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Manchester United Signs Odion Ighalo

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odion

Manchester United have finally signed ex-Nigerian international, Odion Ighalo.

Ighalo was signed on a six months loan deal from Chinese club, Shanghai Shenhua with no option to buy.

United signed the 30 years old striker minutes before the closure of the January transfer window with many beliving the deal would no longer happen.

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Ighalo is expected to fill the void left by striker Marcus Rashford who is currently injured.

Meanwhile, report have it that Aston Villa had opportunity of signing Ighalo 24 hours earlier but rejected the offer.

 

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Opinion

COVID-19: Government should promote online shopping to curtail spread, job losses

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Online Business

Job cuts, layoffs, wage cuts, and employee redundancy have continued to exacerbate as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to disrupt social life, the economy and every other human activity across countries.

Hundreds of jobs have been wiped off like almost all the value chains including manufacturing, sales, and marketing, distribution, wholesale and retail, governance, aviation, tourism amongst others have been impacted negatively by COVID-19.

The aviation industry – one of the worst-hit as a result of travel restrictions imposed by many countries  – has recorded more job losses. For instance, WestJet has laid off 6,900 workers due to a downturn in business because of COVID-19. In a similar circumstance, Air Canada has put 600 pilots on compulsory unpaid leave pending improvement in the situation of things.

Coming home, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that the restriction on air travel by the Federal Government aimed at curtailing the spread of coronavirus would cost the aviation industry USD434m in revenue, 2,200 lost jobs, and loss of approximately 2.2 million passengers.

The Wall Street Journal put the U.S. job losses at around 5 million while experts have predicted that economic shortfall arising from the effects of COVID-19 could hit up to $1.5 trillion across the U.S. and a probable economic recession.

As travel bans, restrictions on large gathering and enforcement of social distancing amongst other preventive measures to curb the widespread of the deadly virus intensify, both the Federal and state governments in Nigeria are even rolling out stricter measures to halt the spread, some of which may hurt more in the long run.

Given that the number of infected persons in Nigeria has risen significantly including the confirmed cases of high profile victims (a state governor, a top aide of the president and families of prominent Nigerians), it is pertinent to advise the government to exercise caution in pronouncing total lockdown or shutdown of the entire system especially the e-commerce operators that become the obvious lifesavers in time of lockdown.

Reasons include the fact that the Nigerian economy is largely driven by the informal sector. About 70 percent of the working people earn daily wages, and total lockdown or shutdown will create ripple dysfunctions including worsening the current high unemployment level and inflation in the country. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported a 33.5 percent unemployment rate and inflation rate at 12. 2 percent as of January 2020.

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Countries like Nigeria whose economy depends largely on oil even face dire consequences amidst falling global oil price, which is around USD25 per barrel, down from USD65 at the start of the year. Credit rating agency Standards & Poor has even warned of a further slide in the oil price to USD10 amidst falling demand for crude oil due to coronavirus. This can trigger job cuts, especially in the Nigerian public sector as the federating states depend largely on revenue allocation from the central government.

In spite of the gloom and impending recession staring us in the face, however, the e-commerce industry can help reflate the Nigerian economy at this time, especially if well leveraged to serve as a buffer for hunger, starvation and job creation as demand for essential daily needs rises and scarcity of goods and services loom in the days ahead.

Logistics is a critical factor in lockdown or any emergency situation, which COVID-19 is heading to, if not urgently nipped in the bud.  Thus, e-commerce platforms like Jumia, Jiji, and Konga amongst others will enable Nigerians and other residents in the country to stay through this trying period.

In view of the rise in the number of infected persons, which may compel the government to declare a total lockdown or shutdown, or the elongation of the initial one-week that Lagos State government has declared with effect from March 26, the surge in demand for food, toiletries, and drugs in Nigeria is inevitable.

Certainly, sick people will need someone to get their prescribed drugs to them at home to prevent more deaths than COVID-19 would have caused. Families must restock as the supply of food and toiletries will run out someday soon, so they need to shop online and get their supplies delivered to their homes.

