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Innovative Strategies and Technologies Driving Access to Finance in West Africa

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By Central Bank of Nigeria’s Director of Development Finance Department, Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan.

The key mandate of the development finance department is promoting access to finance to ensure job creation and sustainable inclusive economic growth in Nigeria.

Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan is currently the Director of the Development Finance Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) charged with the responsibility of implementing the development finance initiatives. His tasks involves the formulation and implementation of various policies, innovation of appropriate products and creation of enabling environment for financial institutions to deliver services in an effective, efficient and sustainable manner.

At the Central Bank of Nigeria we are open to attending conferences like the Future Banking Technology West Africa summit, because it gives us insights into emerging innovations in the financial, banking and technology landscape. It also provides an avenue for us to learn about innovative financial service solutions that could enhance delivery of development finance services to clients in Nigeria.

As the emerging technologies and programs in the region that are increasing access to finance are necessary, The CBN in its bid to increase access to finance has embarked on a number of initiatives such as Establishment of National Collateral Registry for movable assets particularly for MSMEs and reduce the risks associated with lending to the sector. With the NCR Nigeria’s “getting credit ranking has improved from 32nd to 6th Position and the country is adjudged one of the 10 most improved economies. Credit penetration in Nigeria is currently at 3% according to recent surveys by EFInA, as part of the Financial Inclusion strategy, we hope to improve that number to 40%. This initiative will help towards that objective. The second initiative is Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility, as Nigeria seeks to roll out 500,000 agents across the 774 local governments in the country by 2020, capture 40 million Bank Verification Number (BVN) and rapidly drive Financial Literacy amongst the unbanked. This is to address the gaps of Agent Network, functional Identity and Financial literacy in Nigeria.

The third initiative is Establishment of a National Microfinance Bank that leverages Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) outlets in rural communities to deepen access to finance. The NMFB will revamp the postal system in Nigeria and make NIPOST agent outlets financial service points across the country. As well as, Introduction of Payment Service Banks – This initiative is aimed at leveraging mobile and digital service to enhance financial inclusion and stimulate economic activities at the grass roots. Promoters are expected to have 25% of their location in excluded areas of the country. Also, non-traditional players like the Telcos and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods companies (FMCGs) can now play in providing Financial services.

The new age consumers of financial services in Nigeria demand convenient, fast, affordable, responsive and reliable products from financial service providers. In responding to these demands, the financial and banking sector in the region have begun to innovate, embark on technology transformation and change internal processes to adapt to the needs of their consumers and compete in acquiring new customers. For us as regulators, our policies most constantly consider and reflect the dynamic nature of an increasingly sophisticated consumer base, while also constantly seeking ways to develop policies that will close the financial inclusion gap.

To describe the future of the financial industry in Africa considering the advent of automation, Artificial intelligence and big data; we must consider the availability of mobile phones in Africa, which has presented a huge opportunity to reach the consumer more than ever. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big data, customer insights can now be readily available to address specific needs in specific ways. This will bring strongly to the fore, the issue of consumer and data privacy especially amongst the unbanked.  To harness these potentials, we need to first address the existing infrastructure gap plaguing the region. Also, we need to look at the regulation space in the region such that it is well be balanced and does not stifle innovation.

There have been a lot of discussions surrounding telcos entering the financial space, especially since the CBN launched Payment Service Banks late last year. The primary objective of the Payment Service Bank is to provide Financial services to about 36.6 Million Nigerians who currently unbanked. At the core of the revised National Financial Inclusion strategy are two principles: regulators providing a level playing field, and, promoters playing according to their strength. From the foregoing the intent of this new category of financial services producers is to enable non-traditional players come in and play to their strength with eyes on reaching the unbanked. So, we believe the telcos and the banks have their strengths and this policy will facilitate collaboration for the interest of the stakeholder.

The digital financial services changed over the last 5 years. From our experience, a focus on consumer needs is important to increase usage of these technologies.  There is a need to constantly up skill our staff to enable them to manage digital platforms and processes. Our interest is and will always be on programs that will help achieve of Monetary stability objective while ensuring inclusive growth and economic development.

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How did studying a CIPD qualification with ICS Learn change my career?

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Journalism: Mariham Magdy

“Choosing ICS Learn has been one of the best decisions I have ever made!

I personally struggled for nearly two years trying to kickstart a career in HR and as we all know, HR is one tough industry to crack. “After choosing ICS Learn, I had a number of recruiters contacting me for HR roles and I couldn’t believe it! The level of attraction I received once putting the words ‘Studying towards CIPD’ on my CV was immense.

