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Science/Technology / NCC Fines Airtel, 9mobile N136m For Undermining Consumers Posted By: Itedgenews by technative(f): 11:14am On Aug 06, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commissions (NCC) has fined Airtel and 9mobile a total fine of N136m.

The two telcos came under the NCC’s hammer for regulatory infractions that include unlawful automatic renewal of data subscription, wrongful disconnection of an interconnect carrier and breaking the Do-Not-Disturb directive.

According to the 2019 first quarter enforcement report of the NCC, Airtel, Nigeria’s third largest operator, erred by disconnecting an interconnect carrier, Exchange Telecommunications Limited, without getting the required regulatory approval. The operator is to pay a total fine of N121m for this infraction.

“Airtel Networks Limited, having contravened the provisions of the Quality of Service Regulations, 2013 and Enforcement Processes Regulations, 2005 by disconnecting Exchange Telecommunications Limited without the commission’s approval, was sanctioned on March 28, 2019 to pay the sum of N121m to the commission,” said the enforcement report.

According to the NCC, 9mobile committed a regulatory offence for placing subscribers who had opted for full DND on Value Added Service (VAS). Airtel was also found to have committed a similar offence. Both operators were fined N5m each for the offense that affected 13 subscribers of 9mobile and 56 Airtel customers.

By law, once the 2442 Do-Not-Disturb short-code has been activated by subscribers, they cannot be inundated with unsolicited text messages. Networks that fail to comply risk being fined once offended consumers report to the regulator using a toll-free line.

Telcos are also fined should they put subscribers on automatic renewal of data subscription without their consent.

The fines are part of consumer-centric regulations to protect consumers from predatory tendencies of networks.

Science/Technology / Airtel Deepens Internet Connectivity With New Home Broadband Package by technative(f): 3:06pm On Aug 05, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Airtel Nigeria is set to deepen broadband connectivity in homes and offices across the country as it announced the roll out of its Home Broadband value offering pan Nigeria.

The telco says the launch of its Home Broadband offerings rides on its expansive and modernized 4G network, which has been deployed in over 130 cities and towns across Nigeria, making Airtel the first operator to launch the Home Broadband plans in all 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory.

The Airtel Home Broadband (HBB) package is available in Routers and MiFis and comes in various affordable recharge plans, offering up to 100GB of data bonus.

Under the new Airtel Home Broadband plans, when a customer purchases an Airtel Router for N25,000, he or she is instantly credited with 100GB data and also offered complimentary 10GB data for 6 months on purchase of the Airtel N10,000 data bundle plan.

The Airtel MIFI comes at N15,000 and offers instant 40GB data and an additional 5GB monthly for 6 months on purchase of the N5,000 Data Bundle plan.

The Routers and MIFIs are bundled with a 4G SIM and customers can buy a bundle plan, register their data line and check their data balance by dialling *370#or by visiting the website,www.onetouch.ng.

Commenting on the new offer, Godfrey Efeurhobo, Director, Home Broadband, Airtel Nigeria, said: “Airtel believes the new offer will empower more telecoms consumers to become more productive and more successful in their respective endeavours.

“With the widest 4G network in the country, Airtel is well positioned to offer a robust and best in class experience for Home Broadband and mobile Internet as we connect people to their dreams,” he said.

Existing customers with 3G routers can also enjoy the Airtel Home Broadband plan by upgrading their data SIMs to 4G.

Science/Technology / Iot Spending In MEA To See Double-digit Growth Over Coming Years Says IDC by technative(f): 11:01am On Aug 02, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Spending on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is set to top $8.47 billion this year, according to the latest forecast from global technology research and consulting firm International Data Corporation (IDC). A recent update to the firm’s Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide shows that IoT spending in the MEA region will grow 15.9% year on year in 2019 and reach $17.63 billion by 2023 as governments and businesses ramp up their investments in digital transformation projects.

To view the accompanying IoT spending infographic, please click here.

“IoT adoption in the MEA region is expected to accelerate over the coming years as organizations from both the public and private sectors look to improve their provision of customer services, expedite decision making, improve the quality of products and services, accelerate their time to market, reduce costs, and increase productivity,” says Krishna, program manager for telecommunications and IoT at IDC MEA. “And as organizations continue to reap the value generated by IoT, we can expect to see further development of innovative industry-specific solutions.”

Totaling $2.99 billion, hardware is forecast to be the market’s largest technology category in 2019, with the majority of this spending going towards modules and sensors. IoT services, forecast to be worth $2.98 billion, will be the second-largest technology category in 2019, with the majority of this total going towards ongoing services and content-as-a-service, as well as IT and installation services. Software will be the third-largest technology category, followed by connectivity. Meanwhile, software will be market’s fastest-growing category over the coming years, with spending in this area increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.9% over the 2018–2023 forecast period.

The big four countries in the region, namely South Africa ($1.9 billion), Saudi Arabia ($1.49 billion), Turkey ($1.24 billion), and the UAE ($0.65 billion), are expected to account for 62% of total IoT expenditure in the MEA region in 2019. The industries that are expected to spend the most on IoT solutions in 2019 are manufacturing ($1.52 billion), government ($1.11 billion), consumer ($1.09billion), transportation ($1.06 billion), and utilities ($0.73 billion).

Manufacturers will direct most of their IoT spending in 2019 towards solutions that support manufacturing operations and production asset management. In the government sector, public infrastructure asset management, public safety and emergency response, and intelligent transport systems, will account for over 66% of IoT spending in 2019.

Over 75% of consumer IoT spending in 2019 will be driven by investments around smart home technologies, remote health monitoring, and connected vehicles. In the transportation sector, fleet management and freight monitoring solutions together will account for approximately 80% of IoT spending in 2019. Meanwhile, smart grids for electricity will account for 78% of total IoT spending in the utilities sector.

The IoT use cases that IDC expects to attract the largest investments in 2019 are manufacturing operations ($0.58 billion), smart grid electricity ($0.57 billion), production asset management ($0.53 billion), smart home ($0.44 billion), fleet management ($0.44 billion), and freight monitoring ($0.42 billion). IDC forecasts that the top use cases will retain their positions through 2023, with the exception of fleet management and freight monitoring, which are expected to swap their positions. The use cases that will see the fastest spending growth over the 2018-2023 forecast period are airport facility automation (41.1% CAGR), electric vehicle charging (31.3% CAGR), health and wellness (28.9% CAGR), smart building (26.2% CAGR), and smart grids for water (25.2% CAGR).

“Ongoing national transformation programs and digital transformation projects will continue to fuel IoT adoption over the coming 12 months, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” says Krishna. “As such, these two countries are expected to contribute a combined $2.13 billion of the MEA region’s total IoT spending of $8.47 billion in 2019.”

Science/Technology / First Code Plateau Orientation Program Begins Today In Jos by technative(f): 10:39am On Aug 02, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

The first Code Plateau orientation program holds today in Jos, capital of Plateau State in central Nigeria. The formal induction ceremony is scheduled to hold August 23, 2019 and Governor Simon Lalong is expected to anchor the induction as chief host.

Simon Lalong
Simon Lalong
Code Plateau is designed by the Plateau State Information and Communication Technology Development Agency (PICTDA) to build a pool of highly skilled young people in digital tools.

The Code Plateau is focusing on training the youth of Plateau state in the use of ICT tools to produce an enormous number of talents which would give birth to a novel technology driven industry with economy.

About 50 successful candidates who are to be inducted later this month will take part in today’s orientation to kick start the Code Plateau program. They form the first batch of over 700 applicants that were interviewed and screened with only 200 selected.

The “Code Plateau” is the flagship of the ‘Silicon Plateau Project’ according to Director General of PICTDA, Mr. Daser David. It forms the kernel of Governor Lalang’s vision for youth empowerment, employ-ability and an overall new economy for Plateau State.

The program is expected to “create talents through a full-time immersive boot camp that is designed for young people who want to start their career in IT and kick start their portfolio of real life projects that utilize modern. The ultimate goal of Code Plateau is to train, nurture and position these fellows in Job Internship across the diverse technology companies in Nigeria,” said David in Jos.

Code Plateau forms part of the framework for development of ICT as an industry which is vital to the economic growth of Plateau State in line with the mandate of PICTDA to drive a technology value in the state, added Daser.

Science/Technology / Africa’s Youth See A Future For Bitcoin Beyond Speculation by technative(f): 10:24am On Aug 02, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Paxful, is on a mission to increase access to the bitcoin economy for the people of Africa through education. Paxful is encouraged by the significant growth in digital currency transactions on the African continent in recent years, driven largely by users under the age of 35, leading global peer-to-peer bitcoin marketplace.

An African view on peer-to-peer finance

Benjamin Onuoha, Africa’s Regional Consultant for Paxful (Paxful.com), addressed delegates at a Johannesburg event recently to share insights on the bitcoin and cryptocurrency economy as well as present use cases observed from Africa’s consumers.

He commented: “The people of Africa have been the most ingenious and resourceful of our users – they are redefining our understanding of the uses of bitcoin. The world has much to learn from Africa about the future of the crypto-economy.”

Bitcoin use cases on the continent

Reflecting on Paxful’s experience in Africa and further afield, Onuoha added: “Three developments made the crypto-economy possible. First, the emergence of peer-to-peer electronic currency, bitcoin, that is powered by the blockchain technology. The second and arguably the most important miracle is the human layer, that connects everyone in the world making this peer-to-peer revolution powered by the people. And lastly, the third miracle is the sharing economy.”

Onuoha listed the following as true use cases for bitcoin: grey markets, speculation, payments, e-commerce, remittance, wealth preservation, and social good.

“Historically, much of the news coverage about bitcoin has tracked speculative activity, where 90% of trading volume is currently centred. This toxic phase is in line with expected adoption trends as the crypto economy, still in its infancy, matures. The next focus point of the evolution is the end-user and their opportunity-laden journey in peer-to-peer finance. It’s about wealth generation – and giving people the means to do it.”

He noted that many young Africans see bitcoin as an opportunity to develop entrepreneurship ventures; users set up side-hustles and their own businesses – which include remittance, as well as import and export enterprises, amongst others.

