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Dario Ruggiero On Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, And Environment

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Dario Ruggiero. Photo Credit: Dario Ruggiero

ITALY. Naples: Italian economist and entrepreneur, Dario Ruggiero has advised entrepreneurs on the need to face some of the greatest challenges in entrepreneurship in the coming years that are related to environmental and social issues.

“They are going to live in much more turbulent times. Together with instability, the coming years are going to be those where digitalization is going to have a key role, and one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurship is to understand how to use digitalization to face environmental and social challenges, and as well to make their businesses economically sustainable”, he says.

Nephews’ eyes

10 years ago Ruggiero founded Long Term Economy, which is an organization that works for creating long-term sustainability, moving from an economy that is focused on short-term assets such as profits, to an economy that is focused on long-term assets such as nature, social stability and cultural heritage.

Read also: Analyticalways CEO, Amancio Junior, On The Future Of Technology

“I love the sea and my preferred hobbies are rowing and sailboat excursions”, Ruggiero says.

This, he says, is after he looked into his nephews’ eyes and thought: “What kind of world are we going to leave to these future adults?”

He then understood that the current economic model was not sustainable, it is dangerous for the planet and a threat to their future; and tried to find a way of how economic could be not impactful for nature, found that the most important thing to do is to change the way our mind thinks, from short-term thinking to long-term thinking that is giving importance to assets that create value in the long term.

Source of inspiration

Ruggiero however, says that his inspiration comes from the people he has met and interviewed. “All the great people I have interviewed and partnered with have also been a great source of inspiration for me”, he says.

“When I interviewed Otto Scharmer from MIT for the film MyPlanetFirst, he told me that through deep listening you can let emerge the best sources of creativity from inside and from the outside (he explains that in his U-Theory model)”, Ruggiero adds.

In the coming years, according to Ruggiero, entrepreneurship needs a great source of creativity to face current and future challenges and to be much more suitable for turbulent times. Creativity is sometimes innate, but you can also feed it. Other important things are skills, courage, and determination. So, exercise your skills, be brave, but overall be creative and feed your creativity through deep listening.

Global issue

Asked what he thinks is the most pressing global issue right now, Ruggiero doesn’t hesitate to point out that sustainability is the one major one facing the earth right now, both socially and environmentally.  

“I think only about one global issue; that is “sustainability”. The current model of producing and consuming, and more in general, all our society is not sustainable. What we need is to change our mind-set from a linear to a systemic and circular system, as well as from a short-term perspective to a long-term perspective. That means that also entrepreneurship has to change in that way. We need a totally new kind of entrepreneurship to emerge and also the ones that take care of the community, the society, and the environment it works with”, he advises.

Ruggiero says that in the last 40 years, we have talked about pollution and Climate Change, but never have we thought about the complexity of the matter of sustainability.

“Recently the United Nations has made a big step onward realizing the goal for humanity must be not just one (Increasing GDP), but 17 goals, related to economic, development, social, and environmental issues. This is also what I and my colleagues are trying to do with the film MyPlanetFirst and Long Term Economy. We also offer Long Term Thinking courses that people can get through this link“, he says.  

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Simerjeet Singh: World-renowned Motivational Speaker And Growth Catalyst

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Mr. Simerjeet Singh gives a talk during the Henkel Annual Conference in Dubai. Photo Credit: Simerjeet Singh

INDIA: In his early life Simerjeet Singh, spent nine years in five countries and innumerable awakening life experiences in the global hotel industry, that summed up a pre-transformation journey before he decided to pivot on his life path of self-discovery in response to his true calling in 2007.

Over 300 organizations across the globe, including large corporations, not for profit organizations, universities, schools, and industry associations, have engaged Mr. Singh as a keynote speaker on various mandates including improving leadership potential, goal creation, team dynamics, realizing one’s true potential, organizational value percolation, living with authenticity, embracing change and personal growth.  

Read also: Analyticalways CEO, Amancio Junior, On The Future Of Technology

Armed with life experiences, supplemented by academic qualifications, including a degree in Hotel Management, credentials as Certified NLP Practitioner and Personal Performance Coach, key leadership programs from IIM Lucknow and IIM Ahmedabad, Mr. Singh traverses the path of self-realization, actualizing his noble goals and making a social impact the way he had always desired to.

