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Nigeria Extend NIN Registration for Mobile Subscribers By Six Weeks



Nigeria Extend NIN Registration for Mobile Subscribers By Six Weeks, SiliconNigeria

The federal government yesterday extended the deadline for telecommunications subscribers to register their phone lines with national identification number (NIN from the December 30, 2020 to February 9, 2021.

 The government decision followed the overcrowding at the offices of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in some states amid calls for Nigerians to extend the deadline in view of the resurgence of Covid-19 and the Christmas holidays.

According to the government, the National Task Force on National Identification Number (NIN) and SIM Registration met yesterday chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) comprising major stakeholders in the sector including chairman and executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) respectively; director-general, NIMC.

Others at the meeting include: director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); executive commissioners, technical services and stakeholder management both of NCC; chairman, Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) and chief executive officers, of MTN, Airtel, Ntel, Glo, Smile, and 9Moble took the new decision.

A statement jointly signed by the EVC of NCC, professor Umar Danbatta and DG of NIMC, Engr. Aliyu Aziz stated that federal government endorsed a three weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from 30th December, 2020 to 19th January, 2021.

Also, endorsed was a six weeks extension for subscribers without NIN from 30th December, 2020 to 9th February, 2021. “NIMC has provided strategies to enable citizens attend the registration in full compliance with Covid-19 protocols – particularly the use of facemasks which remains mandatory and maintenance of social distancing.

“The President appreciates Nigerians for their patience and commitment to update their Identities; The Federal Government also thanks all stakeholders for their compliance with the directives.

“Mr. President has also commended the efforts of the Task Force and urges all stakeholders to take advantage of the extension to link their SIM card with their NIN. USSD and verification charges remain suspended during these extensions,” the statement ended.

In his reaction, Engr. Ikechukwu Nnamani, president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said the extension of the deadline by the federal government was a welcome development, urging that the necessary infrastructure be put in place to ensure seamless registration of Nigerians who don’t have the National Identity Number (NIN).

“In our previous intervention, we stated that two weeks deadline was not enough to register every Nigerian wit mobile line at NIMC end. The difficulty of the two weeks deadline stemmed from the fact that there is a second wave of Covid-19, the approaching yuletide holidays which will last for at least two weeks and thirdly, from our understanding that the NIMC infrastructure to handle the NIN is still being expected from abroad.

“Our appeal is that people should not leave it till the last week of the newly extended deadline or else what we witnessed in the last few days will still recur. Majority of Nigerians with mobile lines don’t have NIN, they should make effort to register to reduce crowding in February while those with NIN should avail themselves of the short codes from the telecom operators to virtually pair their mobile lines with the NIN,” the ATCON president added.

Also, national chairman, Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, said ALTON was part of the meeting where the decision was taken. “WE would issue a follow up statement tomorrow,” he added.

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IT and Telecomms

Nigeria’s Sparkle Partners with Payment Experts Network International for virtual and physical payment cards



Nigeria’s Sparkle Signs with Payment Experts Network International for virtual and physical payment cards, SiliconNigeria

Sparkle, a mobile-first digital ecosystem providing financial, lifestyle and business support services to Nigerians across the globe, has partnered with Network International, the leading enabler of digital commerce across Africa and the Middle East, to power its recently launched payment card offering. 

Sparkle’s new virtual and plastic debit cards are targeted at SMEs and upwardly mobile, unbanked consumers across Nigeria, bringing them the convenience, flexibility, safety and security of cashless payments across various channels. The cards will enable Sparkle customers to make in-app purchases as well as pay for e-commerce and m-commerce transactions. 

Sparkle was founded by entrepreneur, tech pioneer and financial inclusion advocate, Uzoma Dozie with the mission of helping Nigerians fulfil their financial and lifestyle needs. The company’s collaboration with Network International is based on their shared commitment to further the adoption of digital payments among emerging markets across Africa and the Middle East.    

Collaborating with the region’s largest payment company offers Sparkle access to Network’s years of experience and expertise in creating card solutions for emerging markets. Sparkle can benefit from Network’s advanced digital infrastructure and robust security protocols, avoiding the need to invest in expensive card management infrastructure. 

Commenting on the partnership, Uzoma Dozie, Founder of Sparkle, said, “Digital adoption and customer experience is going to be dependent on the people, platform and partnership. In the area of payment processing and data insights, Network International brings that to our platform, and we are truly excited about the future of the partnership and what it means for the enablement and transformational impact for Nigerians anywhere in the world who are connected to the Sparkle platform.” 

Andrew Key, Managing Director – Africa, Network International, said, “We are delighted to strengthen our strategic alliance with Sparkle as it seeks to further disrupt the payments offering to consumers and retailers in Nigeria. Building on our two decades of experience within payments and deep insight of the African market, we look forward to deploying our trusted platform and best-in-class technology towards supporting digital and financial inclusion of Nigerian consumers and businesses.”

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IT and Telecomms

META IT Market Spending Predicted to Top $77 Billion



META IT Market Spending Predicted to Top $77 Billion, SiliconNigeria

After contracting 4.9% in 2020, IT spending across the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META) will make a welcome return to growth this year, increasing 2.8% to $77.5 billion.

