About 84 per cent of chief executive officers in Nigeria have agreed that real estate industry in Nigeria is plagued due to the pandemic, especially, companies in the business of office rentals.
This revelation is contained in the recently published CEO Report, a Philips Consulting initiative for 100 Nigerian business leaders.
The PCL. CEO Report further stated that 83 per cent and 55 per cent of CEOs have adopted a ‘Work From Home Strategy’ and ‘Standby Model Strategy’ respectively, and are beginning to question the need for large office spaces.
“Only 46 per cent CEOs are considering retaining their current offices, while others will seek smaller and cheaper offices, shared offices, or adopt an entirely virtual working model,” added the Report.
In commercial cities like Lagos where massive high-rise office complexes are commonplace, real estate players must be ready for a shift in demand. They might be forced to repurpose their buildings or provide new services to suit the new mode of work, the Report recommended.
The survey that recently engaged 100 Nigeria business leaders on the current economic landscape and presented the insights in its “CEO Report” said, “One word that best describes today’s business environment is “uncertain”. The ‘new normal’ occasioned by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic is gradually fading away and being replaced by what is termed the ‘next normal’.
Amidst the frenzy of realigning strategies to better position businesses for recovery after the pandemic, the Philips Consulting’s CEO, Rob Taiwo mentioned that “We have been hit with the harsh reality that the Coronavirus might be here to stay. There is no going back to normal; instead, we have a next normal that is unpredictable.”
He said, the conversation to be had now is how to prepare for a future full of unknowns. Speaking on which industries benefit from the crisis, Taiwo, a transformational leader said, “Globally, the IT sector experienced a surge in the wake of the pandemic, as a result of the shift to remote working.
“This resulted in a heavy reliance (or dependence) on IT products for both personal and business purposes.” Nigeria is no exception, he stated, “From our survey, 86 per cent of CEOs reported that the pandemic led to them improving the IT infrastructure of their organizations. Our respondents predict that Nigeria’s healthcare, agribusiness, and manufacturing industries stand to benefit from the next normal.”
“They expect the professional services industry to experience comparatively minimal disruption. This is primarily due to their vast array of services, relatively low operational expense, lean and agile business model, and legacy clients.”
On the levels of preparedness for the pandemic, the Report said, only 6 per cent of CEOs reported that their organizations were prepared for the pandemic. Hence, it comes as no surprise that 55 per cent of Nigerian businesses are currently operating below 50 per cent of their operating capacity.
The 6 per cent mentioned above stated a strong leadership team as the most critical factor of their preparedness. Other important factors include having a robust business continuity plan, government support, and a well-articulated business strategy.
On forging ahead into the next normal, the CEOs Report revealed that 57 per cent of CEOs expect that the earliest possible time for the business environment in Nigeria to normalize will be August 2021.
CEOs are increasingly taking responsibility for their companies, and are not necessarily looking up to the government for solutions to the problems occasioned by the pandemic. As against the 79 per cent of CEOs that voted in the 2019 general elections, only 67 per cent of CEOs reported that the pandemic would make them more interested in the outcome of the 2023 election.
Taiwo said, “Results from our survey showed that the Nigerian government and business leaders should pay close attention to the post-COVID19 policies and strategies of the United Kingdom, China, and the United States of America as these will have the most profound impact on the Nigerian business environment.
“At pcl., we are committed to working with our clients and partners to build and develop people’s capabilities, technology systems and processes, effective and robust strategies, and business continuity plans. Let us work with you to future proof your business in the next normal.”
2Africa Consortium Plans Submarine Cable Landing Points in Southeast Nigeria, Three African Countries
The 2Africa consortium which is building the largest subsea cable project in the world, is set to extend four new branches to South East of Nigeria, Seychelles, the Comoros Islands, and Angola.
The 2Africa consortium, comprised of China Mobile International, Facebook, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, STC, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC said the new branches join the recently announced extension to the Canary Islands.