Positive impact

Mr. Singh calls life, despite all its trials and tribulations, a beautiful gift full of endless possibilities – and the most important global issue that he highlights is that of depression and lack of self-belief.

“The web of mental darkness engulfs millions across the world and these are individuals who could be saved with professional help. Mindset coaches and counselors can be of great help in bringing light into their world to create a positive impact”, he says. 

Future of coaching

Mr. Singh foresees a great future for mindset coaching – considering the advent of futuristic technologies like artificial intelligence, robust connectedness, Internet of devices, and the like.

“Despite all these inventions at the fingertips with in-depth manuals for the smallest of devices to life-sized robots, man fails to understand the constructs of the mind, one of the most powerful instruments of divine creation, often taking it for granted and neglecting it”, Mr. Singh says.

He continues to point out that the world needs more mindset coaches, in fact, incubated into the early school course curricula, with self-awareness, mindfulness, and meditation being taught as elementary subjects. And that this change has to start early when one can be best molded.

Domestic violence

Mr. Singh also points out that most people around the world are now suffering from domestic violence, and that the figures we see reported are nothing compared to those that are not brought to the public limelight.

“Domestic violence is another global issue that affects so many – the numbers that are published do not include cases that never see the light of the day – until a tragedy happens”, he says.

Peaceful human beings, he also says, will resort to peaceful ways to resolve their disagreements. In most cases, lack of self-love, guilt, childhood anger, hurt inner child are factors that manifest into domestic violence.

Mindset coaches can play a significant role in helping individuals attain a resolution of childhood trauma, learn empathy towards self and others; while accepting self-healing, thereby, reducing the number of domestic violence incidents. 

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Analyticalways CEO, Amancio Junior, On The Future Of Technology

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Analyticalways
Amancio Junior, the CEO of Analyticalways. Photo Credit: Amancio Junior

SPAIN.Madrid: Analyticalways CEO, Amancio Junior, has advised modern-day entrepreneurs that entrepreneurship must adapt to the new rules of the market, being able to change with the changing times.

“Human capital has never been as important as it is today in organizations. Therefore, in the future, I see entrepreneurs much more concerned with the well-being of their teams, with their growth at all levels and with the organizational culture that favors innovation. Basically, just as family is more important than work, the entrepreneur must understand that his team is more important than his customers”, Amancio says.

See also: India’s IT Guru, Manoj Tandon, Supports SMEs In Tech Shift

Having trained as a Systems Information Engineer, Amancio considers himself to be fortunate to have founded Analyticalways and to work with such an incredible and professional team.

“The truth is that I prefer the opinion of my colleagues when we talk about me, but if I can give you a summary, I would say that I am a good father, a dreamer, an optimist and an ambitious man. When I talk about ambition, I am not referring to the economic aspect, I am referring to life. Considering that everything happens very fast, and life is very short, I try to make everything I do in life exciting and challenging”, he adds.

His many years of experience in the retail sector is what has made him see a great opportunity to help those in it become more efficient, saying that the sector loses millions and millions of euros in sales due to stock-outs and consequently buys much more than they need, to try to avoid those stock-outs.

This ends up generating surpluses as well as lost sales. The cash-flow impact of this inefficiency is causing many retailers to declare bankruptcy and this situation is exacerbated by the Omnichannel nature of the online and offline channels.

Technology and human capital

This is where Analyticalways comes in, being able to use Artificial Intelligence to predict demand with incredible precision in order to know which product should be in which store and in what quantities. This has helped the company’s customers increase their sales as high as 30% and reduce their stocks by up to 40%.

Apart from technology, the human factor is key to maximize the results of customers and that is why they have developed a unique method for consultancy that supports them in the implementation of the best practices of the market for stock management.

“Thinking about the situation that our clients are going through after the pandemic, we have combined this value proposition with an economic model that fits in all retail chains; small, medium and large. This has allowed us to expand in a very short time to more than 20 countries and to work with more than a hundred brands such as Miniso, Levis, Lacoste, Pronovias, Agatha Paris, ShoulderTrack, El Ganso and Tommy Hilfiger, among many others”, says Amancio.

