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Bharti Airtel now second largest telecoms operator in Nigeria…

Bharti Airtel, a global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Africa and Asia, has further consolidated its market position in Nigeria, demonstrating return on investment for the company in Africa’s largest operation.

Fresh statistics from Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), the market regulator, show a continued growth trajectory placing Airtel as the second largest telecommunications services provider in terms of customers. This means that Airtel has now leapfrogged Glo to second largest network by customer numbers. According to the report published on the website of the NCC, Airtel Nigeria, as at February 2014 recorded total customer number of 26, 194, 336.00 while Glo, MTN and Etisalat finished at 24, 490, 650.00, 57, 183, 745.00 and 18,119,397.00, respectively.

Congratulating the team, Christian de Faria, Airtel Africa CEO, said: “This is a remarkable feat for Airtel, demonstrating that our investments, aimed at ensuring a superior experience for our customers in Nigeria, are bearing fruit. It is also a clear indication of the trust that a growing sector of the population have started to have in us.” He added: “This achievement has not come easy and I must congratulate the Airtel team in Nigeria. Nigeria continues to be a very competitive telecoms market and our intention is to ensure that we continue to innovate and make life easier for our customers.”
The findings by NCC have corroborated independent research from Credit Suisse, a global financial-services group, which in July last year showed that Airtel’s market share has improved markedly in Nigeria growing by 21.3 percent, in the ten months leading to April 2013. Importantly, Credit Suisse noted that Airtel has the advantage of growing its market share using the existing, unutilized capacity on its network.”
Airtel Nigeria’s Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Segun Ogunsanya, said: “The recent report from the NCC is a glowing testimony to our collective commitment of delivering value to our customers and also becoming the most loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians in line with our corporate vision. We are extremely pleased that Nigerians are expressing confidence in our network and we will continue to excite and delight them with innovative and affordable mobile telecommunications solution.
For us at Airtel Nigeria, this is, indeed, the beginning of a new journey to reclaiming market leadership in the highly competitive telecoms landscape and we are totally committed to our quest of offering the best network experience as well as bespoke value offerings,” he said.

Since the launch in 2010, Airtel has invested over $1.7bn dollars to expand network capacity and deepen quality in Nigeria, in a bid to achieve world-class service quality. The company’s launch of its market-leading 3.75G service in March 2012 and the subsequent roll-out, has offered unparalleled, high-speed mobile Internet, across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja.


Download our eMerchantNG Android App here…we look forward to your feedback to help improve the BETA App.

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Big 7 African telcos enter landmark agreement

Phone Handsets

As a result of high-level meetings at this year’s Mobile World Congress, seven major mobile operators across Africa and the Middle East have developed a roadmap to cooperate on network infrastructure sharing initiatives.

“We are greatly encouraged by the shared vision of mobile operators and the common urgency to find solutions that will drive down the cost of mobile and Internet services and help connect the unconnected,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA.

“Unique mobile subscriber penetration is only 40 per cent in Africa and the Middle East, lower than the global average of 47 per cent, so we need to work together to expand the reach of mobile.”

The initial group of senior leaders who support this initiative includes:

* Christian de Faria, CEO Africa, Bharti Airtel

* Ahmad Julfar, Group CEO, Etisalat Group

* Sifiso Dabengwa, CEO and President, MTN Group

* Dr. Nasser Marafih, Group CEO, Ooredoo Group

* Marc Rennard, Senior Executive Vice President, Africa, Middle East and Asia, Orange

* Serpil Timuray, CEO, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific Region, Vodafone Group

* Scott Gegenheimer, CEO, Zain Group

“This cooperation demonstrates that the industry is committed to innovating in order to serve the billions living in the rural areas,” said Manoj Kohli, Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises and Chair of the Public Policy Committee of the GSMA board, who also supports the initiative. “We call on governments to support and encourage the commercial infrastructure sharing arrangements that we aim to propose.”

According to a statement, “the participating operators have made this commitment in order to provide Internet and mobile broadband access to unserved rural communities and drive down the cost of mobile services for all sections of the population.”

Between the operators involved, they collectively manage 76 mobile network operations across 47 countries in Africa and the Middle East, serving 506 million customers.


