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Ifeoma Okeke

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Foundation empowers low-income female entrepreneurs with digital skills

Helping low-income female entrepreneurs gain relevant digital and social media skills to enhance their businesses was the sole focus at the recently held DAME Initiative for women brought by The Wivesroundtable Foundation. The Wivesroundtable Foundation, having seen the struggle many female entrepreneurs face with technology and social media, decided to start the DAME Initiative (Digital Academy for Mum Entrepreneurs), to help empower women entrepreneurs to position themselves and businesses better online. According to the founder of The Wivesroundtable Foundation, Amaka Chibuzo-Obi, this initiative was borne out of desire to bridge the digital gender gap that sees many business women functioning way below capacity. Speaking at the event, Amaka Chibuzo-Obi said, “This project was inspired by a friend of mine, a hardworking, highly enterprising woman who I knew could do so much better if she knew how to use Facebook, Instagram as well as other technological tools. I saw she couldn’t do a lot of things. Read also: ADcademy’s partnership with UK business school is to upskill professionals into entrepreneurial leaders – Adewale “Things many people would consider little digital tasks. Tasks such as taking good pictures and putting them up properly on social media, editing pictures and videos, tagging people on social media, using WhatsApp and WhatsApp for business and so on. I helped her as much as I could but then I realized that she was just one of probably millions of women with the same struggle. This is why we decided to do this, to give women a chance to learn these basic things and grow their confidence to show up online.” The participants at the inaugural training were filled with so much joy that someone realized their struggle and did something to help them overcome it, without making them seem ignorant. Tina, one of the participants, had this to say about the program, “my name is Tina Joseph. Before today, my neighbour has been the one who helps me upload pictures and make posts online. After the class today, I have learnt how to do so for myself. I now also know what people mean when they say things like username, profile picture, DM and so on. I learnt how to create a new Facebook and Instagram account, how to create a business account on facebook and instagram and the difference in features and benefits, between a normal account and business account. I am so happy to be part of this training today”. “It is no news that female-run businesses are a huge contributor to the GDP of the nation. And a boost to this female economy will have a direct positive impact on the growth of the country. It is our belief that teaching these women basic digital skills will help them do so much better in business by making more sales and more money,” Amaka Chibuzo-Obi said. The DAME Initiative held its first training on Thursday August 26th 2021 and its 2nd on Thursday the 9th of September at The Wivesroundtable Foundation office in Surulere, Lagos. This training is to be a bi-monthly training and hopes to train 10,000 women in the next five years.

