The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Approves the Trial Deployment of 5G Services

NCC, the independent regulatory authority for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria, has recently approved a trial deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) services in the country.

NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, made this approval known to the public on Tuesday, August 27th, during his opening remarks at the 1st Digital African Week, organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and hosted by the NCC at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

The Digital African Week, a four-day conference, began on Tuesday, with the aim of allowing all stakeholders in the emerging digital space to deliberate on the future technologies in Africa.

During his speech to the stakeholders at the event, Danbatta acknowledged the evolving trends in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT), which is giving rise to technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) applications and smart cities and communities (SC&C), among others. As a result, he said NCC is rightly positioned to activate trial of 5G deployment in Nigeria.

Commenting on this, he said, “In this regards, we have approved spectrum for the trial of 5G services in the country.” He further noted that this regulatory move is consistent with Nigerian’s Vision 20:2020, which recognises the importance and imperatives of ICT, as part of the “new world order and catalyst for sustainable socio-economic development.

Nigerians are still struggling with the adoption and coverage of 4G LTE, which followed 3G, with a 6% adoption, and 51% coverage as at June 2019.

Yet, the belief is that this 5G improvement will positively impact on the country’s connectivity landscape, providing high-speed, reliable and robust network. It will efficient5ly aid the activities in the country’s multi-billion-dollar growing digital economy.

Essentially, what this 5G trial deployment means is that telecom operators in the country (Airtel, MTN, Glo) will have to upgrade their networks to multi-standard 5G-ready infrastructure.

 

Jumia and Techpoint to host NBA Superstar Investor, Andre Iguodala, in Nigeria

Jumia in conjunction with Techpoint would be bringing Andre Iguodala to Nigeria for an interactive session with some techpreneurs on September 11th 2019.

Andre Iguodala is an American Basketball Player and Silicon Valley Investor, with investments in Facebook, Twitter and Tesla.

Even more, he is a member of the Jumia board; he joined the Jumia Board of Directors earlier this year as an ambassador, charged with promoting business development and technology in Africa.

Themed “Moving from Zero to Growth”, the aim of the interactive session is to address issues around funding and investment for local startups.

Andre is to lead the session, sharing his experience on how he has built his portfolio as an investor, and also offer insights on how local founders can successfully position their business for growth.

If you are a founder, local investor, hub owner or accelerator, then this interactive session is particularly for you. However, though the attendance for the event is free, Jumia and Techpoint  would be largely  involved in selecting those eligible to attend.

The session begins by 12:00 pm, on September 11, and the event venue will be communicated to shortlisted applicants.

If you are interested in attending this session, follow this link to register.

 

Better Days at 9mobile: 9mobile Receives $230 Million Loan from AFC

The Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd., operating as 9mobile, Nigeria’s fourth largest telecommunications company, has recently been approved for a $230 million loan by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC)

AFC is a pan-African Multilateral Development Financial Institution established in 2007 to bridge Africa’s infrastructure investment gap, making investments across five key sectors of power, transport and logistics, natural resources, telecommunications and heavy industries.

9mobile made the approval of this loan known on Sunday in a released statement signed by Abdulrahman Ado, its executive director for regulatory and corporate affairs. According to Ado, the company received the loan approval from AFC on Friday, August 23.

Africa Finance Corporation is pleased to inform the Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services that it has received full board approval to support the turnaround strategy of EMTS through $230m super-senior investment,” the financial institution said.

On the use of the loan, the company claims that the funds will be channelled towards innovative product development. The company claims that the loan facility will be divided into two sections, and will be used in repaying historic vendor obligations, finance costs and an internet reserve account and payment towards quick-win CapEx initiatives.

Speaking on this, Nashiru Bayero, the chairman of 9mobile’s board of directors, said, “We can only express gratitude to the AFC for approving this loan facility that would not only jhelp our business sustainability but also grow it to serve our teeming and loyal customers in Nigeria better.

