The CoV-2 Virus, known as the Delta Variant, is rapidly sweeping across the globe. This new variant appears to spread faster, cause more severe disease and is more likely to result in hospitalization. First detected in India, it has now reached 132 countries and territories.
“Delta is a warning: it’s a warning that the virus is evolving but it is also a call to action that we need to move now before more dangerous variants emerge,” the WHO’s emergencies director Michael Ryan told a press conference.
It was in the Wuhan city of China that first cases of the coronavirus were found in December 2019. It has spread across the globe since then. The latest outbreak in China was first found in Jiangsu in June, and officials blamed the highly transmissible Delta strain for it.
Soon after the outbreak, local authorities ramped up nucleic acid screening tests in a bid to detect positive cases at the earliest possible stage. Curbs were also imposed on the movement of people in the region, with long-distance and tour bus routes halted. What is left of economic activities are highly regulated delivery services, majorly those based on food supply.
E-commerce platforms and delivery agents who sustained essential services in the heights of global lockdown are back to the rescue. One won’t forget in a hurry how the services of the likes of Jumia led essential delivery services to thousands of homes in Nigeria at the time.
In Africa, 17 countries have reported the Delta variant. The variant is causing the worst wave of COVID seen thus far on the continent. As disclosed by the World Health Organization, the Delta variant has spiked Covid-19 deaths in Africa by 80% in one month.
Ghana, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe are on the list of most hit on the continent. On Thursday 8th July, the Nigerian government said a case of the dangerous delta variant has been recorded in a traveller in the country.
A statement issued by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) noted that the development raises a grave concern. The country has so far recorded 32 cases of the variant in 5 states.
To keep the new variant in check, the Covid-19 Presidential Task Force has warned Nigerians to stick to the existing distancing and hygiene protocols. Failure to abide by these guidelines will result in rapid increase which might lead to another phase of restrictions, and ultimately a lockdown.
The latter is what many Nigerians cannot afford right now, as several businesses are just about picking up again from the brunt of the past months.
One of the ways to preserve free movement and economic activities is to revisit some of the online shopping culture of the pandemic era. For those who have returned to their physical shopping culture, it is time to reenact that Covid-19 precaution mood.
The likes of Jumia Food provide a wide range of options for groceries and beverages. Partnering with the notable fast food and local restaurants in the country, the Jumia platform offers food shopping options from safety.
To reduce the risk of infections, a report has it that many Ghanaians have switched to shopping for essential items online, on Jumia. The shopping platform also makes available essential items such as beverages, sanitary items, household items, home and kitchen supplies.
In addition, the report said groceries are becoming the topmost category where many consumers shop on online platforms such as Jumia Food. The regular vegetables, fruits and other grocery items are now purchased online and delivered fresh ensuring the safety of Ghanaians all over the country.
In some parts of Australia where only about 14% of the population is vaccinated, the third-largest city of Brisbane and other parts of Queensland state are now in a snap COVID-19 lockdown as a cluster of the Delta variant churns up new cases.
Residents are turning to online shopping and delivery services for daily essentials. The citizens of Ireland have also been asked to limit contact activities as much as they can, unless it becomes extremely necessary.
Using ecommerce services has become a way out, especially for food and other essentials. Recently, China’s leading e-commerce platform for services, Meituan, has ramped up R&D and its implementation of unmanned delivery robots and drones for its food delivery service, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, the variant is now responsible for more than 80% of infections in the United States, largely among unvaccinated people, already fueling new outbreaks in states such as Missouri, Nevada and Arkansas.
Also, Ireland delayed plans to reopen indoor dining and Hong Kong restricted incoming flights from Britain, where Delta is widespread. Also in the wake of the fast spreading variant, Italy announced that it would begin requiring either proof of vaccination or a recent, negative test in order to dine indoors, visit museums or participate in other activities.
It is thus advisable on the home front that while we all go about our daily activities, contact limitation and social distancing can still be achieved. There are several offices with a tradition of ordering lunch for staff on the Jumia Food platform.
Other companies can take a leaf from this. It saves work time and also helps keep staff safe while at work. Away from the workplace, individuals should also revisit the online shopping culture, especially for groceries and other home essentials.
Avoiding crowded places remains key to limiting the spread of covid-19 and its more lethal Delta variant.
E-commerce was crucial to limiting the spread of the virus in the heat of the first wave, and still remains a vital tool for all, as we strive to overcome a third wave led by the more deadly Delta variant.
By Victor George
Jumia Leads Charge Against Substandard Products, Launches Brands Festival Campaign To Promote Authentic Brands
The campaign, which started on Monday, September 20th and will run through October 3rd, 2021, offers a unique opportunity to consumers nationwide to buy original products from the stores of several top brands such as Samsung, Nivea, Oraimo, Apple, Nike, HP, Adidas, Skyrun, Umidigi, Hewlett Packard (HP), itel, Transsion (Tecno & Infinix), Samsung, Coca-Cola, and Nestle.
Head of Brands at Jumia Nigeria, Moyosore Oduwobi said: “The festival will provide our consumers with a wide range of quality products from top global manufacturers. Today’s consumers want quality and at the most competitive market prices. For this campaign, we have partnered with different international brands to make their products accessible to customers in Nigeria and for them to shop directly from the original product manufacturers and more importantly, save more while doing so.”
The campaign is also providing free shipping to consumers on selected product categories, as well as 10% savings on purchases on the Jumia app if they pay with JumiaPay.