“I finally managed to gain an HR Administrator role in one of the best companies and couldn’t have been more pleased with being offered such a fantastic opportunity.”

Anika Parmar, CIPD LEVEL 3 & LEVEL 7 STUDENT
HTTPS://WWW.ICSLEARN.CO.UK/BLOG/POSTS/2017/JANUARY/ICS-REAL-STORIES-MEET-ANIKA/

” Other course providers did not offer upfront information about how support would be given and by whom. ICS Learn proudly promotes the tutors and high levels of expertise. This gave me confidence that I would be in good hands.
Just one month after enrolling with ICS Learn for my CIPD course, I landed my first HR role and am over the moon!”

Nikki Long, CIPD Level 3 Student
https://www.icslearn.co.uk/blog/posts/2019/november/ics-real-stories-nikki-cipd-level-3-review/

“I really wanted to break into HR/Learning and Development roles, but the jobs I was applying for required a CIPD qualification, so I then took the leap and started with ICS Learn. “From not being able to get an interview for roles I started getting offers as soon as I mentioned CIPD on my CV.”

Nin Sandhu, CIPD Level 3 Student
https://www.icslearn.co.uk/blog/posts/2019/august/ics-real-stories-nin-online-cipd-level-3-review/

“As a recent student of ICS Learn, I have completed my Level 5 Diploma. Prior to starting the course, I didn’t work in an HR role, so after shopping around and a lot of Google searching, I got into contact with a student advisor at ICS Learn.

The gentleman I spoke to was very endearing and friendly, as I didn’t work in an HR role and had no HR qualifications I was looking to start the CIPD Level 3 qualification, however, the advisor suggested I started with Level 5 as I had a university degree. “This was possibly the best choice I made as it has helped me become more recognised academically and I was able to get my first HR role in Alstom within 2 months of starting my course.”

Rukhsaar Hussain, CIPD Level 5 Student
https://www.icslearn.co.uk/blog/posts/2021/april/cipd-student-stories-rukhsaar-hussain-cipd-level-5-review/

“I have been able to use my studies in making decisions at work and able to relate the practical way of my work to my academic studies. “The tutors on my modules are friendly and approachable which has made me feel very supported throughout the course.”

Bernadette Aquino, CIPD Level 7 Student
https://www.icslearn.co.uk/blog/posts/2019/october/ics-real-stories-bernadette-cipd-level-7-review/

“Since I decided to enroll onto a CIPD Level 5 qualification with ICS Learn in April last year, it has already had a tremendously positive impact on my change in career direction.

After careful comparison with other learning platforms, ICS Learn stood out to me as the best one available, as I knew people who had done this course and were able to gain successful entry into HR, either like myself during studying, or very quickly after completion. 

They had good testimonies from students and offered an excellent flexible payment programme which made it accessible.

ICS Learn also offers good study support, from your own tutor, or even from fellow students!

Even though I’m still working towards my qualification, it has 100% helped me secure my future as an HR professional.”

Taj Chelvaiyah, CIPD Level 5 Student
https://www.icslearn.co.uk/blog/posts/2021/february/cipd-student-stories-taj-chelvaiyah-cipd-level-5-review/





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Which Certification is right for me PHRi™ or SPHRi™?

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Written by: Mariham Magdy

When deciding to take a step forward for their international certification, many HR professionals hesitate between choosing the right credential that suits their professional experience and practice; whether the PHRi™ or the SPHRi™?

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive comparison between the two credentials, to help you decide which certification is right for you.

First, we will highlight the eligibility requirements for both:

Let’s elaborate more about what is meant exactly by a “professional-level experience in an HR position”?

HRCI defines a “professional-level” HR position as one that includes:

  • The ability to use independent judgment and discretion in performing work duties.
  • A level of specialized knowledge in the HR field with some authority for decision-making.
  • In-depth work requirements, such as data gathering, analysis, and interpretation.
  • Interaction with a broad range of individuals, including key personnel.
  • Individual accountability for results.

The Exam Content Outline for both certifications.

While the PHRi builds a professional mindset for the HR professionals on how to manage soundly the different HR functions, standardizing the steps they need to follow for the successful implementation of various HR processes; the SPHRi enhances the strategic aspect of HR Management Practices.

