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How Absa Group Is Using Tech to Drive Growth in Africa’s Agriculture Marketplace

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Tshepo Maeko, Vice President & Head of Agri-Sales, Absa Regional Operations

There are few things more traditional and widespread than agriculture in Africa. While the continent holds around 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, Africa remains a substantial net importer of food and has a growing population to feed. Projections are that, by 2050, Africa will have almost doubled its population to two billion, and it is a given that agriculture will play a central role in sustaining and feeding its people.

 

Agriculture employs close to 50% of the working labour force on the continent, and in sub-Saharan Africa, the sector contributes 23% of GDP. So, why then is agriculture production and the attendant food security so precarious on a continent where farming is such a key feature of life and livelihoods? The one core systemic challenge of agriculture is one of financing the agri-ecosystem.

 

According to Shalom Ben-Or, Chief Executive Officer of AvenewsGT, developers of an Agri App in partnership with Absa Bank, there is a need to increase finance to the sector. “Despite the size and contribution of the African agriculture sector, financial institutions such as banks contribute only between 2-7% of all lending to agri-businesses.”

 

This leads to an annual financing gap of USD 180 billion to the agriculture supply chain in Africa. This state of affairs also plays out in the global picture, as emerging markets require $450 billion annually, but receive only $9 billion in financing from financial institutions, leaving a yawning gap.

 

Tshepo Maeko, Vice President and Head of Agri-Sales: Absa Regional Operations, believes Africa needs to step up its game. Africa relies on more than USD 47 billion worth of food imports to supplement its own food supply, Maeko said.

 

The lack of consistent financing and support leads to inconsistent productivity and most African agri players will remain small-scale as they can only access small and medium enterprise funding and will never become commercial farmers, according to Maeko. Now Absa is hoping to help change the landscape of agriculture in Africa and create sustainable and impactful agri-businesses.

 

During a recent webinar hosted by Absa, participants, including Ben-Or and Maeko, spoke of the challenges the sector faces on the continent, but also of the digital solutions, which could help unlock the immense potential contained in Africa’s fertile soil.

 

One of areas cited as a large stumbling block is the hassle of paperwork; something no farmer has time to deal with when it’s the season to harvest.

 

The Avenews App allows for the digitisation of all trade documents such as purchase orders, contracts, inventory, invoices, payments, and business contacts, all in real-time. It also allows finance institutions such as Absa to provide tailored financing solutions based on reliable and accurate data.

 

According to Maeko, Absa is looking to deploy technology that will help Absa collect data, process information, and make informed decisions, which will help Africa fulfil its agriculture potential.

 

Ben-Or said the inability to increase yields for African farmers came down to trade engagements all along the agriculture value chain between farmers, buyers, and sellers, all of which were still conducted manually and, in some cases, via handwritten invoices.

 

If the farming entity approached a financing institution with this documentation wanting it validated, the banker will not be able to do so. The informal and poorly documented nature of agri-trade is one of the primary reasons banks struggle to provide capital, Ben-Or said.

 

Absa and AvenewsGT have worked together since 2017, with AvenewsGT being part of the Bank’s tech incubator programme, and have launched the digital innovation product in Kenya, with further plans to roll out in Ghana, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia and the other markets in which Absa has a presence. Ben-Or said the Agri finance innovation platform had already seen great results in Kenya and was easily adaptable to unique market situations and factors.

 

AvenewsGT, in collaboration with Absa, has created a digital infrastructure that allows for the exchange of documents and information governing the flow of goods and capital and making payments. This created business identities for each of the participants within the supply chain, all the way from the farmers to the large agri-businesses. These digital identities evolve over time and earn creditworthiness.

 

The Avenews App can be used on any feature-rich cellular device and includes mobile payment processes, allowing farmers to become digital businessmen and women with the ability to earn a creditworthiness identity, as well as access suitable financing services from supportive lending institutions such as Absa.

 

As a digital first bank and with a deep commitment to agriculture enterprise on the continent, Absa is determined to lead the way towards Africa realising the immense growth potential in the sector.

 

By Tshepo Maeko, Vice President & Head of Agri-Sales, Absa Regional Operations

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People & Lifestyle

Lamar Berko, jeweller to Floyd Mayweather, Wizkid, Beenie Man, Andy Cole and more VIP clients

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Floyd Mayweather, Joey Essex and Stefflon Don may not be three celebrities you would expect have much in common, but they’re just some of the big names whe jeweller Lamar Berko counts as his VIP clients.

