Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Useless Bank of Africa

I'm so tired. Why am I tired? Ah yes, it's because I'm hungry. Why am I hungry? Because I've been roaming around trying to get internet to do some "work" (such as type this blog, hehehe)
Why can't I get internet at the office in spite of having sacrificed a workweek and my good health to get authenticated for the new Unilag internet? Because it's switched off but the room it's in is locked and the internet office can't fix it and I'm not willing to sacrifice another day and my health...
The business news in Nigeria is very good. Let me explain: Bandwidth. Let me show you:
Competition forces telcos to reduce tariff on data services
•Internet users in for good times

Going by the increasing number of undersea cables coming into Nigeria, both finance and market watchers say the nation’s highly competitive telecommunications market appears poised for a tariff war.

Speaking on the development, which they already estimate will spur exciting times for internet users in the country, they told BusinessDay that most operators are spurred by the prospect of boosting revenue from internet services as voice tariffs continue to fall. To this effect, data services has now emerged as the new ‘competition war front’ for telecoms firms.

Since the liberalisation of the telecoms sector in 2001, internet access market has remained untapped while voice services thrived. For years, and until the last few weeks, the only cable system serving Nigeria’s internet needs was the South Atlantic 3/West Africa Submarine Cable - a submarine communications cable linking Portugal and Spain to South Africa, with connections to several West African countries along the route. MainOne cable and Glo-1 have already commenced commercial services.

Equally, the West African Cable System (WACS) - an initiative of nine countries (including Nigeria’s MTN Group), which comes with a high capacity submarine cable system linking Europe, West Africa and South Africa is, at the moment, under construction.

Analysts who spoke with BusinessDay confirmed that some telcos are already taking advantage of the enormous bandwidth on offer from these new cable systems to lower internet tariffs, strengthen existing services and produce new solutions that promise to transform the economy.

Leading the pack in the area of pricing, meanwhile, is MTN Nigeria which has reduced its monthly Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) tariffs from N5, 000 to N3, 000. This thus rates it as the cheapest in Nigeria currently.

According to Kenneth Omeruo, an internet analyst, for other telcos to stay competitive, they will have to lower their respective BIS tariffs. This, he noted, will translate into more Nigerians getting connected to the internet at international broadband speeds and at more affordable prices.

However, in a swift response, second national operator, Globacom, which has its own self-feeding submarine cable - ‘the Glo-1’, has also reduced the price of its 3G internet service by 25 percent. Now, Globacom’s internet subscribers can enjoy data limits of 6GB on its ‘Always Max Package’ for only N7, 500 from the previous price of N10, 000. Moreover, insider sources disclose that Zain is also making plans to introduce a new promotional package that would see BIS tariffs fall to as low as N1, 500 monthly.

Some GSM operators have also introduced new bundled product offering, with the pay- off being free internet service. Only recently, Etisalat and Samsung launched the Samsung Galaxy Tab, a new smart device that allows users to enjoy PC (Personal Computer) like web browsing, e-mail-on-the-go with an optimised user interface. The Tab comes with an Etisalat SIM card which offers 25 minutes of free voice calls, 25 free SMS and more importantly, 250 MB of free internet access every month for one year.

Similarly, Globacom and leading technology solutions provider, Hewlett-Packard (HP), have introduced an innovative offering that enables Nigerians to own top-end internet-equipped netbooks. Under the special bundling offer, customers can get Glo 3G powered HP netbook for N34, 000.

Without doubt, data services have become the next frontier in Nigeria’s telecoms industry even as the voice segment reaches saturation point, analysts have submitted. They added that telcos would however have to pay keen attention to data services as a new revenue generating stream.

The analysts believe that even as telcos focus more on internet services due to the proliferation of submarine cables, the cost of internet access will continue to drop significantly as more bandwidth capacity becomes readily available to the market.

