The MTN Media Innovation Programme (MIP) Fellows recently had virtual sessions with the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Foreign Relations, Mr. Jermaine Sanwo-Olu, and the South African High Commissioner, T D Mseleku.
This engagement, an integral part of their program, served as a testament to the growing cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa, and highlighted the importance of cultural diplomacy and people-to-people collaboration in advancing Africa’s development.
The first session, themed “Strengthening South Africa and Nigeria Relations: Cultural Diplomacy and People-to-People Cooperation: Building Bridges for Africa’s Progress,” featured Jermaine Sanwo-Olu, Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State, as the distinguished speaker. Jermaine commenced his address by recalling the words of Nelson Mandela, envisioning an Africa at peace with itself and emphasizing that hatred is learned, implying that love can be taught as well.
He praised the strong diplomatic ties between Nigeria and South Africa while emphasizing the need to evolve culturally to strengthen this relationship further. He lauded MTN for its initiative in promoting this cultural collaboration, noting the significance of the company’s welcoming and accommodating disposition symbolized by the color yellow in its logo. “I commend what MTN is doing in ensuring that this kind of relationship is strengthened. Yellow on the MTN logo signifies the sun, which is also bright, warm, welcoming, hospitable, ensuring we have light. It illuminates our path and I believe that we need to shed more light on the direction that Nigeria and South Africa can go to further ensure that a relationship that is mutually beneficial is offered between our great nations”, he added.
Highlighting the historic competition between the two nations, Jermaine emphasized that unity and collaboration, not rivalry, are key to Africa’s progress. He called for harmonious cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa, stressing that when the two economic powerhouses work together, Africa benefits.
The Special Adviser envisioned a prosperous Africa where cooperation and collaboration between Nigeria and South Africa lead to emergence, uniting the continent and showcasing its immense potential. He recognized Lagos, with its economic significance and cultural influence, as a catalyst for achieving this vision and commended Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his support of South African companies doing business in Lagos.
Jermaine proposed several avenues for strengthening cultural relations between the two nations, including cultural exchange programs, joint festivals, and events featuring artists, actors, and musicians from both countries. He also emphasized the role of journalists as powerful communicators who can shape perceptions and promote unity.
He stressed the importance of involving the youth in this campaign, ensuring they see each other as treasures rather than threats. He called on both nations to celebrate their uniqueness, common interests, and values, fostering a new, mutually beneficial relationship that contributes to a greater Africa.
In the second session themed “Nigeria and South Africa: An Indispensable Relationship to Foster Cultural Relations through the Media Fraternity”, T D Mseleku emphasized the indispensable nature of the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa, tracing its roots back to their roles in the anti-apartheid struggle and their commitment to the decolonization of Africa.
He highlighted the crucial role Nigeria played as a frontline state in the anti-apartheid struggle, emphasizing that the country’s involvement was integral to the liberation of South Africa. He underlined the importance of political relations between the two nations in providing leadership for Africa’s advancement.
He noted that the African continent’s economic emancipation required strong bilateral relationships, especially between leading nations like Nigeria and South Africa. Professor Moroe also pointed out that Nigeria’s leadership within the United Nations had a significant role in welcoming South Africa back into the global community after apartheid.
Addressing the cultural aspect of the relationship, he cited examples of cross-cultural collaborations, including collaborations in music and academia. “I can actually say without fear or favor that the Africa free trade agreement will not succeed if Nigeria and South Africa don’t come together and pull it up in the first place. So without that kind of a strong bilateral relationship, we will not succeed in freeing the African continent from the shackles of economic poverty and the exploitation of our continent so that merely took to paint the need for why this relationship is indispensable”, he added.
He emphasized these cultural exchanges and promoted intellectual and artistic contributions between the two countries. He called for deeper media engagement in fostering this relationship, emphasizing the role of journalists and editors in probing political leaders about their actions and contributions to the continent’s development. He urged journalists to focus on substantive issues rather than sensationalism.
Mseleku ended the session by welcoming the MTN MIP Fellows to South Africa during the country’s Heritage Month, suggesting they immerse themselves in the cultural experiences and engage with the vibrant South African media landscape. He encouraged them to investigate and report on issues that truly matter for the continent’s progress.
Overall, these two sessions shed light on the importance of cultural diplomacy, people-to-people cooperation, and media engagement in strengthening the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa, ultimately contributing to Africa’s development and unity.
NYSC and New Horizons Ink MoU To Empower Corp Members With ICT Skills
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with New Horizons Nigeria to train corp members in ICT 4.0 skills and other latest e-business programs to boost employability and job creation opportunities for members.
In addition to the MOU, the ICT firm also donated about 1,000 ICT courses and a new learning portal to support the Skills and Entrepreneurship Department (SAED) during the commissioning of its ultra-modern NYSC ICT centre in Abuja to mark 50 years of the establishment of NYSC.
In his appreciation, the Director General, NYSC, Brig General YD Ahmed, thanked New Horizons Nigeria’s CEO, Mr. Tim Akano, for his support of NYSC concerning the empowerment of youths in the area of ICT.
