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Friday, July 29, 2011

Aladekomo emerges NCS President

The Group Managing Director of Chams Plc, Mr. Demola Aladekomo, last Friday, emerged the latest president of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) in a keenly contested election at the just concluded 10th NCS International conference, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

Aladekomo, took over from the immediate past president, Prof. Charles Uwadia a renowned scholar, whose two-term in office expired with the emergence of Aladekomo.

Speaking at the election which followed the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of NCC, the former president, Prof. Uwadia said he was fulfilled in positioning NCS on the right track within his tenure.

Astute entrepreneur, Aladekomo assuring in his response after being elected of determination to drive NCS to the next level of policy influencing and representation of the best interests of individual, especially the teaming youths members and corporate members in continuity of an improvement on the vision and actions of NCS fore bearers.

Notable for his many firsts and works in all aspects of modern computing and engineering, Aladekomo built the world largest cyber mall, notarised in the Guinness book of World Records and has worked on every major plastic/smart card based project in Nigeria.

Aladekomo’s corporate existence cuts across several top IT and non-IT outfits such as Managing Director / Founder Charms Plc; Director, Paymaster Nigeria Limited; Director, Hardware Networks Limited; Chairman, Card Centre Nigeria Ltd; Founder, Volunteer Corps (NGO) to mention but few.

Equally, he is a fellow, Computer Association of Nigeria turned NCS; fellow, Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN); Member, Nigeria Society of Engineers.

He holds a first degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Ife and a Masters from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in that order.

Adewale Bankole in Abuja:

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nigeria needs broadband policy – Ndukwe

The former executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, has canvassed for a broadband policy for the country.

Giving his keynote at a one-day Stakeholders conference and exhibition on the proposed re-launch of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigCOMSAT-1R), Ndukwe preside currently over the Open Media Group, on ‘Powering Nigeria’s Digital Economy by Enabling Wireless Broadband Technologies for the Last Mile,’ said that Nigeria needs broadband policy.

According to him, many countries of the world with high broadband penetration of today, got there by encouragement and provision of incentives for widespread broadband connective.

He also said that smart phones and tablets backed by broadband connections are becoming the essential things of life.

Nigeria, he said, requires much more than bail out stimulus than what was even released in the United States to boost satellite communications through granting of bail-out benefits by Hughes.

Equally, he said that Nigeria requires a broadband policy urgently to improve or at least maintain its position in the global Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

“We also require to a consensus to achieve universal access,” he said, hence last mile deployments based on wireline infrastructure would need to be fine tuned.

Broadband, he said, would encourage the use of more smart phones and other more active tools, noting that there is expectation that some more cheap phones from China would impair the market share of smartphones and mobile handset manufacturers.

Dr Ndukwe described broadband as an enabler of improved communications, pointing out that broadband users’ currently is at 1.8 billion, expressing optimistic that by 2016, this would rise to 5 billion.

Welcoming guest to the conference, Managing Director, NigComSAT, Mr. Timassaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, said that the company has grown from small office to a major player in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

The idea, he said, was to take Nigeria to space and by 2004 when the adventure started it took four years, 2008 to get NigComSAT 1 satellite to be de-orbited due to solar array challenges, and the story has not been the same.

“It has been a long and tortuous journey to this day. Indeed, so many thought there was never a satellite. Others related to the reality with cautions optimism,” he said.

He further said that the replacement satellite, NigComSAT-1R has reached advanced stage of about 90 per cent and it’s being replaced at no cost to Nigeria.

NigComSAt, he said, is resolute to getting to the next level by providing a satellite platform that would be the pride of all Africans in general and Nigeria in particular.

Remmy Nweke, who was in Abuja
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Touray tasks ECOWAS states on Internet Governance

African representative at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Dr. Katim Touray has tasked Africa, especially in the West Africa to ensure maximize interest in issues of Internet Governance region.

Touray made this call at the opening session of a three-day 4th West African Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) in Lagos.

He said at the event with the theme “Promoting the Multi-Stakeholder Model for Further Internet Development in Africa,” that African people should take interest in what is happening on the Internet and its governance.