Lanre Ajayi, president, Nigerian Internet Group (NIG), who spoke with BusinessDay at the weekend, said: “Telecoms operators are increasingly paying attention to the internet. The reason for this is that voice services is reaching saturation point. They are looking at data as a new revenue generating stream. This is also why they have rolled out their 3G and GPRS services to their customers.

What we are seeing today is not surprising to me. We are witnessing the effect of having more than one submarine cable in the country. With three cables fully active in the country, there is an abundance of bandwidth capacity available to telecoms operators. They have no options but to offer innovative data services to their subscribers at lower costs. The trend will continue and we hope when other cables berth on the country’s shores, the cost of internet access will become even more affordable and improve Nigeria’s digital index and internet penetration rate,” the NIG boss noted further.

So now, though very belatedly, Nigerians will have access to internet phone, video phone, reasonable Internet speed, better prices, studying online instead of bothering with antique educational institutions (I'm not saying Nigeria is horrible, I'm just saying the world is changing so fast that school may be too behind-the-times for some kids.)
The other reason I haven't had breakfast really is that I needed to send someone a little money. Remembering that I can't do this electronically - there is a lot you can not do in the banks - I decided to use the ATM to withdraw the cash from near my bank branch office after which I would take a =N=20 ride to the person's bank branch office to deposit the money and then start my day. As you might have guessed, even this didn't go so smoothly. "Issuer or Switch Inoperative" was the message from the machine. If you live in Naija you know that means no juice.
So I thought again, why is UBA (United Bank for Africa) fighting with their service provider (Interswitch?) Or why would they shut down service three days (so far) in one week?) Is it because they want all their customers to revert to other banks? Unlike on Sunday when I was stranded on Lagos Island - that day, I was supposed to take a friend out to lunch and theater: nothing - and on Tuesday - also a holiday, banks closed for Eid, and I was going to take mum out for her birthday but SHE ended up giving me money hehehehe - today I was right by an open bank branch.
The friendly lady in the bank told me of the customer service phone number at the back of the card. Lesson learned: next time something goes wrong, call customer service like you would do in yankee/jand/wherever. Assuming you have money for phonecalls (which will become cheaper soon yippee) and the phone network is up you have "service" and ... She said it might soon be fixed.
Since I didn't want to line up inside the bank for an over-the-counter withdrawal (one hour of my life, plus when it reached my turn they would ask "did you bring your withdrawal booklet?" and I would actually laugh out loud because they always have a test question to deprive the undeserving of their world-class service), I waited at the ATM enclosure, a small house with maybe six machine with one or two "dispensing" on usual days while one or two let you "check your balance." Today no UBA customer would experience the thrill of checking balance. Only Issuer or Switch Inoperative.
I watched a bunch of people come and leave with no juice, and I saved a few people the effort by announcing the machines don't work. As they left, more than one of them muttered Useless Bank of Africa! Now that's the way to deal with these things, with wit and humour, while Americanas like me go lodging complaints and action-planning.
I was reading my newspaper (of course somebody asked to borrow one) when I got bounced by a security guy who suggested I wait elsewhere but not in the shade of his useless ATM house. Then decided to go home - the sun has been firing on an cylinders these days so, not fun - to get a few notes I had kept there, then I went to the other person's bank to make the deposit of little over 50 dollars.
Mission almost accomplished. After a few quarrels with the musical security-check robot hallway - go back, try without the keys, try without the bag, lift up your cell phone then walk slo-owly, no, walk briskly (walk "sharply", as we say) - I finally got into First Bank, listened to some guy complain about how he needed some service that was (of course) impossible for the bank to perform, probably a withdrawal, and then made the deposit.
Yeah, so am I planning to do any research today? Dude, let me get breakfast first.

