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The politics of state robbery in Nigeria

Weekend Commentary@ITRealms : Late last month, as a section of the country awaited the triumphant return of James Ibori, an ex-governo...

Yudala

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

NITDA dangles N20m grant for Out-Sourcing

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Monday in Lagos announced the availability of N20 million for an outsourcing group take off.
This is coming as a group to be known as Nigeria Association of IT enabled Out-sourcing Companies (NAITEOC) comes on stream.

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Insecurity forces CNSSL to shut MTN call centre in Jos

The spate of insecurity in the country, may have heightened Monday, with operators of MTN call centre in Jos, the CNSSL shutting the centre on security reasons.

The management of CNSSL in a press statement made available to ITRealms states “CNSSL regrets to announce the closing down of its call centre operation in Jos, Plateau State.”
ITRealms recalls that CNSSL had entered into a contract to operate and staff the Jos call centre on behalf of MTN Nigeria in July 2010, and has been doing exactly that until the recent closure.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Airtel fulfills promise,brings Arsenal stars to Lagos for fans

Arsenal stars Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna with
Airtel COO Deepak Srivastava CMO Olu Akanmu
and Airtel Rising Stars players on Sunday in Lagos.
It was a dream fulfilling Sunday as selected fans of Arsenal Football Club of England have a life time opportunity of mingled with stars of the club, who are on visit to Nigeria, courtesy of Airtel Nigeria at the prestigeous Eko Hotel and Suites on Sunday, July 29. 
Some of the players present include Per Mertesacker, Lucas Podolski and Bacary Sagna. 
The Arsenal players also encouraged the five young talents discovered at the second edition of the Airtel Rising Stars (ARS). 
Noteworthy is that the ARS top-five will attend a football clinic at Arsenal Football Club as part of the deal between Arsenal and Airtel.
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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Update! Multimedia, animation camps for Lagos, Abuja


Are you in Nigeria and interested in multimedia, animation, gaming, with applications in the movies, media, advertising, among other sectors, Arena Multimedia hosts camps both in Lagos and Abuja.

Arena Multimedia hosts camps both in Lagos and Abuja. for participation call (Lagos) 08132590205; 08129687969,  (Abuja), arena_ikeja@theoallenconsult.com
08132561737, 08129687967, arena_abuja@theoallenconsult.com


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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

former Comm. Minister assumes office in Ghana as president

A former Ghanaian Minister of Communications for four years, Dr. John Dramani Mahama has been sworn in after being vice president to the late president, Prof. John Atta Mills who died on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in Accra-Ghana.

Mahama, 58 has been in government of Ghana for over a decade and serving at various capacities, including serving as Ghana’s Minister of Communications between November 1998 and 2001.

Born on November 1958, Mahama, a politician had previously won parliamentary seats and was serving under the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a vice president to late Atta Mills before his death, at the early hours of Tuesday, July 24, 2012.

Married to Mrs. Lordina Mahama, now president Mahama attended University of Ghana. He was preceded in office by the immediate past CEO of the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO), Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, while he was succeeded by Mr. Felix Owusu-Adjapong in the Ministry of Communications, Ghana.


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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Alliance urges Senate to make telecom infrastructure critical resource


At the just concluded two-day public hearing on Communications by a Senate Committee in Abuja, with a call by ICT Publishers Alliance for the institutionalization of telecommunications infrastructure as critical national resource.

Chairman of the group, Mr. Aaron Ukodie, said telecom services should be considered as strategic national services so as to free it from the debilitating effect of multiple taxation and regulation from various government agencies at the three tiers of government.

He said that the Alliance in a 24-page presentation to the Senate Committee on Communications public hearing, on problems associated with quality of service in mobile phone operations in Nigeria and co-location, stated that

The Committee chaired by Gilbert Nnaji, he said, held the session for two days and took both oral and paper presentations from stakeholders in the telecom industry.