Download our eMerchantNG Android App here…we look forward to your feedback to help improve the BETA App.

If the App doesnt install, please go to your “Settings”, “Security”, under “Device administration” tick “Unknown Sources” and re-install again.

Thank You.

CNN’s African Start-Up features founder of Online Nigerian Grocery store, Olumide Olusanya

African Start-Up profiles entrepreneurs in Africa on their effort in making

their dreams a reality …

Retired doctor and founder of the first online Nigerian grocery store,, Olumide Olusanya, was featured on CNN’s ‘African Start-Up’ series, which highlights Africa’s SME entrepreneurs.

In the interview on CNN’s African Start-up programme, Olumide Olusanya said the idea of starting an online grocery store came to him when he saw his wife juggling the tasks of raising three small kids while managing a full time job. He was motivated to make grocery shopping easier for all especially working mothers.

Olusanya says, “I saw the stress she was going through, to have a happy home and family, the pressure of a busy job and having to care for the home, so this for me was a way to relieve her of that stress and make shopping generally easier for busy Nigerians”.

This start-up whose operation is just a little over a year is aimed at becoming Nigeria’s largest supermarket with a focus of relieving people of the stress of everyday visits to the supermarket and the bottleneck of long queues and hassles encountered during such visits.

“ will change the standard of shopping in Nigeria, whereby customer can visit our site from the comfort of their offices and homes and place their orders by just clicking on products they need and have it delivered to them”.

The site was formally known has, but later had its name change to with the objective of offering the best delivery services to customers at every point in time.

For more information, viewers visit

Orlando Julius and Grammy-winning Jazz Master, Marcus Miller, set Lagos Jazz Series Stage on Fire

This year’s Etisalat-sponsored Lagos Jazz Series was as enthralling as expected, with guests at the A-list event treated to five hours of snazzy performances by renowned jazz legends, Nigeria’s Orlando Julius and America’s, Marcus Miller, at the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos.

Miller, the star act at the event, won Grammy Awards for Best R&B Song in 1992, for Luther Vandross‘ “Power of Love” and Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2001 for his fourth solo instrumental album titled M2. Miller lifted the hearts of the Lagos Jazz Series guests to Motown when he performed ‘Detroit’, to the Middle East when he performed ‘Blast’ and back into Africa when he performed ‘Tutu’. The highlight of Miller’s performance was when the multi-instrumentalist proudly showcased his all-Nigerian drum crew, who were recruited barely 4 days before the concert.

The concert featured other performers drawn from across the world, including South African Pianist, Nduduzo Makhathini and Kenya’s Sara Mitaru who opened the concert. The Lagos Jazz Series 2013 also featured instrumentalists from Nigeria, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Boston, Texas and London.

Acting Chief Executive Officer at Etisalat Nigeria, Mathew Willsher, said supporting the Lagos Jazz Series was the brand’s way of sharing its passion for life with customers and also bringing nothing short of top quality music performances for their pleasure. The Lagos Jazz Series follows other concerts activated by Etisalat, this year, such as Mary J. Blige Concert, MUSON Classical Concert and Cloud 9 Series.

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PlayStation 4 available in Nigeria…Thanks to Jumia


Sony’s latest PlayStation 4 console was launched in the US last week and consumers in Nigeria will be among the first in Africa to receive stock.

One of the biggest eCommerce sites in Nigeria, JUMIA is facilitating orders for customers and these customers could receive the console in three to eight days.

JUMIA continues to bring the best shopping experience to their customers in Nigeria by being the first company to offer PlayStation 4. The long awaited game console was released in USA on Tuesday selling out in 24 hours. Now the new PS4 is available on the Nigerian market with customers being able to start ordering and have it delivered anywhere in the country,” the company said in a statement.

The unit is available for ₦139,995, which translates to roughly $879 which is more expensive than the South African version, which is expected to retail for no more than R6 200.

Ore Odusanya, Head Of Gaming & Electronics JUMIA Nigeria: “We are very excited to be the first company to have the latest PlayStation console available in Nigeria. Every day we strive to make the online shopping experience better for our customers and we are happy to now provide a requested world known product on the Nigerian market.”