The newspaper has more good news: the handling of the banks' crisis in Nigeria yielded a plea-bargain and jail-term, which is more than any other country can boast, so we're teaching the Americans. With this kind of good PR and a united financial team, that good investment money is on its way in. Al hamdulillah. Please just celebrate: don't spoil it by saying that Ibru is actually not in jail but nursing her heart in the rich-man-hospital.
In other news, Basel III exists, although many countries haven't even got through the first set of regulations yet.
The newspapers were fun. Philip Isakpa and Funke Adetutu (I'm not ready to change her surname even if she is) and Victor Ehikhamenor (and - one week later - how could I leave out Dayo Elusakin) keep up the tradition of the humour that makes all things bearable. I love you Naija.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The top 0.001% and the remaining 99.999%

I recently returned from a legislative internship programme in a State House of Assembly in Nigeria. This experience reminded me that
1. the work of government legislature is nothing but a little commonsense discussion, such that with phones and communication technology, anybody can do it and
2. the work of government legislature is not being done in Nigeria - how many people know, let alone trust, their representatives?
I do not think the representatives spent 1hour in the entire month of October working for the people of their state. But the state has given them enough money to become fine yuppies with SUVs, phones, and polo shirts?
Instead of paying for poor government, why don't we just debate things ourselves and buy something good with the money we save:
- electricity at =N=150billion naira (that is, 500 individuals' pay) per 1000MW
- education at =N=100 thousand per month per teacher and =N=100 thousand per year per child
- health care
- electoral reform

As it stands, Nigeria's Lawmakers have the highest pay in the world. I think we can get better service much cheaper. I think we need to fire them all and use our computer. (Yeah, talk in rhyme all the time)

Some may say we need to canvass for not only a minimum wage, but a maximum wage as well. One could set the maximum wage at 10 or 20 times the minimum wage. As it stands now, that ratio is about 10,000 (the highest wage of hundreds of millions per year divided by the lowest wage of tens of thousands per year)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stretch

Saturday 30th October, 2010 - Up by 2 am, worked in the studio till about 7am when I took a break for breakfast and a nap before getting into the regular Saturday routine.

Sunday 31st October 2010 - Up by 5am, worked in the studio till about 9am then I took a break to get ready for Church with the family and the rest of the regular Sunday schedule.

Monday 1st November 2010 – Up by 1am, worked till 4am, took a short nap before starting the week.

And on and on, a peep into my diary in recent times. Even today, I worked from 3am till day break. Stretching, to meet deadline, to perfect my skill, to be better at what I do.

Thinking back though, for the first few weeks after leaving paid employment, I felt one of the things I needed to enjoy was a little more rest, like a nap in the afternoonor longer hours at night. But then I pondered on the routine of some popular/successful people.

Tiger woods

6:00 Weight workout (90 minutes)

7:30 Breakfast ; 8:00 Practice tee (2 hours); 10:00 Putting green

10:30 Play 9 holes; 12:00 Lunch; 1:00 Practice tee (2 hours)

3:00 Short game work; 4:00 Play 9 holes; 5:00 Putting green

5:30 Home

Even though he has played since he was two years old and has a very unique gift for the sport of golf, Tiger focuses on a detailed (and deliberate) practice routine each and every day. Deliberate practice makes Tiger a great golfer. (CrossHairs Trader)

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart rises before the sun, well-rested and ultra-perky at 3:30 am. But, the fact is that no one has ever seen Martha Stewart sleep ... (Martha Stewart Everyway)

President Obama

He reads several papers, eats breakfast with his family and helps pack his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, off to school before making the 30-second commute downstairs — a definite perk for a man trying to balance work and family life. He eats dinner with his family, then often returns to work; aides have seen him in the Oval Office as late as 10 p.m., reading briefing papers for the next day. (New York Times, January 2009)

John Grisham

When he first started writing, Grisham says, he had "these little rituals that were silly and brutal but very important."

"The alarm clock would go off at 5, and I'd jump in the shower. My office was 5 minutes away. And I had to be at my desk, at my office, with the first cup of coffee, a legal pad and write the first word at 5:30, five days a week."

His goal: to write a page every day. Sometimes that would take 10 minutes, sometimes an hour; ofttimes he would write for two hours before he had to turn to his job as a lawyer, which he never especially enjoyed. In the Mississippi Legislature, there were "enormous amounts of wasted time" that would give him the opportunity to write.

