Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Africa

Boko Haram today released a batch of more than 80 of the Chibok School Girls who were abducted in mid-April 2014, according to Saharareporters.

A top military source disclosed that the release of the 80 abducted school girls came after further negotiations between the Islamist group and the Muhammadu Buhari administration. The source said he was not in a position to disclose the terms of the agreement that led to today’s mass release of the Chibok school girls.

Our source revealed that the 82 girls who just regained their freedom are currently in Banki town in Borno state awaiting airlift to an unknown destination.

The source added that once the girls are secured in a new location they would be debriefed, undergo psycological and medical tests and then be reunited with their families.

Mixed news, Nigeria ranked 4oth on the transparency index for most corrupt countries in the world. It ties with six other countries for that spot. Nigeria has always ranked in the top twenty before now. It seems the fight against corruption is working for the country

Somalia received the dubious honor of most corrupt country in the world for the 10th straight year in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 released on Wednesday.

The index, which is published by Berlin-based Transparency International, aims to rank nations “based on how corrupt a country’s public sector is perceived to be.” The index ranked 176 countries on a scale of 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).

The group estimates that “corruption, bribery, theft and tax evasion, cost developing countries US $1.26 trillion per year.” According to José Ugaz, the chair of Transparency International, in the most corrupt countries “we often see democracies in decline and a disturbing pattern of attempts to crack down on civil society, limit press freedom, and weaken the independence of the judiciary.”

In total 122 of the 176 countries ranked finished with a score below 50, which Transparency International identifies as having a “serious corruption problem.”

Here is the bottom 46:

176. Somalia: 10
175. South Sudan: 11
174. North Korea: 12
173. Syria: 13
170. Libya: 14
170. Sudan: 14
170. Yemen: 14
169. Afghanistan: 15
168. Guinea-Bissau: 16
166. Iraq: 17
166. Venezuela: 17
164. Angola: 18
164. Eritrea: 18
159. Burundi: 20
159. Central African Republic: 20
159. Chad: 20
159. Haiti: 20
159. Republic of Congo: 20
156. Cambodia: 21
156. Democratic Republic of Congo: 21
156. Uzbekistan: 21
154. Turkmenistan: 22
154. Zimbabwe: 22
153. Comoros: 24
151. Tajikistan: 25
151. Uganda: 25
145. Bangladesh: 26
145. Cameroon: 26
145. Gambia: 26
145. Kenya: 26
145. Madagascar: 26
145. Nicaragua: 26
142. Guinea: 27
142. Mauritania: 27
142. Mozambique: 27
136. Myanmar: 28
136. Nigeria: 28
136. Papua New Guinea: 28
136. Guatemala: 28
136. Kyrgyzstan: 28
136. Lebanon: 28
131. Iran: 29
131. Kazakhstan: 29
131. Nepal: 29
131. Russia: 29
131. Ukraine: 29

Somalia has not had a functioning central government since warlords overthrew longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. The East African nation held a parliamentary vote late last year, but the process was marred by violence, corruption, vote buying and clan disputes.

Lagos-based real estate classifieds start-up ToLet.com.ng today has raised a $1.2 million Series A round of funding from Frontier Digital Ventures.

“The new funds raised will be used to improve the platform’s technology offering to both property seekers as well as that used by listing agents. The rest of the funds will be channelled into improved marketing efforts and aggressive expansion across Nigeria over the next 12-18 months,” says To Let’s Chief Executive Officer, Fikayo Ogundipe.

ToLet.com.ng was founded in 2012 as Estanode.com by four young Nigerian graduates –Fikayo Ogundipe, Sulaiman Balogun, Dapo Eludire and Seyi Ayeni. It received $230,000 in seed funding from Jason Njoku’s Tech company accelerator Spark.ng in 2013, and subsequently rebranded to ToLet.com.ng. Since then, the real estate classifieds start-up has quietly grown into one of the leading and recognizable online property portals in Nigeria.

