Nigeria seeks to block Morocco’s membership of ECOWAS
A retired Nigerian diplomat, Zango Abdu, on Thursday said Morocco’s bid to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) may pose serious security threat to the region.
He said this in a panel discussion, which examined the security “Implication of the Ascension of Morocco to ECOWAS’’ at a high-level dialogue on opportunities and threats of the ascension in Abuja.
“Nigeria is the biggest military power in West Africa; it has the biggest economy in the region and the panel that discussed security discussed how Boko Haram affected Nigeria, Chad, Cameron and Niger.
“One of the issues that came up is to say that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is gaining stronger ground in Morocco,’’ Abdu, who chaired the panel, said.
Abdu is not the only one to raise concerns about Morocco’s plans to join ECOWAS.
The Centre of Democracy Development (CDD) has urged Nigeria to rise up to the occasion and ensure that the application of Morocco to join the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, is rejected.
“ECOWAS is for the states in the West African sub-region and in this regard, the revised treaty defined the region as the geographical zone known as West Africa as defined by a resolution of the then OAU [Organization of African Unity] Council of Ministers,” said the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan.
“Morocco is not classified among the member states of the ECOWAS by the UN and the African Union.
“Morocco’s move to join the ECOWAS is a deliberate ploy to reduce the influence and strength of Nigeria.”
Hassan’s colleague, Senior Programme Officer, Shamsudeen Yusuf concurred: ““Nigeria has been playing the “mother goose” role within the regional body for several years.
“Ascension of Morocco to ECOWAS might create tension between the country and Nigeria which may invariably affect effective operations of the regional blocs, particularly in facilitating the process of economic development and democratic deepening in West Africa.”
Ecowas has in principle approved Morocco's membership application but formal approval has yet to come.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.