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Peter Obi: Major takeaways from VP's debate - ITREALMS

Commentary@ITREALMS : Greatness is nothing but repeated excellence. The vice presidential debate might have come and gone, but it engrav...


ICT4D Week 2018

Monday, December 17, 2018

Peter Obi: Major takeaways from VP's debate - ITREALMS

Greatness is nothing but repeated excellence. The vice presidential debate might have come and gone, but it engraved an indelible impression on my mind and that of so many Nigerians. The fiercest and strategic battle of 21st century, is not that of weapons and physical strength, but contestation of ideas. 

The major takeaway from the debate is that: The richest person on earth is not one whose material worth is in the hundreds of billions of dollars, but an enigmatic out-of-box thinker, with proven ocean of innovative ideas and myriad of tested practical solutions. Peter Obi is the bomb! If presidential election will be held today—strictly using performance at the debate as a yardstick, Peter Obi has already won the election for Atiku, because propaganda will always collapse in the face of truth, while facts will trounce conjectures and fallacies.

Opinion is common but proven facts are scared. The lifespan of a propaganda is shorter than falsehood. Competence is like a light of candle in the dark tunnel of cluelessness and insufferable failures. It can be likened to mature pregnancy that cannot be hidden. That was the message at the debate. 

Former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi has demystified governance. He inadvertently told any Nigerian yearning for quality and visionary leadership that running government effectively and efficiently, is not rocket science—that even hitherto sophisticated rocket science has been unwind by technological advancement in recent years. Obi was able to demonstrate; in practical terms, that he is not contesting election to grab raw power, but to use it for the common good of all. He towered above and outshined every other vice presidential candidates on the podium including Prof Osinbajo. Peter Obi exposed Osinbajo's policy formulation shallowness, and elevated himself as a practical economist, at the expense and chagrin of rabble-rousing theorist, who was caught in his own web of staled and worn-out narratives. 

Throughout the debate, Peter Obi maintained the same tempo he started with it. He was calm, confident and firmly in control of his body language. He never for once overshoot his time, unlike Osinbajo who had to be stopped by the moderator on several occasions. Obi displayed high level of emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. He was decent, direct-to-the-point, focused as a bullet. He was consistent with his solution-professing message. 

He never digress—not even once. He did not fall to the temptation of mudslinging as leading opposition vice presidential candidate. He countered the fallacies of the regime with statistics and figures. He essentially reduced the debate to a lecture room, where he was giving the APC administration a crash course on how-not-to-run-an-economy. Obi talked like an apolitical renowned economist from the private sector, Osinbajo got stuck with the blame game. 

When Osinbajo  slipped into "PDP 16 years of loot" propaganda, Obi stayed on the issues. He left Nigerians to puncture the overused phrase of excuses. While Osinbajo was fixating on the "locust years of the PDP"; as if Nigeria gained her independence in 1999 and not 1960, he lost focus and became clueless on the stage like the APC government he serves. He got to the dead-end of grandstanding; propaganda failed him. The cluelessness of the government, especially on economy, was laid bare before Nigerians to see. Peter seized the moment and took him to the cleaners. He effortlessly upgraded the intellectual discourse, to the extent that Osinbajo looked mercilessly beaten like a chick abandoned by its mother hen in a stormy rain. 

When Osinbajo regressed into the past, Obi stayed on tomorrow. Progressivism is not just a word. Obi is the real progressive-minded leader the nation yearns for.  Waziri Atiku Abubakar has an asset as running mate. Peter Obi is like a deep sea of great ideas—he has the vision, roadmap on how to #GetNigeriaWorkingAgain. He is only asking for the electoral mandate to transform Nigeria, because vision without mandate is hallucination.

Contributed by 
Chidiebere Nwobodo

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Nigeria attains 169m telecom subscribers, 109m Internet users - ITREALMS

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has declared its stimulating competition in the industry through regulatory guidelines, just as teledensity has risen to 169 million subscribers with active Internet users at 109 million, reports ITREALMS.

Keynoting the 4h Quarter seminar cum induction of the Nigerian Information Technology Reporter's Association (NITRA), the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Dambatta made this disclosure, at the weekend in Lagos.

