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Fidelity Bank launches first-of-its-kind International Trade and Creative Fair in Houston



The world is coming to Houston, and it’s not for the Offshore Technology Conference!

The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) is usually one of the major conferences that shake up the city with a convention of international business gurus. The OTC comprises a series of conferences and exhibitions hyping technologies relevant to developing offshore energy resources, primarily oil, and natural gas.

However, come October 24-25, that record might be broken when Fidelity Bank Plc. Nigeria unveils its premier international trade and creative fair themed, Fidelity International Trade & Creative Connect (FITCC). This conference is expected to attract the brightest minds and industry leaders who would exchange ideas, create trade/business partnerships, and navigate the ever-evolving landscape of international trade, exports, and creative connections.

Houston’s Mayor, Sylvester Turner (left), MD and CEO of the Fidelity Bank, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe.  Photo by Texas International Guardian


The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe said that the Bank is very much invested in supporting export trade. “We have consistently demonstrated this by the interventions and innovations that we bring to the space. Beyond the financing instrument, some of our key interventions revolve around business management capacity development and market access development initiatives like FITCC,” she said.

Fidelity Bank Plc. Nigeria is a popular international commercial banking entity with over 7.2 million customers serviced across 250 business offices and other digital banking networks.

Expected to attend this event are international and local business leaders, owners and representatives, influencers in the digital, creative, and social media sectors, community leaders, government officials, local elected officials, etc. The organizers said they would make available a comprehensive list of confirmed guests. The organizers will also reveal a long list of partnering entities which would include financial entities, governments, and academic institutions.

Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, is designated as a hub for international commerce, known as the energy capital of the world, and a global leader in healthcare, aeronautics, advanced manufacturing, and innovation. Besides having the largest Nigerian population in the country, the city remains the most diverse, with over 2.5 million residents. The city also holds the largest port in the U.S. in foreign tonnage, two international airports, and the largest medical center in the world. In addition, more than 5,000 Houston companies are engaged in international business, and approximately 1,000 Houston firms report foreign ownership.

Houston, the fourth largest city in the US, is designated as a hub for international commerce, known as the energy capital of the world.Photo by Kevin Hernandezon Unsplash


Houston’s Mayor, Sylvester Turner, who just led a three-country trade mission to West Africa, acknowledged the city’s readiness to host this event in a video message. He equally made a personal appeal to the public for collective support. To Mayor Turner, who will out-serve his tenure in a few months, this event would be his last endeavor to strengthen the City’s business ties with Africa.

FITCC conference will address the limitless market opportunities that exist between Nigeria and the US marketplace.Photo by Alex Kotliarskyion Unsplash


Among a long list of objectives, the FITCC conference will address the limitless market opportunities that exist between Nigeria and the US marketplace. For instance, Nigeria has the largest market in Africa with a population of over 200 million. According to the International Trade Administration, Nigeria is the second largest U.S. export destination in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2021, the two-way trade in goods between the United States and Nigeria totaled over $7 billion.

Panel sessions at the event will also explore further strategies to bring Nigeria’s creatives to the global markets. For example, Nigerian artists now play a significant role in modeling Africa’s cultural landscape. In culinary, the Nigerian jollof-rice is now a global brand. Notwithstanding, Hilda Effiong Bassey, AKA Hilda Baci, a young Nigerian chef now holds the current Guinness World Record for marathon cooking.

The ITCC which will take place at the George R. Brown (GRB) Convention Center in Houston, presents the opportunity to harness the shared synergy of the Nigerian and US creative/entertainment ecosystem players is poised to create a fertile structure for business development – but choosing to host this global event in Houston substantiates the reality.

GRB Convention Center is one of the 10 largest convention centers in America currently with more than 2 million square feet. This event will be the first Nigeria-facilitated conference to be held at this convention center.

♦ Culled from the Houston News Break (Author Anthony Obi Ogbo)

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Global Cyber Security Expert, Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola bags Most Outstanding Personality of the Year Award



Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola has been recognized as the Outstanding Personality of the Year in Technology at the prestigious 4th Edition of the South West Advancement Award and Investment Summit. Professor Ademola is a Nigerian Cyber Security and Information Technology Management Professor and a Chartered Fellow of the Royal Chartered Management Institute.

This incredible achievement was celebrated at an exquisite event held on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at 5 pm at the esteemed Oriental Hotel in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria. The event brought together esteemed technocrat political leaders and prominent personalities from diverse sectors, creating an exceptional gathering of influential figures.


The annual award ceremony is dedicated to acknowledging individuals for their remarkable contributions, with a special focus on those making significant impacts within the South West region of Nigeria. The esteemed recognition is a testament to Professor Ademola’s dedication and expertise in advancing technology, especially in Africa and Europe, particularly notable for his influential work in the United Kingdom.

Dr Smith Raymond, the Director General of The Institute for Enterprise Management and Analytics, commended Professor Ademola for this well-deserved award, acknowledging the professor’s unwavering commitment to technological progress. He emphasized the importance of Professor Ademola’s work. He encouraged him to continue his outstanding efforts, highlighting that this honor is a motivating call to action in further driving innovation.