Demonstrating how the cryptocurrency community can contribute to social good, Paxful recently completed the building of a second school in Rwanda, as part of the group’s strategic commitment to education. Through its #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative, the group is in pursuit to build 100 schools across the continent.

Education, Education, Education

With over 2,5 million users globally and Africa being the fastest-growing region, in 2018, Paxful disclosed it had seen a 200%+ increase in users in Africa over the previous 12 months. Paxful is observing a new generation of young African graduates and professionals making use of peer-to-peer finance as a way to better engage the global financial system.

Co-Founded by Egyptian entrepreneur Ray Youseff, who is passionate about empowering fellow African youth, Paxful is committed to reaching as many young people as possible to help them better understand the opportunities presented by the cryptocurrency economy. To this end, Paxful launched its first university education drive to expose youth to the true use cases of bitcoin, highlight how to avoid falling prey to bad actors in the crypto-space, and counter the over-emphasis on bitcoin speculation.

Launched at universities in South Africa and Kenya, the Paxful workshops provide key, practical insights, with each attendee also receiving free bitcoin to start them on their journey. Over 1000 youths have attended the events across SA/Kenya.

Charities could benefit from the crypto-economy

To date, Paxful’s #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative has raised over R3 million for charities across Africa and the MIddle East. Paxful – has donated over 13,000 Rands worth of bitcoin to GROW with Educare Centres. The donation forms part of Paxful’s #BuiltWithBitcoin initiative and is its first South African charitable contribution.

As a non-profit organisation, GROW with Educare Centres empowers qualified, passionate women to own and run successful high-quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, such as daycares and pre-schools, in low-income communities using the principles of social enterprise and micro franchising. With reading being an integral part of the Educare programme, the donation from Paxful will be used to purchase books for their various centres’ mini-libraries.

The GROW with Educare Centres project was incubated by a partnership between The Clothing Bank and Grow Learning Company and currently has 31 ECD centres running across Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

“This donation opens new opportunities for our organisation to engage the crypto-community in charitable giving. An investment in Early Learning is one of the greatest investments you can make since one teacher influences a generation of learners. We hope that Paxful will inspire others to do the same,” says Helene Brand, Marketing and Fundraising Manager for GROW Educare Centres.

Paxful launched #BuiltWithBitcoin in 2017 to encourage the cryptocurrency sector to contribute funds for humanitarian projects.

Science/Technology / NITDA Extends Time For Filing Of Initial Data Audit Report By Data Controllers & by technative(f): 12:24pm On Jul 30, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has extended by three months, the time for filing of initial data audit report by data controllers and processors following series of consultations with various industry and government stakeholders on the implementation of the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR).

The agency revealed this in an official statement released in Abuja this week and signed by its Director General/CEO, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

“The overwhelming consensus of all stakeholder groups is that, the NDPR is an appropriate regulation that would help provide clarity for data controllers and processors on the rights of data subjects, basis of processing personal data and transfer of data outside Nigeria among others. NITDA is pleased to note that stakeholders including other sector regulators, government, banks, industry groups, private sector players among many others, have shown tremendous willingness towards compliance with the NDPR,” said the statement.

“Consequently, Article 4.1(5) of the NDPR requires Data Controllers to submit an initial audit report within six months of issuance of the Regulation (which lapsed on 25th July, 2019). Several Data Controllers have appealed for an extension of time to meet this obligation.Therefore, NITDA is hereby granting a three-month extension for the conduct of the initial audit report for every data Controller and Processor. This extension period would elapse on Friday 25th October, 2019.

“This extension of time for the purpose of audit filing does not limit NITDA’s right to investigate and enforce other allegations of breach made against any Data Controller or Processor pursuant to the NDPR and the NITDA Act 2007.

NITDA is a Federal Government Agency established in 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy as well as coordinate general IT development and regulation in the country.

“Specifically Section 6(a,c) of the Act mandates NITDA to- create a frame work for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria anddevelop guidelines for electronic governance and monitor the use of electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communication transactions as an alternative to paper-based methods in government, commerce, education, the private and public sectors, labour, and other fields.”

Science/Technology / Spacecom To Launch AMOS-17 Communication Satellite In August For Africa-wide C.. by technative(f): 12:12pm On Jul 30, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Spacecom, operator of the AMOS satellite fleet, has announced that AMOS-17, its newest communication satellite, is scheduled to be launched on August 3rd 2019 (late evening EST) from Cape Canaveral, FL, USA to the 17°East orbital position. From this orbital position, it will primarily serve sub-Saharan Africa and connect to Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Planned and designed by Spacecom and constructed by Boeing Satellite Systems International, AMOS-17 will be launched by a SpaceX Falcon-9 vehicle. By selecting two leading innovative space industry firms and their technologies, Spacecom obtains a unique satellite with a 20-year lifetime in space. AMOS-17 augments the company’s status as an innovative international satellite services operator.

AMOS-17’s launch represents important global cooperation and the application of innovative technologies for the creation of new services to the world’s fastest growing continent. AMOS-17 is an important milestone for Israel’s space industry and the fulfillment of Spacecom’s vision towards filling space with advanced satellites to provide a wide range of answers to countries and enterprises throughout the globe.

Spacecom has a sales backlog of US$ 58 million for communications services to the African market by AMOS-17 and for other services and believes that following the satellite’s launch, more clients will sign future large deals.

AMOS-17 boosts Spacecom’s capabilities to support communication users with advanced Turn Key Solutions including, among others: designing communication networks, deploying ground station and broadcast facilities, long-distance facility management and providing a full array of support services.

AMOS-17 is the only digital HTS (High Throughput Satellite) specifically designed to offer mobile operators and telecom service providers a distinct economically and operationally viable answer to meet African consumer needs. Because Africa’s growing population includes many rural and outlying residents (low-density population areas), the economic justification for investing in ground telecom infrastructure projects by operators is greatly reduced. However, by utilizing AMOS-17’s advanced digital technologies, service providers will be able to offer an expansive array of services quickly, highly efficiently and at low cost to these populations.

Spacecom has deep knowledge of Africa with years of experience working with African governments and commercial enterprises such as in internet, data, video and broadcast. Today, via the AMOS-7 and AMOS-4 satellites, the company provides a range of services. Together with AMOS-17, more clients will be able to enjoy a fuller range of packages from the three satellites. According to sources, by 2025 Africa will have over 1.5 billion residents with the largest amount of young people in the world, all of whom will have an accelerating appetite for communication services and will be in need of proper connectivity infrastructure.

AMOS-17’s unique design and embedded technologies coupled with its prime orbital position over Africa enable the satellite to cover an entire country by a single beam to provide high capacity and highest service levels quickly, efficiently and at low cost. This includes high availability services for governments and telecom operators, broadcasting content to millions of viewers, broadband data services via smaller terminals and utilizing a combination of Ka, Ku and C-Band frequencies as needed by each client, and more.

Spacecom CEO and president, David Pollack stated, “Spacecom has long been the pioneering leader in providing international satellite communication services in Israel and worldwide. AMOS-17’s launch is a meaningful and strategic milestone that boosts Israel’s continued presence in space and our corporate growth.”

He continued, “AMOS-17 is a project with forward-looking technologies and provides a significant boost for our satellite fleet’s capacity, operational flexibility, expansion to more regions and technological superiority. Providing unique Turn Key Solutions for a range of uses will provide our customers with key competitive advantages and expand our partners and Spacecom’s corporate opportunities in the years to come.”

Science/Technology / Newly Listed MTN Nigeria Posts Strong Results, Adds 3.3 Million Customers... by technative(f): 12:03pm On Jul 30, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Newly listed MTN Nigeria has posted strong maiden results to maintain its position as Nigeria’s leading telecom company. Its operating margins expanded significantly underscored by rising revenue and subscriptions. The telco recorded an additional 3.3 million customers to its network in the six months to June to strengthen its market grip by raising its subscriber base to 61.5 million.

MTN Nigeria, at the weekend, released its interim results since listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in May, 2019 and said significant network investments and improvement in network quality as well as expansion of its 4G coverage have ensured wide positive growth. The Nigerian operation is the biggest subsidiary of the MTN Group.

According to the release, for the six months ended 30 June 2019, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation surged by 40% to N304.9-billion, with Ebitda margin growing by 10.7 percentage points to 53.8%.

Also, service revenue increased by 12.2%, voice revenue grew by 11.4% and data revenue jumped by 31.7% year on year. Digital revenue spiked 64.5%. Subscriber numbers increased by 3.3 million to 61.5 million.

“Our recent work to revamp our data prices and accelerate our 4G network has put us in a strong competitive position to offer more value to our customers, supporting data and voice revenue growth which will ultimately strengthen our business,” said CEO of MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman said Moolman said.

New board

A recent boardroom shakeup in its Nigerian operations saw the appointment of former CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ernest Ndukwe as chairman-designate of the telecom giant. Ndukwe will by September 2, 2019 effectively replace Pascal Dozie, founder of former Diamond Bank now part of Access Bank. Dozie has led MTN Nigeria as board chairman for nearly 20 years.

The new board will also have as members, former Nigerian pension regulatory chief Muhammad Ahmad, ex-Minister for Communication, Mrs. Omobola Johnson and ex-banker Andrew Alli.

Ndukwe’s board will drive MTN Nigeria as a listed company having entered the NSE last May in a two trillion naira ($6.54 billion) debut.

MTN Nigeria was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as part of the settlement of a previous US$1-billion fine by Nigerian authorities. According to Reuters, that listing turned the telecoms company into the exchange’s second-largest stock by market value. Majority of the shares are owned by South Africa’s MTN Group.

Science/Technology / Scientists Use Phone Movement To Predict Personality Types by technative(f): 10:10am On Jul 29, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

RMIT University researchers have used data from mobile phone accelerometers – the tiny sensors tracking phone movement for step-counting and other apps – to predict people’s personalities.

RMIT University computer scientist Associate Professor Flora Salim said previous studies had predicted personality types using phone call and messaging activity logs, but this study showed adding accelerometer data improved accuracy

“Activity like how quickly or how far we walk, or when we pick up our phones up during the night, often follows patterns and these patterns say a lot about our personality type,” said Salim, a leading expert in human mobility data.