This is how the government and organizations in other climes are thinking, and Nigeria cannot be an exception. The good news, however, is that we have what it takes to respond to this challenge as appropriate.

For instance, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, Jumia has innovated Food service that will be at full service to deliver healthy meals to people right in their homes and at the same time offer riders income on a daily basis while COVID-19 lasts.

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It has also commenced its innovative “Contactless Safe Delivery” on the checkout pages of Jumia mall. The ‘contactless safe delivery’ option enables customers to make pre-paid orders for products on the platform and get them delivered without a direct body contact or cash exchange with the agents.

 

Jumia Nigeria CEO, Massimiliano Spalazzi explained that the process is to help customers keep to safety and health-conscious directives in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said contactless promotes convenience, social distancing, and cashless measures are woven into one.

 

The availability of e-payment platforms including JumiaPay, EcobankPay, Paystark, Flutterwave, Opay, etc., will not only enable convenient shopping, efficient funds’ transfer as well as eliminate the risks of contracting coronavirus via physical cash exchange.

 

Tens of jobs will also be created as they partner with operators in the restaurant, hospitality, pharmaceutical, essential daily needs sectors as a result of increased demands for these essential needs during coronavirus shutdown or lockdown.

Good examples abound in regards to what e-commerce like Jumia, Konga, Jiji, etc. can do to help in time of COVID-19. E-commerce platforms including Amazon, Walmart and Papa John’s to mention a few, have demonstrated innovation in this regard by hiring more people in the midst of COVID-19. Amazon has announced a plan to hire additional 100,000 full and part-time workers as it foresaw a surge in demand for food, toiletries, drugs and other essential daily needs as more people stay at home.

Walmart has also unveiled plans to hire 150,000 hourly workers for its stores and distribution centers through the end of May as online orders surge with households stocking up. Spokesman Dan Bartlett added that the temporary jobs may become permanent as the company was reaching out to industry groups in the restaurant and hospitality industries, which are also affected by lockdown and travel bans.

“Obviously, people are going to make more use of home deliveries, it makes perfect sense,” Dan Griswold, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Centre said.

So, we can actually halt coronavirus from taking the shine off our active human and socio-economic ecosystem if we can push the frontiers of the e-commerce system to drive the vehicle for meeting the rise in demand for food, water, toiletries, and drugs amidst COVID-19 pandemic

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Jumia announces actions to support Governments’ fight against COVID-19 in Africa

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MSMEs Empowerment

Africa’s leading e-Commerce platform Jumia has offered the support of its integrated ecosystem which include a marketplace, logistics and online payments to governments in Africa, as part of the global action against the COVID-19.

“We are proud to partner with relevant authorities to help fight against COVID-19 and support our communities which continue to support us. E-commerce platforms like ours, with e-payment and last mile delivery capabilities, are uniquely positioned to be part of Africa’s response strategy to this pandemic and we are swiftly taking actions”, said Juliet Anammah, Group Head of Institutional Affairs at Jumia.

Jumia’s actions to support governments in their fight against COVID-19 include:

  • Facilitation of social distancing by enabling consumers to buy online. By offering contactless delivery options, we eliminate physical contact and potentially reduce person to person infection.

  • Providing access to affordable basic foods and sanitary essentials on the marketplace platform. By partnering with thousands of vendors, like Reckitt Benckiser, and others, we are able to maintain fair prices and fight against speculation. Jumia has waived the commission on specific sanitary products to help consumers get them at the lowest price and implemented measures to control prices.

  • Offering Jumia’s logistics networks to help distribute health pamphlets & key products to where they are needed. Additionally, Jumia provides safe deliveries to consumers everywhere, including remote and rural areas, with Jumia’s integrated logistics network. This is important especially for elderly and sick people at home.

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  • Sourcing and distribution of face masks. Leveraging our access to supply, in particular through our network of vendors outside Africa, we have donated certified face masks to Health Ministries in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda and others, and offered to coordinate the distribution across healthcare facilities and workers, leveraging the company’s last mile distribution.

