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Etisalat Nigeria, WAAW Foundation Reward Innovation in Schools

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Etisalat has sponsored this year’s Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation science camp for girls, in further demonstration of its commitment to empower young people through quality education.

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Camp, whose 2013 theme was ‘Robotics and Renewable Energy for Africa’, took place at the Laureate College Mafoluku, for girls between the ages of 13 and 17.  The week long training ended with a colourful Award ceremony last weekend. 

The Robotics STEM camp, witnessed hands-on activities, lectures, tutorials and experiments, all led and presented by female facilitators from Nigeria and the United States.

Among them included a special education teacher from Ebele Agu,Honors Academy School in Texas; Dr. Kaye Smith, associate professor of Physics and STEM Education at St. Catherine University in Minnesota; and Frances Van Sloun, mechanical engineer from St. Thomas University in Minnesota.

Over 30 girls attended the camp and were educated on how robotics, computer science and programming could be used to solve significant problems in Africa, focusing on electricity generation and water purification, amongst others.

The participants were mostly drawn from government public schools across Lagos such as Airforce Secondary School, Gbaja Girls’ High School, Clegg Girls’ High School, Top Grade Secondary School, Bolade Senior Grammar School, Laureates College and Bosgram College.

Projects developed and presented by the girls included light-sensor robots to solve green energy challenges such as trash sorting, water purification systems, and renewable energy systems including solar cars and Windmill systems.

Leading teams received trophies while every team member was presented with a STEM certificate.

Okung Ebiefie, head, Data& Mobile Internet at Etisalat Nigeria, said: “our focus is to encourage young people to believe that they can do great things and be innovative solution providers. Etisalat believes that confidence and tangible skills can make them more impactful and viable. We are committed to giving them that gentle push needed to help them apply their energy into thinking up new ways to improve societies they live in. These girls have had valuable experiences that we hope will be sustainable and impactful”.

Etisalat is focusing on the next generation of young people who are the source of fresh ideas and tomorrow’s leaders, by equipping them with capacity to innovate, and develop their ideas into sustainable solutions.

Dr. Unoma Okorafor, Founder of the WAAW Foundation, who recently received the 2013 Anita Borg Change Agent Award, said the objective of the STEM camp was to ensure that girls think of science and technology as tools that can help them solve real problems in their communities.

“The focus is to encourage our girls to look around and use locally available materials for innovation. These are our future leaders. We need them to understand that there are no limits. The objective also is to influence them by giving them intense hands-on experiences during the Camp. We open up their minds to think of the problems in Africa and empower them to solve these problems through technology. We need to increase the number of girls that are engaged in innovation through science and technology,’ she said.

Etisalat presented Easyblaze modems to winners at the Awards Ceremony.

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Nigeria, Others Listed in ISA $5Bn Deal

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International Solar Alliance (ISA) has signed letters of intent for $5 billion worth of financing and the initiation of development of nine solar projects across five countries.

 

The ISA signed the financing commitment by Yes Bank, India’s fifth largest private sector bank and leader in renewable energy financing, recently.

 

It also announced the signing of nine solar projects across five ISA member countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India and Spain.

 

The eight companies involved in the deals include, Vyonarc Development, Waree Engineers, Gensol Group, Solarig, Shakti Pump, Refex Energy, Amplus Solar and Zodiac Energy.

 

In another development, Masdar announced the outcomes from its Renewable Energy Desalination Pilot Programme in Ghantoot, which shows that solar energy powered desalination is commercially viable in Abu Dhabi. Masdar commissioned five pilot projects during the programme to explore the feasibility of using renewable energy to power seawater desalination.

 

The outcomes of the pilot projects revealed that solar energy-driven seawater desalination using reverse osmosis technologies offers a commercially attractive, low-cost and sustainable long-term solution for seawater desalination in the Gulf.

 

The report also revealed that energy efficiency improvements of up to 75 per cent were achieved through the programme compared with existing technologies employed in the UAE.

