Serial digital entrepreneur, Leo Stan Ekeh, has described the Tech Experience Centre, an ambitious technology project that is widely expected to bridge the gap to cutting-edge technology for millions of Nigerians, as the perfect birthday gift to Nigeria as it turns 60.
The revolutionary Tech Experience Centre, the first of its kind in Africa, is set to be formally unveiled on Thursday, October 1st 2020, incidentally the occasion of Nigeria’s 60thIndependence Anniversary.
Equally important, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami is expected to commission the auspicious project located within the high-rise Yudala Heights on 13 Idowu Martins Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. Also expected to attend the launch are stakeholders from the technology sector, corporate egg-heads and other dignitaries.
The event, which is scheduled for 5pm on Thursday, will be streamed live to millions across the world via digital channels.
Ekeh, who has remained in the forefront of digital evangelisation and promoting knowledge democracy in Nigeria and beyond, has expressed excitement with the birthing of the Tech Experience Centre. The tech guru affirms that the formal unveiling of the Centre on the occasion of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary makes it a fitting present to the country and to all Nigerians.
‘‘Nigeria’s journey as a sovereign independent nation is one that is filled with so many memorable milestones. Although we still face some peculiar challenges, there is much to be proud of as Nigeria clocks 60. In the same vein, the launch of the Tech Experience Centre represents a major milestone in Nigeria’s march to technology independence.
‘‘Indeed, the unveiling of this unprecedented project right here in Nigeria is a powerful statement of intent and a positive development that every Nigerian should be proud of. It is, in my opinion, the perfect birthday to Nigeria as we celebrate 60 years of our independence,’’ he said.
Ekeh, who had called on the Federal Government to consider declaring October 1st Nigeria’s technology independence day, restated the landmark strides that Nigeria had recorded in the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The Zinox helmsman affirmed that the multiple collaborations, increased local participation and access to the latest technologies that would become a right of every Nigerian with the establishment of the Tech Experience Centre is a bold step forward in Nigeria’s march to technological emancipation.
‘‘On a number of occasions, I have reiterated that no country achieves true independence without a level of technological independence. The set-up of the Tech Experience Centre is one of such bold investments Nigeria requires to confidently stake a claim for relevance as a technology force to be reckoned with, not only in Africa, but on the global stage. The current administration also deserves commendation for its greater emphasis on technology – a critical sector that is being championed professionally by the Honourable Minister, Dr. Pantami.’’
In addition, Ekeh heaped praises on the various tech giants that have partnered with TD Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa’s technology, lifestyle and solutions distributor, to bring the idea of the Tech Experience Centre to life.
‘‘We must also not fail to recognize and appreciate the global OEMs that have identified with this project. Having renowned tech brands such as Cisco, Microsoft, Dell Technologies, HP, Schneider Electric, Zinox, Philips, Samsung, Apple and Bosch, among others, come together under one roof to build local capacity and place the latest technologies at the fingertips of every Nigerian is a huge development that will come with a number of positive multiplier effects for the country,’’ he concluded.
The Tech Experience Centre will officially open its impressive doors to Nigerians on Thursday, October 1st by 5pm.
For the first time, Nigeria will play host to the latest global technologies including those not normally available in Africa, offering all classes of visitors a first-hand experience of new gadgets, solutions and infrastructure that would have previously required a visit abroad, thereby saving corporate organizations, government establishments and individuals money or scarce foreign exchange expended on these trips.
The Centre will house global technology giants under one roof, with the aim of making cutting-edge technology easily accessible to Nigerians and other nationals at entry costs that make sense. Experts and economic watchers have hailed the expected launch of the centre as a major development that will shore up Nigeria’s relevance in the global technology space, while also boosting the nation’s economy.
23 Content Creators From Nigeria, Kenya, SA Make Inaugural #YouTubeBlackVoices Grantees
YouTube has released its inaugural class of African content creators set to receive a grant for the development of their channels from the global #YouTubeBlackVoices Fund.
In addition to the grant earmarked for content development, the 23 YouTubers (from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa) will also take part in an intensive three-week incubator programme followed by bespoke training, workshops and networking programmes. These creators are part of 132 creators from across the world who are participating in the Class of 2021.
YouTube also announced that top African artistes; Fireboy DML, Sauti Sol and Sho Madjozi have been selected as part of 23 artists to join the #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2021. The artists join others selected from the United States, Brazil, and Australia, whose music spans generations, and locations. The Artist Class of 2021 will receive dedicated partner support from YouTube, seed funding invested into the development of their channels, and participate in training and networking programs focused on production, fan engagement, and wellbeing.
“We’re excited to spotlight Black creatives from the African continent and amplify their voices as they create original content on our platform,” says Alex Okosi, MD, Emerging Markets, YouTube EMEA.
“African creators on YouTube are reshaping the power of our platform by providing a unique perspective on all manner of topics from fashion and comedy to politics, learning and wellness. Through their content, these creators continue to raise the bar for how others engage with their audiences and build community on our platform,” Okosi concludes.
This announcement comes after the October 2020 call for African creators to apply for #YouTubeBlackVoices funding as part of YouTube’s global, multi-year commitment aimed at nurturing Black creators and artists on YouTube. Over the next few years, YouTube plans to invest directly in more than 500 creators and artists from across the world in order to fulfil this commitment.