“We called on corps members to avail themselves of this training opportunity to enhance their chances of becoming self-reliant and contributing to the growth of our national economy,” Ahmed said.
On his part, the MD/CEO of New Horizons Nigeria, Tim Akano said the company donated 1000 ICT courseware and a new learning portal to support the SAEED empowerment Initiatives) to celebrate NYSC at 50 years.
He noted that today’s job market is looking for graduate who are digitally literate, able to solve problems and meet the needs of organisations, contribute to their bottomless and help scale companies.
Akano further stated that the 21st century organisations are demanding more from their employees and the only way to get through is to be equipped with the ICT tools and services.
At the commissioning of the ultra modern NYSC ICT centre built by NYSC, the special guest of honour, former Head of State, Gen (rtd) Dr Yakubu Gowon (middle) urged the corp members to use the ICT books, the portal and the newly commissioned ICT centre to improve their skills and contribute positively to the growth and development of Nigeria’s economy and human capital.
Andela Acquires Qualified To Expand Talent Network For Companies
Andela, the global network for remote technical talent, has acquired Qualified, the leading technical skills assessment platform to identify, qualify, and certify top engineers.
Andela’s global talent community will also expand with the addition of more than 3.6 million engineering users via Codewars, an online community powered by Qualified that enables technical talent to compete and improve their practical coding skills in gamified challenges.
The founder and CEO of Andela, Jeremy Johnson, said, with the Qualified acquisition, Andela expands and accelerates its ability to source and expertly assess talent.
Johnson disclosed that labor marketplaces are constrained by inefficiencies between supply, demand and quality, adding that Qualified allows Andela to address those inefficiencies by providing the certified right talent at the right time. “Companies will continue to trust that talent sourced through Andela has the needed skills regardless of where they live and work,” the CEO averred.
The co-founder and CEO of Qualified, Jake Hoffner, added, “The tech industry has historically relied on hiring practices that have proven to be ineffective. The expanded platform will allow companies to create hiring processes for software engineers that are predictive of their on-the-job performance. In addition, we provide companies and our growing tech community a bigger, broader, and better opportunity to connect globally.”
Classera raises $40m and Inks Deal with TD to deepen footprints across Africa
Classera, a global edutech learning management platform focused on emerging markets, has successfully raised $40 million in a Series A round, the largest in EdTech globally for a company with no prior funding.
The impressive Series A round, which represents the largest funding round ever in Edtech in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and most of Africa, is expected to advance Classera’s Learning Super Platform (LSP), affirm its position of leadership in e-learning and EdTech, in addition to further deepening its global expansion into new markets, especially in Africa.
The round was led by the Public Investment Fund (PIF)-owned Sanabil Investments, a Saudi-based investment giant, accompanied by Global Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst, 500 Global, Sukna Venture, and Seedra Ventures. Also involved in the round were other investors from Silicon Valley, emerging markets, and global family offices. Crucially, the investment will see Classera accelerate on its global trajectory and target more growth in MENA, the rest of Africa, and to fast-track its expansion, especially into Asia Pacific (APAC) and elsewhere. These strategic expansionary plans will be driven by direct sales of its cutting-edge learning solutions, through channel partners, and via acquisitions.
Similarly, proceeds of the investment will also help Classera – via its specialized platform for corporate e-training – LeadXera – to expand faster into that huge sector – which is one of the primary targets of the investment.
As part of its growing footprints in Africa, Classera recently partnered with TD Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading distributor of tech, services, and lifestyle products. The partnership will see Classera leverage TD Africa’s growing database, network of resellers/partners as well as its considerable reach to grow the adoption of its bouquet of e-learning solutions among millions of users across Nigeria and Ghana. Specifically, through TD Africa, Classera will gain access to and introduce a range of smart learning tools to clients in the education sector, including schools at every level.
Also, in line to benefit are large corporate organizations, as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) desirous of adopting a digital learning platform to provide training for their employees. Consequently, its strategic partnership with TD Africa, arguably the biggest distributor of Microsoft’s products and services in Nigeria and beyond, will undoubtedly aid Classera to gain significant footholds across a wide range of target audiences in Nigeria and Ghana.
‘‘We are delighted to be associated with Classera, particularly in the light of this landmark fund raise and in view of the massive potential in boosting e-learning for a variety of key users across Nigeria and Ghana,’’ disclosed Coordinating Managing Director, TD Africa, Mrs. Chioma Chimere. ‘‘Leveraging our army of resellers in these markets, we are confident that this strategic partnership will go a long way in expanding access to the suite of cutting-edge solutions from Classera for millions of new users.’’
Also commenting was Mahmoud El Gabry, Strategic Partnerships Director of Classera Inc.
“As we just completed one of the largest funding rounds a company with no prior funding had done in the EdTech industry, we are determined to extend our worldwide presence focusing on Africa to accomplish our vision. Today, I am very excited about our new partnership with TD Africa to empower the learning journey of our clients in Nigeria and Ghana benefiting from the innovation brought by Classera and its globally recognized and awarded learning solutions spearheaded by its state of art Learning Super Platform (LSP).’’