were earlier publications citing the content of the allegations against the energy company’s embattled CEO, however, privileged information from a reliable document shows that the company has good reasons that make the allegations not malicious or racist acts.

Seplat Energy Plc was on March 9 served with court processes and ex-parte Interim Order of the Hon Justice C. J. Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos, Nigeria, restraining the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Roger Brown from participating in the running of the Company for a period of 7 days.

For instance, Seplat rebutted the allegation that its CEO, on resumption of office in 2020, embarked on a forced resignation and sacking of Nigerian staff based on discriminatory policies.

“There was no mass sack or forced retirement, as claimed. The individuals listed in furtherance of this allegation were 8 in number and they left the Company between 2020 and 2022. The exits resulted from a) an Organisational restructure approved by the Board and communicated to staff on 12th October 2020, and b) such individual’s willing resignation/early retirement,” the document reads.

Also, on allegation that the CEO deployed intimidation and passive aggression on the Director Corporate Services and the SLT to enforce a 3-point manipulative ranking scheme against Nigerian staff, the company said:

“The 3-point appraisal system was developed by HR in response to staff suggestions for a review of the performance ranking system. On the part of management, the review was to ensure that rewards were tied closely to results such that those who were assessed with a higher performance would be eligible to receive a higher bonus payment.

The 3-point system resulted from an extensive internal review of our performance appraisal processes, with due consideration to the continuous staff complaints about issues which they observed/experienced in the former 5-point system”.

According to the document, “The prior practice was a 5-point scale of Exceptional (score 81-87), Very Good (score 75-80), Good (66-74), Average (60-65) and Poor (score of 59 & below). A review was required due to the following challenges with the 5-point scale:

“Prolonged periods spent in assigning different marks to identified level of performance, in order to achieve a 75percent average. The objective was to make the assessment process more efficient and arrive at a timely outcome and make timely bonus payouts to staff.

Imbalanced performance assessment and outcome for staff working within the same performance/job group level.

“The objective was to ensure that staff on the same performance level receive the same percentage bonus and individual performance review.

Subjectivity in the appraisal process. The objective was to encourage managers to make holistic decisions about employee performance levels based on quality, timeline, exhibition of Seplat Values”.

It further noted that in addition to resolving the above challenges, “a revised appraisal process would eliminate the manner in which the 5-point system limited promotion opportunities primarily due to the 75percent cut-off mark required for promotion.”

“The review of performance appraisal process was led by the Company’s HR department. At the end of the review process, two (2) options were presented to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) for consideration. The SLT is comprised of the senior leaders of the Company and is the highest decision-making body of the Company after Board members.

“The options considered by the SLT included (i) a 3-point scale of Outstanding, Strong and Average ratings, or (ii) a modified 5-point scale of Exceptional, Very Strong, Strong, Average and Poor ratings.

“Following the HR presentation, the SLT members extensively debated on the merits and demerits of each option and thereafter unanimously voted for the Company to adopt a 3-point performance rating scale, as being the most appropriate in helping to differentiate staff performance levels.

“The 3-point scale is such that employees assessed by their line manager with the designated rating were awarded the corresponding bonus payment – “Outstanding” rating: 125percent performance bonus, “Strong” rating: 100percent performance bonus, “Average” rating: nil bonus. This 3-point scale was in furtherance of the Company’s target to reward optimal performance levels and incentivize staff to deliver on the Company’s Scorecard and commitment to its investors, the market and other stakeholders,” the document stated.

According to Seplat, “The 3-point scale of Outstanding/Strong/Average mirrors what is obtainable in the market. Most companies in the market in which Seplat operates uses variants of this methodology.

“The Director Corporate Services (who leads the HR department) and the SLT were never intimidated and did not experience any passive aggression in the run up to, during or after the appraisal system review exercise.

“It is instructive to highlight that for the 2021 performance year, for which staff performance appraisals occurred in 2022, only 5% of the entire employee population (i.e., 24 staff) were assessed on the “Average” rating pool. Out of these 24 staff, eight (8) employees had previously received a “Poor” rating and were in a performance improvement programme, using the old 5-point appraisal practice. It is also instructive to highlight that an expat employee was amongst the employees assessed on the “Average” rating pool, which debunks the falsehood that the “Average” rating was meant only for Nigerian staff.”

Seplat Energy, by this explanation seemed to have made selection of an appraisal system based on a tested assessment of what would encourage performance in the organization.