According to him, this has become crucial in the face of the fact that non-active participation, mostly in the on-going various consultations globally.

“People need to take interest in what is happening on the internet and its governance, otherwise, whatever decision that is taken may not be favourable to you,” he warned.

Touray explained that the United States government through its National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), is currently reviewing the contract with ICANN, the global organisation charged with the administration of Internet.

Corroborating Touray, the chairperson of the WAIGF Consortium and spokesperson of Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, urged African Internet community to explore the benefits of multi-stakeholders being championed by ICANN.

“Let us explore the benefits of multistakeholderism,” she said, stressing that Africans have a lot of respect and hope for Nigeria, attributing this to the population and resources as well as academia.

“Regional IGF is happening in all parts of Africa,” she said and lauded Nigeria for accepting to host WAIGF 2011.

“If you don't participate, you have to live by the decision of those who participate,” she said.

Countries across the world, she noted, are using the Internet for open governance and enthrone good governance as well as lots of development issues.

“We should see the present and use it to fashion the future instead of worrying much about the past issues; such as cyber crime and cost of connectivity,” she said.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

West African IGF opens in Lagos

All is now set for a three-day West Africa Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) which commences in the centre of excellence, Lagos, today.

WAIGF 2011 focuses on “Promoting the Multi- stakeholder model, for further internet development in Africa.”

The forum tagged Nigeria 2011, according to the coordinator of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Mr. Emmanuel Edet, would see participants coming across the continent of Africa and beyond.

Factually, he said, participants have begun to arrive for the event, which was last held in Dakar in 2010.

He explained that Nigeria emerged the host after a very highly contested hosting right exercise, stressing that the West Africa Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) is a project that aims to promote Internet Governance issues in West Africa through a multi-stakeholder process.

He underscored the fact that Internet Governance is the development and application by governments, the private sector and civil society in their respective roles of shared principles, norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet.

The WAIGF project, Edet said, is managed by a consortium led by the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), which include African Network Information Center (AfriNic), Panos Institute West Africa (PIWA), the IISD, APC, ISOC and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The project has received support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

He pointed out that project runs in eight countries, namely Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Togo; even as the initiative plans activities like online discussions, surveys and national face to face forums.

ITRealms Online recalls that the West African Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) consortium gave Nigeria the green light to host the sub-regional event on July this year.

Reaffirming this, a top member of the consortium, Ms Judy Okite stated in an electronic mail made available to ITRealms Online recently, noting that finally, a host country and venue for 2011 was selected.

Whereas congratulating Nigeria, for winning of the hosting right, she said that the 2011 WAIGF would be located in the commercial nerve centre of the nation, Lagos.

She also pointed out that following the selection of Nigeria to host WAIGF 2011, scheduled to be at one of the five star hotels in the city of Lagos, Okite revealed that the three-day event would last between July 27 and 29, next year.

She affirmed that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) would be the host of the event in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

As part of the hosting package, Nigeria is intended to cover the sponsorship for at least the accommodation of about 20 international guest participants.

This, she noted would include speakers and organizers, venue for the event; tea break and lunch for all participants on each day of the event; airport pick-up for all international participants; a cocktail dinner, interpreters for the event in addition to publicity for in local Nigeria media; and provision of conference materials for the participants.

Equally, ITRealms Online, gathered that WAIGF had in 2010 received support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), which was hosted by Senegal tagged ‘Dakar 2010’ as the third edition of the regional meeting.

Noteworthy is that Nigeria and two other African countries contested for the hosting right of the West African Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF) in 2011 at the three-day WAIGF in Dakar, Senegal.

Other countries that contested alongside Nigeria for the hosting rights include Cote D’Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

Commenting on the contest, while announcing the contenders, top figure of the organizing consortium and chairperson, Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), Ms Nnenna Nwakanma, cautioned that WAIGF is not a mere government meeting but a multi-stakeholders’ forum.

WAIGF, she said, has moved away from being an event to being a project, hence the need to bid for its hosting rights.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Interswitch lifts GTBank with cardless ATM deposit option

Leading electronic payment transaction and switching firm on the continent, Interswitch, has powered the Cardless ATM cash deposit solution for GTBank.

