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COVID-19 brought to the fore an increased appetite for information and the realization that success can only be achieved if there is cooperation amongst people, businesses and countries.  As a company passionate about changing the African narrative, we have an important role to play in championing and facilitating conversations that bring together influential players across all sectors to proffer solutions to pertinent issues that have been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, through our Leadership Webinar Series and Millennial Conversations.

Leadership Webinar Series

According to the World Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic sparked the worst global crisis since the Great Depression, ushering a reversal in the fight against extreme poverty thereby, pushing an additional 88 million people into extreme poverty in 2020. This implies that the largest share of the “new poor” will be in South Asia, with Sub-Saharan Africa closely behind. Vaccination is thus, pertinent to the continent’s economic revival.

In December 2020, the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered with over 900 million doses of coronavirus vaccines administered worldwide (New York Times, 2021). With the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) targeting 35% of the continents’ population being vaccinated by the end of 2021; the webinar sought to examine Africa’s readiness to roll out the vaccines given the prevalent funding, logistical and infrastructural challenges.

The webinar moderated by COVID-19 survivor Ademola Ogunbanjo, General Manager, Business Support Group, Oando Energy Resources featured a diverse panel representing key players in the fight to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus including Dr. Olaolu Aderinola, Head Response Division, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); Dr. Chizoba Wonodi, Faculty Member, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Country Director, International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC); Dr. Ngozi Onyia, Managing Director and Founder, ‎Paelon Memorial Hospital, and Edwin Ikhuoria, Africa Executive Director, the ONE Campaign.

The direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are strongly conditioned by inequality between and within countries. Increased inequality from COVID-19 will have long-term consequences. Another outcome of the pandemic is increased social unrest.  Conditions globally dictate that the pandemic will simply increase the likelihood of unrest, uprising, and revolution. Today, there is an urgency which has birthed a revolution in the way change is being driven.

This webinar sought to encourage meaningful, honest and engaging discourse on the best ways to resolve this growing inequality specifically in the Nigerian / African environment which have unique challenges that may require bespoke solutions. 

Speaking as panelists were Hafsat Abiola-Costello, President & CEO, Women in Africa Initiative; Dr. Jason Hickel, Economic Anthropologist, Author, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London; Maimuna Maibe, Country Director Nigeria, Global Citizen, in a session moderated by CNN Correspondent, Eleni Giokos

In late March 2020, the Nigerian Government implemented a lockdown strategy across certain states in a bid to contain the spread, transmission and associated deaths from the COVID-19 as number of cases began to rise. Following the 4-week long stay at home directive, the pressure on government to restart the economy led to the easing of the lockdown in Lagos and Ogun states, and the FCT with a number of safety protocols and guidelines to ensure a limited spread of the virus, and more importantly, the health and safety of Nigerians.

It is clear that there can be no single grand ‘exit plan’, neither is the timing for exit clear, as we saw countries like China, South Korea and Germany who eased the lockdown and began to see increasing new cases just weeks into their social integration. The need to get the timing of lockdown exit right is, therefore crucial, and so is the understanding of how to scope the respective phases of exit, as well as the governance system that will enforce required behavior.

This webinar encouraged a meaningful, honest and engaging conversation on the best ways to resolve the unique and uncharted issues associated with easing the lockdown restrictions, specific to the African environment. The session which was moderated by CNN Correspondent, Eleni Giokos had Dr. Ainojie ‘Alex’ Irune, COO. Oando Energy Resources; Dr. Tomi Coker, Honourable Commissioner for Health, Ogun State; Prof. Akin Abayomi, Honourable Commissioner for Health, Lagos State; Ada Osakwe, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Nuli Juice & Agroby Ventures; Joao Hrotko, MD & Partner, Lagos, Boston Consulting Group, as panelists.

A recurring topic precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is how you lead in a time of crisis. This webinar, moderated by CNN Correspondent, Eleni Giokos brought together, public and private sector leaders, Dr. Ainojie ‘Alex’ Irune, COO. Oando Energy Resources; Sola Hammond, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on SDGs and Investments; Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho, 2019 Obama Leader & CEO Futuresoft; Ini Ebong, Group Executive, Treasury and Financial Institutions, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd; Emmanuel Ijewere, Managing Partner, Emmanuel Ijewere and Co. & Independent Director,NOVA Merchant Bank Ltd; and Boye Olusanya, Chief Operating Officer, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, to discuss and proffer solutions to leadership issues, taking learnings from affected countries and industries.

Millennial Conversations

Strong institutions are the cornerstone of sustainable development. In this dialogue, speakers representing different generations shared their perspectives on ways to effect change in Nigeria through the building of strong institutions. The objective of this dialogue was to inspire youth and private sector players of the need to create microcosms of excellence so that together we proactively build a better Nigeria for generations to come.

Host: Ainojie ‘Alex’ Irune, COO, Oando Energy Resources (Host)

Speakers: Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, General Partner and Co-Founder, Future Africa; Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, Managing Partner of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd; Olufemi Awoyemi, Founder & Chairman, Proshare Nigeria Limited.

According to the UN, three quarters of Africa’s population is made up of individuals under 35, yet the youth continue to be left out of conversations about moving the continent forward specifically at an unprecedented time such as this.

The world is at an inflection point and African Millennials need to drive the discourse. Oando hosted a millennial conversation with young leaders across various sectors, as a way of empowering the younger generation to begin to think differently about the future and some of the mindset shifts and innovations that will take us there.

Host: Folu Storms 

Speakers: Adenrele Sonariwo, Founder, Rele Art Gallery and Rele Art Foundation and Consultant to the Ogun State Governor on Culture & Tourism; Tamara Aihie, Chief Operating Officer, Grey Velvet Stores; Shola Ladoja, Founder/CEO, Simply Green Limited; Tito Ovia, Co-Founder and Head of Public Sector Growth, Helium Health; Zulu Oyibo, Co-founder & Film Executive, Inkblot Productions; Yanmo Omorogbe, Co-founder & Director of Growth, Bamboo; Tomiwa Lasebikan, Co-founder, BuyCoins Afric; Rima Tahini, Director of A & R, Mavin Records and Otto Orondaam, Social Entrepreneur & Founder, Slum2School Africa.

According to the United Nations (UN), three quarters of Africa’s population is made up of individuals under 35, yet the youth continue to be left out of conversations about moving the continent forward specifically at an unprecedented time such as this. Hinged on this belief, we launched ‘A Millennial Conversation’ in May, 2020 with a maiden session titled ‘Building the Future Post COVID-19’.

Evidently, the world needs changing and Millennials, a generation of digital natives, raised with a global mindset, who are the most informed, educated and most connected generation in history, are in the forefront of navigating the world through these changes.

These under 40s have inherited a myriad of global challenges, and with the largest youth population in history, there is an unprecedented opportunity for the teeming Nigerian youth to take an active role in shaping the future. The session, ‘Change Starts With Us’ focused on the role Nigerian millennials should play in changing the status quo and bringing about inclusive and equitable change.

Host: Folu Storms

Speakers: Samson Itodo, Executive Director of YIAGA AFRICA, Convener of the Not Too Young to Run movement; Michael Famoroti, Chief Economist, Stears Data; Bright Jaja, CEO & Founder of iCreate; Odunayo Eweniyi, Co-Founder, Piggyvest and Foluso Agbaje, Head, Human Resources, Jobberman, Nigeria.

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