  • Incentives to pay online through JumiaPay, in support of the governments’ bid to reduce the risk of transmission through physical cash. In most countries where JumiaPay operates, we have offered special discounts for all payments done via Jumia Pay to promote cashless transactions.

  • Enhancing visibility of key health instructions. Jumia attracts millions of customer visits and searches on its platform. As such, we are collaborating with the Ministries of Health in Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Uganda and South Africa by using our online platform to share important health messages from the Ministries. We are also engaging with the Health Ministries in other countries where Jumia operates to offer the same. We anticipate that as the pandemic evolves, Health authorities may need to address different areas of concerns and a platform like Jumia can amplify the reach of much needed information.

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Opinion

China to Lagos, the frightening timeline of a deadly virus

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WHO

 

By Olusegun Fafore

 

Fatality rate across the globe since the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Chinese town of Wuhan on December 31, 2019 has signalled that this is not the best of times for humanity.  With about 8, 988 deaths and 220,877 people infected in 176 countries since the first death was recorded in China on January 11, 2020, the pandemic has boisterously announced its immensity.

Frighteningly, the virus claims human lives daily while science is still struggles with an absolute response to the scourge.  More than before, humanity has become vulnerable, and at the mercy of government policies. From one end of the world to the other, governments and political leaders are facing a whirlwind that is testing their leadership. Leaders are subjected to unusual trials and are desperate for solution(s).

In search of safety from the grip of the easily transmittable coronamicrobe, man is turning to the State for actions that will stem the tide, and provide succour at this difficult period. Sadly, no nation is capable of shielding the other. The ravaging disease does not regard the medically and scientifically advanced nations in its manifestation, so it is every nation to herself first, hence the increasing instances of border closure and entry restrictions.

To humble humanity and heighten our fears, the epidemic started its cudgelling from the most advanced to the not-so-advanced countries of the world.  Nations like China, Italy, USA, Spain, Iran, Germany and France are the worst hit, while African countries like Nigeria, Togo, Somalia and Congo have had minimal impact. Only 12 deaths out of the 590 reported cases have been reported so far in Africa.

It may be safe to argue that the worst-hit countries, with records of deaths in thousands since the outbreak of the deadly disease, are ‘host country’ and ‘high-traffic areas’, but a different perspective will be that China is where the virus originated from, other countries classified as high-traffic areas, are inheritors like Nigeria and other sub-Saharan Africa countries, and should have had lesser impacts as well.

The truth is that danger is looming and humanity is under attack. While the response strategies by Nigeria and some other countries may have contained the spread of the deadly disease, especially in Africa; this terrifying development has justified the need for increased collaboration and support amongst the nations of the world. Humans have to come together to protect their turf.

The hurried spread of Coronavirus across the globe has shown that we are closer than the flight time from one region to the other suggests. People from one continent are just one person away from contingents from other continents. Asians are not far from Africans, so are Australians close to Americans, because there is no distance in human linkage(s).

We now know that the world is one small circle that can be covered in just few days. There is no better authentication of this statement than the number of human victims succumbing to the lethal calls of microbes globally. The fact that a disease starts in a remote part of the world and travels across the hemisphere to other parts in hours proves that we are not as isolated as we had always thought.

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Outbreaks of pandemics like HIV/AIDS, Ebola and Coronavirus are compelling enough for us to rethink our humanity. More than wars, epidemics are greater threats to humankind. It is therefore important that global leaders, multilateral agencies and international organisations align on investment in critical health infrastructure and scientific breakthroughs to sustain our reign on planet earth.

Microbes and diseases are interested in our world. These horrible impostors are keen on displacing us in our hundreds, thousands and millions, if we continue to live the way we have always lived and refused to exploit our mutual strengths. For pandemics, the fate of Africa is always a concern to the global health community. This is because of the continent’s history of poor investment in health care and hindered scientific advancement.

The African continent was not known to stand-up to its health challenges, or any global health problems. Until the containment of Ebola outbreak in 2014 when Nigeria offered the best of Africa to the world, no one ever thought that there could be a coordinated response to a pandemic by Africans.

