" ITREALMS: May 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

ATCON, BusinessWorld partner on broadband summit

The latest industry collaboration with the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and a Lagos-based Business World is targeted at connecting the next 50 million telecommunication users in the country.

ATCON president, Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu told newsmen in Lagos to proclaim the collaboration, said that the whole effort at connecting 50 million telecom users in the coming years would be anchored on a Nigeria Broadband Summit 2011.

According to Omo-Ettu, who was accompanied at the briefing by the deputy editor, BusinessWorld newspaper, Mr. Abimbola Toki, the essence of the collaboration is to provide relevant information for any potential investor in the country, especially in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to know exactly where to plug-in.

He also said the team has prepared the grounds for the gathering, which he called a high level investment summit on broadband as enabler for connecting the next 50 million telecommunications users.

This, he elucidated is within the context of how broadband deployment could serve as a general purpose service delivery and to expose the huge businesses there is available to do in the country.

Mr. Omo-Ettu said that the collaboration would assemble world-class speakers to examine how broadband could cement gains from the significant national expansion in access to telecommunications provided by both fixed and mobile telephones.

“The summit will also explore all business option available at this remarkable end of one decade of GSM and also for the future,” he said.

The two-day summit scheduled for July 26 and 27, this year in Lagos, would discuss the challenges facing telecom players in connecting the next 50 million telecommunications users in the country goes into the second decade of telecommunications revolution.

Omo-Ettu also revealed that the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC0, Dr. Eugene Juwah, has confirmed to give the keynote address.

Participants, he said, would include senior government officials and top players in the telecommunications industry.

Additionally, he said that both local and international telecom infrastructure providers, service providers, vendors and distributors of relevant products and services are expected to attend.

The event which he said, is merely by invitation is billed open for only chief executive officers (CEOs) and very senior executives of participating firms.

“It is a business event and not a talk-show,” he asserted.

According to him, participants from the banks and financial institutions are known to be high stakers in financing telecommunications.

He explained that this would enable ATCON to coordinate an industry plan of action for the realization of the benefits of broadband deployment as an enabler for connecting the next 50 million telecom users.

This, he said, could be achieved by pushing the major issues which arise from discussion at the summit to the appropriate authorities.

The summit, he said, have already gotten the endorsement of the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF).

He stressed that there would be four technical presentations and four commercial presentations of 20 minutes each.

The occasion, Omo-Ettu said would avail the unveiling of the Nigerian Telecom Investors Book, which would be a compendium of all participating firms, who at the minimum must take a page of advertorial in the book as well as their profiling.

Remmy Nweke:
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

DigitalSENSE says ‘we’re set for IPV6’

The organizers of the first-ever Nigeria Internet Protocol version Six (IPV6) Roundtable slated to hold in Lagos, the centre of excellence, has said that all is now set to make the event a success.

DigitalSENSE Africa, the organizers, made this disclosure through its Executive Director, Operations, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke, at the weekend.

“We have put necessary machineries in place to ensure a successful Nigeria IPV6 Roundtable,” she declared.

Speaking on the readiness of her organisation to hosting a successful Nigeria IPV6 Roundtable, Mrs. Nweke noted that the one-day roundtable has received massive support from the industry including endorsement of the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), and Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) to name a few.

While appreciating the endorsements so far received by the Nigeria IPV6 Roundtable, she pointed out that the event holding at Planet One, Maryland Lagos would be presided over by the former Communications Minister, Chief Olawale Ige.

Also, she said that the event scheduled for this week’s Thursday would witness a keynote address by the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah and a lead paper by the chairman, ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo.

She said that Adebayo’s paper would focus on the stand of his group in IPv6 migration, just as NIRA president, Mrs. Mary Uduma would present the position of her group on the theme as it affects the Internet users in the country.

She said that though the World IPV6 2011 comes up on Wednesday June 8, her organizers alongside interested stakeholders to host the Nigeria IPV6 Roundtable on Thursday, June 2, 2011; ahead of the global date for the commemoration of IPV6 to put Nigerians on notice of the impeding ‘test flight’ migration.

This, she explained would mean that on Wednesday, June 8 most of the global Internet service providers like Google and Yahoo among others would only offer services on IPV6 platform.