Africa’s natural resources can drive industrial revolution

Opinion article by Carlos Lopes and Tony Elumelu

Carlos Lopes is Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Tony O. Elumelu is an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and the chairman of Heirs Holdings Limited, a pan-African investment company committed to driving economic prosperity and social wealth in Africa.

The economic performance of Africa in the last few years has been remarkable. The continent has consistently defied the global trend.

Five years after the global financial system came perilously close to collapse, the global economic outlook is still uncertain. In Europe, GDP is still below pre-crisis levels and unemployment is at a record high. Recovery in the United States, although stronger, remains weak by historic standards, and even China, which has done so much to drive global growth, is slowing down.

Yet, in what some might call an unexpected twist, average growth in Africa over the last decade has been more than 5%. Of the 10 fastest-growing global economies, seven are in sub-Saharan Africa. But how will this economic spike be sustained? How do we ensure we continue along this trajectory?

It is the world’s appetite for Africa’s rich natural resources which, up to now, has been the major driver of this stellar record. And it is this same appetite that will provide both the opportunity and the solution for Africa to sustain these economic achievements.

While not all African countries are commodity rich, the continent has 12% of the world’s oil reserves, 40% of its gold, and 80% to 90% of its chromium and platinum. Africa is also home to 60% of the world’s underutilized arable land and has vast timber resources.

The idea that these abundant natural resources can be the driver for an industrial revolution across the continent is growing. The latest edition of the Economic Report on Africa (ERA 2013) sets out how the continent’s future will be determined by how policies that promote commodity-based industrialization are designed and implemented.

We believe that such a transformation is both imperative and possible. But it requires courage, vision and a new mindset from the continent’s business and political leaders to overcome the challenges which continue to hold back the building of a successful and dynamic industrial base in Africa.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to accelerating resource-based industrialization. But important lessons can be learnt from the success of countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Venezuela in promoting value addition, new services, and technological capabilities.

Malaysia, in particular, is a perfect example of how a commodity-based economy was transformed, through focused state interventions and an allocation of resources towards the industrial sector, to a high-income and diverse manufacturer in only a few decades. Through a series of five-year development plans, centered on a vision to transform the structure of the economy and raise incomes in the medium- and long-term, investment was oriented towards industry. Today, Malaysia is a key manufacturer and exporter of a wide range of goods and services.

It is clear that governments, both individually and collectively, have an important role. A supportive policy and investment framework is essential to attract long-term investors. Policies to build local capacity and address inequality are essential. Moreover, developing skills through training and incentives will ensure that local economies are able to grow and diversify.

However, a barrier to Africa’s industrialization that is not often talked about is the mindset of private sector leaders — both in and outside Africa. Many are still indulging in the same historical rent-seeking attitudes that have resulted in the short-terms gains of crude, cocoa and gold sales.

More business leaders need to change their thinking and understand that short-term revenue gains — as opposed to long-term value addition — offer little or no contribution to sustainable economic growth.

We are now seeing a new style of African business leader emerging — leaders who are building, investing, growing for Africa’s future. It is their efforts which will provide the jobs and income which will have the biggest impact on tackling poverty and driving wider social progress.

Africa’s private sector must take the lead in improving coordination between farmers, growers, processors, and exporters; in increasing competitiveness in the value chain, and ensuring the price, quality, and standards that market demands are met.

We need to see national and regional champions created and supported, and help foster effective collaboration between public and private sector and the development world. This is the essence of the emerging economic philosophy called Africapitalism, a private sector led partnership mode focused on Africa’s development.

We have already seen real progress on the continent. Ethiopia‘s leather industry is not only developing fast but is also increasing high-value-added activities. South Africa and Egypt are making similar strides. In Ghana and Zambia, the cocoa and mining sectors have long contributed to wider socioeconomic growth. In East Africa, the success of Kenya’s fresh vegetable producers in adding value to their exports has been remarkable.

But when Africa only sees some 10% of the income from its own coffee crop, we can see that much work still needs to be done.