The perception today among different strata of government, the group noted, is that telecom operators are cash-cows therefore should be milked to no end such that taxations at even council levels are notoriously and arbitrarily imposed in such a way as to make continuous or seamless service delivery impossible.

Mr. Ukodie pointed out that this year alone, the NCC has had to intervene in several locations where telecom infrastructure like base stations were shut by council officials enforcing compliance with imposed taxes by local councils.

“Although cases of multiple regulation and taxation may not be limited to Nigeria alone; our position is that Nigeria can eliminate such cases and become an example to other countries and regions,” he declared in a press statement made available to ITRealms.

According to the group, it is the responsibility of lawmakers, as the repository of the people's destinies, to ensure that laws made do not run counter to the needs, desires and social wellbeing of the people they represent.

Therefore, the Alliance noted that a situation where every agency of government taxes telecom just because they see the industry as the cash-cow, does not and will not augur well for the fledgling telecom industry.
“All of a sudden, for instance, every state government, every local government, and every community has become a law maker unto themselves, churning out one law after another nearly every month or quarter of the year, all targeted at milking telecom operators,” he decried.

The group emphasised that the National Assembly is required to put all these in check, if the telecom industry, especially mobile operators are to continuously grow and deliver quality services to the people.

Maintaining that the recent gazetting of the Quality of Service Regulations by the Federal Ministry of Justice is a right step in the right direction to strengthen the NCC to take some severe measures when service providers are found wanting and that the NCC must also sustain its efforts in the engagement of Drive-Test contractors to carry out continuous quality of service drive-testing in the six geo-political zones and Lagos.

PR

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Etisalat rewards over 3,000 winners 9ja free credit promo


Etisalat Nigeria on Wednesday July 18, rewarded over 3,000 lucky winners in its latest consumer promotion.

The prize presentation which took place at its Allen Avenue, Ikeja Experience Centre saw numerous Etisalat customers go home with different mobile devices from dual-SIM phones, Blackberry phones, Etisalat Gaga Smartphones and tablets. Over 3,740 winners have emerged since the commencement of the promo on July 5, with prizes being presented to winners at various Etisalat offices around the country.

Speaking at the event, Head, Mass Market Segment, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Idowu Adesokan said the promo was just one of the ways Etisalat is saying ‘thank you’ to its loyal subscribers, and restated the brand’s commitment to enriching the lives of its ever-growing subscriber base.

“Because the consumer is at the heart of everything we do, we are always looking for innovative ways to reward customer loyalty and put smiles on their faces,” he said.

One of the winners, Mr. Desmond Igbinedion expressed joy at the gesture, recounting how skeptical he was, about the authenticity of the win when he got a Short Messaging Service (SMS) encouraged him that he had won an Etisalat tablet.

“I couldn’t believe it when I was told that I had won a device from Etisalat. I have never believed in promos, and even as I hold my phone, I still haven’t woken up from the shock,” he said.

He expressed thanks to Etisalat Nigeria for the gesture, and urged Nigerians to take advantage of the opportunity and recharge every five minutes in order to win fantastic prizes.

For Diala Kelechi, a businessman, the prize could not have come at a better time, as he had actually been planning to buy a new phone when he received a text message stating that he had won a phone from Etisalat.

“It came as a pleasant surprise and I’m so happy to be part of the winners today,” he said.

Specialist, Consumer Segment Marketing at Etisalat Nigeria, Mrs. Ugonma Akhibge, explained the mechanics of the revamped 9ja free credit promo, saying that customers who recharge within five minutes of every hour, every day in the months of July and August would qualify for the draw to win Dual SIM phones, Blackberry Curve 4, Etisalat Gaga smartphones, Acer, Samsung GIO and Etisalat tablet, every five minutes, 24 hours a day.

In total, she said, Etisalat will give out 288 phones every day, adding that the promo is open to registered new and existing prepaid customers. While draws would be held for every recharge within five minutes of every hour, and the more the customer recharges the higher his or her chances of winning, insisting that a customer could only win once during the promo.