Participants to the forthcoming Nigeria IPV6 Roundtable, she further said, would have a lot to learn as various experts have been lined up for the roundtable to exchange ideas as well as network.

She recalled that following the allocation of the last batch of the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) it became imperative for the deployment of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

In addition, she said, the Internet has become a global communication network and to join this evolution and Nigerian stakeholders needed to integrate IPv6 in all areas.

She emphasised that the Internet Society (ISOC), the managerial home for the groups responsible for Internet infrastructure standards, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) came up with the World IPV6 Day, which this year would be commemorated on Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

The goal of the Test Flight Day, she said, would be to motivate organizations across the industry – regulators, operators, Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors, content providers, manufacturers, web companies and key stakeholders; to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out.

Remmy Nweke:
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

South Africa tops TIGA awards’11

South Africa has topped the 2011 edition of the Technology in Government Awards (TIGA) in the ‘Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Education’ category.

The awards announced at the just concluded eLearning Africa, at its 6th International Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training, held in Mlimani City Conference Centre, Dares Salaam, Tanzania.

ITRealms Online recalls that for the first entries to the award in 2007, there were 36 TIGA entries from 17 countries. Two years later, there were 60 entries from 20 countries in 2009.

This year, 89 entries were received from 24 countries, with over 44 projects short-listed for the awards.

This, industry watchers said, that in general saw an increase of over 40 per cent in the number of entries received with every subsequent TIGA award.

In addition, they said, this suggests significant interest and increased use of ICT in delivery of innovative services to the people by African governments.

As stated by a press statement from the Information and Communication Service of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) made available to ITRealms Online; ECA, the co-organiser of the event and the Government of Finland in collaboration with the eLearning Africa Scholarship Trust, the organizer of the eLearning Africa annual event.

The awards are given in recognition of initiatives aimed at exploiting information and communication technologies (ICTs) for education and training in Africa.

It was also gathered that during the next TIGA process in 2013, ECA will be launching a G-Government category or Geospatial Government, which encompasses the use of the Internet and GIS in making the delivery of services more effective by governments.

This year’s 2011 awards in the ‘ICT in Education’ category saw The Speaking Book and Dr. Match both from South Africa topping the list of awardees, while eLimika and Plate-forme de formation from Angola followed.

The Speaking Book: This project aims to make education about critical issues accessible to all regardless of literacy or education level. This ‘world first’ is created by South Africans for Africans and focuses on rural, vulnerable and excluded people living in disadvantaged regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and communities around the world.

Improving health care is a top priority for Africa and through the Speaking Books (http://www.sadag.co.za, www.booksofhope.com), access to essential medical information for low literacy, rural, and vulnerable Africans is improved.

Dr Math, South Africa - Dr. Math (http://www.csir.co.za) is a mobile tutoring service that provides access to credible, personal, on-demand tutoring in the subject of Mathematics.

eLimika e-learning programme, KENYA ? eLimika (http://www.elimika.ac.ke), which is a Kiswahili word for “get educated”, is the vehicle through which Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) delivers its courses.

Plate-forme de formation à distance de l’Academia Aberta de Angola: Formation partout et à tout moment!, ANGOLA (www.academia-aberta.com) is the training platform of the Open Academy of Angola 2 and provides a distance training space and collaborative working environment.

In remarks, ECA’s Executive Secretary and UN Under-Secretary-General, Mr Abdoulie Janneh, who was represented at the event, said, “today we see signs that more and more ICT applications are being integrated in all sectors in Africa including in government, education, health and in the economic sectors.”

He, however, noted that whilst the adoption of ICTs in education in Africa is on the increase, “it is a fact that the continent still falls behind, which is why these awards are so important.” He added, “It is indeed necessary for the youth in Africa to gain acquainted with the 21st century skills in order to increase the competitive advantages of Africa.”

Remmy Nweke:
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CSTD reviews progress on WSIS outcomes

AS the fourteenth session of the inter-governmental meetings of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) gets underway Monday in Geneva, participants are slated to review the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) outcomes.

Also, the Commission, ITRealms Online gathered would review reports from the regional and international levels, including on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

This follows the conclusion of the five-day World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2011, which also held in Geneva at the Conference Centre of the International Labour Organization (ILO) between May 16 and 20, this year.