On allegation that the “Average” performance rating applies to Nigerian staff only, Seplat Energy Plc said it is untrue, malicious and misleading.

According to the company, “The workings of the 3-point rating system have been outlined above, to demonstrate a legitimate business interest and management action. We have also shown that the 3-point scheme is not discriminatory.

“Despite the relatively low number of expatriate employees in the Company, an expatriate employee was amongst the 5 percent  of the employee population (that is 24 persons) who were assessed on “Average”.

“The Company has 515 employees under a regular and direct contract of employment. 24 out of the 515-employee population (that is 5percent) are non-nationals. It is a legitimate, objective and balanced outcome to have one (1) non-national employee in the bucket of “Average” rating (that is, 1 out of 24). This correlates to 4percent when compared to the overall employee population distribution spread.”

“In the same year, a higher number of employees were rated as ‘Outstanding’. That is, 91 employees (representing 17percent of the employee population) were rated as ‘Outstanding’. 5 out of these 91 employees (that is, 5percent) were non-nationals. The above is indicative of an objective and balance outcome without any targeted diversity skew against any nationality.”

Also on the alleged discriminatory imposition of a 60-year retirement age for Nigerian staff, which is not enforced for Foreign staff, Seplat said,  “The Company strictly complies with the retirement age requirements of the Country/jurisdiction in which each Employee is engaged to work. Employees working in Nigeria, both local and expatriate retire at the age of 60 in line with Nigerian law.

“It is instructive to note that the maximum retirement age in the UK private sector is 65 years. This is the applicable labour practice for employees in the London and Aberdeen offices”.

Also in rebutting the alleged under-performance of certain foreign Employees and/or whose retirement was blocked by the CEO, the company said: “There are clear and irrefutable records that show the complete falsehood of the underperformance alleged against certain employees who were singled out in the Petition in this area. As highlighted above, the employee in question has not attained the UK maximum retirement age and was not in the bucket of “Average” performance rating.”

Also, Seplat said the allegation is not true that the Board directed the termination of a named employee based in London, but blocked by the CEO. Additionally, named employee frustrated a GM in HR to resign.

It said, “The named employee is currently on contract in the Company’s London office. There are clear and irrefutable records, and it is also common knowledge, that the referenced GM in HR resigned from her position in Seplat to join another E & P company.”

While responding to the allegation that the London Office is a fraudulent scheme and it was discriminatory for the CEO to handover the running of the London Office to Alasdair Mackenzie instead of Emeka Onwuka (his successor), Seplat said it’s untrue, malicious and misleading.

It said in the document that, “Seplat London is a small office (currently 11 staff) that was set up after the Company’s public listing to lead activities concerning Seplat’s listing on the London Stock Exchange and enable Seplat to access key financial, legal and other support services as required. It is instructive to note that London is one of the leading financial hubs in the world and the Seplat London office operates as the financial center for managing the group’s equity, debt and liquidity.

“All London staff have various functional reporting lines to the Lagos office. Since its inception, the London office has been managed by the most senior staff member based in the UK. Roger Brown carried out these duties when he was CFO and based in London, before he became CEO and moved to Lagos. Although Emeka Onwuka succeeded Roger Brown as CFO, he is based in Lagos.

“The most senior staff member based in the UK is Alasdair Mackenzie, Director Strategy, Planning & Business Development, who is also a member of the Senior Leadership Team. Alasdair Mackenzie therefore manages the UK offices from an administrative perspective.”

On the alleged Relocation of Seplat Technology/Subsurface Office to Aberdeen in discrimination of Nigerian staff and their development, the company said: “Seplat acquired the Aberdeen office in 2019 from Eland Oil & Gas Plc, who ran its OML40 operations from Aberdeen. Post-acquisition, Seplat has downsized the Aberdeen office (currently 16 staff) and expanded its purpose by extending Aberdeen’s focused exploration, business development and training services to the wider organisation.”

“Existing activities were not “moved” from Lagos to Aberdeen. The Aberdeen office operates as an addition to Seplat’s increasing resource-base, and is an expansion of Seplat’s UK-residential staff development programme which piloted by the London office. Presently, staff are actively seconded from Nigeria to the Aberdeen and London offices,” Seplat said in the document.

Seplat also rebutted the allegation that the CEO supported the Technical Director’s refusal to report to the COO in compliance with Board directive.

“The Board-approved management organigram shows that the Technical Director (TD) reported directly to the CEO, during pre-July 2022 before resumption of the COO and post-July 2022, following resumption of the COO.”