In Professor Ademola’s absence at the event, his representation by S.A. on Media, Babatunde Adekanmbi, conveyed the professor’s heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the nomination and award. It was seen as an inspiration for Professor Ademola to continue his impactful work in technology.


The event was graced by an array of distinguished personalities, including Dr. Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Dele Momodu, the Chairman of Ovation Media Group, and His Imperial Majesty Oba Ogunwusi, the revered Ooni of Ife, alongside various other notable dignitaries. The gathering highlighted the significance of Professor Ademola’s contributions and celebrated the collective achievements in advancing technology and innovation within the region

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Could South Africa be the first-ever country to provide a no-strings-attached universal basic income?



South Africa suffers from severe income inequality — one of the worst anywhere in the world. Its unemployment rate, meanwhile, is over 30%.

But its government thinks it has a solution: a universal basic income .

The idea has broad political support and the country’s largest political party, the African National Congress, said recently it is committed to implementing a universal basic income within two years.

Once the figment of ideological dreamers, a universal basic income — regular direct cash payments to a population with no strings attached — has grown in legitimacy, especially after the success of COVID-era stimulus checks. Tech visionaries racing to develop ever-more advanced artificial intelligence have also suggested implementing a universal basic income. They say it would help mitigate the job losses from AI .

Several other countries have experimented with versions of a universal basic income. Kenya, for instance, offers unconditional payments to about 20,000 people in 200 different towns.

In the United States, numerous cities and some states are experimenting on a small scale with guaranteed basic incomes , which offer no-strings-attached payments but only to select groups of people in need. While studies have shown these American programs to be successful, they have also run up against significant political opposition .

But in South Africa, most political parties are all for it. They just need to work out the details.

“The ANC is committed to finalizing a comprehensive policy on the basic income support grant within two years of the new ANC administration, ensuring broad consultation and expedited action,” South Africa’s ruling party said in a statement .

That statement came a week before hotly contested general elections on May 29, which saw the ANC lose its majority in parliament. The ANC is now working to form a unity government and a commitment to implementing a universal basic income will almost certainly come up in negotiations.

According to the party, a study at the University of Johannesburg showed that a majority of South African citizens “fully support the introduction of a basic income support grant.”

While South Africa provides payments to certain groups living below the poverty line through its Social Relief Distress grant program, the ANC plan would open eligibility to all South African adults, the Guardian reported .

The ANC said it is “exploring” options, like new tax measures and a new social-security tax, to fund the program. The party also says its goal for the program is not to replace existing social-security programs, but to complement them.

If it follows through, the ANC plan would make South Africa the first country to provide a universal basic income.

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Toyota apologizes for cheating on vehicle testing and halts production of three models



TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda apologized Monday for massive cheating on certification tests for seven vehicle models as the automaker suspended production of three of them.

The wide-ranging faulty testing at Japan’s top automaker involved the use of inadequate or outdated data in collision tests, and incorrect testing of airbag inflation and rear-seat damage in crashes. Engine power tests also were found to have been falsified.

Toyota Motor Corp., based in Toyota city, central Japan, suspended production in Japan of the Corolla Fielder, Corolla Axio and Yaris Cross. The faulty tests were also found on discontinued models.

The company said the wrongdoing does not affect the safety of the vehicles already on roads, which include the Corolla subcompact and Lexus luxury vehicles.

“We sincerely apologize,” Toyoda said, bowing deeply at a news conference in Tokyo.

A Japanese government investigation into Toyota began in January. The latest problems don’t pertain to Toyota’s overseas production.

Also Monday, Japanese rival Mazda Motor Corp. reported similar irregular certification testing, and halted production of two models, the Roadster and Mazda 2. It said incorrect engine control software was used in the tests.

Mazda, based in the southwestern city of Hiroshima, also acknowledged violations on crash tests on three discontinued models. The violations don’t affect the vehicles’ safety.

Tokyo-based Honda Motor Co. also apologized late Monday for improper tests, such as those on noise levels and torque, on a range of models whose affected older versions are no longer in production, such as the Accord, Odyssey and Fit. The safety of the vehicles is not affected, it said.

About two years ago, certification problems surfaced at Toyota group companies, truck maker Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor Co., specializing in small models, and Toyota Industries Corp., which makes machinery and auto parts.

Shinji Miyamoto, a Toyota executive overseeing customer satisfaction, said Toyota began looking into its own tests following the problems at the group companies.

The apparent unraveling of the testing systems at Toyota and its group companies is an embarrassment for an automaker that’s prided itself for decades on production finesse and a corporate culture based on empowering workers to make “ever-better cars.”

Toyoda said the company may have been too eager to get the tests done and abbreviated them at a time when model varieties were burgeoning.

Toyota sells more than 10 million vehicles around the world.

Toyoda, the grandson of the company’s founder, suggested some certification rules might be overly stringent, noting such tests differed around the world. But he repeatedly said he wasn’t condoning the violations.

“We are not a perfect company. But if we see anything wrong, we will take a step back and keep trying to correct it,” said Toyoda.

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