Foreign airlines increase interest in Nigeria as travel rebounds

The return of foreign airlines into the Nigerian airspace and arrival of new entrants show that foreign airlines are increasing interest in the Nigerian market as travel rebounds. The Federal Government recently designated two Sudanese airlines, Sudan Airways and Sun Air Aviation, and two Nigerian carriers, Kabo Air and Skypower Express, to operate between the Sudanese city of Umm Badr and Kano in Nigeria, as the two countries have a long-term Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA). Meanwhile, five years after exiting Nigeria, United Airlines last Friday announced that it would resume operations into Nigeria with its new service between Washington DC and Lagos, beginning November 29 (subject to government approval). The airline says it will operate three weekly flights connecting the US capital to Nigeria’s largest city, which is also the top Western African destination for US-based travellers. Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, will be resuming its flight to Enugu, the Eastern Heartland of Nigeria. The three weekly flights will be operated with a B787 Dreamliner. Delta Airlines returned its operations at Lagos’s MMIA to pre-pandemic levels with the resumption of its non-stop service between Lagos and New York-JFK four times a week. The flight from New York-JFK joins Delta’s existing daily service to Atlanta, which restarted last September following a short suspension due to the airport’s closure at the height of the pandemic. Qatar Airline recently doubled its flights to Lagos, thereby exploiting the woes of Emirates. The service commenced July 1, and is operated with a B787 Dreamliner featuring 22 seats in business class and 232 seats in economy. Read Also: Stakeholders kick against continued use of foreign airlines by FG for evacuation Top travel destinations include London, United States, Canada, Ghana and Egypt. Against predictions by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that global passenger traffic will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024, Nigeria may be defying this forecast as foreign airlines flood the country as demand continues to rise. Seyi Adewale, CEO, Mainstream Cargo Limited, says the reason for increased airline frequencies and new entrants show foreign airlines have interest in the market and Nigerians are willing travellers despite COVID-19. According to Adewale, before any airline makes a decision to increase flight into a country or resume operations, the airline must have procured data from the IATA and other data based agencies to make informed decisions. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, senior special assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, said in 2017 that there were at least 15 million Nigerians in the diaspora. According to recent data obtained from the World Bank, the Nigerian Diaspora population remitted $65.34 billion in three years to boost economic activities in the country. Remittance inflow made up 4 percent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product in 2020. Adewale says these numbers are huge with the multiplier effect, considering direct travel needs, extended family travel needs, and local needs including food or farm produce. Furthermore, the throughput of Nigerians at COVID-19 testing centres indicates COVID has not been able to restrict or discourage Nigerians from travelling, he states. “Family visits, business conferences and seminars, physical meetings including exploration that were suspended in 2020 are now gradually back,” he notes. For Susan Akporiaye, president, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), airlines are coming into Nigeria because Nigeria has relaxed travel rules unlike some other countries, making it difficult for airlines to operate. Akporiaye says aviation may be the worst hit of COVID-19 but will always recover because people will always travel for businesses, family visits, and holidays and for studies. As countries begin to relax their travel rules, and people vaccinate, aviation is expected to recover sooner than expected as more connecting flights will operate from Nigeria, she says. Olumide Ohunayo, an aviation analyst, notes that Nigerians travel irrespective of the circumstances, and that is why there is a forex crisis in the economy. “School fees, visiting, applications all have not reduced despite the travel restrictions, Nigerians still move. Even without Emirates coming in, Nigerians are going to Ghana and private jets come there to pick Nigerians. This shows the propensity, irrespective of the conditions,” he explains. Ohunayo notes that Nigeria is a steady market, but unfortunately, no domestic airlines within that have been able to take advantage of this. “If the government believes in a flag carrier and they give the flag carrier all the support, such as legal protection and subsidies, they will not be thinking about forming a national carrier. Just as domestic travel is building up, so also international travel is building up and with the acceptance of vaccinations, it encourages people to travel,” he says. He assures that the airlines are coming because the market is there, stressing that if people are not travelling, there will be no increased frequencies or airlines returning.

Shulamite Ezechi’s ANYISO wins ‘Charity of the Year’ at the Prestige Awards

Shulamite Ezechi’s organisation, ANYISO took home the prestigious charity of the year award at the Prestige Awards recently held in the Uk. ANYiSO is a registered charity in the UK that runs multiple projects, seminars, workshops, and conferences, and provides support and services for women, young people, refugees, and asylum seekers. The award was given to ANYISO for its works for humanity, and support for women, young people, refugees, and asylum seekers. Read also: Reverse brain drain: Lessons for Nigeria from Taiwan Reacting to the award, Shulamite said; “Prestige awards recognises businesses and organisations in the UK that have proven to be the best over the year. ANYISO was nominated, and won ‘the Charity of the year award.’ We felt very honoured and we are very proud of the work we do, and moments like this encourage us to do more’’. Shulamite, an amazing humanitarian, served as a member of the Refugee women’s Strategy Group and has been involved in the review of many policies that affect ethnic minority women and young people. She is on a team of the First minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls (BAME). Shulamite also served as a board member for North Glasgow Community Food Initiative Glasgow, United Kingdom. She is an author and has published many articles. Shulamite holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Imo State University, Nigeria and a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition and Health from Glasgow Caledonian University, UK, and a second Master’s degree in Policy analysis and global governance. Aside from the Prestige Award, Shulamite has also won many awards including ‘the Inspiration to the BME Community award’ that was conferred to her at the Glasgow City Chambers, United Kingdom.

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