Dwelling on "Achieving Last-Mile Connectivity through Broadband" the EVC represented by Dr. Henry Nkemadu, said that NCC, have organised periodic forums to provide the platforms to engage stakeholders in the telecommunications sector including NITRA and disseminate information available to the widest audience possible.

This, he said, has led to the sector contributing to formal and informal employment generation and increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“As the economy of the Nigeria continues to look up and with pressures from global financial markets, and its position as a major commercial Centre in the West African Region, the demand for reliable and modern telecommunication infrastructure facilities is enormous,” he noted.

Telecommunication, he said, acts as an enabler to drive socio-economic growth, developments and modernization across all sectors of the economy, stressing that the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry has experienced significant growth in telephony penetration.

“From a modest number of about 400,000 fixed and 25,000 mobile telephone lines in 2001, by year end 2007 the industry recorded nearly 42 million active subscriber line connections and by October 2018, the industry recorded 165,239,443 million active mobile subscriber line connections,” he said.

In addition, Teledensity, the EVC said, has risen from 0.04 per cent in 2000 to over 118.03 per cent in October 2018.

Just as the number of active mobile Internet subscribers was 107,106,975 as at October 2018.

“November 2018 has risen to 169 million subscribers. Active Internet Subscribers also risen to 109 million,” he disclosed.

Earlier in his welcome address, NITRA chairman, Mr. Emma Okonji, noted that the association was established in November, 2013,as the umbrella body of all practicing ICT journalists in Nigeria, cutting across the print, broadcast and online media, with a vision to drive ICT development and ensure accurate and robust ICT reportage.

The quarterly forum, he pointed out was a call to action where issues of national interest would be discussed., recalling that importance of broadband infrastructure as an enabler for economic and social growth in the digital economy, cannot be over-emphasised, the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, had on September 20, 2012, inaugurated the Presidential Committee for a national broadband strategy and roadmap.

The Committee of 15 members was co-chaired by two of our distinguished personalities in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, the former EVC of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe and the Chairman of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia.

The committee successfully completed its assignment and submitted a five-year National Broadband Plan (2013-2018), with a target of achieving 30 per cent broadband penetration by December 31, 2018.

As at 2012 when the committee was set up, broadband penetration was at its lowest ebb of 6 per cent penetration, which at that time, underscored the need for Nigeria to give strategic importance to the development of broadband infrastructure.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Gov. Dickson to speak @We Are All Biafrans launch - ITREALMS

The Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, would this week Friday keynote at the public presentation of the book, We Are All Biafrans, by journalist and rights activist, Chido Onumah, in Abuja, reports ITREALMS.

According to Onumah, who also Coordinates African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, told ITREALMS that the event slated for Yar’Adua Centre, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Friday, December 21, this year.

ITREALMS further gathered that the book, which has a foreword by Atiku Abubakar, former Vice-President of Nigeria and the Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), is a collection of essays focusing on issues of good governance, democracy, federalism and nation-building.

Published by Premium Times Books, the book draws on the debate two years ago by public intellectuals on the “Nigerian question” and the national conversation on “true federalism” and the future of Nigeria. The topic for the book presentation is: “Federalism, Restructuring, and Nation-building.”

Dapo Olorunyomi, CEO of Premium Times Books, said the idea behind the book was to put the issue of nation-building and national integration as a bedrock for development on the front burner of national discourse. According to him, the public presentation of the book would provide a “national platform to reflect on the existential crisis in the country and inspire a positive and fruitful debate.”

Other speakers at the event to be moderated by Patrick O. Okigbo III, Founder/Principal Partner, Nextier, are Dr. Hussaini Abdu, Country Director, PLAN International, Dr. Sam Amadi, Faculty of Law, Baze University, Ms. Idayat Hassan, Executive Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, and Dr. Isaac Osuoka Executive Director, Social Action.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Falana, Odinkalu to speak @LAP awards - ITREALMS

Leading human rights activists, Mr. Femi Falana SAN and Prof. Chidi Odinkalu are billed to speak at this year’s League of Anambra Professionals (LAP) Awards Night and unveiling of its legal aid initiative. The event holds at Colonades Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos on December 16, 2018, reports ITREALMS.