 “Our Agents are much happier to stick with us because, unlike competitors who use subscription models, we collect commissions, which essentially makes our service a performance-based one and ensures ‘we don’t get paid unless our agents get paid’. The commission fee is the model locally operated among Nigerian real estate agents. Our research showed that Nigerian real estate agents prefer the model of sharing commissions on closed deals as against paying subscriptions that don’t have guaranteed returns,” says co-founder Sulaiman Balogun.

From inception till date, ToLet.com.ng has facilitated over 8 million dollars in transactions value and currently boasts of roughly 20,000 listings online from a growing number of just over 3,500 real-estate agents.

Frontier Digital Ventures is a Malaysia-based investor in leading classifieds companies in emerging markets. Last year it invested $500,000 in Ghanaian real estate classifieds start-up MeQasa and has made several investments across frontier markets including Panama’s general classifieds Encuentra24.com and Pakistan based property website Zameen.

By Mfonobong Nsehe ,(Forbes.com)

Nigerian athlete, Josephine Orji, has just shattered the World Record with a lift of 160kg to win the gold medal in the Women’s -84kg Power-lifting event at the ongoing Paralympics Games in Rio, Brazil.

The latest gold medal is Nigeria’s 8th at the event.

Nigeria now has 11 medals and is 10th on the overall medals table.

BoI increases on-lending fund for SMEs under YES scheme

Following the turnout of applicants for its N10 billion facility earmarked for on-lending to small businesses under the Youth Entrepreneurship Support (YES) programme, the Bank of Industry (BoI) has concluded plans to expand the fund size as well as accommodate more candidates under the scheme.

Specifically, the bank noted that due to the high rate of applications received for the YES initiative, it would increase the size of the fund from the initial N10 billion, while considering an increase in the number of would-be loan beneficiaries from 1,200 yearly to 4,000 candidates.

Speaking at the assessment exercise of the initiative and inauguration of a seven-man panel to serve on the application screening committee in Lagos, BoI’s Acting Managing Director, Waheed Olagunju, noted that boiout of the 40,000 applications received, 15,000 or 37.5 per cent were properly completed and thus qualify for consideration for the first segment of the entrepreneurship capacity building programme which is the eight weeks online training component.

“This programme was launched in response to the alarming unemployment problem among Nigerian youths. Having noticed the huge volume of registration on the online portal of 40,000 which has far outstripped the 10,000 entries earlier envisaged by 300 per cent over the six-week period, we have come to the realisation that Nigerian youths have enormous entrepreneurial appetite waiting to be unleashed on the nation’s economy in a positive sense.

“We have therefore come to the conclusion that we should provide more opportunities for the youth by increasing the number of would-be loan beneficiaries from 1200 to 4000. Efforts would be made to ensure a fair distribution of the beneficiaries in consonance with the proportion of entries received from the six geopolitical zones”, Olagunju added.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu E. Enelamah, while inaugurating the committee, commended the bank for the initiative, saying, “I am quite satisfied with the implementation of the YES-Programme thus far, considering the calibre and quality of the facilitating institutions. The candidates’ screening and evaluation process are transparent, merit-based and in line with global best practices.

“The synergy created by the consultants working in concert with BoI’s in-house team, will undoubtedly manifest in the quality of young entrepreneurs that will be produced under the programme.

“The import of the overwhelming response by our youths to the YES-Progammes is a manifestation of their desire to take control of their destinies via the entrepreneurial route by being self –employed. It is therefore apparent that the earlier envisaged 1,200 would-be loan beneficiaries would fall far short of the yearnings of the aspiring young entrepreneurs.

“I would like to assure our youths of Federal Government’s absolute commitment to its financial inclusion programme. Government will endeavour to meet the aspirations of youths by providing the support needed by BoI to successfully implement the YES-programmes”.

Members of the application screening committee include the Acting Managing Director, Waheed Olagunju, Executive Director, Financial Inclusion, Mrs. Toyin Adeniji, Divisional Head, SME (North), Abdul-Ganiyu Mohammed, Divisional Head, SME (South), Umar Shekarau, and three other eminent members made up of successful entrepreneurs, professionals, retired bankers, SME consultants.

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