Director for Payment Processing and Infrastructure, Interswitch, Mr. Akeem Lawal, described it as a landmark project and first of its kind in Nigeria.

He said, the option avails Nigerians to use this cardless ATM cash deposit would enable cash deposits through GTBank ATMs without inserting or using a debit card.

He explained that the Cardless ATM cash deposit solution could be accessed on certain GTBank Cardless ATMs by clicking the enter button on the machine, which prompts the customer to key in the account details of the beneficiary to be credited.

Lawal also said that the ATM then requests for a confirmation of the account number and account name of the beneficiary.

“Once confirmed, the customer keys-in the amount to be deposited, the ATM counts the cash and credits the beneficiary’s account immediately,” he said.

Lawal further said that the cardless ATM cash deposit solution allows GTBank customers to deposit a bundle of different Naira denominations and the ATM will sort through the different denominations.

“Once sorted, the ATM displays the amount according to the different denominations and also the total amount deposited,” he said.

According to Lawal, the cardless ATM cash deposit solution has the ability to validate the account of the beneficiary, allowing the depositor to confirm or correct any error, even as the deposited amount reflects in the beneficiary account real-time, and could be withdrawn immediately.

“With the Cardless ATM solution, GTBank customers who wish to make cash deposits no longer need to visit the banking hall. They can simply deposit their cash via the ATM into a beneficiary’s accounts at any time of the day, including weekends,” he said, stressing that this option provides customers with the flexibility of depositing cash anytime; hence, they do not need to worry about carrying huge sums of money home.

The GTBank Cardless ATM cash deposit solution, he pointed out, represents a big step towards full branch automation where entire banking operations are automated and customers are guaranteed an improved and consistent standard of service delivery at all automated bank branches.

Banks, he said, could leverage the use of ATMs to provide improved consumer banking experience by taking self service to a whole new level.

“Cardless ATM cash deposit solution has reduced the number of customers who visit the GTBank branches where the ATM solution for cash deposit transactions was first deployed,” he said.

Reacting, General Manager, Communication and External Affairs at GTBank, Mrs. Lola Odedina explained that the solution from Interswitch is bound to improve the Nigerian banking sector by providing a ‘’secure, quicker and more effective channel’’ for making deposits without visiting a banking hall’ or using an ATM card.

She said that the solution had undergone a successful and extensive test-run at certain GTBank branches and the bank was set to roll out the service to more branches within Nigeria.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

IGF: ‘Take advantage of multi-stakeholder approach’

The global internet community has been tasked to take advantage of multi-stakeholder approach to drive home the import of free internet access.

Making this charge recently at the United States’ Internet Governance Forum (IGF-USA), the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Mr. Lawrence E. Strickling, said that now the challenge facing global internet community is to convince the rest of the world on the advantages of the multistakeholder approach.

He said that the United States is ready to take its case to the forthcoming World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in November this year.

This treaty negotiation, he said, would conduct a review of the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), the general principles which relate to the provision and operation of international telecommunication services.

“We can expect that some states will attempt to rewrite the ITRs in a manner that would establish heavy-handed governmental control of the Internet and cybersecurity,” he noted, adding that these are the countries that stakeholders must identify and promote the multistakeholder model, which must begin right away.

As said by him, the forthcoming IGF in Nairobi this September would provide stakeholders with an excellent opportunity to get started on this important task.

“I will use speaking opportunities at the IGF and the Government of Kenya’s Ministerial meeting to explain why we feel multistakeholder Internet governance is so valuable to preserving and enhancing a dynamic Internet and how it can be most useful in countries with little tradition of employing it,” he said.

His team at NTIA, Mr. Strickling said, would also work extensively at the bilateral level over the next year to spread the message.

“We ultimately hope to attain a global consensus on Internet governance that will preserve an open, interoperable, secure, and continually innovating Internet. But we need your help,” he said, reminding participants at the forum that on Friday, July 29 is the deadline for responses to NTIA’s ‘Further Notice of Inquiry on the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions contract.