Odinkalu, former National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman, is the keynote speaker. The theme of his lecture is titled “Rethinking Governance Structure and Costs in Nigeria for Greater National Development.”

On his part, Falana as the Guest Speaker will herald the launch of the LAP Legal Defence Initiative (LAP-LDI), a legal aid scheme aimed to promote access to justice for indigent victims and citizens. His lecture will dwell on “Public interest litigation as a potent tool for redress of group marginalization and advancement of rule of law in Nigeria.” A panel of eminent persons will discuss both topics.

The Awards Night will witness the celebration of past LAP Presidents who have contributed immensely to the growth and development of LAP and Anambra State. Among the honorees are the pioneer LAP President, Dr. Ndi Onuekwusi, Dr. Ikem Odumodu, Dr. Mrs. Katia Ekesi (Ugonma Abatete), Mr. Chike Nwegbe and the immediate past president, Mr. Willy Nzewi.

While Anambra State Governor, His Excellency, Chief Willie M. Obiano (FCA) is the Special Guest of Honour, LAP President, Mr. Chijioke Okoli (SAN) is the Chef Host.

LAP is a non-partisan organization with a focus on enthronement of good governance, public enlightenment and overall development of Anambra State and Nigeria in general. In 2005, LAP mapped out a 25-year development programme tagged ‘Anambra 2030’ with the aim of attaining large scale turn-around in the fortunes of Anambra State within the stipulated period. 

ITREALMS further gathered that LAP event provides a platform for all Anambra professionals to work towards rebuilding the homeland into a world-class, rich, modern, free and safe society. LAP is designed to offer strong and strategic support towards multi-sectoral development of the State by providing the institutional framework through which Anambra professionals all over the world can contribute to planned, focused, and sustainable development of the State.

Kasie Abone/GEE

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ICT skills wanted to connect people everywhere - ITREALMS

More people may have access to and are using the Internet but how skillful are they in the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to connect people everywhere, asks the ITU’s Measuring the Information Society Report 2018, reports ITREALMS.

At the same time, ICT prices have dropped globally in the last decade. Improved ICT regulation and policy-making have played a pivotal role in creating the conditions for the reduction of prices, ensuring that part of the efficiency gains of higher ICT adoption are passed on to consumers.

“This year’s report shows how increased investment in broadband technologies is driving the global digital transformation and enabling more people to access a myriad of services at the click of a button,” says ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “At the just concluded Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) held in Dubai, ITU Member States approved the four-year Strategic and Financial Plan, which includes a strong commitment to ITU’s statistical work. We will work together to build the ICT infrastructure and develop ICT skills necessary to foster inclusive economic growth, drive innovation and bridge the digital divide.”

“Now in its tenth year, ITU’s annual flagship report is widely recognized as a source of the world's most reliable and impartial data and analysis on the state of global telecommunication/ICT sector,” says Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU's Telecommunication Development Bureau. “Our analysis shows that digital technologies are fundamentally transforming the way we live and offering important opportunities for boosting economic growth, enhancing communications, improving energy efficiency, safeguarding the planet and improving people’s lives.”
ITREALMS gathered that the report finded out that there continues to be a general upward trend in the access to and use of ICTs. Most importantly, the world has crossed the halfway line in terms of Internet use, with 51.2 per cent of the world population using the Internet by the end of 2018.

ITREALMS reports that lack of or inadequate ICT skills are a major impediment for people to access the Internet. ITUdata and other cross-nationally comparative data sources show that there are considerable gaps across the board in the skills needed. A third of individuals lack basic digital skills, such as copying files or folders or using copy and paste tools; a mere 41 per cent have standard skills, such as installing or configuring software or using basic formulas on spreadsheets; and only 4 per cent are using specialist language to write computer programmes.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Use of automated bird on rise, lasers decrease bird damage crops - ITREALMS

The use of automated bird has been on the rise which brought about decrease in bird damages especially in South America, courtesy of Agrilaser technology reports ITREALMS.

In South America, ITREALMS gathered that pest birds like eared doves destroy each year between 5% to 25% of the crops at a farm, resulting in enormous money losses to small farmers as well as large agricultural operations, especially in crops like sunflowers. A lot of bird damage also occurs in high yield orchards with fruits like cherries, table grapes and blueberries. Many of these fruit growers in Chile and Peru are suffering from great losses due the attacks of birds when the color of the fruit changes throughout their ripening process. 

