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Economy

Shortfilm Contest: Netflix, UNESCO Pick Four Nigerian Filmmakers, 17 Others

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Four Nigerian filmmakers

By Adedapo Adesanya

Four Nigerian filmmakers have made the shortlist of 21 candidates in the Netflix and UNESCO partnered short film competition titled African Folktales, Reimagined.

Initially created for 20 participants, the quality of submissions received resulted in one extra candidate being added to the list, out of which six winners will create short films that will be premiered on the streaming service.

The candidates were selected following a rigorous evaluation process by a wide range of industry professionals from across the continent who assessed over 2080 applications from across the continent in multiple languages.

The shortlist contains a dynamic group of African creatives from across 13 countries in the region.

The shortlisted filmmakers include (in no particular order): Nosa Igbinedion (Nigeria); Ebot Tanyi (Cameroon); Loukman Ali (Uganda); Tongryang Pantu (Nigeria); Walt Mzengi (Tanzania); Venance Soro (Côte d’Ivoire); Mark Wambui (Kenya); Volana Razafimanantsoa (Madagascar); Mohamed Echkouna (Mauritania); Nader Fakhry (Côte d’Ivoire); Anne Catherine Tchokonté (Cameroon); Mphonyana Mokokwe (Botswana); Anita Abada (Nigeria); Samuel Kanyama (Zambia); Machérie Ekwa-Bahango (Democratic Republic of Congo); Oprah Oyugi (Kenya); Ndiyathemba Modibedi (South Africa); Gcobisa Yako (South Africa); Akorede Azeez (Nigeria); Katya Aragão (São Tomé and Príncipe) and Voline Ogutu (Kenya).

The 21 emerging filmmakers will go on to the next phase of the competition where they will be required to pitch their stories to a judging panel comprising of the mentors; Nigeria’s Femi Odugbemi, South Africa’s Bongiwe Selane, Leila Afua Djansi from Ghana, David Tosh Gitonga from Kenya, and Jean Luc Herbulot from Congo as well as representatives from Netflix and UNESCO who will act as guides in the process.

The panel will select the final six filmmakers who will receive a production grant of $75,000 (through a local production company) to develop, shoot and post-produce their films under the guidance of Netflix and industry mentors to ensure everyone involved in the production is fairly compensated and which each of the six winners will also receive $25,000.

Speaking on this, Mr Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture said, “Congratulations to those who have been shortlisted! They should all be proud of the quality of their work. This competition showcases the extraordinary cultural richness that Africa has to offer that we want to share with people all over the world, as Africa is a priority for UNESCO.”

On his part, Mr Ben Amadasun, Netflix Director of Content in Africa said, “We also want to thank our panel of independent industry professionals who undertook the mammoth task to read over 2080 applications until they found 21 strong submissions.

“The response from all the aspiring filmmakers who took time to submit their application also proves that there’s a wealth of storytelling potential and talent in Africa and we at Netflix are excited to be part of this journey for more talented new voices to share their stories with the world.”

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

Dollar Shortages Strike Again…Nigeria Indexes in Crosshairs

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dollar shortages

By Lukman Otunuga

Despite oil prices surging to multi-year highs, Nigeria has failed to cash in.

The destructive combination of sub-optimal oil production, poor infrastructure, and fuel subsidies have drained oil revenues that account for roughly 90% of foreign exchange earnings.

Lower oil revenues and falling foreign exchange reserves are forcing Nigeria to ration dollars. The negative impacts continue to be reflected across the economy and local currency. But now the dollar shortages have attracted the attention of MSCI Inc. which is considering downgrading the MSCI Nigeria indexes to the status of a standalone market from frontier markets.

It is worth keeping in mind that a developed market is the highest ranking, followed by emerging markets, frontier markets, and then finally standalone markets at the bottom.

Given the difficulty in repatriating funds from Nigeria, this has placed the MSCI Nigeria Indexes in the crosshairs. Such a negative development may hit sentiment toward the county’s assets at a crucial period where economic growth remains fragile.

To add insult to injury, the NGX All Share Index has gained roughly 20% this year in local currency terms. A blockbuster performance when compared to the MSCI Emerging market Index which is down roughly -19%.

In other news, the Naira was trading around N419 versus the dollar on the official spot rate and has weakened only 1.3% year-to-date. However, on the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) segment of the FX, the Naira ended Thursday at N620 versus the dollar and N602 on the black market. Nigeria still faces the issue of multiple exchanges but this will be a discussion for another time.

