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FG Charges ICT Stakeholders To Formulate New Strategies For Digital Nigeria



FG Charges ICT Stakeholders To Formulate New Strategies For Digital Nigeria, SiliconNigeria

Pic L-R: Representative of Chief of Defence Staff, Major General G.T. Abdullahi, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Musa Istifanus and Hon. Commissioner for Science and Technology, Hon. Ikechukwu Sunday during the ongoing 8th National Council on Communications and Digital Economy, with the theme “Leveraging the Digital Economy Policies and Strategies for Economic Recovery in a COVID-19 Era and Beyond.”  taking place here in Owerri, Imo State.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr. Musa Istifanus has charged stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to evolve a workable synergy in line with the change agenda of President Buhari to re-examine the present status to formulate new strategies towards realizing the vision of a Digital Nigeria.

He stated this during the ongoing 8th National Council on Communications and Digital Economy, with the theme “Leveraging the Digital Economy Policies and Strategies for Economic Recovery in a COVID-19 Era and Beyond.”  taking place here in Owerri, Imo State.  

The Permanent Secretary said, the theme is very apt and a step in the right direction considering the impact of the pandemic and Government’s stance in achieving a globally competitive economy, with digital technologies.

In his words, “Nigeria, like most developing nations have come to recognize the importance of ICT as a catalyst for sustainable socio-economic development. This is why we chose the theme”.

He expressed that, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected economies globally, has compelled the Ministry to make some far-reaching policies like the Development of the National Policy on Virtual Engagements in Federal Public Institution and facilitation of Virtual Federal Executive Council Meetings.

According to him “the Ministry has been rejigged to use digital technologies to enhance national socio-economic development by increasing the contribution of ICT to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The policy thrusts of the Ministry clearly articulate the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020 – 2025), National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Telecom Sector, National Digital Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Policy, Policy on virtual engagement in the Public Service, etc”.  

Adding that, the purpose is to use digital technologies to enhance national socio-economic development by increasing the contribution of ICT to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Istifanus stated that the country is confronted by a new challenge and the expectations of citizens must be delivered with limited resources. “We are fully committed to the integration of ICTs in the socio-economic development of Nigeria in order to transform the country into a knowledge–based economy”.  He stressed.

The Permanent Secretary stated that Connectivity, capacity building and inter-agency collaboration, are key factors that will bridge the digital divide and enhance technology development and to address these new challenges by ensuring that we actively engage with stakeholders.  

He opined that the society has realized the gains of ICT and the Ministry is committed to utilizing these possibilities adding that that society is moving towards transparency and openness and there are initiatives to increase the engagement with the citizen, attract usage, develop increased levels of trust, and improve the service delivery. Digital technologies offer the best platform to achieve all of these. Istifanus noted.

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Nigerian Entrepreneurs, Others Jostle for $2m JUA Kickstarter Fund



Nigerian Entrepreneurs Others Jostle for $2m JUA Kickstarter Fund, SiliconNigeria

Entrepreneurs from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Entrepreneurs from Ghana, Tanzania, Benin, Namibia and eSwatini have led the application for the $2 million JUA Kickstarter Fund.

 The JUA Kickstarter Fund will provide African entrepreneurs with capital to kickstart or expand their enterprises. It has doubled to $2 million to become the biggest African capital venture fund launched by private individuals.

 The fund was launched by African industrialist Adam Molai in November last year with $1million available for African entrepreneurs. A further $1million has since been pledged by US-based angel investing and mentorship firm Simba Global Start-ups – bringing the total investment amount available to $2 million.

 Announcing the additional funding, Molai says the added capital will allow the fund to make bigger investments in enterprises as well as fund more businesses. “Simba Global Start-ups has pledged to match, like-for-like, our contributions which is absolutely incredible.

“This is an example of how Africans can work together to solve the challenges facing the continent. As an African entrepreneur who has experienced the grueling journey of establishing businesses, I firmly believe that Africa’s destiny lies in the hands of Africans.

 “It is not foreign investment that will provide us with a seat at the global table, but domestic investment. This is a view that is shared by Simba, which we will now use to benefit the African entrepreneurs and start-ups who are growing economies across Africa and creating jobs,” he says.

 JUA [sunrise in KiSwahili] will provide successful applicants with funds – to launch or grow their businesses – as well as mentoring and guidance. Entrepreneurs from across Africa or those who operate in Africa are eligible to apply.

 The entire application process is electronic and funds are expected to be disbursed to successful applicants within 12 weeks of their shortlisting, in a first for Africa. Applications close on 31 January 2021.

Simba’s founder and CEO, Dr. Philippe Kisunzu says: “Born in the DRC, I am a child of the continent who grew up experiencing the atrocities of its civil wars. These intense challenges nurtured within me a vision for prosperity and hope for the people in my village and community. My deepest belief is that this vision is best attained when entrepreneurs create jobs which are scalable, sustainable, inclusive and profitable. With a JUA-SIMBA investing partnership, I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play an active role in making this dream a reality.”

 He says Simba’s vision in investing in Africa’s future was not only to create jobs and strengthen African economies, but also to enable Africa to become the “financial benchmark for the world in the 21st century.”

