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Mastercard, MTN Work Together for Safe, Secure Payments

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By Ahmed Rahma

An American multinational financial services corporation, Mastercard, has partnered with an African telecommunication giant, MTN, to enable millions of consumers in 16 countries across Africa to make global e-commerce payments safely and securely.

In a statement to announce the partnership on Tuesday, it was stated that through a Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to MTN MoMo (Mobile Money) wallets, consumers and merchants can engage with brands and businesses abroad through digital commerce, extending their reach to an international marketplace and unlocking a host of opportunities.

It was further revealed that across Sub-Saharan Africa, mobile devices are the primary channel used to connect to the internet and according to GSMA, by 2025, it is estimated that there will be 300 million more people using their devices to access internet services.

In light of this significant growth, mobile financial services have become the dominant form of digital payments, with twice as many mobile money accounts as bank accounts in the region. As a result, consumers increasingly expect to have access to a broader range of digital financial services.

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The statement further explained that consumers and merchants are mostly restricted to a local base of online and offline businesses, therefore curtailing customers’ ability to engage in global commerce.

Through this strategic partnership, MTN customers with a Mastercard virtual payment solution linked to their MoMo wallets can make payments to global online merchants through a seamless and secure digital payment experience on websites and mobile applications, the statement stressed.

It also noted that the service is available regardless of whether or not the customer has a bank account.

The solution will enable consumers to explore and shop at well-known global e-commerce brands and pay quickly and securely for leisure shopping, travel, accommodation, entertainment, streaming services and more. It will also allow small business owners to purchase from suppliers abroad and pay with the virtual payment solution.

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“We are very excited about this partnership with Mastercard, which is another step in realizing our ambition to build Africa’s largest fintech platform, accelerating economic and social development through digital innovation to the benefit of citizens across the continent and beyond,” said MTN Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer Serigne Dioum.

“This noteworthy partnership is another step to enable our customers to participate in the global economy. We are resolute that accelerated financial inclusion is a potent enabler of socio-economic development that empowers the most vulnerable in society,” he concluded.

Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President for Market Development, Mastercard Middle East and Africa, said: “This significant milestone will enable millions of MTN customers to benefit from global digital commerce and drive digital and financial inclusion across Africa through easy and secure access to financial services.

“At Mastercard, our innovation strategy is based on partnerships and collaboration. This agreement with MTN shows that we can deliver innovative digital solutions that have a far-reaching impact and realize the true potential of inclusive growth across the continent. Partnering with MTN allows us to accelerate our global pledge to connect 1 billion people to the digital economy by 2025, bringing us closer to a world beyond cash.”

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The solution is expected to enable consumers to explore and shop at well-known global e-commerce brands and pay quickly and securely for leisure shopping, travel, accommodation, entertainment, streaming services and more.

It is also expected to allow small business owners to purchase from suppliers abroad and pay with the virtual payment solution.

MTN and Mastercard first launched the digital payment solution in 2018 for MoMo customers. MTN, the largest mobile network operator, is the ‘Most Admired African Brand’ based on spontaneous consumer responses in Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands 2020 survey and the most valuable telecoms brand in Africa by Brand Finance Africa.

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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People with Intellectual Disabilities Deserve Equal Opportunity—Jalo-Waziri

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People with Intellectual Disabilities

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Chief Executive Officer of Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, Mr Haruna Jalo-Waziri, has called for equal opportunity for people with intellectual disabilities.

He described them as “an important part of our society,” emphasising that they deserve to get “all relevant support to fulfil their aspirations.”

Mr Jalo-Waziri made a case for these set of individuals when CSCS, Nigeria’s capital market infrastructure, bagged the prestigious Golisano Health Leadership Award 2020, a premium recognition of its significant contributions to Special Olympics’ Health programmes and the promotion of equal access to healthcare, wellness, and fitness for people with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) in Nigeria.

While receiving the award, he said, “This award is a great honour, a privileged recognition of our commitment to human welfare, especially amongst one of the most important segments of the society, people with intellectual disabilities, who have consistently made this country proud through their dedication to excellence.”

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“Being an integral part of our business sustainability principles, we take seriously our social responsibility, as we believe in the mutual prosperity of our communities,” he added.

“We would continue to invest in the socio-economic wellbeing of our society, with a particular interest in ensuring everyone, irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity, race as well as physical and intellectual ability, have access to basic and required healthcare,” he assured.

He further promised that the organisation “will continue to promote inclusion and acceptance of individuals with intellectual disabilities, as they deserve to be valued, respected, and fully integrated into all aspects of our social and economic institutions.”

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According to him, “This award is a call to service, not just for CSCS Plc to do more but to also encourage our partners, stakeholders and indeed everyone in our network to support healthcare and general wellbeing of people in our society, especially those with intellectual disabilities and other similar limitations.

“I use this opportunity to thank the Board of Directors of CSCS Plc, whose leadership and oversight remain the bedrock of our partnership with Special Olympics.”

“We are proud of the Special Olympics and we would sustain our partnership with this incredible not-for-profit organization which is uplifting the standards of living of people with intellectual disabilities, helping to discover their unique capabilities, providing the platform for realizing their dreams and giving hope to these especially talented fellows in the society.

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“The well-documented successes of the Special Olympics are impressive, and it is a pride to be part of this humanitarian service to our society,” he further said.

