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African Women Entrepreneurs in Covid -19 Era

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Ebere Agozie

In spite of the giant strides Nigerian women have been making in the world of business, a new reality is staring them – along with the rest of humanity – in the face: COVID-19. push({});

The prevalence and astonishingly rapid spread of the virus had the whole world literally hyper-ventilating, wondering what had hit it.

At first, there was fear that, given the predominantly rural setting of Africa, and given also the fact that awareness about the pandemic has been slow in catching on, the worst was about to happen.

The expected annihilation may not have happened on the scale feared in Africa, but the presence of the coronavirus in the continent has remained a huge cause for concern.

This is especially so for women whose case is further exacerbated by the very nature of African culture.

Incidentally, many of the recommendations given by health experts as to the required distance between people have of course to do with what makes life pleasurable.

Going by the above observation, one wonders how women will be able to stick to these recommendations, considering the roles they play in the society.

In Africa where there are basically no institutions that take care of the elderly and children with special needs, the challenge of taking care of them is dumped on the door step of women.

Women as care givers do not only take care of the young children at home, feed and bathe them, but also their husbands and their aged ones.

Even as the typical belief or culture of African women revolve around domestic chores, some of these women are also the breadwinners of their homes and so must go out to work to put food on the table.

African women are very enterprising, and this could primarily be put down to the prevalent poverty in the continent and the need to ensure the welfare of their families.

There are those that are involved in subsistence farming, there are others that engage in petty trade and commerce, there is the working class, and there are those that are the corporate world, albeit not many of them in this last category.

There are equally the full-time, stay-at-home housewives, although this class is shrinking by the day as, increasingly, women in Africa perceive the need to get involved in fending for the family.

In this attempt to examine women entrepreneurship in Africa today, we will look closely at the Nigerian situation.

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With regard to enterprise, Nigerian women can be spread into four categories.

The first group is the full-time housewives, the stay-at-home housewives. As the name implies, these women simply stay at home to take care of the family, raise the children and generally run the home, while the husbands go out to earn a living.

Most of them are to be found in the northern parts of the country, mainly due to religious constraints since, by reason of their religion, they are not expected to mix very freely with the public, among whom there usually a lot of males.

This set of women is no longer as large as it was in the recent past as the increasingly dire economic conditions faced by most Nigerians make it necessary for more hands to be on deck in providing for the family.

Simply put, staying at home and waiting for the husbands to, as it were, bring home the bacon, is becoming less attractive by the day. It is a luxury that most families can ill afford today.

A second category is the petty traders and the subsistence farmers. This sub group is the most prevalent in our society. They make up the bulk of women in Nigeria and are found in far flung parts.

Nigerian women are so focused, so family-centric, that even when they go to toil in the farm for the family, they would still come home to cook for everyone.

Women farmers may be the predominant group, but one class that seems to be surging recently is those engaged in petty trading.

There is hardly any part of the Nigeria, especially in the lower geographical half of the country, where you do not find women engaging in some form of trading or another.

In most communities it is common to see women displaying their wares just about everywhere you look.

Usually, you see just a few items – confectionaries, food items, soup condiments, and the like. But they know how far revenue from such efforts go in supplementing what the men bring home at the end of the day.

There are also other market settings which are generally dominated by women. These markets vary in size – from just a cluster of a few roughly constructed huts, to extremely large, well-organised and thriving markets that play host to thousands of traders, the majority of them, women.

Enterprising women range from just petty traders, to big time business women whose businesses run into hundreds of millions of naira.

Let us not forget also the working class women that abound in the civil service and in private concerns.

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A lot of women have built very successful careers in the public service and they, too, deserve accolades for contributing in steadying the ship of the Nigerian state.

It has actually been proven, over time, that women have shown a rare dedication and conscientiousness in the discharge of their responsibilities, such that are now much sought-after in many organisations.

They have also, by this dint of hard work, succeeded in climbing to the highest reaches of such outfits.

These women, however, are among the few who were privileged to have been highly educated and exposed to opportunities that got them to where they are today, leaving the majority of the non educated petty entrepreneurs to struggle daily to make ends meet.

Some of such women are Hajiya Bola Shagaya, an oil and real estate magnate, Uju Ifejika, and arguably the most prominent of them all, 65 year old Folorunsho Alakija, who found her fame and fortune in the oil and fashion industries.

Nigeria is truly blessed, not only in terms of her abundant natural resources, but also (with her large population) in terms of her huge human resources.

