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Our ASPIRE 2024 Key to 4IR in Nigeria, Says Danbatta



Our ASPIRE 2024 Key to 4IR in Nigeria Says Danbatta, SiliconNigeria

The executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta said the Commission’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP 2020-2024 or “ASPIRE 2024” is key to the realisation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Nigeria.

Danbatta said this while speaking on the topic ‘Powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Nigeria’ at the virtual Third Discourse of the Advocaat Law Practice at the weekend said, the Aspire 2024 came out of the earlier Strategic Vision Plan and 8-Point Agenda.

According to Prof Danbatta, Nigeria can only harness the opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a nation if we put in place effective guiding frameworks to address the various aspects of the digital ecosystem and ensure their effective interworking in the national interest.  

 Danbatta was represented by Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Barr. Adeleke Adewolu at the event said Nigeria is not lacking in key policy and regulatory frameworks and instruments which will enable us to play a leading role in powering the 4IR.

The EVC noted that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy Policy (2020-2030) boasts of eight pillars designed to, amongst others to: Enable Nigeria become a leading player in the global digital economy; and provide a catalyst to facilitate the diversification of the economy; and accelerate the attainment of the key national objectives of improving security, reducing corruption and expanding the economy.

“Similarly, the Nigerian National Broadband Policy (2020-2024) clearly highlights the various implementation strategies that would aid the pervasive inclusion and rollout of broadband services across the country whilst also developing a robust and holistic digital economy.

“We have responded to the policy goals highlighted above to harness the immense socio-economic benefits of ICT for national development; to ensure that ICT infrastructure are up to the standard necessary to provide ubiquitous broadband services in Nigeria; and to align the Commission’s regulatory efforts with the aforementioned Policy Instruments, as well as the growth strategies of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to ensure Growth, Inclusiveness, and Sustainability,” he said.

“In the last five years, the Commission has expanded broadband penetration from six per cent to 42.06 as at February 2021; access gap clusters have been reduced from 207 to 114; Fibre Optic coverage has increased from 47,000km to 54,725 km and Base Transceiver Stations for 3G and 4G deployments have increased from 30,000 to 53,460,” he said.

The EVC further noted that the creation of a full-fledged department Digital Economy has been created to support Federal Government’s Digital Economy agenda. The NCC also increasedfunding of Telecom Research to N336.4 million and has endowed four Professorial Chairs; and also commenced requisite engagements on 5G deployments and some of its licensees have already carried out trials.

“These strides will enable the telecommunications sector provide the infrastructure backbone for powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Nigeria. We are firmly committed to ensure that Nigerians in Nigeria play a leading role in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Blockchain, Autonomous Vehicle, Drones and other innovative technologies which are now driving growth and national competitiveness.

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Mobile Money

Mercy Corps Partners YDFS to Deliver Cash Transfers to Vulnerable Households in Yobe State



Mercy Corps Partners YDFS to Deliver Cash Transfers to Vulnerable Households in Yobe State, SiliconNigeria

Mercy Corps’ ‘Building Resilience in Complex Crisis (BRICC)’programme funded bythe European Union,has signed a new partnership with Y’ello Digital Financial Services (owners of the MoMoAgent Network),a subsidiary of MTN Nigeria,to efficiently deliver automatedcash transfers and provide an avenue for programme participantswith or without bank accounts to receive funds.

This partnership will kick-start the use of MoMo Agent in the distribution of conditional and unconditional cash transfers to 14,270 households in Damaturu and Potiskum LGAs in Yobe state.

The European Union is funding Mercy Corps to implement an array of early recovery interventions across North-East Nigeria which involves cash assistance to vulnerable households and young people to help restore and improve livelihoods,making them more resilient to conflict and climate shock and stress.COVID-19 has aggravated the impact of the conflict in the state, affecting market opportunities and increasing unemployment. Of the participants that will be given cash transfers, 1,570 youths will receive funds to help them start a business after undergoing vocational training like automobile repairs, agribusiness, fashion designing, food business, and phone repairs, among others. 

Dez Byamukama, BRICC Programme Director, Mercy Corps said, “The major goal of the BRICC programme is to build the resilience of communities, by providing them with the capacity and resources to respond to shocks and stresses, which have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cash supports beneficiairies to respond to their basic needs and survive economic hardship, Automated cash transfer also reduces the cost and security risks associated with the transfer and direct distribution of cash.”

The presence of MoMoagents in communities where BRICC is implemented, means faster and more efficient means of delivering cash transfers without participants having to wait in long queues.With an agent base of over 150,000 across the country, MoMo Agents provide safe, fast and easy access to financial services for customers through their widespread presence and reliable service.

