Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Bag Lady

Leather bags from Gidan Nodza.

On the blog, you can follow the entrepreneur's journey.
You might buy some purses for you or someone special.
"Gidan Nodza
Lagos, Nigeria
My name is Amina and I am a self taught bag designer/maker. Welcome to my blog, here I will post pictures of bags I am making or have made, the process, progress and challenges as well as the ups and downs of trying to be self employed in the city/jungle called Lagos...aaaaaand
I've been known to do give aways every now and then soooooo check back often cos you never know... Contact me at "

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Global Finance

Reblogging from Huffington Post: What is Goldman Sach's Thinking?
What Is Goldman Sachs Thinking?
Simon Johnson
MIT Professor and co-author of 13 Bankers
Posted: June 29, 2010 06:43 AM

The next financial boom seems likely to be centered on lending to emerging markets. Sam Finkelstein, head of emerging markets debt at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, summed up the prevailing market view - and no doubt talked up his own positions - with a prominent quote in Monday's Financial Times (p.13, front of the Companies and Markets section):

"Debt-to-GDP ratios in the developed world are about double those in emerging markets and they're growing. This makes emerging markets interesting because you're pick up incremental spread [higher interest rates compared with developed world rates], and in return you're actually taking less macroeconomic risk.

This is a dangerous view for three reasons.

First, against all historical evidence, it assumes that the only macroeconomic risks we should worry about - in general or for emerging markets - are related to standard measures of government fiscal policy. "Less risk" and "more yield" was exactly what securitized subprime mortgages and their derivatives were purported to offer; this combination typically proves illusory.

Second, emerging markets got into serious trouble through private sector overborrowing both in the 1970s (Latin America, communist Poland and Romania) and in the 1990s (many parts of Asia). In some crises, the government stepped in and ended up holding a great deal of debt - but this does not change the fact that the exuberance was all about private sector banks (in the US and Europe) lending to private sector corporations (financial and nonfinancial) in a mispricing of risk that started out at modest levels but grew over the cycle.

Third, when your ability to borrow depends in part on the value of your collateral - see the academic work of Ben Bernanke and the experience of Japan in the late 1980s (e.g., the classic Hoshi-Kashyap volume) - then rising asset prices enable you to borrow more. This does not necessarily have to go bad in a macroeconomic sense, but experience over the last 30 years is not encouraging. Global moral hazard - the idea that someone will provide a bailout - does not mix well with free capital flows and this kind of financial accelerator.

Goldman Sachs knows all this, of course. But, as they will tell you correctly, reforming incentives or even discouraging this kind of cycle is definitely not their job. Their role is to make money, pure and pretty simple given their market share.

It's the responsibility of government to make the world financial system less dangerous. Judging from the G20 summit (see my comments on the communique) this weekend, we are making no progress at all in that direction.

Perception is perhaps as important as Production in driving finance today.
It seems Africa (Nigeria too) will get a chance at some of that speculative money.
It's cool. It's risky but I guess the Obamas and bankers are telling us that we like the risk.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] 2nd Abuja Business plan Competition

Do you have a hot business idea and you have been waiting for the perfect opportunity.

Take advantage of the 2nd Abuja Business Plan Competition to win cash prizes to take your business ideas to the next level.

For more details, click here

Posted By rotimi to youth development in Nigeria at 6/24/2010 09:56:00 AM

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] Young Professionals Internship Program 2011

The West African Health organisation (WAHO), the Health Agency of ECOWAS, and its partners announce its young professionals Internship Programme (YPIP) for 2011 which will commence in january 2011, and hereby invite application from citizens of member countries of ECOWAS
GOAL: The goal of the program is to equip young professionals with knowledge, skills and experience for effective management of health problems in West Africa

Structure: The 12 month program is divided into 6 stages ( i - vi). Stages i and iv will take place at the headquarters of WAHO in BurkinaFaso, during which interns will acquire knowledge and competence in basic principles of public health, a second official language of ECOWAS, computer and new information technology as well as basic principles of management and leadership. During stages II and V, the interns would be posted to host institutions in different countries in West Africa to acquire practical skills and competencies in their technical areas of interest or professional specialisation. The technical areas should respond to the health needs of the sub-region and the priority domain of WAHO.

Priority Domain for 2011
The applicants for 2011 internship should have interest in one or more of the following priority technical areas/domains:

  2. Reproductive Health
  3. Child Survival
  4. Nutrition
  5. Prevention of Blindness
  6. Malaria
  7. Health Research
  8. Disease Control

The interns would be provided with accommodation and would receive a monthly allowance during the period. . All travel costs related to the internship would be paid for and all learning materials would be provided free


All Applicants must be citizen of ECOWAS member countries and must be available throughout the 12month period and should have:

  1. Obtained a university degree or equivalent within the past 5 years
  2. Fluency in reading and writing of at least one official ECOWAS language (English, French, Portuguese) knowledge of a second language would be an advantage
  3. basic competence in infomation and communications technology
Application Procedurs:

Interested candidates should send the following documents:

  1. Letter of application to participate in the program
  2. up to date curriculum vitae
  3. Photocopy of the relevant pages of International passport, National ID Card, or Birth certificate
  4. Photocopy of diplomas and certificates
  5. Letter of motivation stating reasons for wanting to participate in the programme, technical areas of interest and reasons for the choice, relevant experience and future career plans
  6. In addition, each candidate should send three letters of reference. Two of the referees must be persons who taught the applicant in the university or appropriate institution. For a candidate with work experience, the third should be a professional with whom the candidate has worked. The letters of reference should be sent directly to the address below by the referees.
All Applications and letters of reference should be sent by post or email to:

West African Health Organisation (WAHO/OOAS)
Young Professional Internship Program
01 BP 153 Bobo - Dioulasso 01
Burkina Faso

Posted By rotimi to youth development in Nigeria at 6/23/2010 02:49:00 AM

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] Call for Applications: ALF Legislative Interns...

The Africa Leadership Forum, supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Nigeria is organizing a Legislative Internship Programmes for interested young Nigerians and students in higher institutions aged 18-40 years to provide an opportunity to acquaint them with parliamentary structures and processes, thereby encouraging them to take up parliamentary acreer either as future parliamentarians or parliamentary support staff

The ALF-LIP is a three phased programme made up of:

  • 2-day briefing and orientation workshop
  • 21-day attachment with Legislative assemblies and
  • 2-day debriefing and experience sharing workshop
Immediate objectives of the project includes:
  • Expose young Nigerian men and women to the workings of the parliament
  • Encourage young Nigerians to consider a parliamentarian career either as future parliamentarians or parliamentary support staff
Method of Application

Interested applicants should forward 2-page resume giving full description of themselves, place of residence, professions, local government and states of origin. Also, applicants are expected to submit an essay of about 300 words i Ms Word format on "Nigeria: the workings of a democratic Government".

Applications should be forwarded to

Conditions for application

Selected participants will be required to cover their own travel expenses to and from the workshop venue during the 2-day briefing and the 2day debriefing workshops. The Africa Leadership Forum will be responsible for participant's accomodation and feeding only; and pay a stipend to cover transportation during the 21-day attachment

Application deadline: July 19, 2010

Posted By rotimi to youth development in Nigeria at 6/22/2010 06:05:00 AM

Monday, June 21, 2010

There is no rain and there is no hope

This is Niger again with a food crisis due to drought.
No rain...
Only 500 miles south, Lagos in Nigeria is flooding with rain.

Could we possibly pass on some rain clouds to the drier climes of the North?
What is the state-of-the-art in cloud seeding and controlled cloud transport?
I hope to touch on some of this in a new blog (X Vogue) someday.

Freshness and Inspiration

Dedicated to my friend, MCShola, who is visiting Crazy Lagos from Sane Seattle.

It is inspiring to see how asking simple questions, then seriously thinking about the answers, making simple decisions to honestly implement solutions is how progress has been made, and may still be how progress will be made, even in the most frustrating, seemingly intractable of situations.

MSC Software: They make software, but they must ask questions like "Where is the bleeding edge?" to know that they are oriented in the right direction, not for the past, which is gone, but for tomorrow. The blogger writes: Without these guys to disrupt the status quo, where will the real innovation come from?
Some responses suggest that solver-independent pre-processing is going to be important, or that the next development is in wiki-like features, run over the web without any old fashion client/server architecture...real-time collaboration; revision/version control will be handled automatically, or that the big thing is diffusion, creating larger markets "outside of large firms."
From the same blog, read an account of how a publicist/marketer views the technology she sells, coloured by her experience promoting hip-hop back in the day before hip-hop was recognized. Or how even the slowing economy must be milked for innovation.

It is repeated often that the establishment of IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) was an important first step in making India an economic force today...It started with an idea: The concept of the IITs originated even before India gained independence 1947. After the end of the Second World War and before India got independence, Sir Ardeshir Dalal from the Viceroy's Executive Council foresaw that the future prosperity of India would depend not so much on capital as on technology. He, therefore, proposed the setting up of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. To man those laboratories, he persuaded the US government to offer hundreds of doctoral fellowships under the Technology Cooperation Mission (TCM) program. However realizing that such steps can not help in the long run for the development of India after it gains independence, he conceptualized institutes that would train such work forces in the country itself. This is believed to be the first conceptualization of IITs. Source: Wikipedia - History of IITs

From our chat the other day, ideas...

for instance about planning the city of Lagos so that people's work and home could be near each other. Quality of life goes up, Productivity would have a chance (productivity is very low if you spend four or more hours on the road stuck in traffic every day, trust me) , Cost (of fuel, of transport ) goes down. Back to productivity, those stolen hours are literally life - one's creative juices - flowing out like tick-tock tick-tock. What would it take to make Ikeja residents work in Ikeja and Lekki residents work in Lekki? After all, the current designations are not set in stone.

for instance about collective ownership of businesses. Is communism really a bad thing just because America and Capitalism won the Cold War? After all, the Technology boom of California (and Seattle) was fueled by stock options, also known as collective ownership, the workers partly own the company. So even America is somewhat Communist/Socialist? In Nigeria, with the worker owning nothing, and the owner knowing nothing...isn't it about time we tried incentives that work? Maybe instead of looking for a job (waaay more people than jobs), form an association of mai-shai's , help them move their tea business upmarket, work on their supply chains, make money etc etc. Mai Shai is the new Starbucks :)

Note to self: More core science and math and tech work in future. It's cool.
Note to Shola: Thanks for trying. Du courage!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

For Ages 10 - 16. Deadline extended to July!!!