With his company LB Jewellers, Lamar is dominating the celebrity jewellery scene,counting a slew of stars as fans as he’s able to tailor to their individual style and needs.

The industry is a competitive one, with thousands of young jewellers doing all they can to become a well-known and respected name amongst a sea of rivals.

Yet at the age of 29, Lamar has managed to become one of the best known jewellers in the UK due to his work with high profile clients and his quality pieces.

Born from humble roots in South West London, Lamar used his interest in the business world and constant innovation to make a name for himself, starting out by buying and selling top-quality watches before branching out into a range of jewellery.

He credits his perseverance and self belief with making a success of LB Jewellers, saying: ‘With the right mindset you can accomplish anything.

‘You can’t win today’s game off yesterday’s points. Always strive to do better than your last result and stay relevant. The world is forever evolving!’ – Lamar Berko

Using this plan he saw the importance of celebrity partnerships in the social media era, working with a number of top social and sports personalities who quickly became his beloved customers.

Among his VIP clients are the likes of Russ Millions, 6 Kenza, Wizkid, Beenie Man, DJ Spinall, Eva Apio and Danny Rose. Yet Lamar ensures all of his clients get the VIP treatment, equally valuing every customer and ensuring they will be satisfied with his high-quality products.

Among his VIP clients are the likes of Russ Millions, 6 Kenza, Wizkid, Beenie Man, DJ Spinall, Eva Apio and Andy Cole.

Yet Lamar ensures all of his clients get the VIP treatment, equally valuing every customer and ensuring they will be satisfied with his high-quality products.

Lamar encourages others to learn from every challenge and turn it into an opportunity, pushing his followers to keep pursuing their dreams even if the start seems tough.

He uses his experience to help others and often mentors young entrepreneurs to help them succeed.

Through LB Jewellers, he has helped create jobs in Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa and encouraged other aspiring businesspeople to keep at it.

Lamar’s mission is to help more promising young businesspeople break into the industry and uses his platform to help others overcome adversity.

Having experienced success with his own business, Lamar wants to help others achieve their goal and has set his sights on the youth market to expand his business.

Culled from DailyMail

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People & Lifestyle

ARTSPLIT Introduces MUSICSPLIT, Announces Auction of Upcoming Extended Play by Top Nigerian Music Artiste, King Perryy

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ARTSPLIT

ARTSPLIT, the pioneering alternative investment platform has launched MusicSplit, its latest offering that allows for investment in music projects. Its maiden online auction features Continental Playlist of top Nigerian Music Star, King Perryy and kicks off on the app from 24 January to 10 February 2023.

MusicSplit allows music lovers own fractions of any trending Afrobeat music and earn monthly royalties to their ARTSPLIT wallet. Users on ARTSPLIT now have access to previously unavailable royalty assets when you buy splits and invest in your favorite Artistes’ upcoming projects. It’s a win for all; your favourites gets the required funding to create great music for your enjoyment and you earn passive income and high-yielding returns from the projects streaming revenues.

Read Also: ARTSPLIT launches platform in Ghana with auction and exhibition by artists Ablade Glover, Kofi Agorsor and Isshaq Ismail

In a statement, ARTSPLIT’s executive director for technology and communications, Onyinye Anyaegbu, said. “Our goal has always been to provide a platform that democratises access to investment in African art and artistes through co-ownership and technology while elevating their global standing. Too often, ideas are not appropriately valued, such as music. With MusicSplit, creators can offer a percentage of their upcoming projects for users to invest in and directly fund it. Users on the ARTSPLIT app benefit from access to a high-yielding asset class while artists benefit from debt-free funding while maintaining artistic freedom. As a result, we have moved closer to our goal of providing alternative investments opportunities for everyone.”

King Perryy stands out as one of the country’s most distinctive and ambitious young acts. The creator of what he calls the “Continental Sound,” the former seminary student and would-be Catholic priest fuses the melodies and rhythms of today’s Afrobeats with pan-African influences and reggae/dancehall to create deeply resonant songs that transcend cultures and borders. With a run of successful singles (“Man on Duty,” “Work ‘N’ Grind”) to his credit and over 70 million streams on digital platforms, he released his debut album, Citizen of the World, in 2021.

This Auction comes shortly after a tripartite agreement between ARTSPLIT and music service companies M.A.D Solutions and ENGAGE to enable fans invest in the success of their favourite musicians.