And a truly heart-warming proportion of this is made up of women.

All told however, the problem of Covid-19 has impacted rather heavily on Nigerian women, especially the rural dwellers, and just made their efforts to make ends meet more onerous.

It is therefore unimaginable that social distancing could be practiced here by majority of Nigerian women entrepreneurs.

Some of the women are stuck with men, some of who actually think that the coronavirus is an excuse by the governments to siphon public funds.

These men will always demand for sex from their women, even when they are sick, and of course there are also the factors of culture and religion, and so to them, #Social Distancing is not applicable.

Sometimes culture and religion give the women no chance of objecting and they are therefore forced to succumb to their husband’s advances, which sometimes come in the form of commands.

While #Social Distancing is part of prescribed ways of curbing the spread of #COVID-19, it is nonetheless going to be very difficult for some women trying to go about their lives to stay healthy while still carrying the burden of the people around them.

Most women interviewed lamented that their religions and culture have put much burden on them as women.

This has caused many of them to cast around for excuses on the back of indoctrination, almost amounting to brainwashing.

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Hajia Fatima Muhammad, a Civil Servant jokingly asked, ‘how can I observe social distancing when my husband will not keep away from me?’

Her religious and cultural beliefs made her feel that women are not supposed to have a say in such matters.

“If he gets infected and still wants to sleep with me, what do I do since I cannot say ‘no’ to him”?

When asked why she would not deny her husband sex until after the pandemic is over to focus on her business she said: “My religion and culture forbid that’’.

Mfon Effiong, a business woman angrily responded, I am a nursing mother, how do I breastfeed my baby?

“I heard more men are infected than women, and more women survive than men even though we still sleep with them and exchange bodily fluids.

“Besides God has seen the burden we carry as women and has thus given us strong systems. I will not be infected in Jesus name,’’ she declared.

From the foregoing, it is clear that the incompatibility of social distancing and the desire to drive women entrepreneurship in Nigeria, and indeed other African settings, is a quandary to most African societies.

There is no easy way out of this predicament and the real or perceived inequality in the society does not help matters, either.

It is therefore clear that the government organs responsible for public education, have their work cut out for them.

More than anything else, there is an urgent need for a much more aggressive grassroots education to let them know that it is about their health, and that of everyone around them.

Entrepreneurship in Nigeria, especially among women, will be the better for it.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.

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Preventing Fire Outbreak in Solar Power System Installation – Engr Ohida

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As the prevalent erratic power supply condition in the country worsen, many organisations, corporate and even governmental, households, individuals are now turning to solar power system installation as alternative power supply solution.





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Apart from it noiseless nature which makes it more attractive, solar power system has also been proven to be cost-effective, convenient, and a clean source of energy.

However, just like any other technology, there are also risks associated with this technology, especially when not properly installed or maintained.

An Abuja based Electrical Engineer, Engineer Maiyaki Ohida said solar power installation cannot cause fire outbreak as a result of heat if properly installed, adding that fire outbreak can only result when it is not properly installed or if there is maintenance issue.

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Engineer Ohida revealed this, while responding to a question of whether Solar Power System Installation can cause fire outbreak when heated up; a question posed by a member of a social media platform.

Ohida said, “Solar panels can’t cause fire as a result of Sun heat, as they are produced to withstand high temperature.”

“What causes fire outbreak in solar system is wrong connections, short circuit, bad cable sizing for the installation, too high voltage to the charge controller, mixing of different types of panels together in series connection which will result in the cable and panels being heated up and catch fire after some time of use.”

He further revealed that using low quality panels can also result in fire outbreak when one panels in series failed resulting to voltage pressure on those panels behind the failed one. This can create enormous heat as Direct Current, (DC) heat is more serious compared to Alternating Current, (AC).

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He said, “when you use low quality panels, one of them in series can fail and then there will be voltage pressure on those panels behind the failed one, creating heat (remember DC heat is more serious) and then fire”.

Therefore, avoid wrong connections, short circuit, bad cabling and sizing, high voltage to the charge controller, mixing of different types of panels in series connection when you are putting together your Solar System. Also imbibe good maintenance culture after the installation.