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Allianz Risk Barometer Says Corruption, Burden on Nigerian Businesses

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The Allianz Risk Barometer 2018 report has revealed that theft, fraud and corruption as the top risk in Nigeria with 38% of responses, up from #4 in 2017.

Market developments remains unchanged at #2 at 36% of responses and changes in legislation & regulation also remains unmoved at #3 with 33% of responses.

Fire, explosion and power blackouts (both #7 with 16% of responses) emerged as two new risks in the top 10.

Cyber incidents remains at #5 at 29%, political risks and violence is unmoved at #6 with 24%, macroeconomic developments is #4 at 31% of responses down from #1 in 2017, business interruption moves down slightly from #8 to #9 with 16% responses and new technologies maintains the 10th position at 11%. The report is published annually by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), and is based on the insight of a record 1,911 risk experts from 80 countries.

Studies show that corruption is a significant obstacle to business in Nigeria. Companies are very likely to encounter bribery and other corrupt practices.

Corruption also features as a top 10 risk in West African countries, Togo and Ivory Coast, which participated in the survey for the first time.

To provide financial protection for managers against the consequences of actual or alleged “wrongful acts” when acting in the scope of their managerial duties, companies may consider taking up Director & Officers (D&O) insurance.

The D&O policy will pay for defense costs and financial losses. In addition, extensions to many D&O policies also cover costs for managers generated by administrative and criminal proceedings or in the course of investigations by regulators or criminal prosecutors.

The market and economic conditions are improving. “Recently, Nigeria resolved a six-quarter recession and an exchange rate crisis. A better business environment, as well as the recovery of oil prices should help accelerate growth in 2018 to over 2.5% from 0.8% in 2017. However, the inflation persistence to around 12.9% in 2018 may well trigger another depreciation pressure on the Naira,” said Stéphane Colliac, Senior Economist from AGCS sister company, Euler Hermes.

Businesses’ perception of the threat posed by political risks and violence remains relatively unchanged year-on-year. However, respondents are more worried about terrorism. Businesses do not have to be the direct victim to feel the effects. If an attack occurs nearby, the surrounding area may be closed, impacting operations. Globally, a general trend of increased political activism can be anticipated, causing further disruption.

Business interruption (BI) can have a tremendous effect on a company’s revenues. Yet its impact is one of the hardest risks to measure. “No business is too small to be impacted,” says AGCS Africa CEO Thusang Mahlangu, “A severe interruption can even have a terminal impact, particularly for smaller companies. But as many businesses transition from being rich in physical assets to deriving more value from intangibles and services, increasingly, BI is being triggered by non-traditional risk exposures which don’t cause physical damage but result in lost income – so-called nondamage business interruption (NDBI).”

Fire, explosion, which is a major source of BI, is a serious concern for Nigerian businesses, especially considering the many incidents that occurred in 2017. As one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, the country is highly susceptible to accidental fires that may interrupt power supplies. It is a known fact that power blackouts are prominent in the region. In fact, in a recent outage across the country, the ministry of power blamed it on a fire at a gas pipeline system that interrupted gas supply and affected the national transmission grid. Local businesses should ensure they have a sufficient backup or risk management plan for the production halt.

Cyber incidents through events such as WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks brought significant financial losses to a large number of businesses. Cyber threats also vary according to company size or industry. “Small companies are likely to be crippled if hit with a ransomware attack, while larger firms are targets of a greater range of threats, such as the DDoS attacks which can overwhelm systems,” says AGCS Cyber Insurance Expert Nobuhle Nkosi.

New technologies rank as the second top risk for the long-term future after cyber incidents globally, with which it is closely interlinked. Vulnerability of automated or even autonomous or self-learning machines to failure or malicious cyber acts, such as extortion or espionage, will increase in future and could have a significant impact if critical infrastructure, such as IT networks or power supply, are involved.