Physical activity is proven to have a strong correlation with human personality. Therefore, researchers analysed physical activity features from different dimensions like dispersion, diversity, and regularity.

Key findings from the study:

People with consistent movements on weekday evenings were generally more introverted, while extroverts displayed more random patterns, perhaps meeting up with different people and taking up unplanned options.
Agreeable people had more random activity patterns and were busier on weekends and weekday evenings than others.
Friendly and compassionate females made more outgoing calls than anyone else.
Conscientious, organized people didn’t tend to contact the same person often in a short space of time.
Sensitive or neurotic females often checked their phones or moved with their phones regularly well into the night, past midnight. Sensitive or neurotic males did the opposite.
More inventive and curious people tended to make and receive fewer phone calls compared to others.
Study lead author and RMIT University PhD student, Nan Gao, said the potential applications from this research were exciting.

“There are applications for this technology in social media with friend recommendations, online dating matches and targeted advertising, but I think the most exciting part is what we can learn about ourselves,” said Gao.

“Many of our habits and behaviours are unconscious but, when analysed, they tell us a lot about who we really are so we can understand ourselves better, resist social pressure to conform and to empathize with others. Most importantly, being who we truly are can make our experience of life richer, more exciting and more meaningful.”

“In Ancient Greece there is a saying about knowing yourself as the beginning of wisdom, applications like this can really help to reveal who we are to ourselves.”

The results were analysed in accordance with the Big Five personality traits, which are:

Extraversion: how energetic, sociable and talkative you are.
Openness: how curious and inventive you are.
Agreeableness: how friendly and compassionate, rather than suspicious and hostile, you are to others.
Conscientiousness: how organized, efficient and careful you are.
Neuroticism: how nervous and sensitive, rather than confident and secure, you are.
The team’s study ‘Predicting Personality Traits from Physical Activity Intensity’ has just been published in the IEEE Computer journal.

This work was funded through an Australian Research Council Linkage project between Swinburne University of Technology, RMIT University and Aurecon.

The study was conducted on a public dataset gathered from participants at a US university. As findings may vary in a different group, the team will next collect data from Australian participants to further test the effectiveness of their research.

Science/Technology / Firstbank CEO, Adeduntan, Sensitizes Children On Acts Of Kindness by technative(f): 10:34am On Jul 08, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

The Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, has encouraged children to cultivate the habit of showing kindness to people around them irrespective of class, race or circumstance.

Dr. Adeduntan gave the charge on Wednesday, 3rd July while espousing the Bank’s values-promoting initiative, ‘Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness’ (SPARK) to pupils of Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba, Lagos as part of the activities marking the third edition of FirstBank’s Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CR&S) Week themed ‘Ripples of Kindness, Putting You First.’

Represented by the Bank’s Group Head, Retail Banking, Lagos Island 1, Mrs. Olufunke Smith, the CEO explained that the premier and leading financial institution conceived SPARK to help the pupils and Nigerians in general to develop and practice compassion, empathy and giving.

He said kindness has several benefits including feeling happy, fulfilled, developing one’s skills, improving mental health and live out positive values because “a value-centred life helps in building and achieving goals and objectives.”

Apart from encouraging the use of magic words like ‘thank you’, ‘please’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘pardon me’, Dr. Adeduntan disclosed that SPARK also encompasses compassion, civility, charity and connection.

He added that connection includes “asking a neighbour how they are doing, reaching out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while, helping younger ones do their homework, expressing compassionate traits like giving one a hug and visiting one that is ill in the hospital.”

Dr. Adeduntan advised the pupils to imbibe the value of kindness and ensure that they are civil at all times.

Appreciating FirstBank for the initiative and visit, the Vice Principal, Administration, Methodist Girls’ High School, Mrs. Abimbola Ali, expressed her delight on the impact of the SPARK initiative, noting that the general theme of kindness tallies with the motto of the school.

She said, “I really want to appreciate FirstBank for deeming it fit to choose Methodist Girls High School for this talk. Your character determines how far you can fly and the character-based traits teachings on kindness is synonymous with our motto, ‘In Love, Serve One Another’. Serve other people out of love, not convenience. That’s kindness.”

FirstBank’s CR & S Week is holding from 1st July to 6 in Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones and the Bank’s business locations in Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, DR Congo and The United Kingdom.

The SPARK Initiative in schools is to embed the values of kindness amongst school children at a young age, so it becomes part and parcel of them, forming a habit and nature as they develop into adulthood. The event had some senior management staff of the Bank give talks on kindness to pupils of 20 secondary schools across the country and other locations in sub-Sahara Africa.

Aside Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba, FirstBank’s SPARK initiative was also activated at Gbaja Boys High School, Surulere and Opebi Senior Grammar School, Ikeja in Lagos. Other schools visited include, Sunshine International School Bauchi; Government Science School Maitama, Abuja; Racecourse Secondary School, Kano; Girls Model School, Ikot Ekan, Abak, Akwa Ibom State; Recdot Comprehensive Primary and Secondary School, Pine Crest College Independence Lay Out, Enugu amongst others.

Science/Technology / NITDA Honours Six Global Finalists Of Huawei ICT 2018/19 Competition by technative(f): 10:14am On Jul 08, 2019

Posted By: ITEdgeNews

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has recognized and rewarded the efforts of the six Students of Ahmadu Bello University that did the country proud in the recently concluded Huawei ICT Competition Global Finals that took place at Huawei’s Songshan Lake Campus, the People’s Republic of China.

Director General of NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in Abuja, presented signed letters of commendation, a tablet with e-learning software and an internet dongle with three months unlimited subscription with a total value of five hundred thousand naira to each of the students. The presentation was made at the NITDA’s corporate head office and had in attendance Managing Director of Huawei Technologies, represented by the Deputy Managing Director, Abuja Office, the Vice Chancellor Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology (FUT) Minna, and the Vice Chancellor, American University of Nigeria (AUN)

In his remarks, Dr Pantami commended the students for the excellent performance and urged them not to relent on their efforts. He further reiterated NITDA’s commitment, on behalf of the Federal Government, to supporting talented Nigerians reach their potentials. He advised them to think outside the box, come up with revolutionary ideas that will help in solving social challenges and always aspire to be employers of labour. He added that the country’s future relies on ICT as it is the driver of all aspects of the economy.

It may be recalled that similar event was held last year when the ‘Save-a-Soul’ team, the five young Nigerian girls from Regina Pacis Secondary School, Anambra State who won the famous Technovation competition award Silicon Valley, the United States of America, where each of the girls received an award and a Digital Divide Bridging Centre (DDBC) with ICT facilities, alternative solar power energy and Internet connectivity as well as a comprehensive e-Learning Application with educational materials, designed in accordance with the Nigerian educational curricular was deployed to their School

Science/Technology / Lagos To Build Tech Innovation Centres by technative(f): 10:06am On Jul 08, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Lagos State is to invest in technology innovation centres across the state as part of efforts to rework the economy of Nigeria’s commercial capital of over 18 million and increase revenue, according to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, He spoke at the weekend during an event organised by the Eko Innovation Centre,

“Our administration is committed to leveraging on technology in delivering the megacity dream. As a government, we will build innovation and technology centres where we can bring in private capital and investors, get ideas from young people on technology and be able to start creating employment for our youths,” said Sanwo-Olu through his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat at the event.

Lagos state considers technology a major driver to fast-growing economies. We look to having innovative solutions to drive transportation, agriculture, commerce and other sectors, said Sanwo-Olu to stakeholders at the gathering.

Founder, Eko Innovation Centre, Mr Victor Afolabi, said the Eko Innovation Centre is designed to leverage technology and innovation to enhance development and living standards in Nigeria.

He tasked Governor Sanwo-Olu and his team on providing financial support and other impetus to aid tech entrepreneurs to develop solutions that could improve not just Lagos but the entire continent.

“The only way to create a 21st-century economy is to make sure you are creating the enabling environment for businesses and solution to problems that are driven by innovation and technology,” said Afolabi.

Science/Technology / BVN Linked With Banks Now 38m As CBN Targets 100m In 5 Years by technative(f): 3:07pm On Jul 03, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

About 38 million accounts are now linked with the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) even as the regulator announced its target for 100 million BVNs in the next five years.

The CBN in an official statement released in Abuja said it would be pursuing an aggressive policy to ensure banks link about 100 million accounts to the BVN in another 60 months as part of part efforts to create a credit worthy and transparent banking system.

“In order to ease the constraint poor identification has on the availability of credit to prospective banking customers, the CBN will support an aggressive enrolment of prospective banking customers in the informal sector onto the BVN system.

“The current enrolment of 38 million unique banking customers will be expanded to 100 million over the next five years,” said the CBN which also highlighted the benefit accruable from the ongoing plans to link BVN with the National Identity Number (NIM) issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

The regulator states: “Ongoing partnership with the National Identity Management Commission will also enable integration between the two databases.

“This effort will improve the comfort level on banks in providing services to an expanded customer base. It will also aid in the development of a credit profile for banking customers which will assist in improving access to credit for creditworthy borrowers by banks.”

Banks are currently under obligation to ensure that the details of the BVN signatories, directors and beneficial owners of corporate accounts are linked to their respective entity accounts whether incorporate and non-incorporate.

The CBN said its strategy is to make the banking system a much reliable means of accessing and deciding on credible data whether of individuals or corporate entities.

Science/Technology / ITU, Stanford University To Launch New Partnership Supporting Pilots Of Digital by technative(f): 2:49pm On Jul 03, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

ITU and Stanford University have agreed to launch a new partnership to support pilot implementations of Digital Fiat Currency (DFC), digital currency authorized and issued by a Central Bank.

The partnership will offer technical assistance to Central Banks piloting the introduction of DFC and an open forum to share lessons learnt from these pilots among Central Banks, digital currency platform providers, payment system organizations, academia, and telecoms companies. The initiative is expected to inform related international standardization work on the ITU platform.

Central Banks see both opportunities and risks in digital currency. They aim to accommodate and capitalize on digital transformation, while preserving the controls that protect the stability and integrity of national currency.

Highly developed countries are piloting DFC with a view to ensuring that their Central Banks retain authority over money management as the use of cash declines. Developing countries home to populations without access to bank accounts see considerable potential for DFC to contribute to greater financial inclusion.