Bodega Catena Zapata Farm was one of the many Argentinian farms experiencing significant grape losses due to the local parrot flocks. In order to protect their grapes effectively, they decided to test the automated laser bird deterrent system Agrilaser Autonomic. This technology is inspired by nature and takes advantage of a bird’s natural instinct: birds perceive the approaching laser beam as a physical danger and disperse to seek safety. Due to the installation of Agrilaser Autonomic, Bodega Catena Zapata successfully reduced the presence of parrots by almost 100% and saved thousands of dollars on bird damage.

Also Agricola EU used the technology to avoid losses in the cherry farm in Chile. Germán González, the Operations Manager, decided to try Agrilaser after experiencing difficulties with choosing the right bird deterrent to protect the crops. With the installation of Agrilaser Autonomic he achieved immediate results and reduced the crop losses by 90%!

Positive results have been also observed at Syngenta, a global producer of agrochemicals and seeds. The Syngenta sunflower seed producer in Argentina was experiencing a problem with pigeons and parrots destroying sunflowers and eating the seeds. They tried bird watchers and fireworks but none of these methods gave long-lasting results. After the Autonomic was installed, bird presence has decreased by 80%.

Mirko Yakasovic, a Chilean producer of table grapes saved 165.600 kg of grapes at 76 hectares by using this innovative bird repellent system. Prior to the installation pest birds used to eat up to 50% of his crops. He claims that: “Compared to the other methods the laser simply works, giving me a peace of mind for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The birds do not get used to the Autonomic Laser, deterring birds and reducing the damage drastically.”

Nenye Dom/GEE

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LASU will get Faculty of Pharmacy- Sanwo-Olu - ITREALMS

To strengthen capacity in pharmaceutical profession in Lagos State, Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress for 2019 election Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured members of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) that Lagos State University (LASU) will get faculty of Pharmacy if elected as the Governor, reports ITREALMS.

Sanwo-Olu made the promise on Thursday during his interactive session with the Lagos State chapter of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria on Thursday. He said the state university after more than three decades of existence should be a centre of academic excellence for the production of manpower in the field of pharmacy.

"To strengthen the profession and boost manpower in the field of Pharmacy I am convinced that our state university should have a faculty of Pharmacy. If elected, we will make sure LASU within our 4 years have faculty of Pharmacy. It is not just right that we have Medical College without faculty of Pharmacy. I am promising you that our government will ensure that everything is done to make faculty of Pharmacy a reality for the State owned University.

"As professional body of pharmacists, I will implore you to give us a position paper on what we need to do that will enable us achieve our objective and I can assure that as government, we will do all within our powers to make it a reality."

The APC candidate told the pharmacists the importance he attached to their profession and the entire health sector in general.

"Your profession is one of the most important fields for human existence. No one can joke with the health sector. So when I received your invitation, I pledged to attend this event regardless of my schedule because it is about health and we must listen to you."

The chairman of Lagos State chapter of the PSN, Mrs. BTO Adeniran urged Sanwo-Olu to help pharmacists practicing in the State when he gets to government. She described the issue of turnaround time in getting drugs at government hospitals across the State as very cumbersome.

“We need the government to look into the welfare and working condition of pharmacist working in Lagos State. We want upward review of salary and allowances. On capacity development, we need more training for our members so we can serve the state and the public better as integral part of the health system,” the PSN Lagos State Chairman said.

Ayo Midele/GEE

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'Biggest threat to 2019 is fake news' - ITREALMS

The Federal Government has described fake news and hate speech constitute the biggest threat to the 2019 general election, and appealed to states to join in the ongoing campaign to sensitize Nigerians to the dangers posed by the twin evils, reports ITREALMS.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the assertion in Kaduna on Thursday, during the official opening ceremony of the 47th National Council on Information (NCI).

''With the 2019 general elections just a little over 60 days away, there is no issue that is more relevant to the election than the issue of fake news and hate speech,'' he said. ''This issue transcends political party lines, religion, ethnicity, and even nationality. Left unchecked, fake news and hate speech constitute the biggest threat to the forthcoming elections.''