Amancio drew his inspiration from working as a freelancer on more than 40 projects in different retail companies, where he saw very clearly the difficulty they face when it comes to making decisions. Today, he says, most of them already have reporting systems that help discover where the problem is.

However, market dynamics have changed and what companies need nowadays is a system that automatically analyzes the problem and, with artificial intelligence, suggests the best solution. The clear market need, together with my passion for innovation and working with people, has inspired me to take a step further.

Companies should come together

Amancio advises that companies should come together to solve most problems that exist in the world today, as this is one way that they will be solved.

“If all companies joined forces, many of the problems facing society and the world today could be solved. Solo steps are all well and good, but taking a common path makes all the difference. Analyticalways has created a solution that allows retailers to be much more efficient in terms of stock management. This means that, with their solutions, they can make demand predictions with which they will make much more accurate purchases of goods, resulting in less overstock, which directly impacts positively on the environment”, Amancio concludes.

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“There Is No Vaccine For Climate Change”: Bojana Bogojević, Serbian Lawyer, Author, and Teacher

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Bojana Bogojević during one of her talks. Photo credit: Bojana Bogojević

SERBIA. Belgrade: Bojana Bogojević lost her father when she was one year old and had to continue living with her mum in Goražde, a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina from where she ran away as a refugee during the civil war in ex Yugoslavia.

Living as a refugee, watching her mother’s everyday struggle to find a job, surviving bullying in school and everyday challenges was enough for this brave woman to make a decision for the future; to do what is within her power to make this world a better place for future generations.

Having worked her way up the ladder, the years have been fair to her and now she is well known in Serbia and Western Balkans for giving free legal, corporate, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advice for over 8 years.

Read also: Selene Meneguin, Argentine-Italian Model On Fashion As Therapy

“I promised myself that I will use my resources to help others. I learned a lot, and am still improving my knowledge on how I can be able to help people with my knowledge, experience, and multiple expertise“, she says.

Ms. Bogojević has been a corporate and legal advisor for many leading companies in both the public and private sectors as well as universities.

She is a well-known author of numerous professional articles, scientific papers, and co-author of books in the field of law, corporate governance, sustainable development, climate change, etc. She has also received numerous international awards such as the Books for Peace Special Award 2019 for her devotion to climate change.

Notably, Ms. Bogojević participated in the drafting of the law on gender Equality; the National strategy on gender equality, and the subsequent action plan 2016 – 2018 Law on Cohesion Policy of the Republic of Serbia.

She is also passionate about climate change and believes that governments should work to achieve all the sustainable development goals set out by the United Nations.

In her interview earlier this month with Magazine Borba in Serbia, Ms. Bogojević said, “There is no vaccine for climate change. If we want to survive our present and to have some useful legacy to future generations we must act promptly to achieve sustainable development goals. Every one of them“.

But she emphasizes that climate change as SDG 13 is at the very heart of every sustainable development goal.

To rising social change-makers, Ms. Bogojević says it is highly important to have a purpose, faith, and strength to stay on your path with a willingness to act no matter what others are saying.

“Rising change makers have to realize that being a changemakers means a lot of work, everyday learning, devotion to cause even you to have to create a road. Very often at the beginning, no one would believe in you“, she says.

In her concluding remarks, Ms. Bogojević says that it is important to have the courage to fight again after you have been hurt; to be able to overcome our deepest fears and to use them as a strength and for sure that’s the way our ship will continue to sail and will not sink.

“If we  Feed our passions, follow our dreams there are no impossibilities. Never stop following your goal because someone, somewhere is counting on you“, she concludes.

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Selene Meneguin, Argentine-Italian Model On Fashion As Therapy

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ARGENTINA.Buenos Aires: Italian-Argentinian model, Selene Meneguin believes that meditation is a very important work for humanity during a pandemic as many people would be relieved from the stresses of present-day life difficulties in dealing with the effects of the pandemic.

“Many diseases would be avoided since people are very stressed lately by all that we are living with this virus. Working on the breath is very important too but it requires practice and dedication as it is very essential” Meneguin says.  

The Argentine-born-and-raised Italian model and television host currently living in the city of Buenos Aires says she also usually travels a lot for work or pleasure. Her career had first taken off as a model and would later become a television host. Currently, she is a social influencer who lends her image to many brands and applications.