We have completely reviewed our operational, regulatory, financial and technical architecture to ensure we deliver quality services and this facility would go a long way in giving best-in-class services to Nigerians. Our turnaround efforts are well and truly underway. We had promised when we took over that we would justify the confidence in our brand by making significant investments that will improve the value Nigerians get for using 9mobile.”

The Chief Financial Officer for 9mobile, Phillips Oki, also said that with the loan facility, 9mobile’s staff, vendors and subscribers can expect better days.

 

 

Max, One of OPay’s ORide Competitors, has launched MaxKeke

Nigerian bike-hailing service, Max, one of the prominent competitors to the Opera-owned ORide, has just launched Maxkeke, its own tricycle service.

With core values of transparency, integrity, initiative and partnership, Max was founded by Adetayo Bamiduro and Chinedu Azodoh with the aim of reducing hours spent by Lagosians in traffic.

Early in the month of June, MAX raised $7 million investment for expansion, and the tricycle service was indeed one of the verticals MAX hoped to expand to with the raised funds. According to an internal person with knowledge of the service, operations are to kick off anytime soon, this is further corroborated by a tweet from MAX yesterday,

“Tawa is Smart. Tawa is a MAX Keke Champion. Now she’s got financial freedom!!! Be smart, Be like Tawa #MAXOKADA #MAXKEKE #Champion #transportation #livinginlagos #startups #premiumbikes”

From the tweet, we can guess that operations will begin in Lagos, but there are no details on the other cities it will cover.

Considering the fierce competition in the bike-ride hailing system in Nigeria, the launch of Maxkeke is unsurprising seeing as OPay recently launched OTrike, its keke service, across Kano, Aba and Ilorin.

It will be quite interesting to see how Max plans to compete with OTrike, considering as the founder company OPay raised a whopping sum of $50 million this year.

Even more, we can only watch to see how this will impact on Gokada, the pioneer of bike hailing services in Nigeria, as it comes back from its two-week break next week.

 

The FCMB Ecosystem Event – Hub One Epic Hour (August Edition)

Epic Hour is a knowledge-sharing and networking event for the Lagos tech community organized by Hub One.

Recently launched in February 2019 as a tech-themed co-working space, Hub One is a conducive environment designed to foster collaboration, networking, possible investments, and drive creativity within Nigeria’s tech start-up ecosystem. It is a professional office space with constant power supply, unlimited internet, free coffee and a community of like minds.

Epic Hour is a monthly interactive activity that happens every last Friday of the month, between 5 pm and 6 pm at Hub One. Individuals with specific knowledge of the industry are invited to speak to the attendees. For this August edition, there will be a break, tagged the “August break”, where all attendees will be given a chance to speak.

This monthly program is expected to validate one of FCMB’s key aim of setting up Hub One as a capacity development platform, a vision that supports the aspirations of Nigeria’s tech startups to attain their full potential. Even more, the program drives brand advocacy for FCMB/Hub One, and transmits the Brand’s core values.

Date and Time

Fri, August 30, 2019

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Location

10 Hughes Avenue, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos.

 

 

 

AYOBA – The MTN’s Newly Launched Messaging App

Ayoba is an instant messaging app launched by one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Africa – MTN.

MTN decision to compete with WhatsApp and Telegram, the prominent chat messengers in Nigeria and worldwide, made them create an instant messaging app called “Ayoba” which has the same interface as its rivals. The company first revealed its plans to launch the app in March 2019 at its financial results presentation for the last year.

Named after a campaign by MTN in South Africa to commemorate the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Ayoba is a free instant messaging app, designed by Africans for Africans.

The name is a South African Slang, which means something “okay”, “cool”, or “all right”, further indicating that African users are the target of the app. What’s more, the app enables English, and seven African languages – Pidgin (Cameroon), Swahili, Cote d’Ivoire, Ganda, Julu, Zulu, Xhosa, and Francais.

