Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The African woman must stand up, speak up and shine: Beatrice KEPSEU


By | December 12th, 2015

KEPSEU MARTHE BEATRICE - Born in 1975, I began my journey through life. After leaving home at age 18, I decided to enroll at the National High Polytechnic School Yaoundé in 1993.  From there, I quickly realized that I loved
KEPSEU MARTHE BEATRICE – Born in 1975, I began my journey through life. After leaving home at age 18, I decided to enroll at the National High Polytechnic School Yaoundé in 1993.  
From there, I quickly realized that I loved Electricity. Soon I made a decision that I am going to study to become an Electrical Engineer. After my graduation, I started working at Switch Telecom Engineering where I was so devoted to the point of being named first woman in Central Africa as Senior Manager of Operations and Maintenance in MTN Cameroon, a Telecommunication Operator. During my stay at MTN Cameroon, I participated in the implantation and growth of the first private telecommunications company from the first to the seven millionth subscriber, as much as from the 1st to the 800th employee. I have attended many training sessions in Management and Leadership, during my 17 years of dutiful service. This has successfully driven people  (staff, vendors, contractors…) to believe in their dreams and 
 guided them towards greater achievements. I am currently the Co-founder of a startup company 'Powerlink' which  provide subcontracting services to Operator and HES KABLO Central Africa Representative distributor of Telecommunication , Fibers , Data and Powers Cables .

In 2014, I was selected as the best candidate of TECHWOMEN 2014, a state awards from the U.S. Department of State distinguishing leading Women in the field of Technology who have an impact in
their country. I live and breathe volunteerism.  I believe that everyone can give back to the community
and dedicate hours to events in life that call for empathy. Breathing volunteerism, through ‘’Technovation Challenge Cameroon’, I push many creative and young women to dare technology and science, usually considered the man's world. Exposing these vibrant and talented girls to computer science and entrepreneurship at an early stage through the designing and programming of a mobile application, we do not only inspire many girls to be better versions of themselves with   technology,  we as well connect them to their role models, who hitherto give them knowledge for free, by sharing their enriching experiences of creating their very own high-tech product, thus empower them. With a group of women, we have created ‘’INNOV-LADIES’’ to educate young girls and boys on how to make excellent use of Information and Communication Technologies. ‘INNOV-LADIES’’ believes that to close the gender technology gap, we have to inspire girls to pursue computer science by exposing them to real life and on screen role models.


Determination, Passion and Perseverance are keys words for me when faced with business challenges. My passion for innovative ideas on technology has always been my
driving force.  I can share my experiences and innovative ideas on how to master this technology and as well as learn from others anytime. 
My determination is what enables me to reach my set goals in every project I am in
engaged in, and circumstance that I may find myself.  There are always “valleys, hills and plateau” levels in everything we do in life…favorable, trying and difficult moments; and it is only through perseverance we can attain our goals. To me, Perseverance is my “icing on the


My father has been of great inspiration to me. His values and principles greatly shaped my character
and gave me the drive I needed to evolve and push forward. Some of these values
he taught me are hard work, honesty and happiness. As the last child of my
family who lost the machinery of the home (my mother) , my father's love and support made me who I am today. I remember he constantly reminded me to respect everyone regardless of who he or she is, saying that we came to this world naked and naked we shall return to the bosom of the earth.


My role model is my mother. She was the strongest person I knew. She passed away when I was at the University but I hold enviable memories of her dedication, hardwork, love, and respect. Our house was always like a Church full of many thirsty Christians, in search of the word for the mind and the spirit, due to our mother's way of being. I learn from my mum that there is more to giving than receiving. 


I started my career with a PanAfrican company based in South Africa called
MTN and I was among the first employees at MTN Cameroon and I helped to build the
company from scratch to grace with my daily efforts to see it grow. 

Having started my own company ‘’POWERLINK’ , I sub-contract for other companies in Africa.
Our daily experiences build us strong enough to specialise in planning, integration, implementation
of Solutions, tailor- made solution provider, any other services depending on
the needs and the market's evolution. We as well  largely distribute quality telecommunications
equipment , data and power. I envisage owning a network charged with the responsibility of deploying SOLAR affordable Solutions that will provide energy for rural areas in every home in the
next coming five years. In all this my husband, my true partner does all to give me the necessary

African women face challenges in so many areas of life. We can list sex / gender discrimination in education, different professions and decision making. African women are more or less considered
based on certain traditional believes and customs as “baby ponders and fit just to stay at home, cook for the man and take of children.” Her attempt to emerge or step into the limelight or forefront of affairs is more or less regarded as a sort “rebellion’’. Most African women found in rural suburbs, in most African countries, do not have voting rights. These ills are just a few among numerous ills; early or forceful marriages,  girl child circumcision, domestic violence, lack of economic empowerment schemes or nonexistent economic revenue… and the list goes on and on.

