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Huawei Launches $1.5B Fund to Help Build Africa’s Smart City Ecosystem

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Huawei has confirmed the introduction of a US$1.5 billion global financing program, with capital from IOT/ smart solutions focused funding company Smart City Solutions, to fuel the development of smart city infrastructure – with specific attention to increasing activity in Africa.

Lauren Fan, president of the public sector at Huawei, announced the safe city funding programme in Shenzhen, China and said it was established to help governments and smart city builders construct IOT, Command & Control for critical communications and Intelligent Video Surveillance.

Huawei executives believe safe city programmes are now a top priority for city authorities, including those based across Africa, but budget constraints remains a challenge and impacts on efforts to intensify safe city initiatives.

With the fund in place, it is envisaged that the conventional siloed approach to projects, where finance analyses budget and it takes time and further resources to move from one phase to another, all stakeholders determine the entire spectrum of the project simultaneously and link deliverables with finance options immediately.

Edwin Diender, VP – Government & Public Utility Sector, Huawei Enterprise Business Group said budget availability is one issue, but there are others including the impact of a largely traditional approach to digital projects and capital investment, and the growing need for flexibility.

“‘What can we do and when can we start’ is usually the beginning of a discussion (with government) … but the end of the discussion will be ‘what will be the budget?’ or ‘where are the budget constraints?’ or ‘we do not have any budget’. Especially if you look at how smart cities and digital transformation is being formalised and established, it is still very much in the old fashioned way.”

Diender explains that this way is based on projects with a clear beginning and ending, and clear outline.

In other words, there is a request for proposal, there is a public tender, there is a range of technical requirements that vendor/ responder must comply with and there is constraint in terms of what budget available.

“That would mean if you want to move forward to something that was very high up, either you would have to find a technology partner that, for the same budget, has a whole bunch of more functionality and features…. or if you want to be more cost effective, you could say that for the amount of functions and for the number of features that you are actually looking for, you can do that for less than your budget.”

These are really the only two options and both represent a challenge because they require effective savings, a review of dispositional income, taxes etc.

“On top of that there are other elements or other possibilities where you can move forward when you come to things like a loan, or lease / financial services – but also that would be limited to the parts that are described within a very closed inwards looking item or issue or component, like a public tender or a request for proposal… because again that is very siloed, it’s very ‘on its own’ – what it’s not doing by itself (because that is not what the principle is about) it doesn’t look at ‘what is this project for’ , is this a first step in a number of projects alongside each other or the one after each other that indeed is going to help pull the nation higher up a value chain, yes or no,” Diender continues.

This is why Huawei has taken a step away from political processes and a siloed approach on the road to digital transformation.

When it comes to budget plans, governments have to make provision for upgrades, migrations or acquisitions such as additional technology – and the global financing program represents an effective vehicle to help manage these processes.

Diender did acknowledge that some people may describe the announcement as merely a strategic means by which Huawei can secure projects/jobs going forward.

“It’s a fair statement, but it’s not necessarily the case that it will only run where a government does not have a budget. If a government has a budget, there are a number of ways how they can use the budget…”

And that includes investing in a PPI-driven ecosystem where there is value-add through collaboration and engagement to smart city development and digital transformation.

Diender says the PPI-model is certainly one engagement option and one that is highly successful. “Because it’s not a government-driven item alone, it is also not a private sector driven item alone… when you talk about smart cities, when they are working together as one, of course create a nation, because that is what cities by nature already do. ”

 

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Lancaster University Honours Ozigbo, MD/CEO Transcorp Hotels

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Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, managing director/chief executive, Transcorp Hotels Plc, was on Friday conferred the award of a Distinguished Alumni of the Lancaster University. The award was conferred on him at a special convocation ceremony of the university held at its Ghana Campus.

 

Prof. Mark Smith, University’s Vice Chancellor, who spoke during the event, praised Ozigbo for his laudable achievements recorded over the years since he graduated from the university.

 

He said, “Your extraordinary achievements in both the banking and luxury hospitality industries are impressive, as is your passion for promoting youth empowerment through initiatives such as youth leadership forums.

 

“This award is therefore to appreciate these achievements as we believe that your contribution to your field will be an inspiration to current Lancaster University students and their parents,” he noted.

 

Ozigbo who expressed delight over the honour accorded to him by his alma mater, commended the ideals of the school, which according to him contributed immensely towards molding him to the heights he had achieved till date.

 

He said, “My studies at Lancaster University laid a solid foundation in my life for the progress I achieved, because soon after my graduation, I started off with then Standard Trust Bank (which became United Bank for Africa), and was charged with the responsibilities that had global outlook in nature, including managing investment banking clients, embassies and multilaterals and later on global expansion.

 

“So, the fact that this was a top international University and the specialized discipline I majored in, among others, contributed to the decision to work in these international areas. I excelled in each of these areas because Lancaster University exposed and prepared me well. Therefore, I give credit to Lancaster University for my modest achievements,” he said.

 

Ozigbo, a Chevening Scholar, graduated in 2004 from the Lancaster University Management School England with an outstanding Masters Degree in Finance, with Distinction. He also holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Accounting (1994), emerging the best Student in the faculty, and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Banking and Finance (2000), both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

 

He is a fellow of many professional bodies, notably Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

 

Since leaving Lancaster University in 2004, Mr. Ozigbo has achieved a lot in both professional, personal and community life. He spent a total of 17 years in the banking industry rising to the level of General Manager before transitioning to the hospitality industry where he led the positive transformation of Transcorp Hotels Plc for over 7 years, winning many awards locally, regionally and globally, including Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality CEO of the Year Award (presented at a global event in Spain).