The WSIS Forum offered participants series of diverse interactions, comprising high-level debates addressing critical issues to the WSIS implementation and follow-up in multi-stakeholder set-ups, WSIS Action Line (AL) facilitation meetings, thematic workshops, and speed-exchanges facilitating networking among the participants.

In addition, ITRealms Online gathered that the Commission is expected to spend the next five days of its annual meeting in addressing what expert tagged priority themes.

These include ‘Measuring the impact of information and communications technology for development as well as the use of technologies to address challenges in areas such as agriculture and water.

The Commission, ITRealms Online confirmed would listen to presentations on national science, technology and innovation policy reviews.

While participants consist of representatives of governments, civil society, the private sector, international organizations and many others.

However, on the Ministerial Roundtables, they are expected to deliberate on ‘Harnessing Science and Technology to Address Development Challenges’ and ‘Review of Progress Made in the Implementation of WSIS Outcomes’ to name a few.

ITRealms Online recalls that on July 19, 2010, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted by consensus resolution 2010/2 on the “Assessment of the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.”

By this resolution, ECOSOC “invites the Chair of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) to establish, in an open and inclusive manner, a working group which would seek, compile and review inputs from all Member States and all other stakeholders on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), in line with the mandate set out in the Tunis Agenda, ....”

Additionally, at its inter-sessional meeting on 17 December 2010, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) decided that the Working Group on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) be made up of 22 member states: Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Lesotho, Lithuania, Pakistan, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tunisia and the United States of America.

At the same meeting, the Chair of the CSTD also invited stakeholders to interactively participate in the Working Group, bearing in mind the established rules of procedure of ECOSOC, who will remain fully engaged throughout the process: five representatives from the business community; five representatives from civil society; five representatives from the technical and academic community; and five representatives from Intergovernmental organizations.

Further, it was gathered that the Working Group on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum held its first meeting in Montreux, Switzerland on 25 and 26 February 2011 in the Grand Hôtel Suisse-Majestic.

Even as prior to the meeting, Working Group members and invited participants were asked to complete a questionnaire and provide their thoughts on possible improvements to the IGF. Ten responses were submitted.

According to the chairman of the Working Group on IGF, Mr. Frédéric Riehl (Switzerland), the group discussed a number of procedural issues related to the meeting agenda and working methods.

“Several delegations underlined the importance of equal representation from developed and developing countries in the Working Group. Avenues to provide funding for developing country representatives should be further explored and made easily accessible,” he said.

Riehl also said that his group held a detailed discussion on the meeting agenda with some delegations expressing reservations regarding the provisional draft agenda.

“They deemed the draft agenda to be too closely modeled on a draft structure that the Chair had sent out to all members and invited participants to provide comments on the themes proposed in the draft structure,” he said, emphasising that these delegations considered that the draft structure could still be improved and that the current agenda should therefore also be revised.

Other delegations, he said, believed that, rather than deciding on a structure from the start, a discussion of the different themes proposed in the agenda would help identify important issues better and make it easier to shape a structure for the Group’s report.

Some delegations also pointed out that the structure of the Group’s report should have a strong logical hierarchy, starting with the overall objective of improvements to the IGF with reference in particular to the Tunis Agenda1 and General Assembly Resolution (A/65/141) on “Information and communications technologies for development,” adopted on 20 December 2010.

He pointed out that the report should then explore the structures and mechanisms that would be needed to achieving this aim before going into the measures that are necessary to sustain these structures and mechanisms.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

2 Nigerian firms achieve PCIDSS compliance with Trustwave

Only two Nigerian electronic payment and transaction companies are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) compliant.

PCIDSS is a worldwide information security standard assembled by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC).

The Regional Sales Manager, Trustwave, Mr. Andrew Kirkland made this disclosure in a chat with newsmen in Lagos, saying that only Interswitch and Value Card are compliant with the directive which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave recently for the banking and electronic card payment sectors for all players along the electronic card payment value chain to be PCIDSS compliant.

Additionally, the CBN had prescribed various applicable consequences to non-compliant organisations.

According to Mr. Kirkland, the duo of Interswitch and ValueCard achieved this PCIDSS compliant through the deployment of Trustwave product.