On the alleged bullying of a Nigerian employee by an expatriate SLT member, Seplat said it is untrue, misleading and malicious.

According to the energy company, “There was some operational divergence between the two employees concerning work processes, which is not unusual for two employees in a reporting relationship. HR mediated a workable forward plan for both employees. No formal bullying or harassment case was lodged by either party.

From the foregoing, it is not therefore surprising that the Seplat Board believes that these allegations are a spurious and vindictive reaction to the enforcement of corporate governance standards in the Company and its support for Mr. Brown who has earned an unblemished record of service and leadership in the Company.

The energy company has continued to maintain its operational excellence and act in line with the best corporate governance standards and it is confident that this matter will be brought to an expedient and successful end.

The Board of Seplat Energy had on March 8, 2023 unanimously passed a vote of confidence in Mr. Brown, who continues to discharge his duties and responsibilities as CEO from the SEPLAT UK office.

FG, World Bank partner to train technical teachers on innovative skills

By Favour Nnabugwu




The Federal Government and the World Bank have collaborated to improve the knowledge of teachers in the federal technical colleges in the country with the 21st century skills that will digitilise the students.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Andrew David Adejo disclosed this while declaring open a workshop on the development of a Structure for the in-service training of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) teachers and instructors on Wednesday in Abuja.

Adejo, who was represented by the Director of Technology and Science Education, Mrs. Grace Jakko, said there is the utmost importance to strengthen the technical schools with the aim to increase the availability of competent and motivated technical teachers and instructors.

He explained that the workshop come on the heels of the realisation that the 21st century presents a radically different economy and society, which is having profound implications generally on education and more specifically on skills development in Technical and Vocational Education.

He said that the skills development system in Nigeria must therefore, adapt to the emerging trends of globalisation for economic viability especially in our relevant skills for the formal and informal sectors of the economy.

According to him, “All the federal technical teachers in the 27 technical schools across the federation will be trained and captured in this component and the five states that are participating in the IDEAS Project, each of the state has three technical colleges and all the teachers in these technical colleges will be captured.

“I’m very certain that we except so much from the teachers, the administrators and the project implementors.”

National Project Coordinator, IDEAS Project, Blessing Ehi Ogwu said the purpose of the project is to development a comprehensive structure for training technical teachers in Nigeria.

Mrs. Ogwu expressed confidence that collective knowledge and expertise of the participants will help create a framework that can effectively prepare technical teachers to meet the challenges of the future.

She also disclosed that they target to equip about 5000 people with technical skills to meet up with the market demand, adding that technical education plays a crucial role in shaping the future of our society.

She said it’s imperative that we have well-trained teachers who can effectively impart technical knowledge to our students.

She, however, noted that designing an effective training program for technical teachers is not an easy task, saying it requires careful planning, coordination and collaboration among various stakeholders.

On her part, a World Bank consultant, Dr Mistura Rufai, disclosed that the entire IDEAS Project is about $200 million and that teachers training is one of the components of that project with about $25 million to $30 million will be spent on training teachers in Nigeria.

Dr Rufai however said though the teachers training has not started but they want to put in place some structure to ensure that when they start, they kickoff the training this year.

The project is for TVET teachers in Nigeria wether it’s being implemented in the state or not, it’s going to cover all the six geopolitical zones, all the states in the country.

“Already we have 38 technical colleges that have been equipped with workshops across the country this is one of the things we are going to leverage on.

“These schools are going to be used as training centres for teachers, we are also looking at boosting the capacity of tertiary institutions that are already providing training for teachers, look at how we can up skill and digitalize their training. There is also plan to up skilled these tertiary institutions providing training to teachers.

“We work with the institution to ensure that the equipment they are getting are 21st century equipment that are market relevant.”

The World Bank consultant said that they wanted the teachers to be trained with the skill demand in the market so that when the students graduatee with their skills for them to be market relevant and provide the skills that the market wants.”

Ben Akpan, a facilitator at the workshop, said the essence of the world bank is to enable the federal government to take ownership of the project so they would have acquired the know-how and continue the project.

Nigeria, Israel tightens partnership in entrepreneurship, others

By Favour Nnabugwu




Nigeria and Israel have commenced collaborative moves to deepen partnership in innovation, entrepreneurship and production with the aim of harnessing Nigeria’s huge potentials for its technological development.