"So I was very disciplined about it," he says… (San Francisco Chronicle, Februay 2008)

What we see usually is the result of their stretches. I have learnt that what got them there and keeps them there is a lifestyle of consistency in giving more than what is common.

It didn’t take time for it to dawn on me that, if I also wanted to be different, then I couldn’t continue to do what the regular person did. I needed to stretch. Truth is, I need to put in extra to get into the extra-ordinary. I would only get out of life what others who sleep and wake at the common time get.

How spot on the words of this quote – The Heights by great men reached and kept were not attained in a sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upwards in the night - It regularly filled my mind when I was tempted to become laissez faire with my routine.

So now I stretch. For others it may take another format, but definitely to master that skill or ability, you need to give it more- maybe time, maybe attention. You may need to study more, make more cold calls for that sale or even practice more.

Looking t the end goal usually helps to stay on track with stretching. Even the Bible says…for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross (referring to Jesus Christ).

Remember you can’t get what others are not getting if you give just what they are giving. Keep that target in mind, thenssstttrrreeetttccchhh.

Monday, November 08, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] the $1million Wilberforce award for young people

The Wilberforce Award

It has become obvious to me that my generation has over exploited our wonderful world – and it's younger people who will pay the price. Like many people my age, I've benefited from a long period of constant economic and population growth – we are addicted to it. But sooner or later this consumption growth will have an end. We appear to be already bumping against the limits of what our planet can sustain and the evidence is everywhere to see.
Right now I believe we could be sleepwalking to catastrophe because we are failing to both acknowledge that there are limits to growth in a finite world and to prepare for a more sustainable way of organising our economy. In the 19th Century, empires were built on the labour of slaves, and it was believed economies would collapse if slavery was abolished. But brave people like William Wilberforce fought to end the slave trade – and economies still flourished. We need brave people like Wilberforce today, and I want to encourage a new generation of clear-thinking and inspiring young leaders.
So today I am announcing Dick Smith's Wilberforce Award – $1 million to go to a young person under 30 who can impress me by becoming famous through his or her ability to show leadership in communicating an alternative to our population and consumption growth-obsessed economy. I will be looking for candidates whose actions over the next year show that they have what it takes to be among the next generation of leaders our incredible planet so badly needs.
Candidates will need to have a firm belief that we can have a viable and strong world economy that is no longer obsessed with growth for its own sake, but instead encourages both a stable population and sustainable consumption of energy and resources. They must be able to communicate that we cannot continue to squander the resources that will be needed by future generations, and they must also be able to communicate a plan that offers an alternative to our growth addiction.
Like the Nobel Prize, you will not apply for the Wilberforce Award. Over the next twelve months I will be following the media throughout the world to see who is the most outstanding individual in not only making a significant contribution to this important issue, but who also becomes famous through his or her contribution to the debate.
One year from now I will announce the winner of the $1 Million Wilberforce Award. The Award will go towards advancing the momentum the winner will have already achieved.

for more information click here


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Posted By Blogger to youth development in Nigeria at 11/07/2010 10:35:00 PM

Monday, November 01, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] Apply: Institute for Venture Design Fellowship

Prospective Applicants

We are seeking energetic, entrepreneurial people, with engineering, IT, management or applied art backgrounds, to join together in learning how to create solutions to real world problems, and in starting new businesses.

We look for applicants who can't get through a day without noticing all the things that could be better in their environment; those who can't wait to spend their free time developing ideas and solutions to the problems they see around them. We look for applicants who work well in a team in which everybody shares leadership.