The ITU-Stanford partnership will help these countries to benchmark the performance of DFC solutions. It will provide lab environments to test and compare DFC solutions and identify best practices emerging from pilot projects.

“We want to make this the ‘clearing house’ for the technology for digital fiat currency,” says David Wen, DFC Institute, Chairman of the ITU Focus Group on Digital Fiat Currency, which held its final meeting at ITU headquarters in Geneva, 12-14 June 2019.

The partnership responds to a call from the Focus Group’s participants for a new forum to continue their work.

The partnership will offer “several laboratories to test the ideas that have been developed here,” says Lawrence Rufrano, Executive Director of the Advanced Financial Technologies Lab at Stanford University.

A unifying force

Telecommunications will be the “core foundational principle” for next-generation banking regulations, says Rufrano. “The technology really can be a very strong unifying force not only in bringing the Central Banks together but also in terms of creating a basis for a whole new set of regulations.”

Active for two years, the Focus Group has analyzed questions relevant to the standardization and regulation of DFC, questions at the heart of DFC security and interoperability. Its aim has been to bring greater clarity to the foundations of DFC and its relationship with macroeconomic stability, payment ecosystems and ICT infrastructure.

“The timing of the group’s establishment was impeccable,” says Bilel Jamoussi, Chief of Study Groups, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. “As interest in the topic has grown, the Focus Group has offered Central Banks a venue to find expertise to assist their DFC investigations.”

Studies conducted over the past two years by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – both key contributors to the Focus Group – have shown that all BIS-member Central Banks are investigating DFC. These studies also show that some 50 per cent of Central Banks have reached the stage of Proof of Concept, and that some 10 per cent have launched pilot projects.

To this point, debate around DFC has focused on retail DFC to be used domestically, explains John Kiff, Senior Financial Sector Expert at IMF.

“But we look to the next stage,” says Kiff, the next stage being cross-border DFC. “Some degree of interoperability is required, I think, for that future world.”

The aim of the Focus Group, says Kiff, has been to “build towards that future by building standardization into Central Bank digital currencies (CBDCs) so that when you move up beyond the national domestic-only CBDC that you’re ready to interoperate with other countries.”

The Focus Group’s work has been driven in collaboration by Central Banks, ICT regulators, commercial banks, financial service providers, telecom companies, security professionals, FinTech innovators, and technical and financial standards bodies.

“With the IMF [International Monetary Fund], the Bank for International Settlements and all the Central Banks especially expert in this area, I think we have gathered the most relevant information in terms of what the future of currency is going to be,” says Wen.

Source: ITUNews

Science/Technology / Danbatta, NCC And Search For Nigeria’s Zuckerbergs by technative(f): 2:32pm On Jul 03, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

By Yakubu Musa

In his book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari pertinently and repeatedly gives us a wakeup call on the daunting challenges posed by the fourth industrial revolution.

“It is undoubtedly, however, that the technological revolutions will gather momentum in the next few decades, and will confront humankind with the hardest trials we have ever encountered. Any story that seeks to gain humanity’s allegiance will be tested above all in its ability to deal with the twin revolutions in infotech and biotech,” he brilliantly observed.

Yet in Harari’s eloquent summation, there seems to be not only the alarm bells ringing loudly in our ears but a conspicuous sense of foreboding about the fourth industrial’s Darwinian survival of the fittest nature, staring us in the face.

To put differently, it’s imperative to those who aspire to be the leading players of this inescapable revolution, and by extension the world itself, to be ready to not only cudgel brains but be able to commit resources toward achieving the goal.

Indeed there is no getting away from the fact that the ship will definitely set sail without those who fail to swiftly be on board, and the impact of the inertia will surely be staggeringly catastrophic.

The disruption that the ICT, for instance, is currently triggering around the world has already changed the narrative of global economic landscape. Ideas that would have been hitherto rejected as outright heresy are now the fulcrum of our economic realities. For the first time in our modern history, data is dislodging oil as the most important economic resource in the world. Innovative young chaps are replacing oil sheikhs on the Forbes’ list of global billionaires and the trajectory will assuredly remain, for many years to come.

“Danbatta came to the NCC and met a situation whereby research and development efforts were being coordinated at unit level. He transformed it into a full-fledged department.”

Little wonder therefore financing of tech starts up and emerging companies had reached all-time high in 2017. In a space of half a decade, according to a GSMA publication, private equity companies, venture-capital firms and corporates had already invested a whopping $ 1.2 trillion in this respect.

If the rest of the world is, however, deliberately giving a special attention to innovation and even investing humongous amount of resources in funding cutting-edge researches on problem-solving, having fully appreciated the undeniable fact that there’s an established correlation between research and the quality of life they enjoy, in Nigeria also, we don’t have to look elsewhere for diagnoses of our failings.

Yet it can be stressed that this is where Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is making a huge difference, deserving of our collective accolades.

Perhaps because he can boast of achieving a basketful of accomplishments like attaining the near-impossible national broadband penetration target, Danbatta’s strides on supporting research and innovation are escaping the media radar.

Like in the stories of the other impacts of his transformational leadership at the commission, Danbatta came to the NCC and met a situation whereby research and development efforts were being coordinated at unit level. He transformed it into a full-fledged department.

“The telecommunications industry is dynamic. New technologies are daily emerging and new challenges too. And through research and development we can find solutions to challenges in the industry as well as improve on the services that actors in the industry provide to Nigerians” – Danbatta
Leveraging on two of his famous 8-Point Agenda, promoting ICT Innovation and Investment opportunities, as well as facilitating strategic collaboration and partnership, Danbatta opened the door wide and extended the hand of collaboration to the academia to unleash its research potential.

“You know the telecommunications industry is dynamic. New technologies are daily emerging and new challenges too. And through research and development we can find solutions to challenges in the industry as well as improve on the services that actors in the industry provide to Nigerians.

“This we can do by leveraging experience, the huge knowledge residents in the Nigerian Universities. And you have seen there’s a diverse representation of research proposals from the universities. And we are hoping that together these proposals will bring about prototypes that in turn we can commercialise hopefully in the not distant future in order to revive the manufacturing sector of the economy,” said the Professor of telecommunication engineering, while answering questions from reporters at a ceremony organised to endow professorial chairs at two of the nation universities recently.

Yet some of us may still ask: why is it that it’s the regulator that is seizing the momentum by the scruff of its neck instead of the industry itself?

Mr. Ephraim Nwokonneya, the Director, Research and Development of the commission has a convincing answer.

“We are getting involved because unlike in the advanced countries where the industry drives and funds research, here it has been lethargic in that respect.”

Nwokonneya, who showered encomiums on the NCC boss for the big push he has given to research and development, said Prof Danbatta is man who walks the talks by putting research and development in the front burner of the agency.

“Professor Danbatta has recognized the fact that the industry is saturating in some certain segments like the voice services, and a lot of growth opportunities are in broadband, value added services, data services, and opportunities can be unlocked using research and development,” he explained.

At least no fewer than 26 research projects sponsored by the commission in various tertiary institutions are currently ongoing, with two already in a collusive stage.

These include: fabrication of GSM communication based walking cane robot (GWCR), design and construction of a power line communications modem for domestic LAN, and development of secure prototype and framework for data harvesters and monitoring system to secure large farm, among others.

All said and done, while the Danbatta-led NCC’s stride in stimulating the industry through research and development isn’t purely rooted in Harari’s “cornucopia of doomsday scenarios”, it goes without saying that, it’s undeniably a brainchild of the transformational leadership at the helm of affairs of the regulatory agency.

The young imaginative innovators that the commission sponsored to the ITU Telecom World in Busan, South Korea, two years ago, had given the rest of the world the glimpse of what we could expect by sweeping all the silverwares. All eyes are now on the academia to come up with the prototypes that can put Nigeria on the map of global system of innovation.

Musa is SA Media tothe EVC of NCC

Science/Technology / Investment In Fibre Infrastructure Key To Enabling Growth Of Africa’s Digital by technative(f): 9:38am On Jul 02, 2019

Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Experts at the 2019 ‘Africa Panel Session’ of the International Telecoms Week (ITW), that was held recently in Atlanta, USA discussed the importance of infrastructure investments in local internet exchanges and terrestrial networks as being instrumental to facilitating the development and growth of Africa’s digital economy. Presenting on the theme “Enabling Africa’s Digital Economy”, Principal Analyst at TeleGeography, Patrick Christian, evaluated the African digital economy, noting that the study of global trends show Africa maintaining its position as the fastest growing region in internet usage though data volumes remain shockingly lower than other parts of the world.

Christian, underscored the importance of the role content providers such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook, play in driving Internet traffic and the expectation that their traffic on the continent will increase with the growth of Africa’s digital economy. It is expected that having more content beginning to reside and be exchanged within Africa, will add tremendous benefits to the ecosystem.

A panel that included high-level representation from MainOne (www.mainone.net), Google, Avanti Plc, Angola Cables, CSquared Africa, and WIOCC engaged in compelling discourse that highlighted these and other key factors for development in Africa’s digital economy. The dialogue centered on the notion that the development of the terrestrial network is key to growing the digital economies of all African countries. A point further emphasized by MainOne’s CEO, Funke Opeke, who stated that the organization is currently working in Lagos State of Nigeria to enable digital transformation through the deployment of 2500km of fibre across the State, adding to the almost 1000km of fibre currently deployed.

Opeke stated, “Our immediate focus is to ensure we have fibre to the towers, fiber to schools, health care facilities, and other government agencies, fiber to the enterprise/business districts, and with a density to reach within 1km of the majority of citizens in Lagos. We envisage having network density whereby over 60% of the population is within 1km of fibre access with the planned deployment.”

The 2019 Africa Panel session at ITW co-sponsored by MainOne continues to provide a platform for key global players to share perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of telecoms development on the African continent. This year makes it the 8th time in a row that MainOne has sponsored the session.

Science/Technology / Nigeria Begins Implementation Of E-yellow Card From Today by technative(f): 9:30am On Jul 02, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Beginning today, July 1, the Nigerian government will begin the implementation of the new e-Yellow Card to replace the old version of Yellow Card, the proof of vaccination against yellow fever, a requirement for international travellers from risk countries like Nigeria and as evidence that the carrier has been vaccinated against the disease.