Below is Africa’s full list of the #YouTubeBlackVoices Creator Class of 2021.
|Akah Bants||Akah Bants||Nigeria|
|Dimma Umeh||Dimma Umeh||Nigeria|
|Eric Okafor||Eric Okafor||Nigeria|
|Fireboy DML||Fireboy DML||Nigeria|
|Nicolette Mashile||Financial Bunny||South Africa|
|Kaluhi Adagala||Kaluhi’s Kitchen||Kenya|
|Kay Ngonyama||Kay Yarms||South Africa|
|Lade Owolabi||Lade Owolabi||Nigeria|
|Lasizwe Dambuza||Lasizwe Dambuza||South Africa|
|Mitchelle Adagala||Mitchelle Agadala||Nigeria|
|Ofentse and Nelisiwe Mwase||Ofentse Mwase Films||South Africa|
|Owamie Hlongwane||Owamie Hlongwane||South Africa|
|Patricia Kihoro||Patricia Kihoro||Kenya|
|Sauti Sol||Sauti Sol||Kenya|
|Sho Madjozi||Sho Madjozi||South Africa|
|Thato Rampedi||Thato Rampedi||South Africa|
|Naledi Monamodi||Toast with Naledi||South Africa|
|Tomike Adeoye||Tomike Adeoye||Nigeria|
|Winnie Emmanuel||Zeelicious Foods||Nigeria|
Ventures Platform Foundation Launches Applications for Gov Labs
Ventures Platform Foundation (VPF), the social impact arm of Ventures Platform Hub, has launched a call for applications for its latest incubation programme, Gov Labs – a 12-week programme for tech solutions implementing accountability and transparency within the Nigerian government’s COVID-19 response.
Created with support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the new initiative will support Civil Society Organizations from across Nigeria as they build innovative solutions promoting good governance and wide scale access to public services.
From the pool of applicants, five organisations will be selected and will each receive a $2,500 grant as well as access to mentorship, technical support and networking opportunities. During the 12-week period, participants will also work alongside key experts in policy advocacy, citizen engagement and public sector reform as they build scalable and easily adoptable solutions which target the pain points of the Nigerian government’s COVID-19 response.
Speaking on the launch of Gov Labs, Mimshach Obioha, Executive Director at Ventures Platform Foundation, says“Since the pandemic began, there has been a major emphasis on the health and economic implications of COVID-19 however, we cannot deny that democracy and governance have also taken a huge hit during this period.With governments imposing restrictions on civil liberties,we need stronger support for basic human rights and something needs to change urgently.”
“In light of this, the Nigerian government has proven itself somewhat open to citizen input and that’s where Gov Labs comes in. We’ve always known Nigeria has a rich supply of entrepreneurs who are hungry for change but now, we’re giving them a platform to not only equip the government to make more informed decisions, but also drive access to vital public services at a time when people need them most.”
According to Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), there were over 100 incidents of human rights violations within the initial lockdown period alone. To curb the impact of the coronavirus, Nigeria has imposed stringent and severe measures on its citizens, most notably around the freedom of movement and assembly. However, this has often corresponded with a notable rise in unlawful arrests and detentions, extra-judicial killings and sexual & gender based violence (SGBV) amongst other issues.
This year, Ventures Platform Foundation has driven a number of initiatives to address pre-existing crises in Nigeria as well as the devastation caused by the pandemic. In October, the company awarded $6,000 to seven different start-ups developing tech solutions to assist the fight against the coronavirus as part of its COVID-19 Innovation Challengeand also recently launched its Start Up North East incubator to aid relief efforts for the crisis in Northern Nigeria
Nigeria Can Compete With Developed Countries In ICT- Engr Daudu
The incoming permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Engr. Festus Yusuf Daudu said Nigeria have the potential to compete with developed countries like the United States of America, United Kingdom, and Russia in the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector based on available human resources in the country.
He said this during the official handing over ceremony between him and the outgoing permanent secretary, Mr. Musa Istifanus which took place today at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
The permanent secretary stated that Nigeria has passed the stage of comparison in the area of ICT with other developing countries within and outside the region adding that Nigeria should be competing with the likes of the United States of America, United Kingdom, and Russia.
He said the renaming of the Ministry as Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy was designed to be in line with global development noting that Nigeria cannot be left behind in the ICT world. The world is moving forward, we need to move with the globe”. Engr. Daudu stressed.
The permanent secretary requested for maximum cooperation from the management staff of the Ministry and urged them to work as a team in order to achieve the mandate of the Ministry for digital Nigeria.
According to him “a tree cannot make a forest. You need a collection of trees to produce a forest and I believe that all of you seated here are a collection of diverse human resources require to make the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy achieve its mandate”.
He noted that finances are the most difficult challenges in the system and urged the staff to maximize the little available in order to achieve the Ministry’s numerous policies and programmes for digital Nigeria.
The Outgoing Permanent Secretary, Mr. Musa Istifanus thanked the management and staff of the Ministry for their cooperation and support in the implementation of the policies and programmes of the Ministry.
He said, the new challenges before him now is to use the experience he acquired in the ICT sector and collaborate with his counterpart in the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to promote surveillance technology that would enhance the efficiency of Nigeria troops in cubing the issues of kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism in the country.
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