That’s according to the latest predictions revealed by International Data Corporation (IDC) as more than 1,000 senior executives from the region’s most influential technology vendors, telecommunications operators, and IT service providers gathered online last week for the first ever virtual edition of IDC Directions Middle East, Turkey & Africa.

The annual event is a firm fixture on the ICT industry calendar and this year focused on the theme of ‘Resetting for the Next Normal: Strategies for Enabling the Future Digital Enterprise’. Opening the day’s proceedings, the firm’s group vice president and regional managing director, Jyoti Lalchandani, explained that spending on digital transformation (DX) is set to gather even more pace in the post-pandemic period, increasing from 25% of total IT spending in 2020 to 37% in 2024.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic fallout has accelerated digital transformation across the region, spurring unprecedented demand for contactless services, cloud solutions, and collaboration applications,” said Lalchandani. “Most economists predict a return to economic growth this year as vaccines become more widely available, and we expect that by 2022, 70% of organizations worldwide will have increased their use of digital technologies, transforming existing business processes to drive new levels of customer engagement, employee productivity, and business resiliency.”

Lalchandani’s other predictions for the META region’s dynamic ICT markets in 2021 included the following:

  • Overall ICT spending (telecom services and IT) will grow 1.9% to surpass $209.5 billion.
  • Spending on public cloud services will grow 26.7% to top $3.7 billion.
  • Spending on SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS will grow 24.5%, 30.6%, and 30.7%, respectively.
  • Spending on professional cloud services will grow rapidly to total $1.6 billion.
  • Spending on AI software will grow 23% to top $540 million.
  • Spending on security (hardware, software, and services) will grow 7.1% to reach $3.3 billion.

IDC’s global president, Crawford Del Prete, presented the event’s keynote address, outlining IDC’s long-term outlook and explaining how many of the changes instituted during the last 12 months will lead to a permanent shift in IT customer behavior. “COVID-19 has brought about huge changes in IT demand across almost every segment of the market,” said Del Prete. “A clear example of this is the dichotomy between DX investment and non-DX investment, with the former set to grow at a CAGR of 15.5% globally between 2020 and 2023, while the latter will contract -1.4% over the same period. We expect 65% of the world’s GDP to be digitalized by 2022, with direct DX investments totaling $6.8 trillion globally between 2020 and 2023.”

The agenda also incorporated a series of track sessions that enabled the delegates to deep dive into the individual markets that top their agenda for the year ahead. These dedicated sessions outlined trends and forecasts for key countries/sub-regions and explored the latest developments in critical technologies such as cloud, security, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and the Internet of Things. They also included fascinating market-focused panel discussions that showcased invaluable demand-side insights from leading end-user decision makers such as:  

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IT in Healthcare

54gene Unveils World-class Scientific Research Laboratory in Lagos State, Nigeria



54gene Unveils World class Scientific Research Laboratory in Lagos State Nigeria, SiliconNigeria

54gene has unveiled its new lab in Lagos State, Nigeria, capable of human whole genome sequencing and a variety of other scientific investigations. Hosting a suite of world-class molecular genomics capabilities, including the Illumina Novaseq 6000 and NextSeq 550Dx the lab is part of 54gene’s mission to enable Africans to conduct genomics research and will be fully operational from January 2021.

The new lab, recently inspected by the Commissioner of Health for Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi, is geared to crucially expedite internal and external research projects designed to facilitate precision medicine for Africans and the global population. 

54gene is currently conducting research to discover novel biological insights based on genetic modifiers, by deriving information from its unique and rich data set. This will allow the company’s researchers to determine the underlying drivers of infectious and noncommunicable diseases prevalent on the African continent as well as genetic variants unique to its population. The new lab strengthens 54gene’s capacity to enable more research that yields insights from the world’s most diverse populations to solve some of the biggest global healthcare challenges.

Commenting on the significance of 54gene’s advanced molecular capabilities, Founder & CEO, Dr Abasi Ene-Obong said: “Over the last two years, our growth has been underpinned by a supremely experienced world class team, and the collaboration of key stakeholders on the continent. I am proud of the impact our work is making scientifically and economically on the African continent and globally; and the many scientists around the world, who collaborate with 54gene. 

“Our vision is not just to address the health disparities in Africa but to distinctly advance research in some of the most common and rare diseases that affect the global population. To do this we need to scale our operations and continue to collaborate on cutting edge research. The possibilities are immense and we look forward to expanding this impact even more.”

Visiting the Molecular Genetics Operations labs and the Biobank, the Honourable Commissioner of Health for Lagos State, Prof. Emmanuel Akinola Abayomi, said, “This is quite an impressive setup,

and I am happy that 54gene has chosen Lagos as its base. I believe this is going to be a mutually

beneficial arrangement as Lagos is keen to promote a medical innovation hub in the State. We will continue to create an enabling environment for the private sector, like 54gene, to flourish, while ensuring that the public’s interests are adequately protected. We look forward to partnering with 54gene and other stakeholders alike to power innovation and a sustainable bio economy.”

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