Read also: Fashion Influencer Alicia Martinez Talks About The Inspiration Behind Getting Into Entrepreneurship

In the world of fashion and modeling, Meneguin says that she loves to break stereotypes and show executive feminine beauty to her audience, something that she enjoys doing.

“My inspiration in fashion comes from showing exotic beauty and breaking stereotypes. I am interested in showing the magic of fashion to enhance a person’s image and give them security. It is incredible how a person can change with the correct use of a suitable style for them. Authenticity is my brand, my audience only receives from me what I consume and I really like”, she says.

Meneguin is also an avid writer, something she does as a hobby and she recently published a book on the genre of terror.

She further says that her chance to work on television media in Argentina opened many doors for her to meet many people and work with several designers.

Today, Meneguin terms herself as a generation of self-esteem and femininity that attracts a broad following and uses the chance to teach them how to love themselves and improve their image. She also assists people in shopping for clothes and changing their look, a part she says is very nice since she meets many people that are looking to be better.

Meneguin says that the future of the world of fashion is going to have to become more virtual and expand its c because as the years advance people move more online than going to stores. “In my point of view, one will have to show more their work on social networks and websites. Social networks have encompassed a wide clientele where they consume what seems to be the taste of the majority of what the most recognized influencers use the most”, she advises.  

To the future and aspiring fashionistas, Meneguin’s advice is simple: “BE honest with what you want to communicate and define what kind of image you will be for others, as people follow you for it and expect sincerity. Communicating optimism is very important. Influencing people comes with a responsibility that must be taken seriously and be as consistent as possible”, she concludes.

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Kenya Confirms Koome As First Female Chief Justice

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Lady Justice Martha Koome, Kenya's first woman Chief Justice. Photo Credit: Kenya Judiciary

KENYA. Nairobi: Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday appointed Lady Justice Martha Koome as the first woman Chief Justice and the fifteenth in the country since independence, and the third since the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.

The 61-year-old mother of three, Lady Justice Koome is a Kenyan advocate and human rights defender, bringing to the office an aggregate of 33 years of experience in the legal profession.

She was appointed by Kenyatta, just a few weeks after she came top, beating nine others who were vetted for the position by the Judiciary Service Commission (JSC), among them Fred Ngatia, who had represented President Kenyatta after the Supreme Court of Kenya annulled his victory in the 2017 general elections.

Read also: Kenya’s High Court Overturns President’s Bid To Change Constitution

Mr. Ngatia came second, leading him to question the integrity of the Commission, saying that they had doctored his results.

Justice Koome was admitted to the Bar as an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya in 1986 and in 1988, she started as a legal associate at a law firm until 1993 when she opened her own law firm and became its managing partner until 2003. She was elected as a council member of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) in 1993-1996

Justice Koome is known for her passion for women’s and children’s rights and apart from having served as a chairperson at the Federation for Women Lawyers (FIDA), she was last year appointed United Nations (UN) Kenya Person of the Year 2020 in recognition of her work in advocating for the rights of children in conflict.

Professor Margaret Kobia, the Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of Gender and Public Service congratulated Koome, terming her appointment as a great milestone in the gender equality index.

“Delighted to learn of the appointment of Lady Justice Martha Koome as Chief Justice by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta following her nomination approval by the National Assembly. We celebrate this historic achievement which marks a great milestone in the gender equality index”, Prof. Kobia said in a tweet.

Former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was the first woman in Africa to be elected head of state also congratulated Justice Koome in her appointment.

“My warmest congratulations to Lady Justice Martha Koome as she becomes the first woman to serve as Chief Justice of Kenya. Women’s equal representation in legal systems is integral to achieving fair, just, and inclusive societies” President Sirleaf said in a tweet on Wednesday.

However, not everyone was impressed by the appointment of Justice Koome, with many questioning how things were fast turned around, especially after the high court annulled Kenyatta’s bid to pass the BBI document that sought to change the constitution.

One Twitter user, Jerotich Seii tweeted that the speedy appointment of the Chief Justice was so that the BBI proponents could bypass the court of appeal and take their complaint directly to the Supreme Court of Kenya.

“I am reliably informed that the speedy gazetting of Justice Martha Koome is to allow #BBI proponents to use Section 17 of the Supreme Court Act to be granted leave to appeal directly to Supreme Court of Kenya against the #BBIJudgement bypassing the Court Of Appeal. May Koome guard against being used anyhow”, Seii tweeted.