The app is designed with incorporated sophisticated end-to-end encryption to keep users’ data safe and ensure their privacy, guaranteeing that the messages in a conversation can’t be read by anyone else even the team at Ayoba.

Similar to WhatsApp., you only need to register with your phone number to access your contacts. Immediately you sign up with your phone number, you can sync all your contacts easily without needing to create a new address book.

As one of the app’s users, you can communicate with anyone with a mobile device, even those without the app – this is one of the greatest feature of the app known as the SMS integration.

When you use this feature, messages will be delivered as texts, and if there are files or images attached, the message will include links to view them in your browser. While on the app, you can join channels like Facebook for trending news updates.

To make calls to your contacts, you simply need to click on the contact and the app will redirect your phone call application or Truecaller, based on the call app installed on your phone. You should note that charges for each call are deducted from your airtime. Whether or not you are an MTN subscriber, data is needed to send and receive messages, video files, audio files, documents and images to your contact.

Currently, the Ayoba app is only available for users in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Arica and Cameroon, but according to the website, plans are in place to expand to other countries across Africa.

The Nigerian Government Appoints Kashifu Abdullahi as the new Director General of NITDA

Yesterday, on Tuesday, August 20 2019, the Federal Government appointed Mr Kashifu Abdullahi as the new Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).

Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of NITDA, confirmed the appointment in Abuja on Tuesday. Umar quoted a statement signed by Mr Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, on the new NITDA boss appointment and others.

Mr Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT Sloan – trained strategist with 14+ years of experience on IT operations, business transformation and solution architecture, across both public and private sectors.

In the past, he worked with Galaxy Backbone Limited, the public enterprise in charge of setting up and operating a unified Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in the country, and he has quite a number of professional certifications.

Until this appointment as the fifth director of NITDA, Abdullahi was a principal officer at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) but was on secondment to NITDA as a Technical Assistant.

This appointment comes after the nomination of Dr Isa Pantami, the outgoing director general of the agency as a minister designate by the President.

According to Shehu, other appointments by the government included Sen. Basheer Mohammed who replaced Mrs Sadiya Farouk as Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons.

 

 

US Embassy Celebrates Nigerian Advocate, Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin for her Contribution to Women Capacity Building

The US Mission in Nigeria has recently honoured Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin for her significant contribution to women capacity building.

Born in 1985, Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin is a Nigerian Women and Girls Advocate Social Entrepreneur.

Late last year, on November 1, she was named one of the ten CNN Heroes of the year, alongside nine other pacesetters in the world. Even more amazing, that same month, she was listed as one of BBC’s 100 Women.

Abisoye has conducted multiple human development programs including GirlsCoding, GirlsSTEM and Empowered Hands. The U.S Mission Nigeria tweeted 7 hours ago, saying, Through her various programs, this tech enthusiast has trained over 400 girls and women to code, with a passion geared towards their empowerment and digital relevance.

The U.S. Mission in Nigeria tweeted 7 hours ago, saying,

“#NigerianStar @AbisoyeAjayi is an alumna @StateIVLP and a 2018 @CNNHeroes honoree. She assists girls in developing tech skills through programs including #GirlsCoding, #GirlsinSTEM and Empowered Hands through which she has trained over 400 girls and women to code”

Born in Akure, Ondo State, Abisoye attended the Nigerian Institute of Information Technology (NIIT), and she later went on to acquire a BSc in Business Administration from the University of Lagos.

Working in technology at E.D.P Adult and Security Associations for seven years, she discovered a large gender gap which corresponds with the 2013 governmental survey that less than 8% of management, professional or technological positions are held by Nigerian women.

In a bid to bridge this gap, she founded the Pearls Africa Youth Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization aimed at educating young girls in under-served areas in Nigeria with technology skills. The fact that she left her successful, fulltime IT consulting job to start the Foundation speaks a lot about her passion.

