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World Bank suspends Nigerian tech company, Softech IT Solutions, MD, for corrupt practice

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The World Bank has suspended a Nigerian information technology solution company, SoftTech IT Solutions and Services Ltd., and its Managing Director, Isah Kantigi, for alleged corrupt practices.

While the tech company was sanctioned for 50 months, its MD was sanctioned for 60 months.

In a statement published on the bank’s website on Wednesday announcing the debarring of the tech company and its MD, titled “World Bank Group debars SoftTech IT Solutions and Services Ltd. and its managing director,” the bank disclosed that the firm and its MD were being sanctioned for improper payments made to certain officials of the National Social Safety Nets Project, which the bank saw as bribery.

“The World Bank Group today announced the 50-month debarment of SoftTech IT Solutions and Services Ltd., an information technology solutions company based in Nigeria, and the 60-month debarment of its managing director, in connection with corrupt practices as part of the National Social Safety Nets Project in Nigeria,” the statement reads.

Part of the sanctions also stipulates that for the period the suspension will last, neither the company nor Katingi will be able to engage in any project funded by the World Bank.

“SoftTech and Mr. Isah Salihu Kantigi, are now ineligible to engage in World Bank Group-funded projects and operations,” the statement added.

The IT firm which specializes in Big Data and Cloud Solutions, Geographic Information Systems and Mapping, Information Retrieval and Search Engines, according to the bank, had breached the “Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions,” which was signed on April 9, 2010, and as a result, both “are eligible for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks (MDBs).”

It added that Kantigi also worked out a deal with other individual consultants, allowing them to make similar payments to project officials, an act the Bank frowns at and sees as
a corrupt practice.

“This constitutes a corrupt practice under the World Bank’s Anti-Corruption Guidelines. The settlement agreements provide for reduced periods of debarment in light of Mr. Kantigi’s and SoftTech’s cooperation and acknowledgement of the misconduct.

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New documentary showcasing stories of African women leaders released

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A new documentary aimed at showcasing the stories of women entrepreneurs, industry leaders and investors working to solve real problems in African markets has been released by Women Who Build Africa (WWBA).

The documentary video which is in conjunction with skincare brand Uncover, and also has Madica as partners, showcases stories and perspectives of women entrepreneurs and investors building in African markets.

Thea Sokolowski, co-founder of and head of marketing at Stitch, who announced the release of the documentary, said it one of the first to offer a wide-ranging view of women business leaders on the continent.

The video has been released ahead of the upcoming Women Who Build Africa Assembly which will take place in September in Nairobi.

“There’s nothing more powerful than hearing the stories of women that are walking the talk and actively working to build – and support – businesses solving real problems in African markets,” she said.

“I’m excited to share just a few of these stories, and showcase the women behind them, both for the rest of the world to hear and for any women considering taking the leap to walk in their footsteps. We hope to tell even more stories like these in the future.”

Also speaking on the release, Sneha Mehta, co-founder and CEO at Uncover, said:

“We are so excited to partner with WWBA on this powerful film showcasing such incredible women builders on the continent

“At Uncover, our aim is to empower women to ‘uncover’ whoever they want to be, confidently. That is so much more than products. It is a movement to inspire women to show up unapologetically.

“By showcasing more authentic stories, our hope is to show courage, confidence, vulnerability, journeys and the power that really is revolutionary.”

The video features perspectives from women leaders across organisations, from Melanin Kapital, to Partech Africa, BuuPass, Delta40, Mosmos, Kola Market, Uncover, Greenspoon, Gobeba, EarthEnable, Earthbond, Founders Factory Africa, Madica, VunaPay, Bloom Money and many more.

The full video which was produced by Strange Creature in South Africa, is available on YouTube and will be screened ahead of the WWBA Assembly.

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World Food Programme seals deal with Equity Group for easy financing to Kenyan farmers

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The World Food Programme (WFP) has signed an agreement with the Equity Group that will allow farmers in Kenya have easy access to financing.

According to the terms of the agreement, WFP country offices in the country will also link value chain actors in food and agriculture to financial literacy training and concessional financing access through Equity Bank subsidiaries.

The agreement which was signed by Dr. James Mwangi, the MD and CEO of Equity Group Holdings and WFP Executive Director, Cindy McCain, on the sidelines of the WFP Executive Board Session in Rome, is a first example of linking WFP’s deep field presence and engagement with value chain actors and financial service providers, and represents a new model of private sector engagement for development impact.

“The approach aims to support marginalized communities where traditional financing is scarce,” Mwangi said while announcing the agreement.

“Together, WFP and Equity, through the Equity Group Foundation, will provide training of value chain actors to help them to access financing, as well as providing technical assistance to ready agri-processors and agri-preneurs for impact investments offered through Equity Bank.

“The agreement is a scaling of a development collaboration between WFP and Equity BCDC in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for the project Promotion of Sustainable Food Security.

“This ambitious project, which has been operational in the DRC since 2022, aims to stimulate the development of a sustainable agro-industrial sector that contributes to economic diversification, food and nutritional security, employment, and livelihood improvements,” he stated.

Also speaking, McCain said the Equity Group developed the “Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan which is committed to growing our support of access to finance for farmers, who are also dealing with the scourge of climate change, to 30% of our loan book regionally by 2030.”

“Smallholder farmers are crucial to food production in most developing countries, providing over 70% of food calories in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

“Developing local food value chains – and supporting the ecosystem of agriculture from production to purchase – is essential for enhancing farmers’ income and livelihoods and ultimately contributing to food security not just in Africa, but globally.

“This is a powerful example of how innovative partnerships can address the root causes of hunger. By empowering farmers with the tools and resources they need to thrive, we can create a ripple effect of prosperity that strengthens long-term food security for the whole community.”

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