Justice Koome is set to be sworn on on Friday May 21st in Nairobi. However, she has the option of retiring at age 65.

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India’s IT Guru, Manoj Tandon, Supports SMEs In Tech Shift

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Manoj Tandon
Manoj Tandon, the growth consulting professional purely devoted to SME organizations. Photo Credit: Manoj Tandon

INDIA: When Manoj Tandon decided to quit his corporate job and become an entrepreneur, he was wondering what should he do not only to do some meaningful work but also so he could give back to the world of business that has given him so much.

At the peak of his career, Manoj worked in India, US, UK, France among other countries; for the last 35 years and in various roles like Managing Partner of a Consulting company in California, member of the executive committee which ran the European operations of a billion-dollar financial services company in UK etc.

“I soon realised that one segment that needs help is the SME segment. Many small companies start, do well in the beginning and then get stuck. They don’t know how to grow to the next level, can’t afford to hire experts, and therefore are left to struggle”, he says.

Read also: Adar Poonawalla: A Businessman, A Philanthropist Or An Opportunist?

Upon this realisation, Manoj decided to provide them with “affordable” consulting, which he says is not the standard “giving advice and recommendations” kind of consulting. He actually gets involved in a hands-on manner with his clients.

“What that means is that I get engaged with my clients right at the strategy level and then I go ahead to helping them actively in sales, delivery, HR, Finance. Essentially from soup to nuts…”, Manoj says.

In 2013, Manoj had ended his corporate stint and started his own growth consulting company purely devoted to SME organizations. His clients include companies from India, the US, and the UK. He is also a Mentor for Tech Manchester UK, an organization whose vision is to help startup entrepreneurs.

He says that the environment of entrepreneurship is shifting and that it is becoming better as more and more young people are shifting from employment to self-employment, thanks to many factors that have ensured this comes to fruition.

“Earlier, to get a good job was the dream of every professional, but today, to be on their own and be one’s own lord/master is the dream of many young professionals”, Manoj explains.

“Globalization, brought about by the advent of technology, has ensured that markets become borderless. The scope has not only grown geographically but also in terms of the kind of opportunities that can be pursued”, he says.

As well, entrepreneurs today have better access to support from investors and other funders for their businesses to take off.

Manoj says, “The support system for entrepreneurs has become much better than it ever was, like the availability of investors to fund entrepreneurs in various stages of their journey, government support, etc.”

Besides his work, Manoj is an avid writer, having written multiple books, and as well for various business newspapers and online news channels on business and social issues. His interview series on start-ups (in 3 parts) is quite popular on YouTube.

His advice to new entrepreneurs is that one should not start a business because everyone else is, but should do it if they are passionate about something, to address a real problem, not a short-term issue.

“If your choice is only because of money, please think again…..history has shown repeatedly that people who chase money do not mostly get it but people who chase excellence in problem-solving make it big”, Manoj concludes.

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Kenya’s High Court Overturns President’s Bid To Change Constitution

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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta reads the BBI document at State House in November 2019. Photo Credit: State House Kenya

KENYA. Nairobi: In a sharp turn of events, the High Court in Nairobi Thursday delivered a surprise judgment that declared the referendum push led by President Uhuru Kenyatta unconstitutional, null, and void.

The five-judge bench that sat at the High Court in Nairobi delivered the ruling in a televised feed late in the evening Thursday.

Building Bridges Initiative or BBI, as it is commonly referred to in Kenya now is a call for an amendment of the 2010 constitution.

Read Also: Kenya Urges The UNHCR To Close Two Refugee Camps

The bench, constituting of Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, Teresia Matheka and Chacha Mwita, in their ruling stated that “popular initiative to amend the constitution can only be started by the people, and not by the government”.

The call for a referendum was initiated by President Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, a former Prime Minister and leader of the opposition. This was after a now-infamous handshake where they agreed to work together.

The long-time political enemies had agreed to cut a truce after the 2017 contested presidential elections that saw President Kenyatta re-elected for the second term as president.

Kenya’s Deputy President William Rutto led a brigade against the BBI, saying that there was a need to amend sections of the document before it was presented to the citizens to vote it in or out in a referendum.