ITRealms recalls that in the last three years, Etisalat Nigeria has become a major industry player with a growing subscriber base of 13 million in a highly competitive market.

Its portfolio of voice and data-centric products include –easyblaze, easynet, easy starter, easycliq and elite world, all tailor-made to meet the needs of its subscribers.

Remmy Nweke 

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Software practitioners mourn Simeon Agu


Late Mr. Agu

The umbrella body of software professionals in Nigeria under the aegis of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), are mourning the pioneer president of the group, Mr. Chijioke Simeon Agu, who passed on after a brief illness in Lagos on Sunday, July 8, 2012.


A press statement endorsed by the incumbent President, Mr. Chris Uwaje of Connect Technologies, the association says the news of Mr. Agu’s demise came as a surprise.


“It is with tremendous shock, heavy hearts and deep sense of loss that we received and now officially announce the sad demise of Chijioke Simeon Agu, the founding President of ISPON, a distinguished Information Technology (IT) practitioner, software industry pioneer and fellow of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) who passed-on on Sunday July 8th, 2012,” Uwaje lamented.


He also said that on behalf of the National Executive Council (NEC) and entire members of ISPON, condolence with the entire family of Mr. Agu.


Uwaje who described Mr. Agu as the great lion of the Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), whose words alone awakened an entire IT industry.


“… Whose presence inspired confidence in a fledgling industry to go forth and claim its due; a fiercely loyal friend and a competitor respected by all,” Uwaje said.


Agu who was a former council member, Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) and NCS respectively, hails from Obinagu in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State.


As said by ISPON president, late Mr. Agu would be missed for his advocacy drive for local content development in the software industry.


Until his death, Mr. Agu was the founder and chairman of Computer Systems Associates (Nigeria) Limited, and a 1970 Electrical Engineering graduate with Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting and Finance.


He started his computing career with Shell Petroleum Development Company in 1971. Later, he moved to the National Electric Power Authority in 1977 as Manager Systems Development and rose to become the Director of Computer Services. Simeon Agu metamorphosed the Computer Systems Associates (CSA) to Neptune Software, putting Neptune on the platform to thrive globally.


LS
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ZODML promotes reading culture with e-library


A not-for-profit organization set up in memory of Z.O Dibiaezue, the Zaccheus Onumba Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries (ZODML), has launched an e-library www.zodml.org.

Speaking at the launch, co-chairperson and member of ZODML’s Board of Trustees, Mrs. Ifeoma Esiri, noted that the online resource has been designed to give students and readers of all ages throughout Nigeria and across the world access to resources to educate themselves.

The launch, she said, is central to the achievement of ZODML’s mission of providing channels for people to acquire knowledge and improve their learning by accessing the information and learning tools offered by the library.

Also, she said that ZODML’s vision is to see a Nigeria in which everyone has access to resources for personal development and growth.

“At the core of this project is self-learning which can only be possible if there is free access to educational resources. Now, with the launch of our website, www.zodml.com, students and readers all over Nigeria and beyond can access our online library and also take advantage of the various learning tools that the website has.”

Mrs. Esiri, she said is bi-monthly essay competition for secondary school students as part of activities to project and launch the website.
Students, she pointed out would be required to write short essays on their learning process in their various schools, adding, the winning entry would win a net book and a visit to Google Nigeria to experience a day of work at the search engine company.
In her remarks, another member of trustee of ZODML and rights activist, Mrs. Ayo Obe, lamented the dearth of good libraries where students could just go and have a good read in Nigeria. The launch of ZODML’s, she said, would not only make it easier for students and everyone to borrow books from the library online but will also help students to learn how to use the internet for constructive activities and learning.
ITRealms gathered that some of website’s features consist of a catalogue of past question papers for secondary students from notable examination bodies like the West African Examinations Council, (WAEC), National Examinations Council (NECO) and Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), journals and articles, a career guide section and a special collection of writing by Nigerians living in Nigeria and the diaspora.
Additionally, the website seeks to be ‘Nigeria-centric’, giving books and novels written by Nigerian authors a given centre stage, to inspire writing skills in Nigerian students.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Illegal frequency: NCC closes 2 branches of First Bank