2Africa subsea cable will deliver faster, more reliable internet service to each country where it lands. Communities that rely on the internet for services from education to healthcare, and business will experience the economic and social benefits that come from this increased connectivity.
Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) has been selected to deploy the new branches, which will increase the number of 2Africa landings to 35 in 26 countries, further improving connectivity into and around Africa.
As with other 2Africa cable landings, capacity will be available to service providers at carrier-neutral data centres or open-access cable landing stations on a fair and equitable basis, encouraging and supporting the development of a healthy internet ecosystem.
Since launching the 2Africa cable in May 2020, the 2Africa consortium has made considerable progress in planning and preparing for the deployment of the cable, which is expected to ‘go live’ late 2023. Most of the subsea route survey activity is now complete. ASN has started manufacturing the cable and building repeater units in its factories in Calais and Greenwich to deploy the first segments in 2022.
One of 2Africa’s key segments, the Egypt terrestrial crossing that interconnects landing sites on the Red and the Mediterranean Seas via two completely diverse terrestrial routes, has been completed ahead of schedule. A third diverse marine path will complement this segment via the Red Sea.
Meanwhile, Broadband network and digital services offered in Seychelles will soon get a boost from a new cable system that will be leased by Seychelles-based telecommunications provider Intelvision Limited with support from IFC.
IFC’s support to Intelvision, which provides data, Internet, and Internet-based voice services as well as pay-TV, includes an up to $10 million loan from its own account and an additional loan of $10 million mobilized from partners under the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP).
The funding will enable Intelvision to lease a new cable being built by Vodafone Carrier Services as a branch of the 2Africa cable network, one of the largest subsea projects in the world, spanning over 37,000 kilometers and connecting 26 countries around the world.
The new cable will complement the existing Seychelles East Africa System and is expected to lower the cost of connectivity for telecom operators on the islands and increase competition for fixed broadband and mobile data services.
“I think it will revolutionize the way we experience the internet here in Seychelles. We are pleased to work together with Vodafone and IFC amidst the challenges of the pandemic. Our aim is to enhance the telecommunication infrastructure of Seychelles and strengthen our digital offering to the people of Seychelles,” said Mukesh Valabhji, Chairman, Intelvision. “Our innovative products and services will continue to add value to the ever-growing demands for Internet connectivity. We have been at the forefront of offering affordable connectivity solutions to the Seychellois Nation and we intend to continue on the same path.”
The new cable system will deliver over 600Gbps of international bandwidth to Intelvision and will represent a significant step-up with respect to connectivity speeds for households and business customers. The cable will also increase the speed and capacity of Intelvision’s existing Fibre Optic & Hybrid Fibre Coaxial Networks.
“Better connectivity is tremendously important for powering economic and societal growth. Vodafone is committed to improving the availability, resilience and speed of Internet connections around the world, and this project to link the Seychelles with the ambitious 2Africa subsea cable will underpin future growth for the country and its citizens,” said Nick Gliddon, Director of Vodafone Carrier Services.
Through the 15-year lease agreement with Vodafone, Intelvision plans to launch mobile telephony services in Seychelles, a country where most consumers access the Internet through a mobile phone. The new cable system will also allow Intelvision to eventually expand its terrestrial network by providing 4G and 5G mobile networks to the whole of Mahé and the inner islands.
“By working with Intelvision to expand Seychelles’ digital offering, we can help the country meet growing demand for Internet connectivity while helping to lower prices to build a strong foundation for the country’s digital economic development,” said Marcelle Ayo, IFC’s Country Manager for Seychelles.
Seychelles’ economy relies heavily on tourism, accounting for 30 percent of GDP, which has suffered due to COVID-19-related travel disruption. Seychelles’ government is focused on strengthening the digital economy to support recovery and the next phase of the country’s economic growth.
Unveiling The Next Robotics Legend
After a successful first edition in 2020, Union Bank’s education – focused platform, Edu360 has announced the call for entries to The Next Robotics Legend 2.0!!