This partnership with Mercy Corps provides a unique opportunity to extend these benefits to the most vulnerable families in Yobe State and other conflict-affected states in the North East.

Commenting on the collaboration, Usoro Usoro, Chief Executive Officer, Y’ello Digital Financial Services said his organisation is commitedto ensuring that every Nigerian is able to seamlessly access financial services for their personal and business needs. “To do this, we constantly seek partnerships to support the financial inclusion strategy of the federal government. We are truly excited about this arrangement with Mercy Corps and the possibilities. With over 150,000 agents spread across the country, we are poised to deliver easy and fast cash transfers to beneficiaries of the programme in Yobe State and other locations within the country where required,” he stated.

EU Head of Cooperation,Tassin-Pelzer Cecile, also commended the initiative, noting that cash transfers are often more efficient and effective than other forms of aid. She said: “Cash provides beneficiaries with the means and flexibility to decide and prioritise their recovery. In many contexts, cash assistance allows more aid to reach the beneficiaries directly. It also supports local markets and economy, laying the foundations for communities’ recovery and resilience. Cash transfers are effective in addressing negative-coping strategies such as poor diets or debts. It is very important that Mercy Corps continuous to work with the government to strengthen the State Social registry of the most vulnerable linking beneficiaries with the social protection programme.”

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IT and Telecomms

Airtel Nigeria Appoints Surendran As New MD/CEO



Airtel Nigeria Appoints Surendran As New MD/CEO, SiliconNigeria

Airtel Networks Limited (Nigeria), a subsidiary of Airtel Africa plc, this morning announced the appointment of C. Surendran as managing director and chief executive officer of Airtel Nigeria with effect from 1 August 2021.

In addition, Surendran will be appointed to the executive committee (ExCo) as regional operating director, reporting to the CEO of Airtel Africa plc, and onto the Board of Airtel Networks (Nigeria) Limited.

Surendran replaces Mr. Olusegun Ogunsanya who will become managing director and chief executive officer of Airtel Africa plc with effect from 1 October 2021, with a transition period from 1 August 2021.

Mr. Surendran has been with Bharti Airtel since 2003 and has contributed immensely in various roles across customer experience, sales and business operations.

 In his most recent role as CEO Karnataka, which is the largest circle in Airtel India with over $1 billion in revenue, Surendran delivered exceptional performance with significant movement in Revenue Market Share (RMS) over last few years, currently at 54 per cent.

He has over 30 years of business experience, including 15 years at Xerox.  Surendran will transition into his new role from 1 June 2021 and spend the time onboarding into the business until 31 July 2021.

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MTN Nigeria’s YDFS Partners Bet Operators As Mobile Mobile Agents



MTN Nigeria’s YDFS Partners Bet Operators As Mobile Mobile Agents, SiliconNigeria

Y’ello Digital Financial Services (YDFS), a subsidiary of MTN Nigeria, has announced its partnership with gaming operators, Betway, BetPawa and Betmojo through its flagship mobile money transfer service, MoMo agent.

 The strategic partnership will enable customers to cash their winnings and fund wallets conveniently at any MoMo agent outlet nationwide.

Chief Executive Officer, YDFS, Usoro Usoro,said the “partnerships are the fuel for progress within our communities. So, we are constantly exploring innovative relationships to help deliver cost-effective, fast, transparent, and reliable remittance services. 

 “Our customers deserve simple solutions making it easier for them to access financial services, no matter where they are. Our partnership with gaming operators helps deliver that,” Usoro added.

Speaking on the partnership, Lere Awokoya, Betway’s country manager said, “We are proud of our collaboration with MoMo. Our customers now have easier access to their Betway wallet guaranteed. Customers can also deposit and cash-out wins with their neighbourhood MoMo Agent.”

“We are committed to improving our customer’s experiences through a more personable, digital and sustainable approach. This partnership provides that. We look forward to a successful working arrangement that continually keeps the customer in focus,” added Segun Somefun, CEO, Betpawa

Betmojo customers can also take advantage of the partnership through the ‘Pick 3’ game on the platform to cash out on their winnings with MoMo. With an agent base of over 300,000 across the country, MoMo Agent forms a major part of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s financial inclusion drive to ensure that 95 per cent of adults are financially included by 2024.

The partnership allows customers to utilise MoMo’s widespread presence and reliable service to access funds. MoMo Agent services include bill payment, cash deposit and withdrawal, data and airtime purchase, and a bulk disbursement solution which enables public and private companies to make payment to beneficiaries anywhere in Nigeria without a bank account or ATM availability. 

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