The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has on Monday closed the New Ring Road Branch of First Bank of Nigeria in Ibadan, and the Aladbaka branch of the same bank in Akure, over illegal use of the 5.40 Gega Hertz (GHz) frequency band, which is licensable in Nigeria. 

According to the Head, Media and Public Relations at NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online, quoted the enforcement team of the Commission, led by Mr. Efosa Idehen as having stormed both banks, revealed that the frequencies are being illegally used at the banks.

Also, Idehen said had served these bank officials with warrants of arrests for illegal use of licensable frequencies, thereby denying the Federal Government the revenues accruable from these resources.
The enforcement action, which was carried out with the security personnel, paralyzed activities at both branches of the banks as the disappointed customers were forced out of the premises of the banks at mid day.

Idehen said, the use of illegal frequency band by the bank is against the prescriptions of the Communications Act 2003.

He pointed out that at Ibadan, officials of the bank mounted resistance to the enforcement activities resulting in its Operation Manager being arrested and taken to the Iyaganku Police station by the police for obstructing the activities of the enforcement team of the Commission and refusing to lead them to the bank’s server room, to enable them isolate the equipment.

“The case was different at Akure branch where the officials of the bank fully cooperated with the enforcement team of NCC,” he said.

Further, Mr. Idehen said that the Commission has forewarned all those transmitting illegally on these channels through public notices in the media and that those in contravention would be persecuted.

He said the exercise is a continuous one from the one already carried out in various states of the Federation and wondered why some of the banks are still illegally using these frequencies when they were not licensed to operate on them.

As said by him, it appears the banks are the major culprits in the illegal use of frequencies in the 5.40Ghz spectrum band.

Particularly on Ibadan branch case, Mr. Idehen said the bank will remain shut until the 5.40GHz equipments are isolated and the indoor and outdoor units removed from the bank and taken to the police station. 

He commended the police for their support to the Commission to sanitize the air space, stressing that the 5.40GHz is meant for data communication and could only be issued by companies licensed by the Nigerian communications Commission.

Remmy Nweke
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Expert says 80% of Sub-Sahara Africans live without electricity

Chief Executive, Solar Jooce, Mr. David Agbakoba, has said that 80 per cent of the populace residing in the Sub-Sahara Africans still lives without electricity.

Speaking recently at the signing of deal by his company and British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF), Mr. Agbakoba asserted, “Of the world's 1.6 billion people living without electricity, 80% live in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

ITRealms Online, recollects that Solar Jooce, a social enterprise and British American Tobacco Foundation, an independent charitable organisation recently signed a collaboration agreement to train rural women in Oyo State in assembling and repairing basic solar lanterns and phone charging units. 

Agbakoba, who was joined at the ceremony by Mr. Gbenga Ibikunle, the Executive Director, BATN Foundation, disclosed that the essence initially is to train 20 rural women.

The training, he said, would help them to establish a solar micro-business.

The training will also empower the ladies to light up their communities, and spread the use of solar as an alternative to dangerous and expensive fossil fuelled lighting such as kerosene lamps.

The workshop, which is into its 4th week, covers four Local Government Areas in Oyo state - Itesiwaju, Kajola, Oyo West, and Iseyin – before moving on to other states across Nigeria.

He pointed out that the ladies have received marketing and financial management training, in Yoruba, by Mrs. Yemi Owolabi, Executive Director, Finance of Standard Chartered Bank, Nigeria, and entitled “Growing your New Solar MicroBusiness.”