Generally, we seek candidates with the following skills and attributes:


  • 1. B.Sc or HND, preferably in science, engineering, social science, architecture or art.
  • 2. Minimum of 1 year post NYSC work experience in manufacturing, construction, food processing, consulting, banking, retail business, or the arts
  • 3. Demonstrable values of integrity, honesty and hard work
  • 4. Reflective about the self and with a strong desire for self-improvement.
  • 5. Creative
  • 6. Passionate about problem solving
  • 7. Enjoys working with other people
  • 8. Willing to commit minimum of 2 years to the program

Program fees for the January cycle of the IVD Fellowship will be sponsored by the Ford Foundation.


Admitted applicants will work in teams on real and pressing problems to design new products and business ventures. At the same time, fellows will gain personal knowledge and an experiential mastery of principles of design, engineering, business, finance and collaboration that lead to the creation of a sustainable capital formation system.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Please click on the link below and complete the online application form.
www.the-ivd.org/applicationform
After you have submitted your application, please deposit the application fee at your nearest GT Bank Branch, and send an email with the following format:

To: recruitment@the-ivd.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Subject: Application fee paid
Body: Full name and the payment slip number from the Bank.

BANK DETAILS FOR PAYMENT
Bank: Guaranty Trust Bank
Application Fee: ₦5000
Account name: FATE Foundation
Account Number: 201/110752/115

Applicants that have challenges submitting this fee should please contact us at recruitment@the-ivd.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , with the subject: Application fee issues

Applications are open until November 2nd 2010. Eligible applicants will be invited for an aptitude test and interviews. All unsuccessful applicants are free to reapply for future sessions.

NOMINATIONS
If you are interested in nominating a candidate for this program, please send us an email at recruitment@the-ivd.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with the following items:
  • 1. Subject: Nomination (last name, First name)
  • 2. Candidate's Resume attached
  • 3. Statement of recommendation in the body of the email
KEY DATES:

Applications for our first cycle of participants are open until November 2nd, 2010
Cycle 1 Start Date : Jan.14th
Cycle 1 End Date: Jun.14th
Cycle 2 Start Date: Information coming soon!

For any additional questions or comments, please contact us at info@the-ivd.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Posted By rotimi to youth development in Nigeria at 11/01/2010 04:57:00 AM

[youth development in Nigeria] Apply: Researc Grant Program For Young African...

The H.F. Guggenheim Foundation makes grants for scholarly research into problems of aggression and violence. One program is reserved for African Scholars under the age of 35, educated and living on the African continent. Selected applicants will attend a methods workshop to refine and improve their research plans in Accra, Ghana, in March 2011, and after submitting revised plans, will receive grants of $2000 each to support their fieldwork. In 2012 they will be funded to attend a professional conference to present their findings and will receive assistance in finding a publisher for their work.

RESEARCH GRANT PROGRAM FOR YOUNG AFRICAN SCHOLARS

The H.F. Guggenheim Foundation makes grants for scholarly research into problems of aggression and violence. One program is reserved for African Scholars under the age of 35, educated and living on the African continent. Selected applicants will attend a methods workshop to refine and improve their research plans in Accra, Ghana, in March 2011, and after submitting revised plans, will receive grants of $2000 each to support their fieldwork. In 2012 they will be funded to attend a professional conference to present their findings and will receive assistance in finding a publisher for their work.

Applications are due by December 1, 2010 for the 2011-2012 awards. Awardees will be announced before the end of the year.

This year's theme is "Spirituality and Violence." Proposals are invited to investigate how aspects of religion, ideologies, and traditional cultures and beliefs work either to mitigate conflict (conflict resolution and reconciliation, personal values, community and family strength, etc.) or to encourage conflicts (religious conflicts, subjugation of women, sorcery killings, bias against sexual and other minorities, etc.)

Proposals should be around ten pages in length, include a description of the problem to be investigated, specific research questions and plans to pursue the answers to those questions, and a c.v. for the applicant including proof of age and residence.

Send them to Karen Colvard, Program Director, as email attachments to kjcolvard@aol.com, or by mail to her at the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, 25 West 53rd St. New York, NY 10019, USA.

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Posted By rotimi to youth development in Nigeria at 11/01/2010 04:24:00 AM

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