According the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi, in an official statement released at the weekend in Abuja, the new Yellow Card contain enhanced security features verifiable anywhere in the world by scanning the bar code or checking the card number on the yellow card portal.

The introduction of the new e-Yellow Card would end the menace of fake cards that abound everywhere.

Mashi said from today, the new e-Yellow Card is the only valid documented proof of vaccination against yellow fever, a viral haemorrhagic fever caused by a virus transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

Yellow fever could be fatal but it is a vaccine-preventable disease. By the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO), all international travelers into yellow fever prone areas including Nigeria must be vaccinated against disease.

Science/Technology / A Pragmatic Approach To Cloud In The Age Of Hyperscale by technative(f): 10:33am On Jun 28, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Enterprise IT is sceptical about moving business critical internal operations to the Cloud – and for good reason. Andrew Cruise, managing director at Routed, Africa’s only vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, says that while businesses are keen to rid themselves of expensive on-premise hardware, they need to be sure of the availability, performance and security of their chosen Cloud platform before considering migration.

“With only an SLA to hang their hat on, it’s understandable that Enterprise IT finds it difficult to contemplate moving important workloads to the Cloud. Sysadmins also want something they can ‘touch and feel’ and Routed gives them the next best thing: Full disclosure on where their workloads are located, what hardware and software they run on, what is being done in terms of data security, resilience and immutability, and performance guarantees around latency and IOPS.”

He says another concern when it comes to Cloud is that of bill shock, as a result of unexpected usage charges at the end of the month, and lock-in. “The hyperscalers are highly motivated to ensure that once customers use their platform they never leave. Off-boarding is difficult and costly thanks to custom code in APIs, platform specific architectural methodologies and high egress charges.”

As Cloud services are typically being utilised in stages, Cruise says a pragmatic approach which mitigates against the pains, issues and fears that Enterprise IT has around utilising hyperscale providers is both prudent and more cost effective. “Routed likes to use the term ‘Pragmatic Cloud’ which is neither Public or Private Cloud, nor legacy on-premise, but IT that finds a way to connect all these environments so that customers can use what they need when they need it whether through private circuits, MPLS, SD-WAN, Direct Connect, Express Route, or the like.”

He adds that it’s advisable for Enterprise IT to begin migration to the Cloud with less critical workloads such as offsite backups to get a feel for the performance and availability of their chosen platform. “Here fixed pricing is the norm, which is often what enterprises want as their environments are usually static. Routed offers hourly usage billing or a mix of both so that customers can easily understand their costs.”

In addition to legitimate concerns about costs and potential lock-ins, Cruise says one of the biggest challenges to Enterprise IT making inroads to migrating to the Cloud is the perception that hyperscale providers are the only option available. “Many businesses are not yet aware of custom-built Cloud platforms specifically designed for the performance, availability and security demands of Enterprise IT. However, the landing of Azure, and AWS next year, is increasing the chatter and becoming a hot conversation topic. The raised profile of Cloud in general should allow Cloud providers to enter the conversation and pitch their differentiation.”

Science/Technology / How Nigeria And Rest Of Africa Can Fill Global IT Skill Gaps, Tunga by technative(f): 9:54am On Jun 28, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

In 2020, there will be an estimated shortage of 900,000 software programmers in Europe and up to a million in the U.S. 83% of companies in Europe and the U.S. are struggling to source tech talent. Africa appears poise to fill those gaps. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy with a huge population over 200 million is a viable IT skill market to service the rest of the world.

Tunga is working to meet this need. The demand for IT staff is increasing worldwide, and working remotely is hot. The IT sector therefore expects 38% of their permanent employees to work remotely ten years from now. Tunga has a network of over 300 African software developers spread over Uganda, Nigeria and Egypt. All of these are countries with large native tech communities. For many companies, Africa is still a blind spot when it comes to software development, but the continent has enormous potential as an IT talent pool. Furthermore, the largely overlapping time zones with Europe result in a maximum time difference of 2 hours.

Ernesto Spruyt, founder of Tunga, describes his company’s mission and its working methods as follows: “With us, the knife cuts both ways. On the one hand, we work with people in areas where unemployment is high and opportunities are limited. This way, we create jobs for African youth in areas where the social impact is highest. On the other hand, it enables us to offer a great service at an affordable price. Our customers often want to launch a new software product or prototype quickly, something that is difficult in Europe due to the scarcity of IT people, the high rates and, to be honest, also the sometimes indifferent attitude of programmers. Our people in Africa are super motivated and show no primadonna behavior.”

Nigeria, Egypt greatest potential for software development

When it comes to software development, Africa is a blind spot to many companies. The continent, however, has great potential, as we can tell from investments by Google and Facebook. The African talent pool could be a solution for companies that struggle to find good software developers. Dutch company Tunga published a report about outsourcing of IT-jobs to African employees. In this report, the African countries that are most suitable for finding software developers as well as the reasons why are discussed. The research report identifies Nigeria and Egypt as greatest potential for software development on the continent.

The report Best African Countries for Sourcing Software Developers 2019 provides solid statistics on software development in Africa. By focusing on different aspects in the sector a complete overview is provided, from Algeria to South Africa. Which countries harbour the best tech-talents? Where is the tech-ecosystem growing fastest and where to go for best English language skills? What about wages? Which countries have a stable business climate? The research has been conducted by Tunga during the past four years in which they have employed software developers in, among others, Nigeria, Egypt and Uganda; all countries with big tech communities. The projects are monitored by dedicated project managers to ensure that the needs of international clients are met by a professional team.

Tunga team
No primadonna behaviour

Ernesto Spruyt, founder of Tunga, on the mission and the method of his company: “There is a double advantage to our strategy. On the one hand, we work with people in places with high unemployment rates and few opportunities. This way, we create jobs for African youths in places where it has the highest positive impact on society. This also means that we can offer a high-quality service at very competitive rates. Our clients usually want to launch a new software product or prototype quickly, which is quite a challenge in Europe because of the scarcity of developers, high hourly rates and, let’s be honest, the sometimes indifferent attitude of developers. Our people in Africa are incredibly motivated and do not display any primadonna behaviour.”

Science/Technology / NITDA To Mdas: Comply With The Law On Use Of Social Media For Public Institution by technative(f): 10:10am On Jun 27, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Nigerian government IT clearinghouse, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has asked ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to comply with the law on use of social media for public institutions.

The agency in an official statement, this week, in Abuja said MDAs are under statutory obligation to comply with the “guidance on the use of social media within the public institutions’ communications environment in order to improve government transparency, participation and interaction with the general public.”

MDAs have 14 days to comply or risk being sanctioned according to the statement signed by the NITDA’s Director General/ CEO, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

By law, public officials are expected to release social media accounts in their care when they retire from service or when their contractual relationship with the government expires. They are not expected to use personal social media accounts for official engagements.

“All official social media accounts of public officials in their official capacity are the property of government and must be handed over appropriately,” warned the agency.

Since 2015, NITDA has implemented series of policy frameworks and actions to make MDAs more professional and transparent in the use of government’s digital assets.

Read the full statement with the title:

NITDA Calls for Strict Compliance with the Framework and Guidelines for the Use of Social Media Platforms for Public Institutions

The Management of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) would like to bring to the attention of Federal Public Institutions on the need for strict compliance with the Framework and Guidelines for the use of Social Media Platforms for Public Institutions, signed into law on 25th January, 2019. The Framework and Guidelines was issued with the aim of providing guidance on the use of Social Media within the Public Institutions’ communications environment in order to improve government transparency, participation and interaction with the general public.

Official Social Media accounts are property of Government

This has become necessary as the Agency’s compliance monitoring activity revealed that some Public Officials use personal accounts for official communication. We further note that where official accounts are used, some Public Officials, upon expiration of their tenure or retirement, fail to release such accounts. These actions are in violation of the provisions of the Framework and Guidelines which requires Public Officials not to use personal Social Media accounts for official engagements and also to establish appropriate account handover processes including the need for change of password(s)upon leaving office. It should be noted that all official Social Media accounts of Public Officials in their official capacity are the property of Government and must be handed over appropriately.

Violation of the Regulatory Instruments of NITDA is a criminal offence

The Agency therefore advises Public Officials to take appropriate measures at ensuring that they comply with all the provisions of the Regulation within 14 days of this release to avoid being sanctioned. Public Institutions and the general public are further advised to acquaint themselves with NITDA’s Regulatory Instruments, available on the Agency’s website – www.nitda.gov.ng. It should be noted that violation of the Regulatory Instruments of NITDA is a criminal offence, which is punishable with a fine, imprisonment or both.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), is a Federal Government Agency established in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy as well as coordinate general IT development and regulation in the country. Specifically, Section 6(a, b & m) of the Act mandates NITDA to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria; provide guidelines to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of appropriate infrastructure for information technology and systems application and development in Nigeria for public and private sectors, urban-rural development, the economy and the government; and accelerate internet and intranet penetration in Nigeria and promote sound internet Governance by giving effect to the Second Schedule of the Act.

Science/Technology / Nigeria’s Digital Future Hinges On Govt, Citizens’ Collaboration, Say Speakers A by technative(f): 9:43am On Jun 27, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

By Nwakaego Alajemba and Nchekwube Clara Aghasili-Lingo

Nigeria’s digital future depends on the level of collaboration among all stakeholders including government and citizens, a recent fireside chat in Jos, capital of Plateau State, central Nigeria has concluded.

Speakers at the SMSGAfrica fireside chat which holds every fortnight in Jos agreed that a digital future was crucial to social and political cohesion as well as driving economic development. But government and all citizens have a harmonious role to ensure Nigeria’s entry into the knowledge economy.

The theme of the chat was “Are we ready for the Digital Future.” It was moderated by Mr. Joey Shekwonuzhibo. Speakers were the Director General of the Plateau ICT Development Agency (PICTDA), Mr. Daser David, and CEO of Compunet, Dr. Kola Ojo.

Closing the digital gaps

In the narrower sense, digital future is the idea that all businesses will operate digitally in the future. But in the broader sense, it also implies that government with governance is public-centric business which also must be driven digitally to make public institutions more impactful on government.

