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ITU Virtual Digital World 2020 Seeks More Investments in ICT Infrastructure Amid COVID-19

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ITU Virtual Digital World 2020 Seeks More Investments in ICT Infrastructure Amid COVID-19, SiliconNigeria

The ITU Digital World 2020 has launched virtual proceedings, welcoming highest level influential participants from public and private sectors and across the information and communication technology (ICT) industry onto its virtual event platform.

Discussions will focus on the critical role of digital technologies and public-private sector collaboration in the COVID-19 era.

ITU Virtual Digital World 2020 Seeks More Investments in ICT Infrastructure Amid COVID-19, SiliconNigeria

The three-day programme began with the opening ceremony, in the presence of H.E. Vu Duc Dam, Deputy Prime Minister, Viet Nam; Nguyen Manh Hung, Minister of Information and Communications, Viet Nam; and a distinguished audience of Ministers and invited guests, and included a special video message from Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
“COVID-19 has generated a huge demand for more ICT services and more advanced technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence and cloud computing – but it has also revealed deep digital inequalities between those who are connected and those who are not,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao during his opening video message. “We need a new strategy based on smart and innovative policies that can attract more investments in ICT infrastructure, and we need a new way of working together.”
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam then welcomed ministers, regulators and C-level executives from across the world and all sectors of the digital ecosystem to the opening of the Ministerial Roundtables, the first such high-level ministerial meetings to be held on this topic since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying: “For the last few years, digitalization has become an irreversible trend that provides every country, economy, organization and individual with unprecedented development opportunity, as well as corresponding challenges that lead to changes in habits and personal life. Digital transformation is not only technological transformation, but more importantly, transformation in terms of design mindset and policy formulation of micro and macro scales.”

In opening the first ministerial roundtable ITU Deputy Secretary-General Malcolm Johnson said: “ICTs will be a key part of building back better for a safer, more connected, and more sustainable world ─ a world where everyone can have access to digital technologies and services that are safe, attractive, and affordable. This is why we are fortunate to have such a distinguished mix of public and private sector representatives here with us today to help define a faster way for economic recovery through digital technologies.”

In addition to ministerial roundtables, forum webinars will delve into policies, technologies and trends driving the digital economy. They include Bridging the broadband gap: stimulating public and private sectors to connect the unconnected; Entering the 5G era: demand, deployment, and disquiet; and Cybersecurity and privacy solutions: safeguarding our digital world. A global virtual exhibition, organized by Viet Nam and supported by ITU, will showcase the tech innovations of more than 100 virtual exhibitors from Viet Nam and around the globe.

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IT in Healthcare

MTN’s mPulse Hackathon Offers Funding For Solutions To COVID-19 Challenges

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MTN’s mPulse Hackathon Offers Funding For Solutions To COVID-19 Challenges, SiliconNigeria

As countries grapple with the realities of the new normal, MTN Nigeria has initiated a call for entries for its mPulse hackathon, themed “Beyond COVID-19.”

The project aims at encouraging young innovators in primary and secondary schools who can navigate the barriers of remote engagement to create solutions that can mitigate various challenges imposed by COVID-19.

Chief Transformation Officer, MTN Nigeria, Bayo Adekanmbi, emphasised the need for an evolving educational platform to train young Nigerians. “We’re all figuring out lifehacks to help us cope with the new normal resulting from the pandemic. But for members of Gen Z, given the peculiarity of their exposure to technology, they are uniquely equipped to profer solutions to the challenges imposed by COVID. 

This unique virtual hackathon is designed to engage young inventors stimulating the development of home-grown-technological innovation, to effectively deal with the challenges of COVID-19. We look forward to seeing several incredible solutions put forward, and working with the finalist to develop them further,” he said.

Entries to the MTN mPulse Hackathon close on December 6, 2020. The top ten innovators will be selected to pitch their solutions to a panel of judges at a live Hackathon on December 19 where the top three winning solutions will be chosen. The ten finalists will proceed to an exclusive MTN GAP Bootcamp in collaboration with TechQuest STEM Academy where their solutions will be refined for optimal impact. 

This STEM programme is designed to spot bright young innovators across the country. Finalists will receive cash, prizes and funding support to launch their solutions on the market with a total value of over 10 million naira.

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IT in Banking

9PSB Will Drive Financial Innovation Among Youths And Women- CEO

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9PSB Will Drive Financial Innovation Among Youths And Women- CEO, SiliconNigeria

L-R: Mr. Mohammed Edewor, Board Member 9PSB; Mr. Asega Aliga Board Member 9PSB; His Highness Emir of Bichi, Alhaji Nasir Ado Bayero and Branka Mracajac, CEO 9PSB at the launch of 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) in Lagos State recently.

The CEO of 9PSB, Branka Mracajac said the goal of 9PSB to drive financial innovation, especially among the youth and women across Nigeria.

