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Japan challenged to invest more in empowering African entrepreneurs

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By Our Reporter

In an impassioned key note speech, delivered before global leaders, at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Japan, African investor and philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu CON, challenged the Government of Japan to invest 5% of its $50billion commitment to Africa, in empowering African entrepreneurs.

“At TICAD 2016 in Kenya, Japan pledged $30billion for Africa. This year you have  generously increased this to $50 billion. If we invested just 5% in Africa’s new generation of entrepreneurs, following my Foundation’s robust, proven model of getting capital directly to those best placed to catalyse growth and create real impact, we could touch 500,000 lives, across the 54 African countries, broadening markets, facilitating job creation, improving income per capita, and laying the key foundation for political and economic stability”, said Mr Elumelu.

Mr. Elumelu’s statement captured his vision of a relationship between Japan and Africa, which prioritises economic and shared prosperity. He outlined the three key pillars of a bold and transformative structure: investment in infrastructure, partnership with the African private sector, and investment in Africa’s youth.

He urged Japan to learn from the example of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which champions empowering African entrepreneurs, as the most sustainable means of accelerating the development of Africa. The Tony Elumelu Foundation, in just five years has assisted over 7,500 African entrepreneurs across every African countries, with seed capital, capacity building, mentorship and networking opportunities through its $100 million Entrepreneurship Programme.

Elumelu’s advice carried the weight of his track record of business success, founding Africa’s global bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), which has grown its presence to 20 African countries, as well as in the United Kingdom, France, and the USA; and Heirs Holdings, Africa’s private investment company which actively invests in key sectors of Africa’s economy and controls millions of dollars in its investment portfolio. Together, they employ over 30,000 people and transform the communities they operate in.

“Africa is one of the world’s viable destinations for investment. Our huge population, of nearly 1.3 billion people, creates one of the most attractive markets anywhere in the world. The world is paying close attention to Africa, but is Japan at the centre of this conversation or is it on the sidelines?” he queried.

Mr. Elumelu’s philosophy has become increasingly popular on the African continent, where he is acknowledged as the pioneer of a private-sector-led approach to accelerating development. He repeated the message at the Generation Unlimited breakfast meeting with H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, with its focus on job creation in Africa, where he emphasised the role the African youth plays in this narrative.

President of South Africa and Co-Chair, TICAD, H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa corroborated Mr. Elumelu’s stance. He said: “If you want really good returns, as Mr. Tony Elumelu said, come to Africa. Africa presents risk-adjusted returns and is a market in which investments are flowing at a hundred billion dollars – that is the new profile of Africa that is being presented to the world.”

Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator praised Tony Elumelu’s Private-Sector led approach to development in Africa. He said: “I want to refer to my dear friend and colleague Tony Elumelu because he alluded to the vital role that business can also play in investing in the future of the youth. These are the kinds of partnership that will drive business and development agenda to very different heights in the future”.

Speaking on the potential of the African continent, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan said: “In Africa, some countries have joined top nations in the ranking on ease of doing business. The scale of the market continues to expand. We can envision a day when the entire continent of Africa becomes an enormous economic zone.”

Organised by the Japanese Government, TICAD is a three-yearly forum for advancing Africa’s development through people, technology, and innovation, bringing together government, business leaders, companies and other stakeholders. The event hosted Presidents and private sector leaders including Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan; H.E. Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; H.E. Mr. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, President of Egypt and Chair of the African Union (AU); H.E. Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa; and H.E. Mr. Paul Kigame, President of Rwanda.

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Local Business

Letshego Uganda offering repayment holiday to customers in wake of COVID-19 pandemic

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Giles Aijukwe, the CEO Letshego Uganda

Giles Aijukwe, the CEO Letshego Uganda

By Our Reporter

Letshego Uganda has rolled out a Repayment Holiday facility to its borrowers in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world.

The repayment holiday involves giving customers a 3 month moratorium- meaning he/she/they (the borrowers) will not be required to pay their installments during that duration.

Different Heads of States, in their response to the pandemic, have implored the business community to augment government’ initiatives to offer financial relief to their customers and specifically lenders to offer repayment holidays and loan restructuring to their customers. It is in this regard that Letshego Uganda; a subsidiary of Letshego Holdings, a premier financial services company based in Botswana and with a footprint in 11 African countries has heeded to the call.

“The Repayment Holiday allows you to take some time out from the financial burden of repayments. It is important however, to note that this holiday mainly targets those customers whose businesses have been affected by Government Intervention measures during the current COVID-19 through business lockdown and closure for example those in sectors like- Education, Tourism, Transport, Leisure and Hospitality,” Aijukwe Giles, the CEO of Letshego elaborated.

The employees/clients that belong to these employers/industry sector will apply for the holiday and be approved based on the case presented. The biggest positive about a repayment holiday is that it relieves some pressure for a while. For a period of time, you have one less thing to worry about when considering outgoings.

“In line with their operational mandate, Letshego practices responsible lending and acts in a customer’s best interests, ensuring affordability, transparency of terms and conditions as well as supporting the borrower if they experience repayment difficulties. This means that by the time they have approved your loan application, they’ve made the effort to determine whether you can repay without substantial hardship,” Aijukwe affirmed.