MUSICSPLIT involves taking the estimated value of a music project (Eps, LPs, and Albums) and dividing it into 100,000 units (or Splits) to allow users and music lovers to finance it and profit from their investments. By presenting MUSICSPLIT, ARTSPLIT intends to further elevate African music worldwide while ensuring artistes freedom with alternative investment options.

To find out more about MusicSplit on ARTSPLIT, please visit www.artsplit.com/MusicSplit or contact info@artsplit.com

You can also reach the ARTSPLIT team on call or WhatsApp at +234(0)9088962169 or follow @artsplitofficial on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to keep up to date. Also follow King Perryy @kingperryy on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

The ARTSPLIT app can be downloaded on App Store and Google Play Store. Start investing today in Afrobeat for great returns.

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People & Lifestyle

How to Leverage Employee Experience to Drive Customer Experience Outcomes?

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Employee experience is a key factor in determining customer experience outcomes. For companies to achieve optimal customer experience, they need to invest in their employees first. This can be done through employee motivation management or even an entire employee engagement software and other initiatives that create a positive work environment for employees. In this article, we will discuss how to leverage employee experience to drive customer experience outcomes. 

Happy Employees Create Happy Customers

The idea behind this phrase is that employees who are satisfied at work are more likely to provide better customer service. When employees are happy, they are more motivated, productive, and engaged, which creates a better customer experience. When customers have a positive experience, they are more likely to return, and this, in turn, leads to increased customer loyalty and revenue. In short, when employees are happy, they tend to create an environment that encourages customers to come back and make repeat purchases. 

 

Employee experience is about creating a positive work environment for employees. Companies should invest in creating a workplace culture that is engaging, supportive, and rewarding. This can be done by creating a clear job structure and career progression, offering competitive salaries and benefits, and providing training and development opportunities. Companies should also provide their employees with the necessary tools, resources, and support to be successful. 

5 Ways to Improve Customer Experience through Employee Experience 

  1. Encourage a Positive Workplace Culture: Creating a positive work environment is key to providing employees with a great experience. This can include fostering an atmosphere of respect, open communication, and mutual trust. Employees who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to go the extra mile for customers. 

 

  1. Offer Career Development Opportunities: Investing in employees’ career growth, such as through training and development programmes, can give them the skills and confidence to better serve customers. 

 

  1. Reward Employees for Good Performance: Rewarding employees for a job well done can help to create a culture of recognition and appreciation. This can help to boost morale and motivate employees to maintain high standards of customer service. 

 

  1. Support Employees’ Health and Well-being: Creating a healthy and safe work environment, providing access to mental health resources and offering flexible working arrangements can help to improve employee well-being. This can lead to a more engaged and productive workforce. 

 

  1. Listen to Employees’ Feedback: Gathering employee feedback is essential for understanding their needs and the issues they are facing. Listening to employees’ ideas and suggestions can help to identify areas where customer experience can be improved.

How Can Employee Motivation Management Help?

Employee motivation management is an essential component of employee experience. It involves creating an environment that encourages employees to work hard and achieve their goals. This can be done through incentives, recognition, and other employee engagement initiatives. Companies should also ensure that their rewards and recognition programmes are tailored to the needs of their employees. 

 

Nowadays, leading companies use employee engagement software to measure and track employee motivation. Such software can provide valuable insights into how employees are feeling at different stages of their employee lifecycle and what they need to be successful. Companies should use this data to create meaningful employee engagement initiatives that can help to boost employee motivation, performance, and a customer-oriented mindset.

Conclusion 

Employee experience is key when you want to see positive customer experience outcomes. Companies should invest in employee motivation management and ideally use advanced employee engagement software to create a positive work environment for their employees and measure their engagement. This can help drive improvement in customer experience by increasing employee motivation and performance.

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People & Lifestyle

What is Melanotan 2 & Why You Should Know About It

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Melanotan 2

Melanotan 2 is a peptide hormone with the scientific name melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH). It is mainly used to tan the skin and stimulate melanin production. Melanotan 2 was developed by scientists to treat certain skin disorders and has become popular with bodybuilders, athletes, and people looking for a tanning boost.

Melanotan 2 works by stimulating melanin production, which is the pigment responsible for tanning. Increasing melanin levels in the skin, Melanotan 2 can give you a more even and natural-looking tan than traditional methods. Melanotan also has other benefits, such as increased libido, decreased appetite and reduced body fat.

Why Should You Know About Melanotan?

Melanotan can quickly achieve a deep, dark tan without exposing yourself to the sun’s damaging rays. This makes Melanotan a great alternative to sunbathing or using tanning beds if you’re trying to get a darker complexion without risking your health. Melanotan’s other benefits make it an attractive option for those looking to lose weight or increase libido.

