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Ecobank Nigeria To Launch Bespoke Women Empowerment Initiative, Ellevate  

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Ecobank

All is set for the launch of “Ellevate”, a bespoke women empowerment proposition of the Ecobank Group. Ellevate is targeted at empowering women-owned, and women-focused businesses in Nigeria.

 

Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Carol Oyedeji said the initiative which is scheduled for launch on July 7, 2021 in Lagos (Registration link https://bit.ly/3hDPHkT ), is specially designed for women in business, and businesses with a high percentage of female executives or employees.

 

The programme also targets manufacturers of products used by women. Ellevate is an initiative of the Ecobank Group which is being launched in the 33 African countries where it operates. Its launch underscores the bank’s commitment to empowering women by providing the platforms and opportunities for them to thrive. Ecobank understands that women’s needs are unique and has put in place the appropriate resources to meet those needs.

 

“With Ellevate, we recognise and acknowledge the critical role of women in the society. Ellevate offers women-owned businesses a wide reaching suite of solutions, incorporating smarter money management, discounted financing and value-added services to deliver, that female entrepreneurs need at the right time.

 

We will work with the private sector and other interest groups to realise this. Ellevate offers end-to-end, differentiated business solutions, financial support, advisory services and networking opportunities for businesses in Nigeria that are managed and owned by women. In developing Ellevate, Ecobank took into consideration what women require from their bankers and successfully came up with pragmatic solutions that will help bridge identified gaps”. She stated.

 

Further, she said Ecobank Nigeria remains a women friendly bank, that has many initiatives and innovative products targeted at empowering female entrepreneurs. One of these is the Ecobank Female Entrepreneurs’ Initiative (EFEI), a platform designed to empower and support women owned small-scale businesses.

 

In addition, there are business loans for SMEs, inventory finance for key distributors, shop owner’s facility for traders, purchase order and invoice discounting, asset finance and agriculture finance among other laudable offerings.

 

The Special Guest of Honour expected at the Ellevate launch is the Managing Director, Development Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Tony Okpanachi; the Panelists are: Founder,  Health Africa, Fola Laoye; Founder, Braveline Growth Partners, Taba  Peterside and Founder of Ruff n Tumble, Nike Ogunlesi. While the moderator is Tolulope Babajide, the Innovations and Partnerships Advisor on (Nigeria for Women Project), A World Bank-supported project.

 

Ecobank Nigeria Ltd. is a subsidiary of the Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African banking group with operations in 33 African countries and an international presence in four locations (London, Paris, Beijing and Dubai).

 

Ecobank Nigeria is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals. Ecobank is a major player in the distribution of financial services in Nigeria, leveraging digital platforms and an extensive  network of over 250 branches and more than 30, 000 agency banking locations (Xpress Points).

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Customer Appreciates Service Delivery Of Nigeria’s Ecommerce Market Leader

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Customer

E-commerce is still in its infancy in Nigeria and Africa in general. Despite this, many would agree that a lot of progress has been made in the industry.

What we have today is a big leap to what obtained twelve years ago. More consumers are onboarding the e-commerce train. The hardest skeptics are beginning to have a taste of what online shopping entails.

Urban centers are gradually becoming a beehive of e-commerce activities, as the majority of small businesses now showcase their wares online. Several logistics brands are springing up to meet the delivery demands of sellers and customers.

Hardly would you ply major roads in states like Lagos, Rivers and Abuja, without coming across a delivery van or motorcycle. Their presence is an indication of e-commerce momentum in the country.

More important is the improvement on service delivery by the industry players. The early days of online shopping was fraught with complaints. Late delivery of orders, wrong items and payment itches were prevalent at the time. Though these issues are still being experienced at intervals, it is fair to say that online platforms have put in effort to reduce such occurrences.

And in cases where this happens, measures are in place for a speedy refund process. These efforts are also being appreciated by customers. “I have been using Jumia for like six years now and my experience with Jumia has been nice.

Even when I returned my order, I got my refund back less than the time they gave me. Even on their JumiaPay wallet, which you have to pay online before you get your order, I have had a very good experience with them,” said Ogechi Celestine, a Civil Servant resident in Rivers State.

Another interesting way e-commerce brands are improving service delivery and customer experience is pick up stations. With a station close by, a customer can walk in and pick his item. It takes e-commerce closer to rural residents and further eases the deal for urban dwellers.

“Today is my first time coming to their pickup station to pick my order. I give kudos to Jumia and the team. They should keep it up,” Celestine added. The initiative is not only taking the service closer to customers, but also having ripple impact on small businesses.

Though the e-commerce industry still has a lot to improve on, the work being put in by the major industry players gives hope of a good future for e-commerce services in Nigeria.

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HOW CUSTOMERS’ INCREASED TRUST IN FIRSTBANK’S *894# USSD BANKING CAN BOOST THE FINANCIAL INCLUSION DRIVE

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FirstBank

The path to financial inclusion holds different marketplace barriers and opportunities in different countries, but the push continues because of proof that an increase in economic activities among the financially vulnerable can reawaken a comatose economy.

 

 

For Nigeria, the last three years have seen significant growth of the financial inclusion rate from 56.8% in 2016 to 63.2% in 2018. FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking service is playing a key role in it.

 

FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking initiative is already averaging about 99 million transactions monthly, with a naira worth of (N’m) 370,543 on these transactions. This figure includes the undergraduate doing a mobile airtime recharge; the trader receiving a mobile payment from a customer; the IT person hurriedly buying a data bundle to keep business afloat; the anxious father paying his daughter’s hospital bills for treatment to commence, and the busy worker in Lagos transferring money to his parents in the village since he cannot get to a banking hall.