I am working with young girls in other to educate the
girl child on the importance of computer science through practical
demonstrations, and how this can solve immediate community challenges,
facilitate job creation and economic prosperity. With INNOV-LADIES, we will organize
forums of female experts and professional in the STEM fields, company
executives, entrepreneurs… towards encouraging young girls in the field of
technology, engineering and entrepreneurship.

During my days at the university, I was managing the
swimming club. Members of the club were surprised that I was going to be their
swimming teacher. I was a young girl and this is not common in Africa to see a
small girl managing a club of such. But they were obliged to change their mind
when they saw me on the swimming pool swimming like a fish. Up till today some of
them still call me swimming teacher. Swimming is my favorite activity for
Sometimes, I also watch comedy movie.


African women should be Inspired, Celebrated and
empowered because African country cannot develop without her. She is the
motherhood and the foundation of our family. When women have the possibility to
see that there is somewhere other women are capable of excelling, they get
inspired and this breaks the “mould” of inferiority/gender complex. She is so
inspired by her and would like to celebrate her and be empowered.

I would love to work in the Education sector.  My
belief is that an Educated Woman is an Empowered Woman. I will like to advocate
on any initiative to encourage young girls to pursue school. Good education
provide to young girl, it is a likely hope and a golden
opportunity for the girl child, especially in the rural areas, to change this
status quo and become woman technologist and entrepreneur towards the
attainment of economic prosperity.


The advice I have for the African Woman, is to tell
her to stand up and occupy her rightful position as the first educator of the
family and a nation builder. Work hand in glove with her husband to upgrade the
standard of living of the family.
They have to engage in more challenging fields where the gender gap is wide, take up more community development and charity programs
to create an image worthy of its kind and for the advancement of her community.

The African woman must try to be at the forefront of politics in her nation, fight for political
positions to having access to decision making organs and exert her influence
towards ameliorating gender parity, for a better nation building.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I Am Positioning To Become The 1st Female Grassroot Social Entrepreneur in #Nigeria – Lydia Aromolaran

My name is Lydia Aromolaran, born in Lagos state on a special day, 1st January 1977 into a humble family of Mr. and Mrs. Oyewole. 
I obtained Higher National Diploma (HND) in accounting from Federal Polytechnic Nassarawa State. In other to build my entrepreneurial skill I enroll for a certificate in entrepreneurial management course CEM at Enterprise Development Center of Pan Africa University through the World Bank scholarship. I had two statement of accomplishment from Cousera after completing The World Bank Group MOOC on Financing for Development and Engaging Citizens: A Game Changer for Development. I also have a statement of accomplishment from London Business School.
I am the COO of Yoly Nigeria Limited an airtime vending and Distribution Company as well as mobile money super-agent for both Ecobank Nig Ltd. and Diamond Bank Nig. Plc/MTN Nigeria presently.
 In May 2014, the company was appointed by Ecobank as one of the aggregators/super-agents to handle the Millennium Development Goal Conditional Cash Transfer (MDG-CCT) disbursement project in selected rural communities within the FCT area councils. This was a 12-month project.

In May 2014, the company was appointed by Ecobank as one of the aggregators/super-agents to handle the Millennium Development Goal Conditional Cash Transfer (MDG-CCT) disbursement project in selected rural communities within the FCT area councils. This was a 12-month project.
Due to its enviable track record in driving mobile money adoption, evidenced by the number of subscribers the company was able to onboard to the Ecobank mobile money scheme, MTN Nigeria recruited the company in August 2014 to drive the Diamond Bank Mobile Money (Diamond Yellow Account) Public Awareness Campaign in Abuja, Niger and Nassarawa state.
Due to its remarkable performance in the MDG-CCT project, the company was again appointed by Ecobank to handle cash-disbursement using mobile money for the USAID-funded project; Support to Vulnerable Households for Accelerated Revenue Earning (SHARE) aimed at reducing the poverty levels.
 Faith – Complete trust and confidence in God has kept me going
 Passion – I am so passionate about what I do even though it takes a lot of explanations of my dream to people 
 Determination – I made up my mind to never go back
Life is about contribution, not consumption; it is about relevance, not significance’. Life is not about getting from people, but it is about giving out to people, reaching out to them. Life is about service, not status; it is about sacrifices, not surplus. It is about giving, not just receiving. Life is about responsibility, and the right attitude to life is a responsibility that we owe our destiny.
This is part of the reality of life that made me start a social enterprise focusing more on Micro Small and Medium Businesses mostly in the semi-urban areas and rural communities where we have the unbanked and underbanked. Most of these business owners do not have any form of financial records.
My Husband, he is my support and my backboneAlthough I knew who I am, I build my self-esteem and I got the intelligence support of my God sent husband in my success journey.
Alysia Silberg is my mentor she is the first to appreciate my work on social media for encouragement. She has been a self-driven serial entrepreneur, strategist, mentor, successful TEDx and keynote speaker, mathematician and co-owner of multiple successful enterprises. She is an expert in passionately leading and empowering teams and building data driven solutions for numerous multinational companies. 
M-Pesa is a mobile phone-based money transfer and microfinancing service, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya. It allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services easily with a mobile device. M-Pesa is a branchless service whereby customers can deposit and withdraw money from a network of agents that includes airtime resellers and retail outlets acting as banking agents.