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Abdulrahman Obaje

Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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Latest Report Reveals Oppo Smartphone Democratising Access To Professional-Grade Photography

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By Abdulrahman Obaje

Improvements related to camera have been a major factor driving smartphone evolution over the past decade and the telephoto lens technology is among the important factors that determines how far the camera system can go, hence an indication of a larger trend in consumer behaviour, showing a preference for smartphones with enhanced photographic capabilities. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({}); January 2024 report of a market research firm, Counterpoint Research shows that the penetration rate has increased over the years to more than 19 per cent in H1 2023, nearly 3 per cent higher than it was in H1 2022.

So, what separates you from becoming a professional photographer this days is insignificant compare to the old ways of photography. It is just a thin line with the advent and rise in popularity of telephoto lenses in smartphones. This is because the growing trend in consumers’ desire for telephoto photography, something that can only be found exclusively in professional cameras; telephoto lenses integration in smartphones is now the main stay in the industry, a trend that industry player said is just the beginning of a larger trend.

Reports by Counterpoint had shed more light on the evolving landscape of smartphone photography. According to Counterpoint Research’s most recent report, more than 200 million telephoto lens-equipped smartphones were sold globally in 2022, with that figure expected to rise even further by 2024.

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The telephoto lens feature was initially available exclusively on exceptional smartphones. However, the study has also found that mass-market adoption of telephoto lens is increasing, particularly among sub-$400 segments. The increasing popularity of telephoto lenses in affordable smartphones mirrors consumers’ inclination for advanced features without the accompanying high cost. In acknowledgment of this demand, smartphone manufacturers have promptly responded by enhancing their mid-tier line-ups with telephoto capabilities, enabling a broader audience to partake in upgraded photography experiences that were traditionally exclusive to high-end models.

Users can capture images that stand out for their precision and elegance. Apart from its ability to be able to capture a distant landscape, telephoto lens also stands out in shooting portrait as it can compress the subject and background, creating dramatic bokeh effect. The 50mm or 85mm equivalent focal length provides a field of view similar to human eyes with minimal distortions.

The report also revealed that these lenses are becoming increasingly integrated into smartphones around the globe. The ability to zoom without sacrificing image quality, combined with the unique visual effects a telephoto lens can produce, has made it a popular choice among smartphone users. The proportion of smartphones equipped with a telephoto camera has increased both internationally and in China, reaching 19.3% and 24.4%, respectively, demonstrating the importance of telephoto lenses in today’s mobile photography environment.

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The report further revealed that the newly launched OPPO’s Reno11 series, positioned as “The Portrait Expert”, has been instrumental in bringing high-end telephoto lens features to more affordable smartphone models with the innovative “Telephoto Portrait” feature saying that OPPO has been instrumental in making high-quality mobile photography accessible to a greater majority of the masses.

“This strategic move by OPPO has not only democratized access to professional-grade photography features but also underscored the brand’s position as a leader in mobile photography innovation. ”, it said

The Reno11 series boasts features such as a 32MP 2x optical zoom camera powered by Sony IMX709 flagship sensor, enabling users to capture sharp, detailed images from a distance. The series also integrates advanced AI algorithms to enhance image quality, especially in portrait photography, providing users with the tools to capture life’s moments with unparalleled clarity and creativity.

The report thereby anticipates a positive outlook for telephoto lenses, affirming their pivotal contribution to the progression of mobile photography.

The integration of telephoto lenses is just the beginning of a larger trend. The future of mobile photography is expected to see upward progression, with telephoto lenses playing a significant role in how consumers capture and engage with the world around them. This trend is poised to redefine the standards of mobile photography, pushing the boundaries of what smartphones can achieve.

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Abdulrahman Obaje is a Journalist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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Why We Must Not Lose Guard About The Potential Risks Of AI – Part 1

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By Abdulrahman Obaje

The most globally talked about scientific discipline at present is AI, short form of Artificial Intelligence, garnering attentions from main stream media organisations such as CNN, BBC, Forbes, New York Times, Daily Trust newspaper and the kinds of them. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Unfortunately this technology also poses the most threats to society and humanity at present.

AI is a scenario whereby a piece of an electronic device or software behaves as though it is digital human assistant. Some can make and take decisions that ordinarily may take time for human being to accomplish. AI-based device may be trained to even perform responsibilities that usually requires human intelligence to accomplish. Such tasks include solving complex mathematical problem, complex medical diagnosis, language translation, etc.

Example include Language translators, Facial recognition capabilities on mobile phones and other devices, Facebook’s language translation feature,  Google Assistant on Android, Siri on iPhones, friend suggestions on Facebook to mention but few. An AI-based system can actually act like a smart helpful digital friend.