 

This is just a rough sampling of the financial transactions that amounted to over N3.6 trillion in transaction value on the *894# USSD banking service in 2020. There is practically no financial emergency that the USSD service does not come in.

 

The problems that the *894# USSD service from First Bank of Nigeria Limited is solving is the only justification for the rapid traction it has gained since it was introduced in 2015. It is easy to see Nigerians trust and confidence in the USSD system, with the Bank rapidly growing from 9.5 million customers on the USSD feature to 12.26 million customers within the last year. Over 1.02 million of the figure, are customers who registered in the first 6 months of 2021.

 

The first and perhaps the most attractive feature of USSD banking has got to be that it can be done from any kind of phone and without any form of internet connectivity. Although smartphones are getting more common, there is still a high poverty rate and many financially vulnerable people who cannot access internet banking. The internet penetration in Nigeria is still below the ideal, so users have to deal with poor internet connections in some areas.

 

That is why this kind of banking service that can be accessed without internet connectivity is ideal for the financial inclusion drive. The *894# USSD feature can be used across the four major GSM network operators in the country, meaning there is no added demand on the users.

 

Getting started on the service is as easy as dialling *894*0#, and creating a pin. With that done, you can do airtime and data purchase for yourself and other parties, transfer funds to other accounts, make a BVN enquiry, check your account balance and get a mini statement.

 

For non-customers, this feature allows you to open a bank account in a couple of minutes without having to visit the banking hall. You can open a bank account, receive your account number immediately and start transactions on it right away. The claims of “instant banking, anytime, anywhere” can’t get more real than this.

 

There is even an added security step, requesting a second-factor authentication (2FA) for transfers above N20,000 as a way to secure customers from being ripped off their funds. There is a cumulative maximum daily transfer limit of N100,000 to both FirstBank and other banks accounts.

 

How does FirstBank USSD improve the lives of Nigerians?

For one, the data being generated through this service is sufficient to help the bank understand its current and prospective customers and develop products that suit them.

 

Traders and small businesses can also get a Merchant ID which customers can use to make payments for products and services. This of course is better than having to send one’s account details to countless customers, even without knowing whether or not they are ready to make their purchase.

 

To ensure customers can meet emergency needs before month-end, the Bank’s FirstAdvance service is at their fingertips. FirstAdvance is a digital lending solution designed to offer convenient and easy access to cash for payroll customers awaiting payment of their salaries.

 

Offered through the Bank’s USSD Banking service and leading banking app product, FirstMobile, customers are exposed to a range of loan offerings which put them at an edge in meeting immediate financial needs. To initiate the service through the USSD banking service, the customer is to dial – USSD CODE-*894*11# or *894#. The service is open to customers with a salary account domiciled with the Bank and have received salaries for the last 6 months at the least.

 

There are much more about FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking that puts customers at a distinct advantage in carrying out their daily personal, financial and business activities; meeting unforeseen emergencies, and carrying out a wide range of transactions – with so much fun and convenience – irrespective of where they are in the country.

 

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Dangote Cement Acquires 2,000 Trucks for Distribution of Products

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Dangote

…As Dangote Fertiliser Takes Delivery of 500 Trucks for Urea Distribution
To address challenges related to the ease of distribution and availability of
cement across the country, especially among its value-chain service providers,
Dangote Cement Plc has rolled out over 2,000 trucks for distribution services.

 

With an investment of $150 million, the company took delivery of trucks, trailers,
bulk tankers, tippers, cargo trucks and bulk cement tankers. These assets would
meet the expected increase in demand for transportation of cement to every part
of the country and create employment of over 4,000 people in Nigeria.

 

Besides, Dangote Fertiliser, which recently made a grand entry into the market,
has already taken delivery of 500 trucks from Dangote Sinotruk West Africa
Limited (joint venture between Dangote Industries Limited and Sinotruk China)
for the distribution of Urea to different States in Nigeria.

 

The newly acquired trucks are expected to improve the efficiency and
effectiveness of Dangote Cement Logistics network of distribution nationwide, as
the company plans to commission its new cement plant in Okpella Edo state in a
few weeks.

 

“We have acquired the new trucks in line with our new expansion capacity in
Obajana, Ibese, Gboko and the new cement plant at Okpella. The acquisition is
due to the growing needs of the business, especially as regards the increased
trucking demands encountered lately, due to the surge in the demand for
cement,” according to the Group Executive Director – Logistics and Distribution,
Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Abdu Dantata.
He added, “The establishment of our clinker export terminals at Apapa and Onne
Port led to the purchase of heavy duty tippers for haulage of clinker from the
plants to the terminals.

 

 

“The introduction of these trucks would improve customers’ demand, improve on
job creation in the country, as well as promote the economic development of
Nigeria.”
Dantata disclosed that the company takes seriously the issue of safety of truck
drivers and road users, which necessitated the collaboration between the Federal
Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and the company to attain zero tolerance to road
crashes in the country. He said the company has embarked on adequate training
on effective driving techniques.

 

According to him, the collaboration involves recertification of drivers, pre-trip and
post-trip inspection, drug test, real time tracking of vehicles, root cause analysis,
convoy movement, checkpoint policy and sanctions among several others.
The locally assembled Sinotruk Howo trucks came in as semi-knocked-down kits
(SKD), which were effectively assembled and commissioned for operations.

 

 

Dantata, who coordinates the group Logistic and Transport function, assured that
the Dangote Sinotruk would continue the importation of semi-knocked-down kits
into the assembling plant to support customers’ demand and improve on job
creation in the country.

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