WORD SLAM Competition

Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access - Grants available

EFInA awards USD$1.5 Million Innovation Grant to Stanbic IBTC Bank in support of their Alternative Banking Platform to extend financial services to the Unbanked
In 2009, Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) launched its Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund is a special facility within EFInA which seeks to promote innovation in the development and deployment of financial services and thus expand financial access to the unbanked and low income population in Nigeria.
EFInA Innovation Grant Round 1 was completed in October 2009. We received and assessed 44 bids out of which the Stanbic IBTC Bank E-susu Project was successful and received a grant of $1,500,000. “We are pleased to support Stanbic IBTC in their effort to extend financial services to the unbanked.” said Yewande Adewusi, Programme Manager, EFInA. “The E-susu Project kicked off with the intention to service the unbanked market but has evolved to meet the needs of both the unbanked and underserved population through its convenient no-hassle banking approach.” said Karimot Bamisedun, Segment Manager, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc.
“Findings from the EFInA Access to Finance 2008 survey showed, only 21 per cent of the adult population of Nigeria has a bank account, which means that over 68m people have no access to formal financial services.” said Modupe Ladipo, Chief Executive Officer, EFInA. “Access to a range of affordable, safe and reliable formal financial product and services – such as savings accounts, credit, insurance and money transfer services can improve the lives of the unbanked and help to reduce poverty in Nigeria in the long run.”
EFInA is pleased to announce that the Competition is now open for the EFInA Innovation Grant Round 2. The funding from EFInA will serve to accelerate innovative products and services that extend formal financial services to the unbanked and under-banked population in Nigeria. The deadline for submission of proposals is 6pm on June 4th, 2010. For further information on the eligibility and evaluation criteria, and our application and submission process, please go to:
EFInA is an independent, professional, non-profit organization funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

If you are interested in innovation, particularly for rural and micro banking and finance, read (or read about) Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank, and also look into the seed funding also available from EFInA, and see related projects funded at Omidyar Network.
Get some money from EFInA to implement your solution.

EFInA also hosts regular Innovation Forums with past themes including:
“Transforming Access to Finance through Branchless Banking”.
“Increasing Access to Finance through Islamic (Non-Interest) Banking”.
“Card & ATM Fraud: Trends, Prevention and Legislation

Thursday, June 10, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] Join the World Bank Africa Action Plan develop...

Here is a unique opportunity to help shape the World Bank regional strategy for Africa for the next five years.

Please follow the link here to make contributions and follow closely the development of the new Africa action plan

Posted By rotimi to youth development in Nigeria at 6/10/2010 12:39:00 PM

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Oil / NafT / Petroleum, and Lies.

The crude-oil spill that is remaking the Gulf Coast (the effects will persist long after the leakage is brought under control), demonstrates the power we human beings have to carve the planet like it was our very own plasticene ball.

Companies like BP talk the talk with regard to the environment; it was back in 2006 when I was searching for a job my conscience could live with that I noticed something - there were no actual jobs at these gigantic Oil and Gas firms that relate to environment, sustainability, and the like. The frontpage of a typical company website would have a fantastic .pdf report with appropriate pictures and speeches, but when you looked inside the company, at the jobs, to see if the operation of the company had changed in any way to reflect its newfound environmentalism, you found they needed only the same type of staff as they had always needed - drilling engineers, completion engineers, etc.
Ah, so it was all just window-dressing!

Is this the kind of world we want to have, though? Where the largest companies in the world are commited to running roughshod over our need to have a beautiful and long-lasting planet?

Top 10 corporations worldwide, by revenue.

Meanwhile in Nigeria where the Gross Domestic "Product" is made up chiefly of crude oil exports, the kleptocracy (God punish them) has managed to spirit all that income away.

When you analyze Nigeria's macroeconomics, note that increasing GDP doesn't necessarily mean that Nigeria is producing anything more or better than before; when the price of crude rises, it often registers directly as increased GDP.

Nor does rising GDP mean that life is getting better for the 150 or so million people; the channel for funds from crude oil receipts to the grassroots is a leaky and treacherous one indeed.

Maybe Nigeria is inspired by the economic history of Nauru: a country that experienced a natural resource boom such that everybody was rolling in nice cars and then a dramatic bust when the resource - phosphate - ran out so that the country was suddenly humbled, with no skills, no investments, no usable land, ...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

NOTES 2 NOTE - NLI, M.I., and Friends

The different Naira Notes teach us a lot.
Watch to find out how. Share freely.

Courtesy of a team of busy bees at NLI, and their friends. Of course the internet sucks so I can't Upload the video but you can see it on Youtube.

Previously on UpNaira