She said the key mitigating strategy that would aid 9PSB in fulfilling the financial inclusion mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria is by offering compelling products, seamless execution and excellent customer service.

“Financial innovation plays a unique role in fostering sustainable and equitable growth primarily among the unbanked and underbanked within the rural areas in Nigeria, and I am very optimistic that 9PSB will drive financial innovation, especially among the youth and women across Nigeria. This is our goal at 9PSB. It is also why we are here. It is the difference we are committed to making in the Nigerian financial sector,” she said.

While acknowledging the impact of infrastructure deficit and geographical coverage limitations on progress made so far towards achieving financial inclusion in Nigeria, Branka said that the key mitigating strategy that 9PSB is bringing to the table is to create synergies between agent banking as an important driver of financial inclusion and a superior product mix.

Explaining further, Branka said, “9PSB will deploy a wide distribution network that will serve as a channel for financial education for rural and low-income consumers. This will enable them to conduct basic banking services like cash-in and cash-out transactions.”

The Nigerian banking sector has been set on a new innovative course with the launch of a digital lifestyle bank, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB), the first of its kind in the financial industry.  

Established with the aim of furthering financial inclusion in the country and providing financial services to Nigerians, who were previously excluded, the entrance of 9PSB as a digital lifestyle bank is designed to address critical challenges facing bank customers.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the launch of 9PSB, seasoned Fintech analysts and journalist such as Ashley Immanuel, Tunji Andrews, Tracia Ikponmwonba and Adejuwon Soyinka, offered suggestion that could bolster financial literacy and inclusion in rural and urban areas of Nigeria. The theme of the panel discussion was “Examining the challenges facing Nigerian banks and payment industry and how 9PSB can revolutionize the financial sector.”

9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) in its uniqueness will leverage on its existing mobile and digital channels, offering a first of its kind wide network of agents as well as web and digital applications and physical structures to provide financial consumers with an experience novel to the Nigerian populace.

In his goodwill message at the event, Chairman Board of Directors, EMTS, parent company of 9PSB, HRH, Alhaji Nasiru Ado Bayero, stated that the launch of 9PSB is the beginning of an exciting chapter in the company’s growth agenda.

“We see 9PSB as yet another opportunity to serve 59 million unbanked adults through the deployment of financial services that will leverage on top mobile technology and distribution network to support the financial inclusion efforts of the Federal Government,” he said.

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Internet

YouTube Hosts First Virtual YouTube Black Africa Creators Week

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YouTube Hosts First Virtual YouTube Black Africa Creators Week, SiliconNigeria

YouTube is this week (Monday 23 to Friday 27 November) holding its first virtual YouTube Black Africa Creators Week, a week dedicated to engaging, educating and inspiring African creators to grow on the platform. 

Highlights of the 1-week program include expert-led masterclasses covering topics like assessing channel performance and engaging a community, and understanding YouTube’s monetisation policies, among others.

The programme also includes a creator spotlight talk with Mark Angel, Africa’s most subscribed endemic creator, YouTube training courses, and peer-driven open conversations aimed at improving creator collaboration and knowledge sharing. 

YouTube Hosts First Virtual YouTube Black Africa Creators Week, SiliconNigeria
Eric Okafor

YouTube will also celebrate creators through the presentation of Play Button awards to Dodos Uvieghara, Eric Okafor, and Kay Ngonyama whose channels have crossed the 100,000 subscriber milestone.

YouTube Hosts First Virtual YouTube Black Africa Creators Week, SiliconNigeria
Kay Ngonyama
YouTube Hosts First Virtual YouTube Black Africa Creators Week, SiliconNigeria
Dodos
Uvieghara

This region-wide virtual initiative, says Alex Okosi, MD, Emerging Markets, YouTube EMEA, demonstrates YouTube’s commitment to creators and artists in the region.

“Over the years we have built and nurtured strong relationships with Africa’s storytellers, and provided them with a platform to share their stories with the world,” says Okosi. “Top African creators and channels like Mark Angel Comedy, DJ Arch Jnr, Churchill Show and many others have grown from a handful of followers to having millions of fans globally.

 “We remain committed to amplifying Black voices and providing a platform where Black African creators can thrive,” Okosi says. Creators can register for the YouTube Black Africa Creators Week programme here: http://goo.gle/youtubeblackafricacreatorweek

YouTube Black Africa Creators Week will conclude with a 2-hour livestream closing event to celebrate African creativity. The event will feature music performances by Fireboy, Niniola, Reekado Banks, Sauti Sol, Sho Madjozi, and dance showcases from Dream Catchers, Ikorodu Bois, Triplet Ghetto Kids. It will be hosted by YouTube creator, Akah Nnani. The livestream event will be held on Friday, November 27 at 5pm GMT and can be viewed here: https://goo.gle/africacreatorweeklivestream

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