 

Ozigbo is also known for his youth empowerment works. Apart from leading the effort, with another friend of his in donating books from Lancaster University to the University of Nigeria, where they first graduated from, he has been involved in a number of mentorship, youth empowerment and community development initiatives.

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Hyde Satisfies Consumer Demands with New Retail Station

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Hyde, a global oil and commodities trading company and producer of premium lubricants in Nigeria, has launched a new retail station in Egbeda, Lagos.

This station, the sixth from the company, is in line with the company’s vision to be one of the top five most respected brands in petroleum products trading and delivery in Nigeria.

Equipped with innovative technology, the station is designed to satisfy consumers through product and service delivery.

It will run for 18 hours daily dispensing petrol, diesel and kerosene. Also available for purchase at the station are Hyde Energy’s range of automotive lubricants with various options from synthetic, multi-grade, monograde, specialty oils for tailor-made applications and all types of greases.

Mr. Oladimeji Edwards, CEO of Hyde Limited, stated that the new station is inspired by the Company’s commitment to provide efficient fueling solutions for customers.

“The launch of this station in Egbeda comes as part of our efforts to bring energy closer to our customers. We remain committed to maintaining exceptionally high standards in our product and service offerings and we are certain that our customers will get the best experience at our stations”.

“Quality and excellence define our services and we deliver on our promise through exceptional business management. Our customers are assured of high-quality products at the right pump price and quantity at our stations”. Mr. Edwards added.

On his part, the Head of Retail & Commercial Sales at Hyde Limited, Mr. Sani Usman said, “This new station is a step further in the expansion of our retail fuel business. Hyde sources the highest quality products from highly reputable companies which are stored in own and 3rd -party terminals for onward distribution to Hyde Outlets under strict quality control processes and procedures.

We plan to expand our retail footprints across the country with the next area of entry being the South-East geopolitical zone of the country. By the end of 2018, we would have increased the number of our retail outlets to 10”.

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People in Peaceful Countries more Pessimistic about Peace Prospects than Those in Conflict Zones- According to New Poll

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People in more peaceful countries are more pessimistic about prospects for peace than those in conflict environments, according to a survey of 15 countries commissioned by International Alert and the British Council.

 

The Peace Perceptions Poll 2018, conducted in partnership with global polling agency RIWI, asked people around the world about their perceptions of peace and conflict.

 

It found that the UK topped the list of pessimistic countries, followed by Brazil, the US and Hungary. 40% of respondents in the UK said prospects for peace and security in their country will get worse in the next five years, making them more negative than those living in conflict areas, including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

 

Across the world, ‘lack of jobs and ability to provide for one’s family’ was seen as the main reason that would push people to violent action.

 

This was followed by a ‘sense of injustice’ and a ‘need to improve one’s social status’. The poll also found that terrorism and criminal violence are people’s top security concerns globally.

 

Over 110,000 people participated in the survey, which was carried out online in Brazil, Colombia, DRC, Hungary, India, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, with targeted polling separately undertaken in Northern Ireland.

 

83% of global respondents said having political influence was fundamental for peace and security, with 90% saying the same about access to economic opportunities.

 

People in DRC and South Africa felt the highest levels of political exclusion, with 50% and 44% of those polled respectively saying they are less able to influence the political decisions that affect them, compared to five years ago. This was followed by the UK (41%), Hungary (40%) and the US (37%).

 

Where people felt they had less political influence, they predominantly blamed it on ‘corruption and bribery’ in politics. This was most strongly felt in South Africa, Ukraine and Nigeria.

 

Those who thought they had more political influence attributed it extensively to social media and technology, which ranked top with 28% choosing it.

 

Interestingly, those who felt they had least access to economic opportunities lived in middle- to high-income countries, including Hungary, Ukraine, the UK, Lebanon, the US and South Africa.

 

Most respondents said the most effective way to create long-term peace was through ‘dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place’ (27%), followed by ‘supporting societies and communities to resolve conflict peacefully’ (26%).

 

Asked where their governments should spend more to promote peace, the top response was ‘dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place’, followed by ‘teaching peace, tolerance and conflict resolution in schools’.

 

Globally, military interventions had the least support, with only 9%selecting it.

 

Harriet Lamb, CEO of International Alert said: “At a time when conflict is on the rise, the poll shows strong popular support for peacebuilding approaches, which focus on dealing with the reasons why people fight in the first place.

 

“The public clearly understand what is needed to build peace. People have crisis fatigue – they want long-term solutions.

 

“Politicians should focus on how to break the cycle of violence by investing more in peacebuilding.”

 

Professor Jo Beall, Director Education and Society, British Council said: “Positive peacebuilding is not just the absence of violent conflict, but the rebuilding of trust and the restoration of relationships that serve the needs of the whole population.

 

“In seeking to understand people’s experience of conflict, and their aspirations for peace, we believe these findings will be useful for leaders and policy-makers facing up to the challenges of peacebuilding.”

 

 

 

 

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