This raises the questions of how to ensure broadband internet access for all, close digital gaps between rural and urban centres, break data barriers among all institutions – whether public and private, and bring digital platforms to impact on everyone.

David, who has the task to lead PICTDA to drive Plateau State’s digital goals, delved into the role of government in the digital future of the state.

He said Plateau State government is trying to see what works and also discussing with key stakeholders on how to drive a blueprint for the state’s digital future.

Daser mentioned that citizens can drive relevant policies and government must be deliberate in the nation’s digital future so we can attract investment to Plateau state.

Digital future requires collective partnership

“Our collective partnership online will determine how support will come from Google and other digital giants and for that to be done the government is trying to set up tech hubs in the local governments,” said David while citing an example with Lagos and how Former Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola gave free right of way to MainOne which has helped to transform Yaba into one of Africa’s biggest technology hubs.

Daser agreed that government must lead the way in setting the policy and infrastructure framework for a digital future and must come with a document of intent. But he said citizens too have a role to incite government to do the needful and set it on the right course as was the case in Lagos.

Ojoalso complained of sharing false or deliberately exaggerating negative narratives. He told participants of how people outside Jos picture Jos as a war zone because of what residents of Jos post online.

Plateau State needs positive social media narrative

“We are not telling our stories on the Plateau, we need to tell our stories that will do us a lot of good,” said Ojoalso while urging participants to help promote Plateau in the positive light on social media to encourage investors into the state.

“We have not maximized the power of technology in Nigeria, and only one-third of the registered bank accounts in Nigeria appreciate mobile banking. This is one of the setbacks we have as a country,” added Ojoalso.

Stories on social media decide the perception of how outsiders view the state and whether it is worth investors’ attention, the speakers concluded.

Using social media for social good will change the narrative from negative to positive, attract foreign investors and make Plateau social media ecosystem more relevant, said David.

The SMSGAfrica fireside chat is organised by Tomruk iHub Multiverse with the collaboration of Lagos based Knowhow Media and Market Intelligence International Limited (KMMIIL), publishers of IT Edge News.

Science/Technology / Globaldata’s 5G RAN Competitive Analysis Reveals Huawei Leadership by technative(f): 9:47am On Jun 26, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

The telecommunications industry’s first Competitive Landscape Assessment (CLA) of the 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) infrastructure solutions space has been researched and published by GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s report, ‘5G RAN: Competitive Landscape Assessment’, evaluates the 5G mobile base station portfolios of five key vendors: Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE. It examines the details of each portfolio in the context of key criteria important to mobile operators including: baseband unit capacity, radio unit portfolio, installation ease and technology evolution.

Among the reports key findings:

Huawei’s 5G RAN portfolio holds the strongest position overall, with leading claims in all four criteria categories, including superior baseband unit capacity and radio unit portfolio breadth.
Ericsson’s greatest strengths lie in solutions for easing radio installation, such as its Street Macro and Vault Radio offerings, an area in which the vendor holds a leading position.
Nokia is strongest in its radio unit portfolio, whose breadth of options and compact form factors helped the vendor earn a rating of leader in the radio portfolio category of GlobalData’s analysis.
The report serves as both a guide for mobile operators that need to select RAN suppliers as well as a tool for vendors to use to gauge their competitive position relative to rivals. It also makes recommendations to operators and vendors alike to aid their respective efforts.

“The 5G RAN market is extremely competitive in these early stages,” said Ed Gubbins, Principal Analyst at GlobalData. “Operators’ decisions today will direct the next decade of global telecom investment and ultimately usher in fundamental changes to the way we live and work in the 5G era.”

The report also examines trends and drivers in the 5G RAN space. For example, although Internet-of-Things (IOT) use cases will be a major driver of 5G infrastructure going forward, in the very near term, 5G decisions are being guided largely by enhanced mobile broadband services. As the 5G RAN market evolves, GlobalData’s assessment will focus more on IoT capabilities.
The vendor landscape is changing rapidly, as Gubbins explains: “The first wave of 5G RAN equipment, called ‘non-standalone 5G’ relies on existing 4G LTE infrastructure for some functions. So in the race to win 5G deals with operators, each vendor has a strong advantage with operators that already use their 4G gear.
“Standalone 5G, which requires a 5G core, will give vendors a better chance to penetrate new operator accounts and grow their global market share. We expect the standalone 5G RAN market to start ramping up in 2020.”

Science/Technology / Airtel Africa PLC Announces Initial Public Offer by technative(f): 9:36am On Jun 26, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Airtel Africa PLC has announced its Initial Public Offer (IPO) of shares worth $780.0m (N270.0bn) on the premium board of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and subsequently, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Shares are on offered at the NSE from 28th June 2019.

An official statement by Afrinvest Research on the Public & Private Offers reads below:
Please be informed that Airtel Africa (“The Company“) has announced plans of an Initial Public Offering (“IPO”) of shares worth $780.0m (N270.0bn) on the premium board of the London Stock Exchange (“LSE”) and subsequently, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (‘’NSE’’).

The proceeds from the offer will be used to offset the company’s net debt and the offer price is expected to range between N363.00 and N454.00 per share (Naira conversion of the expected Pounds Sterling price per share of between £0.80 and £1.00). Please note that this is an indicative price subject to the outcome of the ‘’Book Building’’ exercise by the company. The company’s annual report for 2018 can be found HERE.

Although participation is restricted to Qualified Institutional Investors and High Net Worth Individuals, Afrinvest will set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (“SPV”) to aggregate the demand of retail investors. Upon successful completion and listing (4th July 2019), all shares will be crossed into investors’ CSCS account. Please note that clients will bear all cross deal charges.

Also, the minimum share subscription will be 500 shares, investors are expected to fund our bank account with a minimum of N227,000.00 (i.e 500 * N454.00 – being the upper band of the share price range). Any excess amount will be left in clients’ in-house account in the event that the clearing price is lower than N454.00.

Please see expected timetable of principal events in the Nigerian offer according to the IPO prospectus below:

Event Date
Announcement of Offer Price, Offer Size, publication of the Pricing Statement
and allocation of Ordinary Shares 28 June 2019
Allot new Ordinary Shares to the shareholders 29 June 2019
Crediting of Ordinary Shares to accounts 3 July 2019
Nigerian Admission and start of unconditional dealings on The NSE 4 July 2019

Science/Technology / NCC Licenses Avanti For Satellite Space Segment, Affirms Commitment To 8-point A by technative(f): 11:10am On Jun 25, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Nigeria’s telecoms regulator has affirmed commitment to the 8-Point Agenda to facilitate the country’s prosperity through the development of digital inclusiveness and a globally competitive telecoms sector.

The regulator has issued licenses to AVANTI Communications Group Plc for satellite space segment, permitting HYLAS 4 Satellite Space Landing Right to the operator in Nigeria. The UK- based satellite operator is a pioneering world-leader in the provision of satellite technology across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta said the commission would continue to implement regulations and initiatives targeting to grow the sector, boost investors’ confidence, advance the interest of operators and protect the rights of consumers within the dynamics of the industry.

The NCC’s boss while speaking in Abuja during the formal presentation of the Landing Right Permit to AVANTI for the HYLAS-4 Satellite Space Segment over Nigerian territory said Nigeria welcomes all investors interested in partnering to develop the market. HYLAS-4 is a telecommunications satellite owned and operated by AVANTI.

The 8-Point Agenda focuses on eight key areas designed by the management of the commission as a strategic plan to consolidate the growth of the telecom sector and also to encourage the industry to continuously leverage the ever expanding possibilities of the digital economy.

NCC remains a progressive regulator and is committed to pushing real growth in the sector, said Danbatta while emphasizing that part of the ideals of the 8-Point Agenda is to increase broadband penetration especially to unserved and underserved areas of Nigeria.

The landing permit granted AVANTI is first of its kind in satellite communications in Nigeria. It is an authorization that operators required to enable their satellites to beam signals over the territory of Nigeria, said Danbatta who was represented by NCC’s Director of Spectrum Administration, Mr. Austin Nwaulune.

Danbatta expressed joy that Avanti’s authorization will enable local operators to deploy services via satellite technology to mass of rural and urban centres in a way that will further drive digital inclusiveness among all Nigerians.

Nigeria’s telecoms regulator has affirmed commitment to the 8-Point Agenda to facilitate the country’s prosperity through the development of digital inclusiveness and a globally competitive telecoms sector.

The regulator has issued licenses to AVANTI Communications Group Plc for satellite space segment, permitting HYLAS 4 Satellite Space Landing Right to the operator in Nigeria. The UK- based satellite operator is a pioneering world-leader in the provision of satellite technology across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta said the commission would continue to implement regulations and initiatives targeting to grow the sector, boost investors’ confidence, advance the interest of operators and protect the rights of consumers within the dynamics of the industry.

The NCC’s boss while speaking in Abuja during the formal presentation of the Landing Right Permit to AVANTI for the HYLAS-4 Satellite Space Segment over Nigerian territory said Nigeria welcomes all investors interested in partnering to develop the market. HYLAS-4 is a telecommunications satellite owned and operated by AVANTI.

The 8-Point Agenda focuses on eight key areas designed by the management of the commission as a strategic plan to consolidate the growth of the telecom sector and also to encourage the industry to continuously leverage the ever expanding possibilities of the digital economy.

NCC remains a progressive regulator and is committed to pushing real growth in the sector, said Danbatta while emphasizing that part of the ideals of the 8-Point Agenda is to increase broadband penetration especially to unserved and underserved areas of Nigeria.

The landing permit granted AVANTI is first of its kind in satellite communications in Nigeria. It is an authorization that operators required to enable their satellites to beam signals over the territory of Nigeria, said Danbatta who was represented by NCC’s Director of Spectrum Administration, Mr. Austin Nwaulune.

Danbatta expressed joy that Avanti’s authorization will enable local operators to deploy services via satellite technology to mass of rural and urban centres in a way that will further drive digital inclusiveness among all Nigerians.