Letshego has designed a simple application form to be signed by the customer; that will then be scanned and sent to the branch. Customers are also encouraged to use their digital and online platforms (WhatsApp and web application forms) to apply for these holidays. Furthermore, the Repayment Holiday is not only being extended to those in Kampala only but countrywide, across where we have a presence.

Aijukwe added, “A list of qualifying customers has been generated across our 45 branches countrywide and our branch teams are reaching out to them. Customers who are not yet contacted are encouraged to contact their respective branch managers and relationship officers to confirm if they qualify for the Repayment Holiday.”

Microfinance institutions were developed with the common purpose of contributing in the socio-economic changes of communities. As evidenced on numerous occasions, microfinances have exponentially uplifted the economic status of people by providing credit to individuals and skill based groups so that they are able to better their family and community stand.

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Entertainment News

StarTimes GO connects first customer

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By Reporter

With the launch of the integrated e-shopping platform StarTimes GO, the company is excited to have connected with the first customer, Sula, last weekend. After watching the TV programme StarTimes GO, Sula decided to buy a solar kit alongside with a 24″ Digital LED TV. She made a call to StarTimes to order the products and was quite pleased with the door to door delivery and installation. While receiving her order, Sula said, “I like that StarTimes can easily be accessed in terms of customer care services unlike some service providers. I was interested in buying the solar kit which helps during power blackout situations. It will also help us enjoy our family TV-watching time without worrying about unstable power supply. I was relieved to know that we can pay for the solar kit in instalments. This reduces on the financial burden. With StarTimes GO giving a special offer on plenty of products, we got a FREE two-year TV program bouquet for our solar kit!”

The captain of the car fleet for delivery, Charles, escorted the products to the customer’s home which is about 40km away from the city centre of Kampala. He said, “It is not quite convenient for a family living far away from the city centre to carry these products home. We hope that the customers can enjoy their shopping with StarTimes GO from the beginning to the end.”

Together with Charles, the whole team of delivery and installation are quite honoured to complete the mission for serving the first customer of StarTimes GO, among other customers who followed, especially when they see the smile of satisfaction on their faces.

Mr. Franklin Wang, the StarTimes CEO in Uganda remarked, “We have been thinking of the considerate services which make the digital life available to more people hence the e-shopping platform StarTimes GO. We appreciate the support and trust given by the customers; and thanks to our staff in call centre, delivery car fleet and installation team, the StarTimes GO is operating as we expected and will keep providing products of quality to the public.”

StarTimes GO has made it easier to shop digitally for the product you need. Book via StarTimes GO and enjoy great discounts be it on a decoder, TV or solar system. Order with StarTimes interactive e-shopping platform StarTimes GO at ugmall.startimestv.com or call 0701152863/ 0781962712 and your package will be delivered to you.

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CoronaVirus Uganda

Jibu Uganda donates 10,000 litres of drinking water to COVID-19 National Taskforce

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By Our Reporter

Jibu Uganda has made a donation of 10,000 litres of drinking water to the COVID-19 National Taskforce. The donation comes in the form of 2,000 bottles of 5L packaged drinking water.

According to Daniel Komunda, the Country Director of Jibu Uganda, the donation will go a long way in providing safe drinking water for vulnerable communities and the front line health workers.

“We are proud to support our government in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic, and are humbled to provide safe drinking water for distribution to vulnerable communities and essential workers who are at highest risk during this crisis.” Daniel Komunda said.

Jibu Uganda manages a network of 30 locally-owned drinking water franchises in Kampala, and in 11 other major towns across the regions of Uganda.

Komunda also noted that all Jibu shops across the country have increased their delivery capabilities during the lockdown, and have been offering free delivery and other support services to help customers remain safe at home.

Established in 2014, Jibu Uganda is a social enterprise that capitalizes, equips and trains local entrepreneurs to operate successful franchises designed to serve local communities with radically affordable, high-quality necessities.

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Local Business

MTN Uganda hands over Ramadan food packages to Uganda Police and Muslim teachers

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By Our Reporter

In a Ramadan drive that underscores the long standing relationship between MTN Uganda and the Muslim community spanning, the telecom giant has delivered food items among other alms to the Muslims in the Uganda police force and the Uganda Muslim teachers’ association.

The items were handed over at the Nsambya police barracks and the Kibuli Muslim Teachers’ College respectively on Thursday.

Ibrahim Kagolola, the RCC Mankindye on behalf of the COVID task force, received the donation and later handed over to Omoding David Deputy director counter terrorism police who was representing the IGP.

“I thank MTN for remembering the police during Ramadan. We don’t take this generosity for granted,” said Omoding David while receiving the food packages on behalf of Uganda Police.

While handing over to the police, Ismail Hamwada Manager work force planning MTN said MTN in partnership with Salaam Foundation has always donated to Muslim communities during Ramadhan.

“This time round we are happy to be giving back to the police. As we fast and seek Allah, we hope that this donation will go a long way when breaking fast,” Hamwada said.

This year’s handovers started this week on Wednesday with Old Kampala mosque and Kibuli mosque and will go in for the entire fasting period, with the guidance of the National task force against COVID19 due to the situation presented by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The food items/alms that include sugar, rice, posho, cooking oil, beans, bar soap for hand washing and wheat flour will be distributed to the vulnerable communities especially in the areas of Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono district. MTN will be working with Salaam Foundation to reach out to the different communities during the fasting period.

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