“In Nigeria, only InterSwitch and Value Card are the only compliant companies. They achieved this using TrustWave,” he said.

He, however, lamented the fact that there is no bank yet on the compliant list as at the time of filing this report.

Online crime compromise, Kirkland said, ranges between $2 and $10 million per organisations, stressing that manner of storage of information could contribute immensely.

He also warned against the idea of sharing identity for data retrievals, noting that PCIDSS is attainable but lots of work needed to be done, just as he advised that CBN take a positive approach, especially in recognizing the fact that PCIDSS is important.

Further, Kirkland said that acceptance of credit cards for payment gave rise to small businesses across, especially in developing countries like Nigeria, saying they should be aware of the risk for theft and fraud, and take action to combat this by certifying with the industry standard for handling credit card data, called the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

“The PCI DSS is required for all businesses accepting credit cards,” he explained, noting that the five major card networks, namely American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa Inc. established the PCI DSS as a set of requirements for business of all types to use when configuring their Information Technology (IT) and payment-processing environments.

As said by him, understanding the requirements is the first step, hence, some businesses will need IT support to ensure all of the requirements are met prior to taking action to certify compliance.

Kirkland, however, outlined some 12 requirements toward achieving the PCIDSS compliance to include installing and maintaining a firewall configuration to protect data; avoidance of vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters; protect stored data; encrypt transmission of cardholders data sensitive information across public networks; use and regularly update anti-virus software and develop and maintain secure systems and applications.

Other, he said, are the need to restrict access to data by business need-to-know; assign a unique ID to each person with computer access; restrict physical access to cardholder data; track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data and regularly test security systems and processes as well as maintain a policy that addresses information security.

Equally speaking, at a one-day session organized by PBCL in Lagos, the country agent of Trustwave, the Managing Director of PBCL, Mr. Peter Ejiofor noted that though CBN has asked every bank to comply by February 2011, there is need to examine the knowledge base.

Apart from the knowledge base required as bulk of what is expected in being compliant, there must be budget and management buy-in.

Further, Kirkland said that acceptance of credit cards for payment gave rise to small businesses across, especially in developing countries like Nigeria, saying they should be aware of the risk for theft and fraud, and take action to combat this by certifying with the industry standard for handling credit card data, called the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

“The PCI DSS is required for all businesses accepting credit cards,” he explained, noting that the five major card networks, namely American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa Inc. established the PCI DSS as a set of requirements for business of all types to use when configuring their Information Technology (IT) and payment-processing environments.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

IDC rates East Africa PC market high in Q1

The global provider of market intelligence and advisory services for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets, the International Data Corporation (IDC) has said that the Personal Computers (PC) market in East Africa has strongly expanded in the first quarter of 2011.

Although, the worldwide PC market contracted and the pan-African market almost stagnated, IDC report said by market research, the global PC shipments declined by 3.2 per cent year-on-year during the first three months of 2011.

“The overall African PC market grew a marginal 1 per cent, East Africa (including Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Uganda) recorded a massive 76 per cent growth in PC shipments,” part of the report said.

IDC expects that the East African PC market would further grow by about 35–45 per cent in 2011 before cooling off in 2012.

The growth in Q1 2011, IDC noted, was fueled primarily by a healthy demand for notebooks, with Kenya showing the highest uptake. This quarter was a continuation of the dynamic development in 2010, supported by the resumption of commercial demand and strong advertising and promotion efforts by vendors, as well as their efforts to find new distribution channels and strengthen existing ones.

“This helped to stymie unofficial (gray market) shipments,” he said.

IDC reports that consumer demand was dynamic in 2010 but relaxed in Q1 2011, due to a combination of factors that affected price levels, including unfavorable foreign exchange rates and inflationary pressures.

In addition, competition between vendors caused consumer pricing to plateau, and thus prevented sellers from stimulating demand around attractive price points.

IDC analyst in Kenya, Nairobi, Mr. Stanley Kamanguya said that they are have continued to see increased interest in the region from international investors, especially with Kenya’s new constitution, which is hoped to be fully implemented after the next general elections, just as Uganda’s oil discovery, and the formation of the East African Community (EAC) market.