Africa now has the chance, as never before, to shape its own economic future through industrialization. This will help to spread prosperity throughout the continent. An industrialized Africa will also provide a much-needed new driver of global growth. It is in everyone’s interest that Africa succeeds.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carlos Lopes and Tony Elumelu.

For more information visit, CNN




Tony Elumelu

Tony Elumelu

Carlos Lopes
Carlos Lopes


Overcoming the payments hurdle for Nigerian e-commerce

Nigeria is not “business as usual” for new entrants to the market – but, according to Robin Philip of payment services provider PayGate, for global eCommerce providers there are many opportunities if you have the right supporting network of partners and suppliers.

Philip says setting up in Nigeria has proven to be extremely challenging for online retailers in particular. “As in most African markets, Nigeria has a complex and atypical payments environment. Credit cards are rare, and there is a wide range of branded and proprietary debit cards and payment methods available on different networks which must be brought together cohesively.”

To make matters more complicated, says Philip, “there is no unified payment switch or local equivalent of South Africa’s Bankserv where online payments can be cleared. Anybody setting up to take online payments has to configure their payment offering from scratch and make multiple links and integrations to different networks.”

Philip says this creates an opportunity for payment services providers like PayGate to play an important facilitating role. “Online retailers from outside the continent will find that going direct for their payments is extremely expensive, time-consuming and difficult to manage.  It makes sense for us, as a payment services provider, to knit those multiple integrations and relationships together into a single package that works.”

The task is challenging, says Philip, but by no means impossible: “The Nigerian environment on the whole is challenging, and visiting Lagos (the New York of Africa) is an interesting experience, not for the fainthearted — but when it comes to business, there’s a difference. Once the personal contact has been made and there’s an agreement to do business together, things move fast. They are very driven.”

With 170m connected consumers, says Philip, it makes the extra effort worthwhile. “Lagos and Nigeria are really starting to take off as a global business destination. We believe there’s a window period of three to four years to establish a strong presence in the Nigerian market”.

Gennii Games, Efiwe Mobile Application Emerge Winners of Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation


Genii Games and Efiwe Mobile Application have emerged winners of the second edition of the ‘Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation’ organized by Nigeria’s most innovative telecommunications company, Etisalat. This award which is aimed at encouraging and celebrating valuable innovation in the African market was presented at the Africa Com awards Gala Dinner held at the Waterfront Lookout, Cape Town South Africa, on the 13th of November 2013 as part of the Africa Com 2013 Conference.

The ‘Etisalat Prize for Innovation’ was awarded in 2 categories: The first prize of $25, 000 for the most innovative product or service was presented to Genii Games (Asa), a growing collection of interactive culture teaching mobile app for African children, and a second prize of $10,000 for the most innovative idea presented to Efiwe Mobile application, a social education network that provides a simulated learning environment with in-depth resources in every field of study and subject of study.

Speaking on the success of the second edition of the competition which witnessed an impressive array of entries for the two award categories, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, explained that the competition was instituted to provide the opportunity for ingenious people to present innovative and relevant mobile broadband products/services and ideas.

He said, “We are delighted at the creativity shown by all the entries and this is a clear indication of the importance of broadband in Africa. Innovative broadband projects, products and services have improved the way we live and work and so we launched this award last year because we realise the importance of broadband in the industry. Innovation is core to our business strategy at Etisalat Nigeria and we see ourselves as a young and innovative business setting the pace for others in the Nigerian telecommunications industry”.

The Etisalat Pan-African Prize for Innovation featured a high-level judging panel representing business, telecommunications, entrepreneurship and network development reviewed the entries and established a final shortlist of 4 nominees in the two categories.

The 6th annual Africa Com Awards provided an evening of entertainment that attendees described as the best yet.

Etisalat Leads Development of Innovation Culture in the Mobile App Ecosystem

Etisalat Nigeria has once again demonstrated its industry leadership and continuing support to the growing community of local application developers in the country by partnering with 70TH Precinct on the maiden edition of the Nigeria App Summit 2013. The summit which held recently at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island was organized to provide a structured platform for discourse on growth and development of the Nigerian App ecosystem.