“Although there may be fewer smaller losses due to automation and monitoring minimizing the human error factor, this may be replaced by the potential for large-scale losses, once an incident happens,” explains Michael Bruch, Head of Emerging Trends, AGCS. “Businesses also have to prepare for new risks and liabilities as responsibilities shift from human to machine, and therefore to the manufacturer or software supplier. Assignment and coverage of liability will become much more challenging in future.”

 

 

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Group Tackles Mobil over $600m Oil Bloc

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A non-governmental organisation, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), has requested for clarification on the renewal of some oil mining leases in possession of Mobil Producing Nigeria.

 

In a Freedom of Information (FOI) request issued to the Managing Director, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, dated. 2nd January, 2018 and signed by HEDA’s chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, the organisation said it is seeking inquiry for the Forensic Audit report regarding the renewal of three Oil Mining Leases (OMLs 67, 68 and 70) for Mobil Producing Nigeria for $600 million.

 

According to HEDA, the renewal of three Oil Mining Leases (OMLs 67, 68 & 70) for Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN) by the Federal Government was widely reported in the newspapers in Nigeria and abroad. The organisation, however, said the details of the terms of the renewed leases were not disclosed to the press, thereby causing so much controversies as to the circumstances surrounding the payment and the amount paid.

 

It would be recalled that based on the valuation conducted by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, MPN and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as equity holders, were required to pay $6.375 billion as 100% of the reserve fee. Mobil’s 40% share in the lease was fixed at $2.55 billion, of which there would be a commitment to invest the sum of $1.2 billion in a refinery and gas infrastructure for the domestic market.

 

According to HEDA, “Reports in the public domain and some documents sighted by this organisation, Mobil rejected the said terms and allegedly paid $600 million for the renewal of the three oil blocks which have a combined output of 580,000 barrels of crude oil per day. Curiously, the payment was accepted by the then Minister of State in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, who purportedly signed the deal.

 

“However, the predecessor of the erstwhile Minister of Petroleum Resources had refused to endorse this transaction, accusing MPN of undervaluing the oil block. The said leases were however, renewed for 20 years by the erstwhile Minister of Petroleum Resources on behalf of the Government of the Federation.

 

“You will recall the successor of Mr. Ajumogobia in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, rejected the terms for the renewal of this licenses, resulting in a fresh negotiation leading to additional payment by your company for the block.”

 

HEDA said in the light of the foregoing, and in view of the demand of the Nigerian people for the transparent management of the oil and gas industry, “We would appreciate your company furnishing us with details of the renewal and the total amount paid by Exxon Mobil for these licenses. More so, when a Chinese company had offered to pay the difference of $3.75 billion for 40% equity interest in the NNPC-Mobil Joint Venture or $18.75 billion for 100% equity interest in oil and gas reserves at the time of this renewal.

 

“HEDA Resource Centre is hereby requesting, in accordance with Section 1(1) of the FoI Act 2011, for information on the payments and conditions attached to the renewal.

 

“Section 1(1) ‘Notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, law or regulation, the right of any person to access or request information, whether or not contained in any written form, which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution however described, is established’.

 

“Section 2(7) ‘Public institutions are all authorities whether executive, legislative or judicial agencies, ministries, and extra-ministerial departments of the government, together with all corporations established by law and ALL COMPANIES IN WHICH GOVERNMENT HAS A CONTROLLING INTEREST and PRIVATE COMPANIES UTILIZING PUBLIC FUNDS, PROVIDING PUBLIC SERVICES OR PERFORMING PUBLIC FUNCTIONS’.

 

“Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited operates a Joint Venture with the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The Federal Government has controlling 60 percent share, with the remaining 40 percent being MPN.

 

“As an internationally reputed firm with integrity in standard and discipline, we shall look forward to receiving this report promptly, and in any event, within 7(seven) days after this application is received, as provided for in Section 4 and 4a of the FoI Act 2011,” HEDA said.

 

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