Alhaji Mohammed said fake news has the capacity to alter the course of elections and create legitimacy problem for the winner, citing as an example a report that said fake news helped to depress Hillary Clinton's votes during the 2016 US election, in addition to tainting the victory for the winner.

He also said hate speech was a catalyst in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which left at least 800,000 people dead.

The Minister said while the Federal Government has been unrelenting in calling attention to the dangers posed to the nation's peace, security and democracy, including through the launch of the National Campaign Against Fake News on July 11 2018, it cannot do it alone.

''The campaign against fake news and hate speech is not just a responsibility of the Federal Government. It is for all tiers of government. Therefore, I expect that the Honorable Commissioners who are here, and those who are not, will launch the campaign in their various states.

''The media will bear the brunt, if the people lose confidence in them because of fake news. This is why the media must lead this campaign,'' he said

Alhaji Mohammed described as 'very fitting and most timely' the theme of the meeting, which is 'Tackling Fake News and Hate Speech to Enhance Peace and National Unity'.

He urged the participants at the meeting to 'brain storm and evolve policies' that would comprehensively address the menace of fake news and hate speech.

Commissioners of Information from about 20 states are among the participants at the three-day meeting, which was declared open by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, represented by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Lagos NUJ applauds Dare, Ekpu, others over Dame Lifetime awards - ITREALMS

The Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, heartily congratulates Prof. Olatunji Dare, Raymond Ekpu and others on the Diamond Award for media Excellence,DAME, Lifetime Awards, reports ITREALMS.

The Council in a press statement endorsed by the chairman, Dr. Qasim Akinreti and Secretary, Mr. Odifa Alfred, described the award as a deserving honour to journalists known for their outstanding contributions to the growth of Journalism in Nigeria.

The Union noted that Raymond Ekpu was a former President of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN, former Editor Nigerian Chronicle, Sunday Times, National Concord and founding father of Newswatch Magazine.

Prof. Olatunji Dare on the other hand was a Mass Communicator guru, lecturer and columnist, who have distinguished himself and brought uncommon honour to journalism practice In Nigeria and beyond.

The Union believed the lifetime award, the highest honour for communication professionals will serve as a positive role models to young Journalists.

In the same vein, the Union congratulates other recipients of the awards, sixteen living legend and eight deceased men.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Zinox, Spectranet line-up behind NITRA 4th forum - ITREALMS

As all roads will tomorrow, Friday, lead to CitiHeight in Lagos for the fourth Quarterly Forum of the Nigerian Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), more corporate organizations have lined up behind the event, reports ITREALMS.

Confirming this to ITREALMS, NITRA Secretary-General, Mr. Justus Adejumoh said that the organisation under the supervision of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has concluded plans for this event scheduled at the CitiHeight Hotel, Opebi Link, Ikeja, Lagos.

As said by him, the latest to declare their support for the forum which has as its theme: “Achieving Last Mile Connectivity Through Affordable Broadband,” are indigenous Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) giants, Zinox Technologies and leading broadband services provider, Spectranet Nigeria.

NITRA will in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), address the challenges of broadband, especially last mile connectivity, at the fourth quarter forum.

The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta is the keynote speaker at the event expected to draw the largest gathering of ICT industry players under one roof.

The forum will not only highlight the opportunities and challenges of deploying affordable broadband in Nigeria but will look at the strategies being adopted by the NCC to achieve this.

Experts say that achieving last mile connectivity in Nigeria requires a concerted effort among Government, Civil Society Organizations, Policy makers, mobile operators, service providers, the academia etc. It also requires a combination of solutions ranging from policies to technologies, transparency to regulations among others.

Recall that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had in 2016, rolled out an 8-point agenda aimed at broadband access and penetration. Through the agenda, the NCC hopes to promote deployment of universally available, fast and reliable network infrastructure that will stimulate seamless broadband penetration to drive technology innovation and overall productivity of Nigeria’s economy.