In other words, both certifications curriculum complements each other, and it depends on where you are on your professional career ladder to decide whether you are lacking the knowledge on how to professionally manage certain HR functions or are you ready to expand your strategic views and practices in the HR field?

The Certification Renewal:

  • You must earn 1 ethics credit during your three-year certification cycle.
  • This is a part, not in addition to your 60 required recertification credits.

I believe that the “Recertification” condition mandated by the HRCI increases the value of the certification itself since it ensures the continuous learning of the certified professionals.

One of the valuable slogans of the HRCI Certifications, is that it is “Earned not Given”, and thus the eligibility and merit of earning, must be continuously evaluated and confirmed.

Recertification is one of the many reasons that HRCI certifications are the most recognized and trusted by HR professionals and the organizations they serve. And now, recertification credits are easier than ever for you to access and earn.

And now let us know more about the Exam Format & Length:

The Exam Questions are either multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, drag and drop, or scenarios.

The scenario questions present typical HR situations, followed by a series of exam items based on the scenario. These scenarios require you to integrate facts from different subject areas.

The HRCI website provides extremely useful bundles for the exam preparation material along with trial tests to assist you to get familiar with the certification exam questions and exercise them widely prior the exam itself.

In addition, the HRCI offers a “Second Chance Insurance” which is a pre-paid and non-refundable fee allowing you to take the exam for a second time in case of failing your first time.

Whether being certified as PHRi or SPHRi, the certification has three main advantages for you:

  • Requires specific work experience, competency, and education.
  • Requires recertification, which makes sure that you stay current in the HR profession through continuing education.
  • Allows you to put the letters after your name.

Through the HRCI valuable certifications, you get connected to an exclusive network of motivated HR professionals around the globe – Nearly 145,000 certified HR thought leaders working in more than 100 countries and territories.

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Emotional Intelligence and Business Excellence

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Written By: Dr. Maha Magdy

Many of us as soon as they hear about ” Emotional Intelligence” think that it’s only related to love and relations with your partner, but have you ever related it to your business? How would it help you achieve your goals? Increase your income? Enrich your resources?

In business world, we usually care for IQ of candidates and consider it one of the main aspects to use for the performance evaluation of employees, ignoring their EQ which is proved to be the strongest predictor of positive performance and long-term success according to recent studies.

Let us first identify what is meant by EQ to be able to discover how foundational it is for a thriving workplace.

EQ or Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of your emotions, moods & motives and to redirect them and manage your behaviors.

In other words, emotions are energy, and “Emotional Intelligence” is the ability to use or direct this energy to push you towards achieving your goals, which means you need first to identify your emotions then deal with them wisely.  

If you aim to be a unique leader you must know that rising your EQ enables you to influence other’s emotions and interact with them successfully and even direct their reactions!

This is not a bare claim, but a scientific truth that I am going to explain now.

Scientifically, EQ is the ability of your brain to build strong neural connections between: “the limbic system” (center for emotions in your brain) and “the prefrontal cortex ” (the rationale thinking center), the more neural connections your brain build, the more emotionally intelligent you become.  The good news is that you can train your brain to build these neural connections through emotional intelligence coaching techniques.

Emotional Intelligence, as I mentioned before, is mainly about emotional awareness, which is the ability to recognize your feeling, understand your habitual responses to events and realize how your emotions affect your behaviors and performance which is critical to your business.

Emotional Intelligence also enables you to acquire the ability to manage your emotions, stay focused and think clearly even when experiencing powerful emotions, which is crucial for your productivity, and would be reflected on your decisions, motivation, and relationships with others.

Emotional Intelligence coaching techniques will help you discover your limiting thoughts and beliefs and reframe them to unleash your potential and achieve the goals you though before to be unachievable, simply you would be able to choose how to react and whom to be.

One of the most important skills you acquire through emotional intelligence is the ability to master your personal power, the secret to become limitless through realizing your real capabilities and use them to put yourself where you deserve to be.

In these quick changes and surprising events, we face every day, emotional intelligence allows you to cope with stresses in a healthy way and minimize your negative thinking, this will protect both your physical and mental health and would reflect on your business.

Enhancing your EQ promotes you to build better relationships which reflects directly and indirectly on your business whether you are in a managerial position or an employee.

From all that we have mentioned above, we can realize how emotional intelligence would benefit your business through greater performance and productivity, greater income, improving personal skills, improving leadership skills, and acquiring a more healthy and stable work environment especially that it could be developed through training.

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