How to Use Melanotan 2?

Melanotan 2 is the most popular and is available in injectable and nasal spray forms. When using Melanotan 2, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and to monitor your body for any adverse reactions. Injectable Melanotan 2 is usually administered subcutaneously, either in the arm or abdomen, and typically requires up to three doses per week. The nasal spray form of Melanotan 2 is much easier to use and requires only one dose per day, but it is more expensive.

How Does Melanotan Work?

Melanotan 2 increases melanin production in the skin, which is responsible for giving your skin color. When Melanotan 2 is injected into the body, it stimulates melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin) to produce more melanin. This results in a tanning effect on exposed areas of the body.

What Are The Side Effects Of Melanotan?

Although Melanotan is generally safe and effective when used as directed, some potential side effects may occur. These include nausea, flushing, fatigue and headaches. Additionally, long-term use may lead to increased levels of melanin in the skin which can cause melanoma (skin cancer).

Is Melanotan 2 Safe?

Yes, Melanotan is generally safe when used as directed and monitored by a doctor. However, it is essential to remember that Melanotan should only be injected by consulting your doctor to ensure it is right for you. Additionally, long-term Melanotan use can increase your melanoma risk, so regular checkups are recommended.

Where Can You Buy Melanotan 2?

Melanotan 2 can only be purchased online from reputable pharmaceutical companies or through licensed medical professionals. It is essential to research any company you plan on purchasing Melanotan 2 from to ensure they are legitimate and follow all safety regulations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Melanotan is a peptide hormone that can be used to tan the skin and provide other benefits such as decreased appetite and increased libido. Although Melanotan 2 is generally safe when used as directed, some potential side effects are associated with its use. Hence, it is essential to consult with your doctor before using Melanotan. Melanotan 2 can also be purchased online from legitimate pharmaceutical companies or licensed medical professionals. With careful consideration and proper use, Melanotan can be a great alternative to sunbathing or tanning beds to achieve a deep, dark tan without risking your health.

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Fashion

What to Wear for Valentine’s Day? Timeless Dresses for a Special Date Night!

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Put your best foot forward for Valentine’s Day and make an instant impression! From stylish asymmetrical cuts to timeless little black dresses, we’ve got the look that will have you feeling confident on any date night. Whether it be a romantic dinner at home or stepping out with style in town – let us show you how to put together a special ensemble perfect for making hearts swoon this February 14th. 

 

Asymmetrical Dress – Step Out of the Box!  

 

Asymmetrical dresses can make a bold fashion statement and are perfect for a romantic Valentine’s date night. Whether you choose a flowing maxi dress with an off-the-shoulder neckline or a daring mini dress with one shoulder strap, an asymmetrical design will definitely draw attention and set you apart from the crowd. For an extra special look this Valentine’s Day, why not try an asymmetric bright red or deep pink dress to stand out? Not only is the style beautiful, but it also gives you more room to express your personality. You can also experiment with different materials like tulle for a voluminous effect or silk to enhance the elegance of your ensemble. With the right asymmetrical dress, you can take your date night fashion to the next level and show off your unique sense of style! 

 

Little Black Dress – Classic Romance!  

 

LBD dresses are always a great choice for Valentine’s Day. They are timeless and sophisticated, making them the perfect way for any lady to look her best on this special night. Not only are they stylish and ultra-feminine, but they also have the ability to flatter most body types since they usually fit close to the body. Little black dresses can make a woman feel beautiful and captivating—just what she needs on date night! For those who don’t like too much fuss or frills, a little black dress is ideal; it shows off one’s natural beauty without too much of an overwhelming effect. With its versatility, there is sure to be some style that will suit everyone’s needs; whether it be long-sleeved, short-sleeved, with straps or without straps – there is literally a little black dress for every occasion! When paired with the right accessories, such as bold earrings, statement necklaces and designer handbags, these pieces can take any look from simple to stunning in no time. Additionally, little black dresses are easy to dress up or dress down, depending on the person’s preference. Whether you want something casual for lunch with your friends or something more formal for a candlelit dinner with your significant other – little black dresses are always sure to impress! 