The Solar Jooce women’s empowerment initiative is a small step in the daunting task of providing a clean, alternative source of electricity, alleviating poverty, and providing opportunities for rural families in Nigeria”.

ITRealms Online, recalls that the training workshop is equally supported by the Hertz Corporation, C & I Leasing (transport & logistics), Sesema PR, and the Bishop of Ajayi Crowther Diocese, Bishop O. O. Oduntan.

 Remmy Nweke


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Friday, July 13, 2012

eTranzact re-enforces security, obtains PCI DSS Certification


eTranzact has re-enforced its security infrastructure by pioneering role in the e-payment space one again by becoming the first licensed mobile money operator to achieve  the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard Certification, (PCIDSS).

The PCI DSS certification dated June 30, 2012 which was issued to eTranzact.
Disclosing to ITRealms Online at a recent interview, saying PCI DSS is a binding collection of due diligence practices that promote IT security. PCI DSS aims to reduce financial fraud through heightened security capabilities built around the network, data, vulnerability management practice, and the governance of IT processes.

The chief executive officer, eTranzact, Mr. Valentine Obi, noted that with the PCI DSS certification, eTranzact users would experience improved security on all payment channels such as ATM, Point of Sale (POS) terminals, mobile banking services, Pocketmoni services, and webAccess.

Mr. Richard Omoniyi, the Chief Technical Officer of eTranzact, said, “This is a huge milestone for eTranzact, our merchants and customers. This will continue to increase the desired confidence of customers through assurance provided by higher level of data security process.”

“PCI DSS certification is a further demonstration of our commitment to good governance and responsible business practice,” Mr. Omoniyi said.

As global certification compliance to PCI DSS demand annual on-site security audit and quarterly network scan. On-site security audits are performed by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA). 

Omoniyi further emphasized that data security is a core value of the company’s business; this is done in order to protect customers against financial loss on the platform.

Adding that with this corporate action, we are emphasizing commitment to Service Level Agreement (SLA) with our trade partners (participating banks, merchant et al) as they are guaranteed of increased protection against financial losses and remediation costs that arise from security breaches.”

Remmy Nweke
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Etisalat offers 80-day promo on discounted roaming, SMS


‘One Phone Every 5 Minutes’ excites, Talkzone extends to 30 states

Etisalat Nigeria has launched an 80-day new promo that offers discounted roaming call rates and lower Short Messaging Service (SMS) rates to all existing.

This also offers new Etisalat subscribers travelling to the United Kingdom, France and United Arab Emirates during the summer holidays.  This promo which kicks off on the 12th of July will run till the 30th of September, 2012.

For the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and France, the rates for local calls and calls back to Nigeria will go for N120 while SMS will go for N35 and Data services will be N15 for every 70KB used. The rates are available to both pre-paid and post-paid customers who would be roaming their lines in the listed countries and the associated networks including Vodafone for UK, Etisalat for the UAE and Orange for France.

Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Wael Ammar, says Nigerians travelling to the United Kingdom, France and United Arab Emirates this summer will be able to stay in touch with friends, business associates and family members while enjoying their holidays.

Etisalat, he said, recognises the need for its customers to always keep in touch with their families and business associates in Nigeria even when they are abroad.

“Our customers are at the centre of our business and we continually provide innovative and customer-centric products and services to suit their lifestyles. The Etisalat Roaming Summer Promo is one of many services we have introduced to reward our subscribers”, he said.

In a related development, Etisalat says its recent ‘One Phone Every 5 Minutes’ in the 9ja Free Credit promo, has continued to generate interest, as the promo which kicked off on July 5, 2012 promises to give customers the opportunity to win a phone every five minutes throughout the months of July and August.

Mr. Ammar was quoted as saying that customers who recharge within 5 minutes of every hour, everyday in the months of July and August would qualify for the draw to win Dual SIM phones, Blackberry Curve 4, Etisalat Gaga smartphones, Acer, Samsung GIO and ZTE V9 tablet, every five minutes, 24-7. That is a total of 288 phones to be won, every single day.