Working with the central theme: “Unleashing the Power of Mobile Applications”, speakers and delegates all agreed that for the Nigerian App ecosystem to reach its full potential, the Apps must be able to address the needs of their target audience. To achieve this, speakers at the summit charged local developers to come up with innovative ideas that will drive usage and ultimately change the face of mobile App technology in the country.

Manager, Data Marketing, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Bankole Alao reiterated Etisalat’s commitment to partner with brilliant application developers and technology start-ups. According to him, Etisalat is concerned about the growth of indigenous Apps and is ready to provide the necessary support in terms of exposure to the appropriate target subscriber base and enabling infrastructure to make the apps work. “We have been able to grow our sub base to 16 million subscribers in just over five years due to our firm commitment and belief in delivering value through innovative products and services. We believe that App developers should embrace the same culture and provide users with unforgettable interactive experiences,” he said.

The conference played host to the brightest minds in mobile technology, along with developers, brand managers, and mobile devices manufacturers. The Minister of Information Communication, Mrs. Omobola Johnson in a recorded message commended the organizers and partners of the event, saying that it was happening at a time when internet penetration was on an increase. She articulated the Federal Government’s agenda to incubate and accelerate the growth of the ecosystem through trainings that will enable the developers sell their ideas to companies.

Summit Director, Mr. Osa Umweni said the objective of the summit was to bring together the stakeholders in the mobile technology industry to proffer solutions to the creation and adoption of locally designed Apps. He lauded Etisalat for its role in driving these conversations, saying that the company understands that the future of mobile technology lies in Applications. He also implored other network service providers to work on putting Nigeria on the global map as far as mobile Apps are concerned.

EFInA’s Women’s Financial Inclusion Forum


Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) hosts Women’s Financial Inclusion Forum

EFInA discusses practical strategies to enhance women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria

Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) hosted their inaugural Women’s Financial Inclusion Forum to share ideas and discuss practical strategies to enhance financial inclusion for women in Nigeria.

The EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2012 survey revealed that 21.6 million men (47.4% of adult men), compared with 16.2 million women (38.3% of adult women), had access to formal financial services. In addition, the South West had the highest percentage of formally included women at 53.5% and the North West had the highest percentage of financially excluded women at 71.3%.

The Women’s Financial Inclusion Forum brought together local and international stakeholders from the public, private and non-profit sectors to highlight approaches for bridging the gender inclusion gap by improving access to and usage of formal financial products for Nigerian women.

EFInA Board member Mrs. Anino Emuwa opened the forum by explaining that EFInA has specifically identified women as a focus area in its 5-Year Strategy, as women remain a relatively underserved group. She encouraged participants at the forum to develop innovative solutions that would enhance women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria.

Chief Executive Officer of EFInA, Ms. Modupe Ladipo, shared in-depth analysis on the landscape of women’s financial inclusion in Nigeria. Ms. Ladipo provided insights about the key differences between the demographic profile of men and women, as well as between formally served, informally served and financially excluded women.

International guest speaker, Ms. Jennifer McDonald, Savings Manager, Women’s World Banking (WWB), presented global best practices for women’s financial inclusion, sharing her organisation’s experience in developing products that enhance women’s financial inclusion. Ms. McDonald discussed WWB’s work with Diamond Bank on the BETA Savings product, which is targeted at unbanked and under-banked Nigerians, especially women. In 2011, EFInA awarded Diamond Bank a Technical Assistance Grant to develop and pilot the BETA Savings product.

The panellists at the forum included Mr. Anant Nautiyal, Mobile Programme Director, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women; Ms. Ngozi Eze, Nigeria Country Director, Women for Women International and Mr. Jude Anele, Head, Retail Banking, Diamond Bank. They provided practical examples for deepening women’s financial inclusion.

During breakout sessions, participants at the forum developed actionable strategies for ensuring women’s uptake and usage of formal financial products through effective product design, emphasis on financial capability and adoption of mobile technology.

In closing, the Chairman of EFInA’s Board, Mr. Yemi Cardoso, stated that “women are far more excluded than men in Nigeria. We must ask ourselves what measures we can take to address that imbalance. One potential solution could be the provision of unsecured lending by financial institutions.”

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