Lukman Otunuga is a Senior Research Analyst at FXTM

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Economy

Binance, Cristiano Ronaldo to Release Exclusive NFTs

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Binance Cristiano Ronaldo

By Adedapo Adesanya

Binance, the world’s leading blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider, has announced the signing of an exclusive and multi-year NFT partnership with football icon, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Through this partnership, Binance will launch a global campaign aiming to give Ronaldo’s fans an introduction to Web3 with a compelling entry point into the world of NFTs.

The company disclosed that over the course of the agreement, Cristiano Ronaldo and Binance will create a series of collections for sale exclusively on the Binance NFT platform.

The first collection of the exclusive NFTs will be released later this year and will feature designs created in collaboration with Ronaldo.

Speaking on the deal, Binance founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said, “Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the world’s best footballers, and has transcended sport to become an icon in multiple industries.

“He has amassed one of the world’s most dedicated fan bases through his authenticity, talent, and charity work.”

“We are thrilled to provide his fans with exclusive engagement opportunities to connect with Ronaldo and own a piece of iconic sports history,” he added.

“My relationship with the fans is very important to me, so the idea of bringing unprecedented experiences and access through this NFT platform is something that I wanted to be a part of,” said Ronaldo.

“I know the fans are going to enjoy the collection as much as I do.”

The Cristiano Ronaldo NFT collections will be available exclusively on Binance NFT at www.Binance.com/en/nft/home.

Binance is the world’s leading blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider with a financial product suite that includes the largest digital asset exchange by volume.

The Binance platform is dedicated to increasing the freedom of money for users, and features an unmatched portfolio of crypto products and offerings, including trading and finance, education, data and research, social good, investment and incubation, decentralization and infrastructure solutions, and more.

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Economy

Cellulant Wins Payment Platform Solutions Provider of the Year 

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Cellulant

By Adedapo Adesanya

Cellulant, Africa’s leading payments company, has been awarded the Payment Platform Solutions Provider of the Year in Nigeria at the 13th Beacon of ICT Awards 2022.

This award is a recognition of Cellulant’s work in providing a payments platform that focuses on driving merchant business and digital payments for local, regional and global merchants in the continent.

It was also lauded for digitising both online and offline payments.

The award was presented to Cellulant Nigeria by Communication Week Media Limited, the publishers of Nigeria Communications Week.

The annual event, which recognises leading players in the ICT sector in Nigeria whose outstanding achievements contribute to the industry’s growth, was themed Impact of Blockchain Technology in a Digitalized Nigeria. 

Renowned businesses such as Emirates, GIG logistics, Coldstone, Bolt, Dominos and Ethiopian Airlines to name a few, have partnered with Cellulant to use their Tingg digital payments solution as a single collection gateway in Nigeria.

Cellulant simplified their product, unifying their offering into Tingg — a digital payments platform that addresses the complex needs of managing different payment channels for a business.

This has made it easy for businesses to conveniently and affordably accept payments from a single integration.

Customers can make payments for goods and services using locally relevant payment options.

Founded in 2003, Cellulant has more than 18 years of experience providing locally-relevant payment solutions for businesses and their consumers. Its evolution over the years, from a digital content business to mobile banking and now to payments, has allowed the company to build an expansive network, strong relationships and partnerships.

Cellulant provides a unified, single-contract, and single API payments platform – named Tingg- that makes it easy for businesses to receive and make payments; while allowing anyone to pay from their mobile money, local and international cards or directly from their bank.

Today, Cellulant has an office presence in 18 countries, including Nigeria, with a payments platform connecting thousands of businesses with 257 payment options across 35 countries. The platform powers payments for 200 million consumers on a single inclusive network for interoperability across Africa.

Speaking on the recognition, Mr Opeyemi Fowler, Cellulant’s Head of Enterprise Sales stated “the digital payments landscape in Nigeria and Africa is evolving rapidly with differing payment channels such as card, mobile money, bank transfer and cash – with volatile currency fluctuations and no single settlement framework.

“This is creating a highly fragmented landscape for businesses whose customers increasingly request to pay for their purchases using digital payment options. Every day, our job at Cellulant is to work with our customers and partners to solve this fragmentation in payments.”

“This award is a testament to our work in providing a payments platform that is transforming the way people do business in Nigeria and beyond; and a reflection of the hard work done by our people.”

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