Additionally, he said, new and existing prepaid customers who register in July or August would enjoy bonus airtime of 30 per cent of their total recharges in 30 days, from the day they register. The bonus credit, he explained, is valid for 30 days, and could be used to make calls or send SMS to any network in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Etisalat special 1 Kobo tariff with Talkzone is gathering momentum in 30 States of the federation. Mr. Ammar said Etisalat’s extension of Talkzone, its dynamic discount tariff allows customers 98 per cent discount in 14 more states in the country, thus bringing the number of states enjoying the discount tariff to 30.

Talkzone, the Chief Commercial Officer says offers flexible discounts on calls to any network in Nigeria at different times and in different locations, asserting, “Subscribers can enjoy up to 98 per cent on calls made on Etisalat lines, which enables them to make calls for as low as 1 kobo per second and up to 20 per cent discount on calls made to other networks.”

ITRealms Online recalls that the tariff was first introduced in October 2010 in five states of the North east, and later extended to other regions in February and May 2012, including Abia, Adamawa, Borno, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Kano, Osun, Taraba, Yobe, Sokoto, Kebbi,  Zamfara,  Kogi, Bauchi and Katsina. Others are Jigawa, Niger, Kwara, Oyo, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Plateau, Benue, Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra and Imo States.

Remmy Nweke

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UNECA launches Innovation Prize for Africa’13

The second round of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), which aims to reward innovation across Africa in key sectors of interest, was launched today at a press conference organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Director, ICT, Science and Technology Division (ISTD) at the ECA, Ms. Aida Opoku-Mensah, confirmed this to ITRealms, saying, “Our focus is the future we innovate. It’s based on the core belief that the best way to predict the future is to create it. It is a call to action across Africa. To develop our own solutions, bring together our best minds and all our resources.”

She also said the prize is a global invitation to link arms and use potential, create efficiencies, and commercialize the very best ideas, which is the future Africa deserves.
Ms. Opoku-Mensah explained that researchers are invited to propose projects that unlock new African potential under one or more areas which include manufacturing and service Industry; Agriculture/agribusiness; ICTs; Health and Wellbeing; and Environment, Energy and Water.
She reiterated that the organizers expect the prize to promote among young African men and women the pursuit of science, technology and engineering careers and business applications.

She further explained that the aims include to mobilize leaders from all sectors to fuel African innovation; Promote innovation across Africa in key sectors of interest through the competition; Promote science, technology and engineering as rewarding, exciting and noble career options among the youth in Africa by profiling success applicants; and Encourage entrepreneurs, innovators, funding bodies and business development service providers to exchange ideas and explore innovative business opportunities.

According to her, in pursuing those aims, the IPA expects an increased commercialization of research and development (R&D) outputs in Africa; Increased funding of start-ups, adoption of new and emerging technologies and accelerated growth of an innovative and dynamic private sector; and increased economic activity and African led development that results in lasting impact.
She emphasized the selection criteria, which include market potential, impact, scalability, originality, utility and technical aspects and informed journalists that the winning proposal would be awarded a cash prize of US$ 100,000, with two runner-ups receiving each US$ 25,000. Even as the registration deadline for the 2013 prize, has been set for 31 October 2012 with no possibility for extensions.
Ms. Opoku-Mensah recollected that in the first phase of the competition, 458 applicants from 38 countries submitted their projects for consideration, reflecting the strong entrepreneurial spirit and the high potential of innovations in Africa.

She pointed out that an Egyptian engineer, Mohammed Sanad, who has designed a base-station antenna that could facilitate upgrades to more advanced mobile networks in developing countries was the first winner of the Innovation Prize for Africa.

The runner up, Zeinou Abdelyamine, an industrial chemist from Algeria, received US$50,000 for his research and development of environmentally friendly, natural insecticides and rodenticides. 

Remmy Nweke
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