Science/Technology / Afriqloud Launches In Uganda, Eyes Nigeria, 14 African Countries by technative(f): 10:58am On Jun 25, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Pan-African connectivity provider, BringCom, in partnership with science and technology investor, Imprimatur Capital, and European edge cloud software company, GIG Technology, have together birthed what is to provide the African technology industry with cloud sovereignty – afriQloud.

The launch took place this week in Uganda; afriQloud will provide, at internationally competitive rates, local and foreign customers with an innovative and secure distributed edge cloud service.

The providers plan to launch out services in Nigeria and 14 other African countries beginning from this year, said founding partner of Imprimatur Capital Africa and CEO of afriQloud, Hans van Linschoten.

“We see significant potential in the growing African cloud market where an estimated $2 billion is being spent in cloud this year, and we’re excited to bring this service to the continent. By the end of 2019 we will complement the few developed markets clouds with a powerful and local distributed cloud in at least 15 countries. This ensures data sovereignty for institutions and governments within Africa’s shores,” added van Linschoten.

Most of Africa’s content on the internet is currently hosted on servers outside the continent. Implementation of edge cloud computing services in Africa has been adversely affected by lack of reliable and secure connectivity from various service providers. The cost of setting up ICT infrastructure with improved data latency and minimized downtime has also contributed to the slow adoption of cloud solution across the continent.

“Although cloud adoption is predominantly private, the African markets are generating a growth of 30% in public cloud sales. Few other ICT market segments in the African tech ecosystem have the potential of adding an incremental $2 billion in top line revenue over the next 5 years,” said Chairman of GIG Technology, Mark Simmonds.

According to CEO of BringCom, Fabrice Langreney, “Opening up of the global market will require African companies and organizations to be equally competitive in deployment of e-solutions, scalability, secure data accessibility and connectivity in line with international standards.”

Building bridges to the African incubators and tech hubs

afriQloud is also building bridges to the African incubators and tech hubs. More than 440 tech hubs are available today and more funding is being raised by tech startups across the African continent. The aim of afriQloud is to have the Edge Cloud installed in cities and tech hub ecosystems which hosts a high number of startups and developers. Now present and operational in Uganda, afriQloud will be spreading its services further into the different regions of Africa this year.

“We believe in partnerships and the creation of local economy using our cloud technology. Having assessed the cloud readiness of different African markets, we are thrilled to launch in Kampala,” said CEO of GIG Technology, Willem Hendrickx.

Eye on all of Africa

Hans van Linschoten: “We have hit the ground and we intend to keep up the pace. This service in Africa is long overdue. In a few months, we will expand our service in East Africa – Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia will be afriQloud active very soon. We are working through channels in Southern Africa as well – Zambia, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique are our next target markets. And of course the West African region is good and ripe for the plucking. Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Cameroon – we’ll be present in all these countries this year! We’re very much looking forward to working with tech startups, MNOs, ISPs, government institutions, banks and financial institutions, universities – there is much to be done, and the time to begin is now.”

Science/Technology / Multichoice Nigeria Records N133.2bn Profit, 24.8% Market Growth Despite Dauntin by technative(f): 9:58am On Jun 25, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

In just one financial year, Multichoice Nigeria has recorded N133.2 billion in revenue from subscriptions representing a 24.8 per cent growth according to the Group’s financial results for the full year ended March 31, 2019. The results were released in South Africa this week.

Multichoice Nigeria generated R5.3 billion in the year under review amounting to N133.2 billion using a current exchange conversion rate of N25.14 to R1. This is a

24.8 per cent revenue growth for the 2019 financial year over the previous year of N100 billion (R4 billion.

Nigeria’s market remains strategic to the South African payTV operator as Africa’s largest economy accounted for 10.6 per cent of the Group’s total R50 billion revenue for the year.

According to the report, the Group recorded outstanding growth across Africa where it has steadily become a giant in satellite payTV. Total subscriptions grew by 12 per cent year-on-year to hit 15.1 million across the continent.

“Our growth is exceptionally pleasing, especially in the current economic climate, and a clear indication that our strategy is working. We continue to believe in the growing appetite for video entertainment across the African continent,” said Multichoice Group CEO, Calvo Mawela.

In Nigeria, the payTV giant said increase in revenue has resulted from growth in subscriber base and increase in the price of some of its subscription packages over which it is currently at war in with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

The FCCPC is in court with Multichoice Nigeria over its price increment which the commission regards as outrageous. Multichoice Nigeria has blamed the increase on rising cost of delivering services including heavy cost of equipment maintenance and constant reliance on fuel generators to keep service going.

“The cost of doing business in Nigeria is five times the cost of doing same business elsewhere on the continent,” said a senior official of Multichoice Nigeria in Lagos.

Science/Technology / Globalstar Successfully Completes MSS, Terrestrial Authorizations Across Africa by technative(f): 9:21am On Jun 20, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Globalstar, Inc. has announced that it has received MSS (mobile satellite services) and terrestrial authorizations in South Africa, Mozambique, Gabon, and Rwanda. These countries join Botswana in representing over 1.1 million square miles of territory, a population greater than 100 million people, annual GDP of over a half a trillion USD and more than 1.7 billion MHz-POPs of licensed coverage across Africa.

Globalstar, a pioneer of mobile satellite voice and data services, is a leading provider of customizable Satellite IoT solutions for customers around the world in industries such as oil and gas, transportation, emergency management, government, maritime and outdoor recreation.

In these countries, Globalstar has obtained terrestrial LTE authority over its entire 16.5 MHz of S-band spectrum (2483.5-2500 MHz), most with permissible power limits suitable for both macro and small cell deployments.

Globalstar has established domestic subsidiaries with experienced and qualified partners who bring extensive knowledge of their local markets and are poised for success domestically and regionally with both MSS and terrestrial LTE service offerings. Globalstar’s satellite services combined with these flexible new terrestrial authorizations enable it to offer unique communications solutions in regions that have historically presented complex network deployment problems. Globalstar’s team is now pursuing multiple private LTE opportunities across these licensed markets that are home to thousands of major oil & gas, mining, agricultural, industrial, and conservation operations.

The Company looks forward to working with local in-country partners to deploy its satellite and terrestrial network solutions as well as directly with industrial partners. Globalstar and its technology partners have already entered the first Memorandum of Understanding with a customer in Mozambique for a Band 53 private LTE network solution and looks forward to providing additional information on this opportunity once definitive agreements are executed. Mozambique is blessed with tremendous natural resources and is garnering significant international investment.

Furthermore, Globalstar’s licensing in Rwanda and Gabon include C-Band authorizations at 5.1 and 7 GHz for the possible establishment of satellite gateway earth stations that would work in concert with existing gateways in Botswana, France and Turkey, to augment and solidify its coverage across the entire continent. Globalstar is working towards final investment decisions regarding one or more of these additional gateways in the near future.

“Africa is a rich market for our terrestrial and satellite services, and Globalstar is committed to bringing its unique mix of solutions to the continent to meet the communications needs of the next generation of African businesses and consumers,” said Jay Monroe, Globalstar’s Executive Chairman of the Board. “Satellite and terrestrial-based industrial IoT solutions will be critical to facilitating enhanced communications and data solutions in regions that have not previously had reliable wireless and wireline communications.”

Finally, Globalstar extends a special note of thanks to the ministries and regulatory authorities of the African countries for their competency, hard work, transparency and global leadership in supporting the advancement of spectrum technologies for the benefit of consumers and businesses in Africa.

Science/Technology / Building A Continental Neural Network: Spreading Ideas, Innovation Across Africa by technative(f): 11:03am On Jun 14, 2019

Posted By: ITEdgeNews

By Pedro Guerreiro

The human brain remains one of nature’s greatest wonders. Its estimated 100 billion neurons process and transmit information to create the most complex computational devices in the known universe. As our technological progress accelerates, the prospect of creating artificial intelligence to rival our own is exiting the realm of science fiction and entering science fact. It is not unthinkable that we will create an advanced AI in our lifetimes, ushering in a new dawn for humankind.

These algorithms could help us solve some of the world’s most pervasive problems, including poverty, viruses and superbugs, climate change and improved service delivery to a growing global population.

But algorithms are not the only artificial neural networks currently under development. The entire African continent is arguably transforming into a vast neural network that has the potential to transmit innovation and knowledge across vast distances at the speed of thought. This progress is powered by a mix of increased connectivity, growing digital literacy among its youthful population, enabling policies from African governments, private sector investment and the growing proliferation of so-called exponential technologies.

Connectedness driving progress

Sub-Saharan Africa has made great progress in internet connectivity over the past decade. While the continent has largely missed the wave of fixed line connectivity typical of more developed markets, its rapid adoption of mobile technology has helped its citizens leapfrog into the digital era. By next year, Africa is expected to be home to half a billion mobile broadband connections.

Female office worker at computer - ©Frederic/Cirou/PhotoAlto/Corbis
Female office worker at computer – ©Frederic/Cirou/PhotoAlto/Corbis
While this rapid growth in connectivity has brought issues such as fake news, cybercrime, financial scams and political manipulation, most sub-Saharan Africans are positive about the role the internet plays. According to recent research, many Africans say the internet has had a positive impact on education, economy, personal relationships and politics.

The emergence of 5G technologies and the continued rollout of fibre connectivity will encourage more African citizens to make use of online services and app-based tools. It’s also good news for the continent’s efforts to close the digital divide and foster smart city capabilities in key urban hubs.

Building smart hubs and cities

According to GSMA data, the number of active tech hubs in Africa has grown to 442, a 50% increase between 2014 and 2018. These hubs are found mostly in the more advanced African economies of South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco, often laying the foundation for what looks set to become one of the defining urban trends of our time: the rise of smart cities.

This trend is partly driven by Africa’s relatively small urban population. According to UN data, only 40% of the sub-Saharan Africa population live in cities. Large metropoles such as Lagos and Cairo are expected to grow massively over the coming years as more people move from rural regions: Lagos alone is expected to have a population of 88 million by the end of the century, making it possibly the most populous city in the world.

Across the continent – from Konza Technological City in Kenya to Eko Atlantic in Nigeria to Vision City in Rwanda – governments are launching ambitious smart cities; multi-billion-dollar tech developments that champion the use of technology in urban management and appeal to the younger, more digitally savvy generation typical of the continent.