 “As a result of our JUA-SIMBA partnership, we hope to expand our vision exponentially on behalf of Sub Saharan African indigenous entrepreneurs who will not only create jobs for the citizens in the region, but also provide financial security for themselves and their families. With JUA-SIMBA partnership, we look to optimise our synergies to produce a combined societal impact greater than the sum of our individual societal impacts.

“Our deepest desire is that through our SIMBA Vision 2035, the most robust of the combined portfolio of startups/companies would have earned the rights to be publicly traded on platforms such as the NASDAQ or the NYSE by the year 2035, placing themselves in an enviable position to create wealth in Africa for Africans, by attracting angel investors and venture capitalists from all over the world, and thus making Africa a global economic powerhouse,” says Kisunzu.

In the two months since its launch, JUA has received over 500 applicants from across Africa. Most of the applications have come from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Entrepreneurs from Ghana, Tanzania, Benin, Namibia and eSwatini have also applied.  

 Entrepreneurs in need of capital for their ideas or those who are looking to expand their enterprises are encouraged to apply. “We are looking to help African entrepreneurs grow or launch their businesses. Our priority is businesses with impact in terms of job creation and scalability across the continent.

“Obviously, entrepreneurs with proven businesses, solid business pedigree and who have clearly articulated their business propositions, target market, channels or those with innovative solutions to Africa’s many challenges stand a much better chance of being successful. I encourage all aspiring entrepreneurs in need of funding to ensure that they have interrogated, analysed and stress-tested their ideas to stand a better chance of success,” says Molai.

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23 Content Creators From Nigeria, Kenya, SA Make Inaugural #YouTubeBlackVoices Grantees



23 Content Creators From Nigeria Kenya SA Make Inaugural #YouTubeBlackVoices Grantees, SiliconNigeria

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.

NameYouTube ChannelCountry
Akah BantsAkah BantsNigeria
Dimma UmehDimma UmehNigeria
Eric OkaforEric OkaforNigeria
Fireboy DMLFireboy DMLNigeria
Nicolette MashileFinancial BunnySouth Africa
Kaluhi AdagalaKaluhi’s KitchenKenya
Kay NgonyamaKay YarmsSouth Africa
Lade OwolabiLade OwolabiNigeria
Dodos UviegharaIamdodos90Nigeria
Lasizwe DambuzaLasizwe DambuzaSouth Africa
MacGMacGSouth Africa
Mitchelle AdagalaMitchelle AgadalaNigeria
Ofentse and Nelisiwe MwaseOfentse Mwase FilmsSouth Africa
Oscar FrankOscarminiNigeria
Owamie HlongwaneOwamie HlongwaneSouth Africa
Patricia KihoroPatricia KihoroKenya
Sauti SolSauti SolKenya
Sho MadjoziSho MadjoziSouth Africa
Thato Rampedi Thato RampediSouth Africa
Naledi MonamodiToast with NalediSouth Africa
Tomike AdeoyeTomike Adeoye Nigeria
Winnie Emmanuel Zeelicious FoodsNigeria

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TeamApt to Diversify Across West & North Africa in 2021



TeamApt to Diversify Across West & North Africa in 2021, SiliconNigeria

TeamApt, the Nigerian fintech company that provides digital financial services solutions and payment infrastructure, said that it will be shifting its focus from delivering financial services products to banks to delivering products for consumers and businesses, as it aims to build on a strong performance in 2020.

The Lagos-based fintech company is also exploring opportunities to deliver financial services for underserved individuals and businesses in other countries in West and North Africa.

Founded in 2015, TeamApt has worked with a wide range of African banks and 100% of all commercial banks in Nigeria. As part of the company’s efforts to deepen financial inclusion across Nigeria, it will now focus on building products that make it easier for individuals and businesses to access financial services, as well as growing its agent network and other touchpoints for its existing products – Moniepoint and Monnify.

Despite the global pandemic, 2020 was a very successful year for TeamApt, with 150% overall QonQ growth, $3.9 billion in transaction value across its products, more than 90 million transactions processed, and 500% merchant growth.

Moniepoint, TeamApt’s mobile money platform, which was launched in 2019, also became the largest non-bank mobile money operator in Nigeria (by value processed), despite being the latest entrant. TeamApt grew its agent network to 50,000 (900% growth), with agents in each of Nigeria’s 36 states, thereby drastically improving the ratio of financial access points in the country.

The bank to population ratio in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, remains low – 4.3 branches per 100,000 compared to the global average of 11.7 branches per 100,000.

For many Nigerians, agency banking (POS Shops) represent a financial access lifeline and one of the most viable options for accessing the financial services they need without unduly risking their health or enduring the other inconveniences of the traditional banking system (such as longer queues, unreliable transaction channels and poor support).

According to Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF), which was set up by the Central Bank of Nigeria to accelerate financial inclusion, agent transactions surged by 859 percent during the first lockdown in March/April 2020 and despite restrictions being relaxed, the volume and value of transactions have continued to rise. 

Commenting on the plans and the new focus, Tosin Eniolorunda, CEO and Co-Founder of TeamApt, said, “We had a lot of success working with banks but we have identified some unique opportunities to empower underserved individuals and business with products designed to make it easier to access and manage their money more efficiently. There are many synergies and opportunities that have been underexplored in the journey of improving financial inclusion in Africa and other emerging markets, and we are excited by the prospects of what we can achieve. We are confident in our competence and the technical expertise to deliver products and services that will transform access to financial services across Africa”.

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