Ecobank Nigeria MD Makes Case For Eurobond Market
The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has described Federal Government’s plan for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) as a step in the right direction, stressing that the fundamentals and potentials of the nation’s economy are strong with capacity to meet its debt obligations.
Akinwuntan, who was assessing the global market as Nigeria makes its announcement of multibillion dollar Eurobond offering, during an interview on Arise TV Lagos, said the economy is showing strong trends owing to investments in infrastructure such as road and rail transportation which is giving a lot of positive impact to the overall economy, adding that the private sector is also making remarkable improvement in power sector, telecoms, and information technology.
According to him, “You look at the fundamentals, what is the story of this economy? You look at Nigeria, the fundamentals are strong, coming from the lessons learnt in being a mono product economy which was dependent on oil. We have since embarked on the journey of diversification and we are beginning to show early fruits. Exports are improving, Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
provides the opportunity to expand that even further. So, you look at the fundamentals, look at the openness of the economy, the transparency of reporting and look at the opportunities to enhance real growth, output, capacity improvements and stability of policies. All these are factors to look at with a view of participating in the economy like that of Nigeria.”
He observed that international borrowing will allow Nigeria as a country to access more foreign currencies, deepen external reserve, allows more confidence in the medium-term planning in the private sector, adding that it allows a bench mark to be established in terms of how funding and investment are priced within the local economy.
“It also gives more rooms for the local economy to be able to breathe a bit more because when the country takes on Euro bond that portion is reduced from local country financing or public sector debt within the country. All these factors play strongly to the benefit of the private sector and the entire economy at large.”
“In the last two quarters, we have seen the global market rebounding from the very deep end of the covid-19 that plagued 2020. We have seen, since the arrival of vaccines, the gradual opening of the global economy such that there is much more optimism now in the market because we have learnt that shutting down the economy is not the best way to handle an epidemic and we have seen support from sovereigns ensuring that there is steady growth within the various economies; supply chain has opened and we have seen in sub-Sahara Africa renewed interest in the Eurobond market in the international debt market; we have seen Benin republic, Ghana, Cote d’ivoire and Kenya all are approaching the market with significant success.
Over subscription in each of them ranges from 200% to 300% and an all high in Kenya close to 600% or six times over subscription. This is a positive period for major economies like Nigeria, which is the lead economy in Africa, to take advantage and invite the global community to hear our story, invest in us and get good returns.”
Citing example with Ecobank’s $300 million Eurobond offer earlier in the year which was over-subscribed by 300 per cent, Akinwuntan advised those approaching international debt market to have clarity of purpose and state clearly their strengths and weaknesses. “We are the first banking entity in Africa to do that in 2021 and it comes from our long-term planning in the economy of Africa; we are the pan African bank and when we look at Africa, Nigeria is a major player.
Quickly we understood that arising from a scenario of pandemic and all-time lows of 2020 is time to look at the brighter side and we stepped out for the $300m US Eurobond offer which met positive response from investors across the globe within the country. We attracted more than 3 times in subscription.
But we kept to the book of doing $300m because it is based on our plan in participating in positioning Nigeria, as the leading export country in the AFCTCA environment in the continent and giving our unique position as the Pan African bank, it was very clear to us and the market responded positively.
Our experience also tells us that, what is critical is to have clarity on your strength, be very frank about your weakness or the areas of concern and how you intend to handle that positively.”
FIRSTBANK EXPANDS ITS INTERNATIONAL MONEY TRANSFER NETWORK, REINFORCES ITS COMMITMENT TO CUSTOMER SERVICE.
In furtherance of the need to expand diaspora remittance inflow into the country, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has increased its network of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), targeted at easing the accessibility of its customers to receive money from close to 100 countries across the world in a safe and secured manner.
With over 750 branches across the country, customers can receive money from the nearest FirstBank branch closest to them.
Over the years, FirstBank has been in partnership with Western Union, MoneyGram, Ria, Transfast, and WorldRemit. The bank is also in partnership with other IMTOs which include Wari, Smallworld, Sendwave, Flutherwave, Funtech, Thunes and Venture Garden Group to promote remittance inflow into the country, thereby putting Nigerians and residents at an advantage in receiving money from their families, friends and loved ones across the world.
Beneficiaries can receive remittance in US dollars in any of our over 750 branches spread across the country. Customers without an existing domiciliary account can have dollar account automatically created for their remittances. You can also receive inflow directly into your account through Western Union.
In addition, FirstBank has launched its wholly owned remittance platform named First Global Transfer product to promote the international transfer of funds across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa. These subsidiaries include FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone, FBNBank Senegal.
Reiterating the Bank’s resolve in promoting diaspora remittances, regardless of where one is across the globe, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Gbenga Shobo said “at FirstBank, expanding our network of International Money Transfer Operators is in recognition of the significant roles diaspora remittances play in driving economic growth such as helping recipients meet basic needs, fund cash and non-cash investments, finance education, foster new businesses and debt servicing.
We are excited about these partnerships, as it is essential to ensure our customers are at an advantage to receive money from their loved ones and business associates, anywhere they are, across the world.”
FirstBank pioneered international funds transfer and remittances over 25 years ago and has been at the forefront of promoting cross border payments in the country, having started the journey with Western Union Money Transfer. The Bank’s wealth of experience and operation in over 750 locations nationwide gives it the edge in the market.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years.
With over 750 business locations and over 120,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 30 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.
The Bank has been handy at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such a milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 10million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 4.5 million people on FirstMobile platform.
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.
FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is always to put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of the first choice in building your future”.
Our brand promise is always to deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.
Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications
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