This process, he explained, is the first comprehensive review of the IANA functions contract since the award of the initial contract in 2000.

“We have been conducting what I hope the community agrees is an open and transparent process on the contract. Based on comments received to our original notice, we have gone back to the global community to confirm that we interpreted correctly what was said in the comments. We set forth our tentative conclusions in response to the comments and then provided a draft Statement of Work for public comment,” he elucidated.

For Mr. Strickling, this is the first time NTIA has sought public input on the draft Statement of Work, stressing that in keeping with its commitment to the multistakeholder model; NTIA is actively seeking the input of global stakeholders.

“I encourage you to all carefully read the Further Notice and submit comments by the deadline,” he said, reassuring that the United States government is committed to the multistakeholder model of Internet policymaking,” he said, stressing that US is encouraged by the fact that support for the model has continued to gain momentum across the global internet community.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Juwah gives keynote @ broadband summit’11

The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah and the chief executive officer, MainOne Cable, Ms Funke Opeke, gave keynote speeches at the two-day Broadband Summit which commenced in Lagos, yesterday.

Coordinator of the Summit, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, confirmed this at the weekend, saying that the stage is set for the summit, stressing that there would be six other commercial presentations and two Plenary Syndicate Sessions.

Additionally, he said, these commercial presentations would pave the way for breakout discussions into issues of Infrastructure, Content, rural and access, and financing.

He noted that investment expert and former Managing Director of Guaranty Trust bank Mr. Fola Adeola led discussion at the Broadband Investment Summit which kicked off yesterday, Tuesday July 26 and billed to end on Wednesday July 27, 2011.

Mr. Adeola, he said, would do ‘A forecast into Nigeria’s investment climate in the next decade’.

Equally, Mr. Omo-Ettu said that the United-Kingdom based Chief Executive, Balancing Act, Mr. Russell Southwood.

According to him, Balancing Act is a UK-based consultancy and research company specialising in telecoms, Internet and broadcast in Africa.

Omo-Ettu said, Mr. Southwood would make presentation on ‘ICT Investment opportunities in infrastructure, rural access to telephony and content in Nigeria.’

ITRealms Online recalls that Mr. Omo-Ettu preempted Adeola’s paper which focuses on a forecast into Nigeria’s investment climate in the next decade during which 50 million telecommunications users are expected to be connected on broadband internet access.

Also, he noted that the emphasis hitherto placed on ‘number of connected lines in Nigeria will be shifted to emphasis to ‘number of users’ of telecommunications services to reflect the true development requirement of empowering Nigerians with telecommunications.

Omo-Ettu argued that emphasis on number of lines is misleading as many telephones are serving one Nigerian contrary to the universal believe that every person is served by one mobile line.

Omo-Ettu who also is the president, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) said that the Summit is a high level discussion event whose objective is to identify opportunities and challenges for universal access to broadband internet in Nigeria.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Twitter secures N13.6bn investment

Twitter, the microblogging internet company, is set to secure an extra $90m, about N13,7 billion investments from T Rowe Price.

The American mutual fund manager reportedly values the microblogging internet company at $8bn, N1.2 trillion, according to UK Telegraph.

The money from the American investor, the report stated which already owned a small stake in Twitter, is expected to form part of an $800m investment round being conducted by Twitter, according to Sky News.

The lion’s share of the new money is expected to come from Digital Sky Technologies (DST). The firm, founded by the legendary dotcom investor Yuri Milner, is thought to be investing around $400m.

JP Morgan’s Digital Growth Fund is also thought to be considering an investment. Other key new investors are expected to be Russian investing heavyweight DST Global, which has invested in Facebook, Zynga and Groupon.

If the figures are achieved, the fund-raising will imply that the company’s value has more than doubled since last December.

Twitter marked its fifth birthday earlier this month and has become one of the world’s most prominent dotcom businesses, with more than 200m users.

Twitter’s revenue growth has not grown at the same rate: the company is expected to generate just $150m in advertising revenue this year.

Twitter is currently working to build revenue, primarily through advertising. Investors are enticed by the popularity of its service, which sees more than 200 million messages sent a day.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D