After the court ruling was delivered, Mr. Rutto tweeted that there is God in heaven who loves Kenya Immeasurably.

The Kenyan Constitution was promulgated in 2010 by the then-President Mwai Kibaki, after the country’s more than three decades search for a new constitution.

However, many politicians and common citizens feel that the current constitution is a good document that should only be given time to fully operate, while amendments are don on the way.

In February, the High Court had issued a temporary conservatory order that sought to restrain the country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from sending the BBI Bill to a referendum.

BBI has also been seen as a strategy used by Kenya’s political dynasties to reward themselves seats in the 2022 general elections.

This has led to a divided political class, with those from humble backgrounds, led by Mr. Rutto joining forces against those from the political elite.

The decision by the High Court has been termed as a landmark ruling by Kenya’s judiciary after the former Chief Justice, David Maraga, nullified the presidential election, leading to a re-run in 2017.

Those in the BBI camp have however promised to go back to court and appeal and get a favourable ruling within a week.

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, who is an ardent supporter of the Bill said that the ruling would be appealed and overturned by the court.

“Yesterday’s decision will only make this weekend a very active one politically. BBI has not stopped moving forward and in the next few days we will learn exactly what the judges were trying to do and what they hoped to achieve,” said the MP.

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I&M Holdings PLC Completes Acquisition of Orient Bank Limited In Uganda

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A street view of the Orient Bank in Kampala, Uganda. Photo Credit: I&M Holdings PLC

Nairobi/Kampala. KENYA/UGANDA: I&M Holdings PLC recently announced the majority acquisition of Orient Bank Limited (OBL) from 8 miles LLP and Morka Holdings Limited. OBL is the 12th largest bank and a licensed and established commercial bank in Uganda.

The two had signed an agreement back in July last year for I&M Holdings PLC to acquire 90 percent shareholding of the Ugandan entity. The acquisition was completed on 30th April 2021 after receiving the necessary approvals from the Central Bank of Kenya, Bank of Uganda, Capital Markets Authority of Kenya, and the COMESA Competition Authority.

Through this, I&M Group seeks to establish its growth and expansion strategy in Eastern Africa, where Uganda was the missing link in the Group’s strategic effort to set up its presence in all East African countries.  A key focus of this strategy is to seek opportunities to invest at a local and regional level enabling the Bank to serve the needs of all customers, while promoting trade flows within the region.

Read also: AfDB Partners Uganda In $229.5m Road Project

This development supports the Group’s Business Growth initiatives through diversification of revenue streams by entry into new markets and extension of its Corporate, Business, Personal Banking, as well as Treasury and Trade Finance solutions, to all its customers operating in Uganda.

Commenting on the acquisition, I&M’s Group Executive Director, Sarit Raja Shah noted, “I&M Group aspires to be Eastern Africa’s leading financial partner for growth.  The acquisition of OBL will place I&M Bank in an advantageous position to capitalise on the growth in the Eastern African economies and thereby ultimately increasing shareholder value.”

“This acquisition is expected to give the Group greater capacity to grow profitably, through extending our network to our Regional customers. Further it demonstrates our continued leadership role in the industry across East Africa”, Sarit Raja Shah added.

Dr. Ketan Morjaria, a founding member of OBL and continuing shareholder and Director said “This acquisition marks a great milestone in the history of Orient Bank. We are proud to be integrating into a regional group like I&M Holdings PLC and this synergy will allow our customers to benefit from more seamless and superior banking products whilst continuing our tradition of trust.”

Kumaran Pather, CEO of OBL said “The acquisition of OBL into I&M Holdings PLC will see the new entity rise to greater heights and allow us to broaden our market reach and penetration. The management of OBL are excited to be part of a large and fast growing Group and look forward to serving new and existing customers alike with better products, digital platforms and regional services.”   

Through the acquisition, I&M Group has acquired additional net loan assets of approximately KES 7.7 Billion, deposits of KES 18.2 Billion, a customer base of close to 70,000, a staff component of 340 employees and a network of 14 branches and 22 ATMs across the country.

A clear plan for the integration of OBL has been developed and through its execution the Group expects to gain considerable business and operational synergies.