 

Sim Shagaya, Ex-Konga Boss Joins the Plateau State Government in an Advisory Capacity

Sim Shagaya resigned as CEO of eCommerce company, Konga in January 2016, and today, Friday, August 16th, 2019, he joined the Plateau State government as an advisor.

As founder and CEO of one of the most valued eCommerce companies in Nigeria, Shagaya led Konga to a successful showing in the Nigerian eCommerce space, and he oversaw many funding rounds worth a combined sum of $127 million. In 2014, he was named in Forbes’ list of “10 Most Powerful Men in Africa.”

Now, it is expected that the Harvard-educated former military officer will leverage his knowledge of economics and profound understanding of the technology business to help Plateau State revive its economy which has been ravaged and battered by religious and intra-ethnic clashes in recent times.

The ex-Konga CEO took to his Twitter page today saying, “I’m pleased to share that I’ve been invited and accepted to serve as a member of the Economic Advisory Council of the Executive Governor of Plateau State. This is a part of Nigeria that I care deeply about and I hope I can be of significant service

The news of this followed with multiple congratulations as Nigerians expressed hope that Sim Shagaya will be able to boost the economy of the State, and create awareness about the beauty, climactic condition and abundant food in the State.

Bosun Tijani AFCFTA Ecosystem Meetup in Kigali: Ezekwesili Addresses African Youths on Making AFCFTA a Success

Yesterday, August 15 2019, over 80 people from 30 African countries gathered in Kigali, the Rwandan capital to discuss the creation of a solid framework to guarantee the success of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA)

The AFCFTA is a trade agreement signed by all 54 African countries in Kigali, Rwanda on 21 March 2018. It entered its operational phase on 7 July, 2019 at a summit in Niger. The goal is to unite 1.3 billion people, create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc, remove 90% of tariff on goods across the continent, and heat up commerce within the continent itself.

According to the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, “The success of the AFCFTA will be the real test to achieve the economic growth that will turn our people’s dream of welfare and quality of life into a reality

On day one of the two-day summit held at the Co-creation Hub’s Design Lab, industry leaders in the technology and creative ecosystems were in attendance. The choice of Kigali as the location is significant, as it was there in March 2018 that almost 50 countries signed the AFCFTA agreement.

In an interview with TechCabal last week, Bosun Tijani, the founder of CcHub, said, “the aim of the meet-up is to come together as dual industries to iron out details and make a concerted effort to ensure readiness ahead of the July 2020 flag-off.”

The opening address was given by Tijani where he urged participants to seize what could be a momentous moment in African history, before going on to introduce the panellists for the first session. The panellists were Vuyisa Qabaka of South Africa, Simeon Umukori, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, and Ojoma Ochai of Nigeria, and Norbert Haguma from Rwanda.

The topics discussed by the panel ranged from what it means to be African, the various issues that need to be tackled for the success of AFCFTA, to the role of governments across Africa.

The outstanding moment of the panel occurred when Aboyeji, of Andela and Flutterwave, said young people need to take matters into their own hands and not wait for government intervention. According to him, “This is a grassroots movement. If we wait for the government, the agreement won’t work. We’ll wait forever.”

After the panel, Oby Ezekwesili, a one-time education minister in Nigeria and former World Bank Vice President gave a keynote speech.

In a tweet yesterday, she said, “Rewarding time in Kigali today! I spoke @bosuntijani -led Ecosystem meetup that ‘kick-starts opportunities to demonstrate immediate value of the free trade agreement in a short space of time, while building significant businesses that can create unprecedented value’.”

In her speech, she was full of praise for the spirit of can-do possessed by African youth who organised the meet-up, saying that the success of the AFCTCA depends largely on the younger generation.

Following this, the head of TRwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi spoke of Rwanda’s commitment to being a haven for ideas, strategically placing itself as a proof of concept nation”

After her speech, the participants were allowed to split into two groups to work on effective communication strategies to be deployed, and how to interact with African government to formulate policies as regards the AFCFTA.

The meet-up continues today.