AI serves as the foundation for transformative technologies like the much talked about ChatGPT with more than 18 million active users daily. Now, the GPTs store has been launched for business. Also, AI non-invasive device to read what a human is thinking in his mind, convert it to text and display the text on a screen. The research that has been conducted and pilot tested in the University of Sydney has a multifaceted benefit to the human. Anyone with speech impairment can use the device to communicate his or her thoughts and wants with people without talking.

As modern Artificial Intelligent-based systems are now being trained to learn from past experience; in the form of gathered information, making it able to adjust to new information that enable it to be independent in some areas to some extents, the voice of warning against the potential risks of AI is growing louder.

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The tech community has long debated the threats posed by artificial intelligence. Automation of jobs, the spread of fake news and a dangerous arms race of AI-powered weaponry have been mentioned as some of the biggest threats posed by AI.

There is also growing concerns that these things could get more intelligent than the humans and that they could one day decide to take over, and that there is why we need to worry about how we prevent that from happening.

A Computer Scientist, Geofrey Hinton also dubbed as the Godfather of Artificial Intelligence, a name he got from his foundational work on machine learning and neural network algorithm, in 2023 left his position at Google to talk about the risk of Artificial Intelligence, insinuating that a part of him even regrets his life’s work.

Hinton is not alone in this concerns. More than 20,000 tech leaders had in March 2023 persuaded in an open letter to put a pause on large AI experiments, citing that the technology can pose profound risk to society and humanity.

According to Wikipaedia, Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter is the title of a letter published by the Future of Life Institute in March 2023. The letter calls “all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4”, citing risks such as AI-generated propaganda, extreme automation of jobs, human obsolescence, and a society-wide loss of control. It received more than 20,000 signatures, including academic AI researchers and industry CEOs such as Yoshua Bengio, Stuart Russell, Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and Yuval Noah Harari.

One of the risks posed by AI system is the lack of AI transparency and explainability. This is as AI and deep learning models can be difficult to understand, even for those that are working directly with the technology. This leads to a lack of transparency for why and how Artificial Intelligence comes to its conclusions. This conclusion cannot be trusted one hundred percent of times because of lack of explanation for what data AI algorithms use, or why AI may make biased or unsafe decisions. These concerns explain the rise to the use of explainable AI, but there’s still a long way before transparent AI systems can become common practice.

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The second area of concern is job loss due to job automation. As AI-powered job automation is adopted in industries like marketing, manufacturing and healthcare. By 2030, tasks that account for up to 30 percent of hours currently being worked in the U.S. economy could be automated. According to McKinsey. Black and Hispanic employees especially is more vulnerable to the change while Goldman Sachs even states 300 million full-time jobs could be lost to AI automation.

“The reason we have a low unemployment rate, which doesn’t actually capture people that aren’t looking for work, is largely that lower-wage service sector jobs have been pretty robustly created by this economy,” futurist Martin Ford told Built In. With AI on the rise, though, “I don’t think that’s going to continue.”

As AI robots become smarter and more dexterous, the same tasks will require fewer humans. And while AI is estimated to create 97 million new jobs by 2025, many employees won’t have the skills needed for these technical roles and could get left behind if companies don’t upskill their workforces.

The third area of risks poses by AI is Social manipulation. This fear has become a reality as politicians rely on platforms to promote their viewpoints. For example Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., wielded a TikTok troll army to capture the votes of younger Filipinos during the Philippines’ 2022 election.

TikTok, which is one example of a social media platform that relies on AI algorithms, fills a user’s feed with content related to previous media they’ve viewed on the platform. Criticism of the app targets this process and the algorithm’s failure to filter out harmful and inaccurate content, raising concerns over TikTok’s ability to protect its users from misleading information.

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Online media and news have become even murkier in the wake of AI-generated content such as images and videos, AI voice changers as well as deepfakes infiltrating political and social spheres. These technologies make it easy to create realistic photos, videos, audio clips or replace the image of one figure with another in an existing picture or video. As a result, bad actors have another avenue for sharing misinformation and war propaganda, creating a nightmare scenario where it can be nearly impossible to distinguish between creditable and faulty news.

“No one knows what’s real and what’s not,” Ford said. “So it really leads to a situation where you literally cannot believe your own eyes and ears; you can’t rely on what, historically, we’ve considered to be the best possible evidence… That’s going to be a huge issue.”

Abdulrahman Obaje is a Journalist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria.

Author Profile

Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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