I&M Group has made significant investments in its robust infrastructure as part of its digital transformation journey. Through this acquisition, OBL customers will now benefit from this technologically driven infrastructure, which will give them a wide suite of market driven financial solutions aimed at meeting their financial and lifestyle requirements. 

The I&M Group will continue to focus on mergers and acquisitions as part of its growth strategy, as we continue to enhance our shareholders’ value and to provide our customers with a wide network of banking solutions across the region.

The transaction with OBL adds to a list of previous strategic alliances that the Group has effectively completed such as the acquisition of Giro Commercial Bank Limited in Kenya, I&M Burbidge Capital Limited in Kenya and Uganda, CF Union Bank in Tanzania, BCR Bank in Rwanda and First City Bank in Mauritius. We believe that our aspiration in becoming Eastern Africa’s leading financial growth partner is well on course.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Sarit Raja Shah, noted, “Uganda has made great strides in improving access to financial services across the country. The partnership with Orient Bank Limited is very timely since the Group plans to play a significant role in the growth of the banking sector in Uganda, as it has done in other East African markets.”

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UN’s Education Cannot Wait Calls On World Leaders To Urgently Fund Education In The DRC

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ECW Director Yasmine Sherif visits the Modale ‘Settlement of Hope’ with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo Credit: ECW

Kinshasa. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: The global education fund charity, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) this week called on world leaders to move with urgency to ensure that education is funded in the fragile DRC to a tune of US$45.3 million.

While visiting the DRC on Wednesday, ECW’s Director Yasmine Sherif called on world leaders to urgently support the children and youth in desperate need of education support in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), affected by new emergencies and multiple protracted crises. 

An additional US$45.3 million is required to reach 200,000 children and youth impacted by the large-scale, complex and protracted crisis in the DRC through Education Cannot Wait’s multi-year resilience programme. The programme was launched with US$22.2 million in catalytic seed funding from ECW in December 2020 and is delivered by UNICEF as grantee, through a joint programme with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN agencies, and civil society organizations.

Sherif, the Director of ECW – the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies – made the appeal after meeting this week with senior government officials of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, key donors, UN agencies, and international and national NGOs in Kinshasa and visiting refugees from the Central African Republic in a settlement located 30kms outside of Yakoma, Nord-Ubangi province, DRC.

“We can no longer turn a blind eye to this crisis and away from those left furthest behind. We have a global responsibility, moral imperative, and commitments to honour those suffering the most in this world. We urgently call on donors, the private sector, and other partners to mobilize an additional US$45.3 million to reach 200,000 children and youth impacted by this crisis in DRC by 2023,” said Sherif.

See also: Merck Foundation Africa-Asia Annual Summit To Host 19 African First Ladies As Guests Of Honor

“The world must respond to this pressing crisis of profound human suffering. Girls face significant risks of child marriage, early pregnancy, and sexual gender-based violence. Many children may never return to school, be forced to find work, join armed groups, and pushed even further to the margins, of no return,” said Sherif. “Education provides these children and youth with learning, safety and protection, it provides them with hope to arise from the ashes of human misery and create a better future.” 

Children and youth face significant protection risks in this escalating humanitarian and long-standing development crisis. According to recent estimates by local authorities, over 90,000 refugees have arrived in the DRC since the December 2020 presidential elections in the neighboring Central African Republic, which displaced nearly a third of the country’s population. 

This has occurred on top of ongoing crises in other parts of the country, such as in the provinces of Ituri, Tanganyika, and Kasai Central. Throughout the country, the impact of COVID-19 and epidemics such as Ebola and cholera have been disastrous. School closures have resulted in at least six months of missed learning.

Education Cannot Wait and global partners have responded to the escalating humanitarian crisis in the DRC and neighboring countries with a number of education emergency investments in addition to the triple-nexus multi-year resilience programme delivered by UNICEF and partners. 

An additional US$3.8 million has been allocated for ECW’s COVID-19 education in emergency response, and an ongoing multi-year resilience programme in the Central African Republic will reach an estimated 900,000 children in the next three years.

During this week’s visit, Sherif and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, announced an additional US$2 million ECW’s first emergency response grant to provide educational support for the influx of refugees.

Despite these ongoing support and efforts by all partners in DRC, funding is a major obstacle to ensure the right to quality education for the children and adolescents in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

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