To be recognized globally as the first female Grassroots Social Entrepreneur. To build viable, effective, and accessible agent networks in rural communities and semi-urban areas of Nigeria and also empowering micro small and medium enterprises through digital financial services.
I am a member of Neca’s Network of Entrepreneur Women (NNEW), Alumni of Enterprise Development Center of Pan Africa University and a Mentor on Cherie Blair Foundation platform.
The establishment of active agents in these communities will both create jobs and also increase the income lines available to them. Most agents have a primary business and agency comes in as an additional source of income because of the commission. Also, some members of the community with proven integrity can be recruited as agents, thereby creating jobs for them.
Agents will also need to recruit additional hands as the business expands, thereby creating employment opportunities in the community.
Building an effective agent network is both capitals intensive and costly. Despite the zeal and willingness to establish viably and an active agent, outlets lack the funds to invest in this project.  The funds generated from the primary business of the company are not sufficient to meet the running cost and to invest in establishing agent outlets across states in the country.
Family time is foremost on my list and I treasure the moments I spend with my family and friends. I indulge in so many guilty pleasures whenever I have the opportunity such as going on movie “dates” with my family.
By being better connected, women feel safer, find employment, start businesses, access banks, and learn about market prices and altogether benefit socially and economically.
Women empowerment is one of the utmost actions that can bring about rapid development in our society.
Empowering women educationally can give women voice and ability to get engaged in creating an enabling environment for strategic development
If I have any opportunity to empower women in the rural community I will be fulfilled because I am passionate about doing that.  I will like to contribute my little experience to humanitarian work and to develop my skill.
According to the National Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria with an estimated population of about 160Million has over 140million active mobile lines according to the monthly subscriber data report for 15th April 2015 posted on their website. Also, according to the CBN financial inclusion report, only about 21% of the population has access to banking services, while over 74% have never been banked.
From the above data, we can safely say that there are so many people out there seriously in need of a convenient, reliable and accessible financial service that will accommodate their needs. The question then is; how can we leverage on the impressive mobile phone penetration to bring the much needed financial services to the people, especially those in the rural areas?
With the high penetration of mobile phones, therefore, it is easier to introduce a financial service that leverages on this technology and that is what we intend to achieve.
It will be easier to get the people to adopt a system that leverages on what they already have (mobile phone) than an entirely new system.

AU ICC Withdrawal Recommendation Means little

by John Campbell
February 2, 2017

A general view shows Chad's President Idriss Deby addressing delegates during the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016. (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri)

At the end of the recent 28th African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa on January 31, a recommendation emerged that collectively member states should withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC). The AU is not a party to the Treaty of Rome, which established the ICC, and its recommendation cannot compel individual states to withdraw. According to the media, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tanzania opposed the AU recommendation and other states declined to commit themselves. In the aftermath of the recommendation, on February 1, Nigeria publicly reiterated its intention to remain within the ICC.

he most vocal advocates for withdrawal have been Kenya, Burundi, and South Africa. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice President William Ruto were both indicted by the ICC for crimes connected to their 2007 elections. Both cases collapsed, with the Kenyan government declining to cooperate with the ICC and, possibly, tampering with witnesses. South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has been widely censored for his failure to hand over Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir when he visited South Africa in 2015 for an AU heads of state summit. Al-Bashir has been indicted by the ICC. As a signatory of the Treaty of Rome, South Africa was obligated to hand him over for trial. Zuma failed to do so and even helped facilitate al-Bashir’s travel back to Sudan. This is apparently a violation of both the Treaty of Rome and South African law. As such, there is currently a case against him still making its way through the South African courts. The Burundian government took steps to withdraw from the ICC following a credible UN investigation of systematic human rights abuses, including thediscovery of mass graves.
However, in Kenya legislation to bring about withdrawal from the ICC has lapsed. Similar legislation has not been introduced in South Africa. Further, according to Deutsche Welle, both the Kenyatta and Zuma governments appear to be exploring possible amendments to the Treaty of Rome – which implies their continued membership. Nevertheless, sentiment in sub-Saharan Africa is widespread that the ICC “unfairly” has focused on the continent, and ignored abuses elsewhere. Some African intellectuals complain that the ICC has ignored the human rights abuses committed by western nations, including those alleged against the George W. Bush administration with respect to Iraq. African nations often cite the United States as an example of why they should not be beholden to the ICC: the U.S. position is that it supports the ICC while declining to sign the Treaty of Rome. On the other hand, African elites also recognize that there is at present no alternative to the ICC for holding the chiefs of signatory states accountable. Most of the ICC cases brought against Africans have been at the request of African governments at the time, including those involving Kenyatta and Ruto.