The Next Robotics Legend is an initiative designed by Edu360 in collaboration with Awarri, a pan-African technology company, to infuse Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the education of young Nigerian students.
The first edition saw 25 students from across Nigeria receive free training in Robotics and AI, and the successful introduction of AI into the curriculum of some schools, including Greensprings schools, Lagos.
This edition, entries will be received from August 9th – 23rd 2021 on Union Banks website, after which 40 children will be selected to learn 3D printing in addition to AI and Robotics via a robust learning experience at on-site locations in Lagos, Ibadan and Yola and virtual trainings too. Each child will receive a tablet, a Mekamon and access to specialised online resource.
The competition is open to students aged 11 to 16 and will focus on identifying and nurturing young potential inventors and creators and offering them the opportunity to proffer solutions to community challenges using skills learnt.
To enter your child or ward, record a 60-second video of him/her telling us why they should be accepted into the programme, upload on http://unionbankng.com/AWARRI-2 and fill the accompanying consent form. 40 of the most creative and passionate entries will be selected to participate in the two-week training programme.
At the end of the free training programme, the students will be required to identify a need in their community, and apply the skills learnt to proffer a solution. The student with the best solution will be admitted for a mentorship program with Awarri, the advanced AI and roboticscompany owned by Silas Adekunle – a top international robotics engineer renowned for creating the world’s first intelligent gaming robot.
Just like the first edition, schools are also not left out! To ensure the sustenance of the initiative, Edu360 will partner with four secondary schools by providing robotics toolkits and training for their teachers to enable them include robotics in their curriculum.
Terms and conditions apply.
Chaka Secures $1.5m Funding to Power Digital Investments for African Businesses
SEC-Licensed Digital Sub-broker and leading digital investment platform, Chaka Technologies, has raised $1.5M in a pre-seed funding round led by Breyer Capital, premier global venture capital and private equity firm focused on catalysing growth in high-impact tech companies like Spotify and Facebook.
Other participants in the round are 4DX Ventures, Golden Palm Investments, Future Africa, Seedstars, and Musha Ventures.
This funding will serve as a catalyst to enable Chaka to continue to power on its mission to enable borderless investments across Africa and deliver digital investments solutions for African businesses. It will also be used towards the expansion of the Fintech’s footprints in West Africa to reach more retail investors and attract more foreign players to African Capital Markets.
Commenting on the funding secured, Tosin Osibodu, Co-founder & CEO, Chaka Technologies said “This is indeed a significant milestone for us at Chaka. We see digital investments as an opportunity to boost economic transformation in Africa, and our goal is to use this funding to bring this vision to life. With this capital, we will focus on our goals to build a roster of formidable partners and accelerate our expansion to other markets within Africa. This investment also enables us to hire top talent and integrate more advanced functionalities into our investment and wealth management solutions for businesses.”
“Our mission remains the same and we are excited to be backed by VCs like Breyer Capital that trust us and are extremely optimistic of the possibilities that exist for Chaka and Africa.” He added.
Also commenting on this feat, Jim Breyer, CEO of Breyer Capital, said “We are proud to combine efforts with a company that is levelling the investment playing field for Nigerians (and Africans at large). We’re confident in the value Chaka provides through its digital tools, and we look forward to playing our part in supporting Chaka’s team on their mission to drive borderless investments in Africa.”
This pre-seed round comes on the heels of the Chaka becoming the first start-up to acquire the new digital sub-broker license issued by the Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in line with the regulator’s efforts to safeguard the investing public and accelerate innovation within the sector.
Since Chaka’s launch in 2019, the platform has levelled the barriers of entry for borderless investments in Nigeria by providing customers with compliant access to the capital market. Chaka’s bouquet of products includes a stock trading app for retail investors, Chaka SDK which enables asset managers and financial institutions to offer digital investments to their customers; and Chaka for Business which enables direct business onboarding and provides powerful trading tools for institutional investors.
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