The East Africa, he said, have a combined population of over 130 million, and investors are looking at the region as the next frontier of growth, with Kenya as the hub.

“Political risk will remain a key issue for investors, however. The extent of consequences of events in North Africa and the Middle East remains unclear, which will affect the market in the short term,” he said.

Going forward, he pointed out that vendors will not rely on pricing or hardware specifications for a competitive edge, but rather on their ability to engage in demand-creation programs, mobilize channels, and articulate a message that their products will provide an unmatched user experience.

On the vendor outlook, IDC said that Hewlett Packard (HP) maintained its top position on the East Africa PC market, with shipment growth of 46 per cent year-on-year, supported by strong commercial demand and improved run-rates during Q1 2011.

“The vendor remained very strong in the Kenya market but continued to struggle in Ethiopia and Uganda,” part of the report read.

Equally, IDC said that Dell came a close second in Q1, with more than 600 per cent year-on-year
growth, after an aggressive channel recruitment and revamped drive from mid-2010.

Dell, the report added, has continued to benefit more than other vendors from the shift from the gray market to official channels, especially in Ethiopia and Uganda, where desktop sales increased significantly.

Whereas, IDC said, Acer was third in East Africa in Q1, with 200 per cent year-on-year growth, mainly thanks to deals in the telecommunications space. This channel is expected to continue growing as telcos explore data services to supplement dwindling voice revenues.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Ismail, Geoidtel boss to speak @ Africacom’11

Chief Executive Officer, Geoid Telecommunications Ltd (Geoidtel), one of Nigeria’s leading internet service providers, Mr. Olubiyi Ismail, has been confirmed as a speaker at the West and Central AfricaCom conference and exhibition slated for next month in Dakar Senegal.

This year’s edition of the West and Central AfricaCom has been scheduled to hold between June 15 and 16 at the Le Meridian, Dakar, Senegal.

ITRealms Online gathered that Mr. Ismail will speak at the panel session on “Building the infrastructure to connect the region – what next?”

He will be assessing the improvement in regional connectivity and the impact of the submarine cables, in addition to speaking on requirements from regulatory and governmental initiatives to support the building of infrastructure.

Ismail in a press statement confirming this development to ITRealms Online, said he will also speak on the optimisation of the optical transport layer; touching on key areas such as capacity, connectivity and cabling infrastructure.

Further discussions panel session, he said, will focus on the distribution of the capacity inland, whether by satellite or cable.

Other esteemed speakers expected to join Ismail on the panel session are Omar Trujillo, Regional Vice President, Africa, 03b Networks; Nicolas Baravalle, Vice President Sales Africa, SES as well as Sabine Devinck of Global Information and Communications Technologies of the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Commenting on this, Ismail said he is honoured on the invitation to share knowledge on regional connections and telecom infrastructure.

“... I believe the topic is apt given the importance attached to the various ICT initiatives geared towards improved telecom infrastructural development especially across the West African continent,” he said.

For him, the West and Central AfricaCom is an ideal forum for discussions on the various issues affecting the region’s telecom sector.

“It also offers immense networking opportunity for operators to exchange ideas on how best to improve not only telecommunications, but the ICT sector in general,” Ismail noted.

ITRealms Online recalls that Mr. Ismail has become a regular speaker at the AfricaCom events including the 2010 edition of the West and Central AfricaCom which held at the same venue. Due to what Informa Telecom and Media, organisers of the event described as his insightful commentary and detailed analysis of the Nigerian telecom sector, he was invited to speak at the AfricaCom conference and exhibition held at the Cape Town International Conference Centre, Cape Town in November last year. At the same event, Geoidtel was nominated as Best New Entrant at the 2010 edition of the AfricaCom Awards.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

NCC to operators: Stop promos, improve Quality of Service

Recent poor quality of services is upsetting the telecommunications regulator in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

This is coming as the telecommunications operators in the country were last weekend summoned to a meeting directed by the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

ITRealms Online gathered that the summon enabled the operators to explain first-hand what are the key issues in delivering good quality of services (QoS) on the telecom networks.

However, the operators were directed to take immediate measures that will improve their quality of services including stoppage of promotions where the capacity is limited.

Also, the Commission’s officials lamented the inability of the operators to meet with some of the key performance indicators for ameliorating the challenge of quality of service.

The Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Dr. Balarabe Sani, said the monthly data capture and analysis has shown that the network congestion has continued to rise.

“On most of the networks, there are too much drop calls, poor network availability, poor service accessibility and poor voice quality while one way or two way lack of audio in several connections abound,” he said.

Sani also said the analysis showed that several Base Station Controllers (BSC’s) are congested in terms of Radio Traffic Channels (RTCH), and Stand Alone Dedicated Control Channels (SDCCH).

Equally, another official said operators were expected to keep these indices below 0.1 per cent, which is currently reportedly stood at about 2.5 per cent in month of March this year, stressing that this suggested a very worrisome trend.

The Commission’s officials further said they have discovered the presence of “many weak and dead signal zones in major cities through our QoS Drive Test monitoring exercise which is attributable to lack of network optimization and improper radio network planning.”

On the in interim measures directed by the Commission to arrest the trend, he said, these include the need to suspend the use of Bulk Short Messaging Service, (SMS), for all kinds of campaigns and suspension of all promotions except where adequate capacity were provided on the network to carry the volume of traffic generated from such activity.

The Commission noted that henceforth, it would revisit the issue of network roll out obligations when necessary but will also meet with Chief Technical Officers (CTOs) and network managers of the operators regularly to ensure that appropriate actions are taken to address the issues.

“We urge all the service providers to, in addition to their current efforts, embark on massive capacity improvement especially in the radio access networks in order to reduce the current network congestion, while optimizing their existing network infrastructure,” he said.

The representatives of the operators who spoke in turns blamed part of the problems on some governments at the local and state levels, as well as individuals who use jammers to dislocate services.

They alleged that in some cases, state governments make it impossible for roll out and expansion of services due to excessive taxation and impossible conditions. Equally, the operators singled out the Abuja Capital Territory where its administration has made it extremely difficult for the operators to expand services through deployment of the required base stations, and Cross River State where the State Government has brought several difficult conditions for the operators, including excessive taxes.

Director of Consumer Affairs at the Commission, Mrs. Mary Uduma, while indicating that the Commission will assist in the liaison with some of these agencies, especially with security agencies to curb the vandalisation of telecom infrastructure, requested the operators to always ensure that consumers are informed about outages whenever they occur, and to improve their customer care centres to respond adequately to the needs of the consumers.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Fashola to unveil Airtel’s Adopt a school in Ajegunle

The first Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola would this week lead dignitaries to the unveiling of new school building donated by the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operator, Airtel Limited.

ITRealms Online recalls that Airtel pulled down the dilapidated building with leaking roofs and windows that was the school building in the Tolu Schools Complex.

Airtel proceeded to rebuilt and provided for the school six classrooms, with modern desks and chairs, magic boards and other teaching tools.

Disclosing this at the just concluded visit to the school to present books and uniforms to the pupils, Airtel’s Chief Operating Officer Mr. Deepak Srivatsava, said Mrs. Fashola would lead top invested guests at the occasion.

Srivatsava was accompanied at the visit by director of regulatory affairs, Mr. Osondu Nwokoro and head of corporate communication, Mr. Emeka Oparah.

Welcoming Mr. Srivatsava and his team to the school, the headmistress, Mrs. Aduni Risikatu Animashaun received the books donated to the pupil from class one to six as well as pupils in the nursery section.

Mrs. Animashaun spoke of the transformation in the school where she has been a teacher since 1999, remarking that her school is now the best within the complex.

The Oremeji Primary School2 is the first of several primary schools Airtel has undertaken to build across the country following a needs assessment that revealed very deplorable infrastructure at primary school level. The Adopt –A-School Initiative of Airtel Nigeria builds on the success of a similar Corporate Social Responsibility initiative in India that has seen the company build over 250 schools.

The schools are equipped with modern and functional facilities that provide an enabling environment for teaching and learning for teachers and pupils.

In addition to the donation by the company, Airtel staff also volunteered to do some work while construction was going on at the new building and many are willing to put in man-hours to assist the 19 teaching and non-teaching staff of Oremeji Primary School2.