The Golisano Health Leadership Award is the highest honour that Special Olympics awards to health partners who are on the frontlines of bringing essential health care services to people with Intellectual Disabilities.

The award was launched in September 2016 to recognise individuals and organizations that further the cause of Special Olympics and improve access to health care, fitness, and wellness programmes for people with intellectual disabilities.

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Facebook, Reuters Launch Free Online Course for Journalists

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The Facebook Journalism Project has partnered with Reuters to launch a free online course for journalists under the umbrella of the Reuters Digital Journalism Course.

The project works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve.

Its training, programs and partnerships work by investing in organizations that fund quality journalism; training newsrooms globally; and partnering with publishers and nonprofits to combat misinformation, promote news literacy, and improve journalism.

Reuters developed the free online course curriculum after its Digital News Report found more people were using social media to access news.

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It focuses on digital newsgathering, verification and reporting, and publishing on social media. It also covers wellness and resilience training while reporting.

According to Facebook, the course is aimed at both seasoned journalists and industry newcomers. Upon completing the course, participants will receive a certificate.

Speaking on the programme, Mrs Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, Strategic Media Partnerships Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa said, “At Facebook, we’re grateful to journalists across Africa who are working hard to keep their communities informed about the issues that matter.

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“The Facebook Journalism Project will assist our region’s journalists in developing strong fundamental knowledge as they navigate the rapidly changing digital news landscape.”

The Digital Journalism Course aims to support journalists across English speaking countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to build a strong foundation in digital reporting and editing.

Adding her input, Ms Gina Chua, Reuters Executive Editor said in a statement, “With news media firmly in the digital age, being able to use digital platforms safely and effectively is essential.

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“The Reuters Digital Journalism Course offers best practices from Reuters journalists around the world to provide the foundation for sound journalism, whether you’re a budding journalist or a seasoned one looking for a refresher.”

To sign up for the course, interested parties must create an account on the Reuters Digital Journalism course website, accessible here. The course is also available to journalists from all over the world, including Nigeria.

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Osinbajo Heads Committee to Lift 100 million Nigerians from Poverty

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By Adedapo Adesanya

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday inaugurated the National Steering Committee (NSC) of the National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) to be chaired by the Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo.

The President in a statement released through his media aide, Mr Femi Adesina, reiterated his commitment to lifting 100 million Nigerians from poverty in 10 years, with a well-researched framework for implementation and funding.

“This journey began in January 2021 when I directed the Chairman of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council and Secretary to the Government of the Federation to collaboratively work together to articulate what will lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

“I am happy to note that the process of designing this inclusive poverty reduction strategy recognised and addressed past mistakes, as well as laid the foundation for a sustainable poverty reduction through the wide range consultations held at all levels of government, development partners, the private sector as well as the civil society,” Mr Buhari was quoted as saying.

President Buhari was confident that the NPRGS would address the underlying causes of poverty on the basis of which it developed programmes that would deal with the multi-dimensional nature of poverty within the practical context of comparative advantage of human and natural resources in the various geo-political zones.

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According to him, the major challenge before the committee is to translate the good intention of the government into a positive impact on the average Nigerian in order to create an appreciative impact on the poverty situation in the country.

“If India can lift 271 million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016, Nigeria can surely lift 100 million out of poverty in 10 years.

“Fortunately, we have already started but we need to unlock the challenges of slow implementation, inappropriate targeting, and absence of adequate resources,” the President said.

The responsibilities of the committee, he noted, include anchoring collaborative efforts; provide oversight for the implementation of the strategy; provide guidance to Technical Working Group and federal ministries, extra ministerial departments and agencies, subnational governments and other stakeholders on meeting the objectives of the programme; as well as monitor progress and any other effort that would enhance the attainment of the objective of lifting 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years.

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“The performance of our economy despite COVID-19 gives me comfort that we can achieve our goal, but we need to seriously scale up and work more with state and local governments.

“This call becomes more pertinent in the face of recent forecasts by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and our own Nigerian Economic Summit Group which all agreed that Nigeria needs to frontally tackle her poverty situation if our economic gains are to be sustained,” he told the gathering at the event.

Mr Buhari asked the committee to commence work immediately to enable the Technical Working Group to begin to put things together.

He said the responsibilities were onerous but expressed confidence that the committee would be able to lay the foundation and demonstrate, within the next two years, the practicality of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in or under 10 years.

In his remarks, Vice President Osinbajo said the NPRGS would consolidate other efforts of the government to reduce poverty in the land.

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He noted that the President’s position that local governments, states, and the federal government should work jointly to alleviate poverty in the country would be properly reflected in the framework and implementation, stressing the need for access and inclusivity.

The SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, who is a member of the committee, said the poverty situation in the country assumed an enormous proportion with an increasing population, adding that the situation was compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He, however, said the administration responded to the COVID-19 poverty fallout swiftly and was able to ameliorate the situation and ensured a quick exit from recession.

The committee also has as members Chief of Staff to the President, Governors of Ekiti (South West), Delta (South South), Sokoto (North West), Borno (North East), Nasarawa (North Central), and Ebonyi States (South East).

Others are Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning; State for Budget and National Planning; Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; Agriculture and Rural Development; Industry, Trade and Investments; Labour and Employment, Education and Health.

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