Founded in 2001 by a team of ICT Technocrats led by serial entrepreneur, Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh, Zinox has flourished into one of the leading ICT Ecosystems in Africa with strong interests in Computer hardware manufacturing, distribution, Critical ICT solutions, Telecoms, and world-class After-Sales Support hence it is rated the No.1 Integrated ICT solutions Group in Africa.

Spectranet Nigeria on the other hand, was awarded a License by the Nigerian Communications Commission in 2009 to promote Internet services across Nigeria. Spectranet prides itself as the first Internet Service Provider to launch 4G LTE internet service in Nigeria and aims to be a leader in the Internet Services space.

NITRA has in the last two years been engaging ICT stakeholders to brainstorm on various topical issues affecting the ICT industry in Nigeria through the Quarterly forum.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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UNCTAD unveils Rapid eTrade Readiness Assessments on 3 countries - ITREALMS

Mobile connectivity is fueling e-commerce in Madagascar, Uganda and Zambia, priming them to better engage with the digital economy, assessments by the United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), reports ITREALMS.

Top on the latest report of the prospects that new technologies could boost trade in the three African countries were found in the Madagascar, Uganda and Zambia.
ITREALMS gathered that the three distinct reports demonstrated readiness across seven policy areas in the UNCTAD-led e-Trade for all partnership, were launched at the opening of the first Africa eCommerce Week in Nairobi, Kenya.

According to the UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi recommendations in the reports lay the ground for e-commerce stakeholders to act.

“The benefits of the report recommendations will not be felt unless they are effectively implemented,” Dr. Kituyi said. “This will require integrating specific elements of the recommendations into national development plans, government and private sector initiatives, ICT policies and strategies, regulatory frameworks and development projects,” he said.

Although e-commerce and digital entrepreneurship are snowballing on the continent – more than 21 million Africans shop online – countries are at very different stages of development, the UNCTAD reports show.

For instance, Uganda’s mobile transactions amounted to a staggering $16.3 billion, half the national GDP. But Zambia, where mobile money is gaining momentum, lags since Zambians prefer cash-on-delivery for e-commerce transactions. In Madagascar, only 6% of the population use the Internet and only 4 per cent  have bank accounts. But this means retailers are more likely to accept online payments via mobile phone.

All three countries face challenges in expanding information, communication and technology (ICT) infrastructure, improving trade logistics and access to financing for e-commerce ventures. The reports offer insight into the country-specific elements that could help unlock certain areas of the digital economy.

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

US drums support for 105 emerging entrepreneurs in Nigeria – ITREALMS

The United States has drummed support for some 105 emerging entrepreneurs in Nigeria by providing them with relevant skills towards achieving their goals, reports ITREALMS.

Disclosing this in Lagos on Wednesday, the Public Affairs Officer, US Embassy Lagos, Mr Russell Brooks who represented the Consul General John Bray at the opening of the Conference for Emerging Entrepreneurs, commended the Founder of Field of Skills and Dreams (FSD), Omowale Ogunrinde, for this milestone.

First, let me thank the team at Field of Skills and Dreams for organizing this two-day conference. They have done an incredible job in pulling this event together. This conference has brought together 105 young, talented, ambitious young people who are looking to make their mark in the world of business.

According to him, to aid them, Field of Skills and Dreams assembled an outstanding group of mentors.

“These mentors, men and women who have accomplished great things in their business careers are taking time out of their busy schedules to share some of their wisdom and experience with young people and the U.S. Consulate thanks them for their commitment and generosity.,” he said.

Brook further described them as excellent role models for these budding entrepreneurs and, again.

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164 governments adopt UN global migration pact - ITREALMS

A total of 164 representatives of governments have adopted the global compact for Migration reports ITREALMS.

The adoption which took place at an international conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, on December 10 has been largely described as historic move.

As said by the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Mr. António Guterres, its the creation of a “roadmap to prevent suffering and chaos”.

Speaking at the opening intergovernmental session, Mr. Guterres, said that the Compact provides a platform for “humane, sensible, mutually beneficial action” resting on two “simple ideas”.

“Firstly, that migration has always been with us but should be managed and safe; second, that national policies are far more likely to succeed with international cooperation.”

The UN chief said that in recent months there had been “many falsehoods” uttered about the agreement and “the overall issue of migration”. In order to dispel the “myths”, he said that the Compact did not allow the UN to impose migration policies on the Member States, and neither was the pact a formal treaty.