As one of the immediate destinations of the hemorrhagic fever (Ebola) which originated from Liberia when thousands were sick and dying in the West African regions of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (28, 616 cases and 11, 310 deaths), Lagos was gripped by fear and thrown into panic because of the devastating statistics.

The epidemic claimed the life of Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, the Lead Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist at a private hospital in Lagos, who remains the heroine of the battle against the Ebola pandemic in Nigeria, but the capacity of the State to speedily deploy resources to contain the spread of the deadly disease and limit casualties to 8 deaths out of the 20 cases was globally commended by the time we defeated the outbreak in September 2014.

Lagos State Government showed the world what Africans could do in times of crisis to forestall a continent-wide spread of dreaded diseases. The promptness and efficiency of the State response system protected Nigeria’s over 22 million population, occupying a landmass of approximately 3345km, from the highly infectious disease.

The averted calamity, considering that Lagos population density was 20, 000 per persons per square kilometre in built up areas, would have been colossal. Poor management of the situation would have spelt a total disaster for the country, and perhaps Africa’s over 1.2bn people.

That was a global tragedy contained. Really, such an incident should attract and induce multilateral support, in form of capacity building and investment in health infrastructure in certain areas of the world. Weaknesses or lack of capacity in certain locations in the face of pandemic outbreaks endanger the whole world, no matter how distant anyone may be from the originating country.  Before Coronavirus, China was very far, right?

Locations like Lagos are central to global wellbeing and progression of human health agenda for a number reasons. Notable amongst these is that the world cannot afford a weak link in the aggressive campaign for health security and wellbeing.

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For a destination with two domestic airports, an international airport and two seaports, which are adjudged to be the largest and busiest on the African continent, a national or subnational government can only do little in combating security, socio-economic and health challenges or threats, when they emerge from the interconnectedness of our world.

Lagos is only exemplary in fighting the scourge of COVID-19 because of deliberate government policy and leadership commitment to quality public health.  The Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, before the outbreak had taken a strong position that made the State response to the menace adequate.

As Incident Commander, his outlook inspired great confidence in the Lagos State Incident Command Team battling the menace of the deadly disease in Lagos, but would this have been the story if Africa was the origin of this deadly virus?

What would the pressure on Lagos facility and the outcomes of the unanticipated stretch of the State health facility and preparedness for incidents, which have drawn commendations from far and near, especially by the World Health Organisation (WHO) been?

Yes, since the detection of the first case of Coronavirus on February 27, 2020, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Sanwo-Olu has remained resolute in curbing the spread of the virus and preventing human casualty. But in reality, megacities like Lagos and other densely populated regions in the world require increased global support and collaboration towards improving healthcare and proving world-class facility. This will not only strengthen the State’s capacity to combat situations such as this, but also bolster its ability to provide support for other destination in the region during emergencies.

So far, Governor Sanwo-Olu’s decisions and actions have significantly moderated the possible spread of the microbe and doused fears that Coronavirus could sweep the entire country in matter of days. To manage the situation, Lagos State activated its emergency health management and response framework, embarked on a mass enlightenment campaign about the importance of personal hygiene, closed schools and prohibited public engagements with more than 50 participants at a single location in the State.    

Some of these decisions are tough because of the socio-economic texture of Lagos. But indeed, times are hard, and only tough decision could help humans chase microbes off our streets. As social animals, the chances that these aliens will creep into our system are very high, and definite, if we fail to demonstrate a certain level of watchfulness over ourselves. We need to help the response system work by following simple guidelines. When government demonstrates political will, citizens should reciprocate with commitment.

But more importantly, it has become better known that our spaces in the world are shared facilities. Therefore, we need to increase our humanity. Leading nations, global leaders, civil society activists, well-meaning individuals, international organisations and multilateral agencies, need to rethink what our investment priorities should be. The focus of innovation and scientific advancement need to shift to healthcare infrastructure and systems in high population density regions of the world.

Fafore is the Executive Assistant on Public Relations and New Media to the Governor of Lagos State.

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