Refining the world’s greatest deposit of raw talent

If Africa is to harness the talent of its fast growing youth population and power its economic growth, these developments are necessary. The median age in Africa is 19.5, and its youth population is expected to more than double between 2015 and 2055 to reach 226 million. Many will work in a world completely transformed by the exponential technologies entering our lives: AI, blockchain, IoT and machine learning. Efforts to foster greater digital literacy among this large and growing group are accelerating, and for good reason.While 12 million young people entered Africa’s labour force in 2015, only 3.1 million jobs were created.

Fostering greater digital literacy is therefore a priority for the public and private sectors in many countries. The annual Africa Code Week initiative that was started in 2016 has already introduced more than 4.1 million youth to basic coding skills and in 2018 alone trained 23 000 teachers to sustainably teach digital skills within their schools and communities. Major tech companies, from IBM to Google to SAP, have made significant investments into the continent’s digital economy through the establishment of innovation labs, supercomputer facilities, and AI centres.

Team working at a start up
Team working at a start up
Some have predicted that Africa could become the beating heart of the future global economy, thanks largely to its growing youth population and the ageing population of more developed regions. But it’s just as likely that Africa will become its brain, a massive multicultural melting pot of ideas and innovation that is transmitted instantly across vast distances, solving big problems and enabling a new generation of digital workers to drive global progress for decades to come.

The entire planet could be transformed this way. Imagine a world where technological advancement is balanced with African ingenuity and a deep-held respect for the balance between the natural and digital worlds. I would argue such a world would be a step change from the often-reckless economic development that typified our recent history.

As we enter this new, uncertain era of exponential technologies and progress, Africa is taking bold steps to becoming an economic and innovation driver. And the world will never be the same.

Pedro Guerreiro
Pedro Guerreiro is managing director of SAP Africa

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Science/Technology / Economic Challenges Cause Decline In Africa’s Smartphone Market by technative(f): 10:58am On Jun 13, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Africa’s smartphone market saw a 7.1% decline in shipments quarter on quarter (QoQ) in Q1 2019 to total 21.5 million units, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC). The global technology research and consulting firm’s recently published Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows the continent’s two biggest markets – Nigeria and South Africa – underperformed due to seasonal effects, posting QoQ declines of 14.7% and 23.4%, respectively.

“While Africa’s smartphone market experienced a QoQ decline, shipments actually increased 5.6% when viewed year on year (YoY),” says Arnold Ponela, a research analyst at IDC. “The YoY increase indicates that the market is showing some signs of improvement, while the QoQ decline can be attributed to the traditionally weaker performance of Q1 versus the seasonal buoyancy of Q4, in addition to disappointing results in some large markets.”

Nigeria saw smartphone shipments of 2.3 million units in Q1 2019, down 11.9% YoY. The country’s poor performance can be attributed to a three-week embargo on shipments of Chinese mobile phone brands into the country, which negatively affected major market players. Economic activity is usually slow in the first quarter and in Q1 2019 it was further exacerbated by widespread insecurity and the one-week postponement of the general election.

South Africa’s overall mobile phone market contracted 4.0% YoY in Q1 2019 to total 4.7 million units. “The decline can be attributed to seasonal factors, with Q1 traditionally being the slowest quarter of the year,” says Ponela. “There was also an issue with overstocking in the channel because of the buoyant volumes seen during Q4, traditionally the strongest, when demand is stirred by Black Friday and the Christmas season.”

Africa’s smartphone market continues to be spurred by the growing popularity of low-end to mid-range devices. Transsion brands (Tecno and Itel) top these segments and remain the continent’s leaders in terms of overall smartphone shipments, together accounting 33.1% of the market’s volume in Q1 2019. Samsung followed in second place with 24.5% unit share. Huawei ranked third with a unit share of 11.8%. “With most of the continent’s markets experiencing numerous economic challenges, it is clear that cheaper phones offering better value will increasingly dominate the market,” says Ponela.

In the feature phone space, shipments were down 5.8% QoQ and 0.3% YoY in Q1 2019, with shipments totaling 31.6 million units. Feature phones still constitute a significant 59.9% share of the total mobile phone market due to their relative affordability and durability, and they continue to play an important role in connecting even more Africans to the internet. Transsion brands Tecno and Itel continue to dominate the feature phone landscape with a combined unit share of 59.7%, followed in third place by HMD with 9.2% share.

Looking ahead, IDC expects Africa’s overall mobile phone market to total 50.9 million units in Q2 2019, reflecting a YoY decline of 5.3% caused by sharp downturns in most countries. “Africa is susceptible to challenging local macroeconomic environments as well as to the global tensions surrounding international trade,” says Ramazan Yavuz, a research manager at IDC. “Another factor is the rise of protectionist measures aimed at controlling smartphone shipments in multiple countries, which causes sudden short-term swings in the market’s performance.”

IDC’s research shows that 4G LTE networks are continuing to spread their reach in Africa, with shipments of 4G LTE devices increasing 15.1% YoY in Q1 2019 to constitute 67.1% of the smartphone market. “A drop in prices for entry-level 4G phones and discounted tariff and data plans on the operator side are driving this growth,” says Yavuz. “However, despite the rapid penetration of 4G handsets, 2G and 3G mobile devices remain resilient as an economical option for price sensitive consumers.”

For more information, please contact Sheila Manek on +971 4 446 3154 or at smanek@idc.com.

About IDC
International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,100 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC’s analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a subsidiary of IDG , the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company.

Science/Technology / Afrilabs Expands Into 45 African Countries by technative(f): 10:26am On Jun 13, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

AfriLabs; the largest Pan- African network of technology and innovation centres has added 27 new hubs into her network thereby extending her reach into six countries; Guinea, Mauritius, South Sudan, Libya, Tunisia and Botswana and 12 new cities making it a total of 158 Hubs in 45 African Countries.

In Central Africa, AfriLabs has added Ocean Innovation Centre in Cameroon while in West Africa AfriLabs tops her already growing community with Roar Nigeria Hub, Ennovate Lab, Nicademia Hub, TVCLabs and Devamplify Hub in Nigeria, Grassroots Hub in Ghana, Burkina Business Incubator in Burkina Faso, Incubateur Saboutech in Guinea and Mali Business Innovation and Incubation Centre in Mali. New East African additions include; Ndoto Hub and Smart Lab in Tanzania, FabLab Winam, Pangea Accelerator and Mt Kenya Hub in Kenya, Mauritius Business Network in Mauritius, Design Hub Kampala in Uganda and HarHub in Somalia whilst Impact Hub Harare and Startup Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and Botswana Innovation Hub in Botswana tops the list for hubs in the Southern African Region.

And finally to wrap up the list is GESR- MEK Cairo and Maamal for Development in Egypt, Le Wagon in Morocco, CoZi Coworking Café Djerba in Tunisia, Tatweer Research, Benghazi in Libya and Ataka Hub in South Sudan for the Northern African Region.

We are excited to have these new members join our ever growing family as well as extending our reach to these new countries thereby bringing us closer to the goal of having our community span across all 55 African countries. We believe that in reaching this goal, we are moving closer to an integrated and

prosperous continent fostered by open collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship driven by hubs and their communities across Africa – Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director, AfriLabs.

Being part of this community is an epitome of belonging to an African identity and resolve to change the destiny of our motherland together through nurturing entrepreneurship and our common genius – Soulamane KonKobo, Founder, Burkina Business Incubator Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Being a member of Afrilabs gives us a great opportunity to expand our network beyond the creative sector and across the continent. We hope to engage in meaningful synergies between the tech and creative ecosystems and share similar experiences as coworking spaces – Jantien Zuurbier, Founder, Design Hub Kampala, Kampala, Uganda.

Science/Technology / Worldremit Launches New Product For Business Payments To Nigeria by technative(f): 9:53am On Jun 13, 2019
Posted By: ITEdgeNews

Leading digital money transfer company WorldRemithttp://www.worldremit.com has launched WorldRemit for Business, a new service that enables small and medium-sized business owners to quickly pay employees and contractors in 140 countries worldwide, including fast-growing markets such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa. The platform will first be available to U.K.-registered businesses.

WorldRemit’s low fees and exchange rates are shown up-front and customers can send money easily via the company’s website and app. By extending its money transfer service to SMEs, WorldRemit will save businesses time and money when they make international payments.

WorldRemit is the leading digital money transfer service that makes sending money as easy as sending an instant message. We currently operates digital money transfer service from over 50 countries to more than140 receiving destinations, leading the shift to online and mobile money transfers and improving speed and convenience for users.

Each year, the UK imports $2 billion in goods and services from Nigeria, where SMEs account (https://pwc.to/2Re1abj) for 96% of businesses and 84% of employment. WorldRemit for Business will make it easier individuals to receive payment by UK-based partners via bank transfer to GT Bank accounts. While some banks can take up to one week to process payments, WorldRemit transfers to Nigeria are processed instantly.

Customers sending funds abroad can easily track their transfers in real-time on the WorldRemit app and opt-in to receive daily exchange notifications to send money abroad at the optimal time.

Ismail Ahmed, Founder and Executive Chairman at WorldRemit, comments: “When I first started WorldRemit, I was frustrated with the high charges and long delays in sending money abroad both as a business owner and consumer. Over the past 9 years, we’ve made it easier for 4 million people around the globe to send and receive money.

Today, we’re pleased to extend that service offering to businesses, and put an end to the steep fees that many businesses have to pay, especially when sending to Nigeria. We’re committed to making it quick, safe and easy for you to pay individuals across borders, leaving you to focus on growing your own business.”

Shane Lennox, Senior Product Manager for Business, comments: “With more people moving and settling across borders, the nature of business is becoming increasingly global. This new product offering is catering for those in need of a digital service that solves a number of pain points faced by SMEs with international staff and contractors. This new product launch will enable millions of SMEs to benefit from our award-winning convenient service.”

WorldRemit customers complete over 1.4 million transfers every month from over 50 countries to over 140 destinations using its app or website and remains committed to providing innovative solutions to meet money transfer needs across the world. In addition to partnering with Nigerian Banks including First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Access Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc for instant digital money transfers. In April 2019 the company launched international transfers to Paga mobile money accounts.

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