“Moreover, it is not legally binding. It is a framework for international cooperation, rooted in an inter-governmental process of negotiation in good faith,” he told delegates in Marrakech.

The pact would not give migrants rights to go anywhere, reaffirming only the fundamental human rights, he said.

Acknowledging that some States decided not to take part in the conference, or adopt the Compact, the UN Chief expressed his wish that they will come to recognize its value for their societies and join in “this common venture.”

The United States did not endorse the Compact, and more than a dozen other countries either chose not to sign the accord or are still undecided.

Nenye Dom with agency report/GEE

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Innovators shine @TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018, highlights achievements - ITREALMS

M-SCAN, a company that develops portable mobile ultrasound devices (Ultrasonic probes), was crowned as Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup at TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018, held in Lagos, Nigeria on 11 December. Bettr, a virtual banking experience powered by the smartphone and data was the runner up, reports ITREALMS.

TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018, sponsored by Facebook, sought to find Sub-Saharan Africa’s best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs. Africa’s second TechCrunch Startup Battlefield built on and exceeded the breakthrough success of last year’s event in Nairobi, Kenya.
Fifteen African companies were shortlisted from hundreds of entries and competed to be chosen as Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup. The overall winning startup’s founders will be awarded US$25,000 in cash plus a trip for two to compete in Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch’s flagship event, Disrupt in 2019. This is a valuable boost for the winner in a continent where funding—particularly venture capital investment—is in short supply.

Since 2007, 778 Battlefield startups have raised a collective $8.5 billion in funding after launching on stage, with a total of 105 exits. In the past year, TechCrunch has held Startup Battlefield across the globe in cities including Sao Paulo, Beirut, Sydney and Nairobi. In Startup Battlefield Africa, M-SCAN follows in the footsteps of the 2017 winner, Lori Systems, which has significantly grown revenue, headcount and geographical reach since competing in the event. Hailing from Kenya, Lori Systems have built a logistics platform that is revolutionising the cargo-transport value chain in Africa.

“Africa’s tech ecosystems is really coming into its own as successful entrepreneurs scale up their businesses and achieve good exits and IPOs. The strength of the entries for this year’s Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 confirms that there is no shortage of creative inventors, makers and entrepreneurs in sub Saharan Africa,” says Mike Butcher, Editor at Large, TechCrunch.

“We are excited to showcase great startups that not only have the potential to produce an exit in the years to come, but which are also using technology to solve real-world problems in innovative ways, from healthcare to financial inclusion. There is some world-class technology coming out of Africa, which promises to help drive prosperity across the continent and position it as an important player in the digital economy of the future.”

At Facebook, nothing excites us more than supporting the work of diverse talent and young businesses, so we have been thrilled to see some of Africa’s innovative and disruptive startups tell their stories at Startup Battlefield 2018,” says Emeka Afigbo, Facebook's Head of Developer Programmes. “I’m excited to see these startups flourish and provide truly Pan-African and global solutions for the future”

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Investors must capture 2019 opportunities - ITREALMS

The UBS Global Wealth Management's Chief Investment Office (CIO) has said that investors will need to weather more volatility in order to capture opportunities in 2019, reports ITREALMS.

According to the Year Ahead report from UBS, the world's leading wealth manager, global economic growth will decelerate next year to 3.6 per cent from 3.8 per cent in 2018, and company earnings will grow at a slower rate. However, a 2019 recession still looks unlikely, and the price of many financial assets has already moved to reflect uncertain prospects.

UBS Global Wealth Management's Chief Investment Office (CIO) enters the year with an overweight position in global equities. However, as the market cycle matures, investors should diversify and hedge their portfolios to guard against volatility as well as political and other risks. They should also take advantage of growth in fields like sustainable and impact investing, and pockets of value where financial asset prices are excessively low.

Mark Haefele, Chief Investment Officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, says: "Investors should retain positions in global equities but plan for market volatility. A slight slowdown in economic and earnings growth doesn't mean no growth, and the recent sell-off has left a number of assets more attractively valued, but investors must also take into account the tense geopolitical environment as well as monetary policy tightening."

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