 

Midi Dresses 

 

Midi dresses are a great choice for Valentine’s date night. Not only will you feel beautiful and confident in this silhouette, but the length is perfect for an evening of romance. With the skirt stopping right at the ankle, there’s something so incredibly elegant and timeless about a midi dress that makes it an ideal piece to wear on special occasions like Valentine’s Day. Plus, its high-waisted fit and form-hugging shape offer an undeniable air of sophistication while remaining comfortable and stylish. When it comes to finding the perfect date night dress, nothing quite compares to a midi dress – think bold colours like red or pink, sleek fabrics like velvet or lace, and off-the-shoulder necklines for added flirtatiousness. It can also be jazzed up with accessories such as romantic shoes and statement jewellery pieces to complete the look. And because of its versatile nature, you can style a midi dress with any kind of outerwear, such as blazers or moto jackets giving you plenty of options when putting together your outfit. So if you’re looking for a perfect Valentine’s Day ensemble that makes you feel like a million bucks without breaking the bank, go with a midi dress – it’ll never let you down! 

 

Shirt Dresses 

 

Shirt dresses are perfect for a romantic Valentine’s Day date night. Not only are they stylish and timeless, but they are also incredibly comfortable. Shirt dresses typically come in light and airy fabrics like cotton or linen, which make them perfect for any warm-weather occasion. Plus, shirt dresses are versatile — they can be dressed up with jewellery or heels or dressed down with sandals and a hat. There are many styles to choose from; you can go classic with a solid colour option or get more creative with stripes and floral prints that add a touch of whimsy. No matter your style, you’ll be sure to turn heads in this effortless ensemble. For those chilly nights out on the town, a cardigan or blazer layered over your shirt dress can complete your look without compromising comfort. Another great thing about shirt dresses is that they are universally flattering; no matter what size, shape or style you prefer, there’s sure to be one out there that will fit you perfectly and make you feel confident on your special night out. Shirt dresses provide the ideal balance between comfort and fashion – making them a top hit for any Valentine’s date night! 

 

Conclusion 

 

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and we know what an important day it can be when it comes to getting dressed up for that special someone! Whether you prefer something more daring like an asymmetrical dress, or something classic like an LBD, there are plenty of options out there for finding the perfect outfit for your romantic evening together. So go ahead and treat yourself this Valentine’s Day by finding a timeless look that expresses who you are! With these two wardrobe staples at your disposal, romance will certainly be in the air this February 14th. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! 

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People & Lifestyle

Otumfuo Pledges Support for Job-Creating Initiatives as Star Beer Relaunches production in Kumasi

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The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has pledged his full support for initiatives and programmes that create jobs for the people of Asanteman and Ghana.

The Asantehene made this known at the relaunch of the production of the great tasting, quality Ghanaian beer, Star Beer, in Kumasi, where it was originally brewed in Ghana.

Assuring the people of Asanteman, Otumfuo said that he would always pledge his support for any good initiatives and projects in Kumasi and Ashanti that will bring pride, joy, and jobs to his people in the region to promote development in Ghana.

“Today, I am very happy, as is Asanteman, for the revival of this business that once brought pride and joy to the people of Asanteman. We celebrate this occasion and anticipate the economic goodwill it will bring to us as a people”, he said.

The Asantehene, therefore, appealed to investors to take advantage of the serene business nature of Kumasi and the Ashanti Region as a whole to open factories to boost their businesses.

Managing Director of Guinness Ghana, Helene Weesie, said: “Ashantis are known to be proud of their culture and royalty and appreciate a brand that respects their values and proves it in its interactions with them. When we first started brewing here, it was about more than just creating a refreshing beer. It was about creating a connection to this city and its people”

“As we continue to execute a strategy to grow and expand Star Beer nationwide through cutting-edge consumer insights and marketing, we retraced our roots and decided not to gloss over it. I’m happy to say that, the connection Star has had with Asanteman has stood the test of time and is stronger now more than ever as we relaunch its production, in the Home of Star, where it belongs”, she added

On his part, the Head of Beers at Guinness Ghana, Roland Ofori also said: “Star Beer is a part of the city’s culture and tradition. Apart from refreshing the people of Kumasi since the 1960s, Star Beer symbolizes the optimism of the everyday person in this region and that literally can be seen in the millions of sparkling bubbles in the liquid. Star Beer is not just a beer; it’s a part of Kumasi’s identity”.

For several years Star Beer has been a popular choice among consumers in Kumasi and it is often associated with casual occasions, good moments, celebrations and social events in the city.

Made from rich locally sourced raw materials, Star Beer is now closer to consumers in Kumasi with its signature million sparkling bubbles.

 Star beer’s great-tasting, award-winning quality has won 4 Awards at the prestigious Monde Selection Quality Awards with its most recent win being in April 2022.

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