The two nations agreed on these when the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Freeman, paid a working visit to the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund,TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono ,at the Fund’s Headquarters in Abuja.

Speaking during the visit, Ambassador Freeman expressed Israel’s desire to work with Nigeria in the area of technology and entrepreneurship development, describing Nigeria as a country of huge potentials due to its teeming youth population.

While describing Israel as a leading country in technology and innovation, Ambassador Freeman disclosed that 45% of Israel’s GDP comes from innovation and entrepreneurship start-ups, as the country’s major economic sectors are involved in high technology and industrial manufacturing.

He stated that with Nigeria’s huge potential, if same could be achieved, or even a 30% GDP addition to Nigeria coming from technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, it would hasten Nigeria’s economic development.

The Israeli Ambassador further stated that Nigeria possesses the potential to be a destination for businesses if innovative developments are harnessed, particularly through innovation incubation hubs.

This, he said, would provide young Nigerians who have entrepreneurship potentials but lacked expertise an avenue to be mentored and guided in the right direction.

Mr. Freeman also spoke about the Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (i-Fair) programme, an initiative borne out of the need to raise a generation of innovators, inventors and researchers in Nigeria; especially among the youths. He noted that the Embassy has worked closely with the office of the Vice President on the programme, which has spanned across two editions and also called for stronger partnership with the Fund in the upcoming Third Edition.

In his remarks, Arc. Sonny S.T Echono expressed appreciation to the Israeli Ambassador for his visit and commitment towards strengthening ties with TETFund in Nigeria’s quest for technological and economic development.

While expressing excitement at the numerous benefits derivable from the partnership, he stated that “If innovation and entrepreneurship can provide 45% of Israel GDP, one can only imagine what 10 0r 20% will do to Nigeria’s GDP with our population”.

According to Echono, there is a global consensus that Nigerians are hardworking and intelligent if provided with the right incentives, and one can envision what can be unlocked through technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Googles introduces ‘Generative AI’ features to over 3bn users

By Favour Nnabugwu




Search engine platform Google has  introduced a new artificial intelligent, AI-based capabilities to Nigerian users and the rest of three hundred billion users across the world.

Vice President, Product, Google Workspace, Mr. Johanna Wright, who disclosed this on Wednesday, stated that the new features which will start with Generative AI will enable users to work smartly.

Wright said: “As we embark on this next journey, we will be bringing these new generative-AI experiences to trusted testers on a rolling basis throughout the year, before making them available publicly.

With these features, you’ll be able to: draft, reply, summarize, and prioritize your Gmail; brainstorm, proofread, write, and rewrite in Docs and bring your creative vision to life with auto-generated images, audio, and video in Slides.

“You can go from raw data to insights and analysis via auto completion, formula generation, and contextual categorization in Sheets, then generate new backgrounds and capture notes in Meet and it also enables workflows for getting things done in chat.”

He explained that the first set of AI features will include: embedding generative AI in Docs and Gmail to help people get started writing.

He said: “Whether you are a busy human resource, HR professional who needs to create customized job descriptions, or a parent drafting the invitation for your child’s pirate-themed birthday party, Workspace saves you the time and effort of writing that first version.

“Simply type a topic you’d like to write about, and a draft will instantly be generated for you. With your collaborative AI partner, you can continue to refine and edit, getting more suggestions as needed.

“Generative AI in Docs helping to write a job description. Finding the right tone and style can also be tricky at times. Perhaps you’re applying for a new job, or writing to a new supplier in a more traditional industry, and you need to adopt a more formal tone in your email.

“Or you’ve jotted down a few bullets on your phone from a recent meeting and want to transform them into a more polished summary to share with your team. For these common scenarios and many more, we’re adding new generative AI capabilities to help you rewrite.

“And if you’re in the mood to let AI try out a new playful voice altogether, you’ll be able to hit the “I’m feeling lucky” option in Gmail. Generative AI in Gmail formalizing notes into a polished email.

“It Keeps users in control. As we have experimented with generative AI ourselves, one thing is clear: AI is no replacement for the ingenuity, creativity, and smarts of real people. Sometimes the AI gets things wrong, sometimes it delights you with something offbeat, and oftentimes it requires guidance.

“With all this in mind, we’re designing our products in accordance with Google’s AI Principles that keep the user in control, letting AI make suggestions that you’re able to accept, edit, and change. We’ll also deliver the corresponding administrative controls so that IT is able to set the right policies for their organization,” Wright added.