Class teachers led the monitors and representatives to receive gifts for the various classes. They were Mrs Victoria Adedipo and Master Salaudeen Mujib (Primary 1); Mr. Oluwa Babatunde and Master Lucky Samuel (Primary 2), Mrs. Theresa Onwukwe and Omolara Badejo (Primary 3); Mrs. Philomena Iheazor and Faith Sule (Primary 4); Miss Theresa Ekujumi and Chiamaka Okechi (Primary 5); and Mrs Eunice Obi, with Chinatu Emmanuel and Samson Suleman (Primary 6).

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

NEPAD launches second phase of ASTII

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency) is determined to improved science, technology and innovation for development as plans have been advanced to launch today in the city of Addis Ababa, the second phase of the African Science Technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) Initiative and the African Innovation Outlook Series.

Head of ASTII Programme, Mrs. Estherine Lisinge Fotabong, and media officer at NEPAD, Mr. Gilles Eric Foadey, in a joint press statement made available to ITRealms Online said that the launch, is set to take place at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

They quoted the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency), Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, as saying that investment in science, technology and innovation is increasingly being seen by African countries as an essential element in responding to the continent’s socio-economic development needs and challenges.

He also said that the general objective of NEPAD’s work on ASTII is to build Africa’s capacity to collect, analyze and use STI Indicators ASTII is a programme within the African Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA), which was adopted in 2005 by the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST).

The CPA is a framework in response to the socio-economic challenges facing the continent through the use of science, technology and innovation.

He further said the first phase of the ASTII programme which was coordinated by the NEPAD Agency in close collaboration with the Directorate of Human Resources, Science and Technology at the African Union Commission (AUC-HRST), ran from 2007 to 2010 and was designed as a learning phase, presenting nineteen African Union member States with the means and the opportunity to engage in mutual learning and sharing in order to improve the measurement of science, technology and innovation.

The participating countries in phase 1, they noted were Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Participating countries conducted Research and Development (R&D) and Innovation surveys - the outcomes of which are captured in the African Innovation Outlook 2010.

“It is in this regard that the African Innovation Outlook 2010 will be unveiled as the first in a series of reports that are intended to inform the people of Africa and other interested parties about the status of science, technology and innovation activities in African countries”, Dr. Mayaki noted.

In particular, he said the success of ASTII hinges on African ownership and strong African commitment to the process.

“The Outlook and the second phase of the ASTII initiative will be jointly launched by the AU Commissioner for HRST and the CEO of the NEPAD Agency during the engagements in Addis Ababa,” he said.

The meeting, he said, would among other things reflect on notable achievements of ASTII to date.

While the second phase of ASTII will commence this year and it will be opened to wider participation from some of the other African Union member states.

Financial and technical resources for ASTII came from the participating countries and also through a grant from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

LG Electronics opens service center in Apapa

LG Electronics West Africa has opened yet another service center in Apapa suburb of Lagos State with a view to enhancing the after sales services to its customers.

Marketing Director, LG Electronics West Africa Operations, Mr. Charles Asinugo in his remarks at the event said that the centre has provided another opportunity for LG to bring exclusive services to the doorsteps of its customers, whom he described as very crucial by providing a premium and comfortable environment the waiting for the repairs of their LG products.

“We’re excited that from today onward, our consumers in Apapa need not worry any more about distance when they think of repairs of their spoilt LG products as the service centre is designed to take care of such needs and put the consumers mind at peace while using our products,” he said.

Declaring the centre open at the weekend, the Managing Director, Fouani Nigeria Limited, Mr. Mohamed Fouani noted that being a consumer-centric organisation, LG keep taking our service to our customers higher in an effort to achieve total consumer satisfaction.

“We set up service centres at strategic locations in the country in order to create avenues for our customers to experience world class after sales services and feel at ease while using our products without worries about repairs,” he said.

Fouani also said that these service centres have continued to serve as contact points between the company and customers.

“We are excited today that the opening of this service center, which has been designed to meet global standard, will open up one more avenue for us to make our after sale services available to our customers in Apapa and its environs,” he said.

According to him, the service center is equipped with state of the art gadgets aimed at repairing all faulty LG products ranging from washing machines to mobile phones, home theatres, air conditioners, refrigerators, televisions amongst others.

The centre, Fouani said, would be managed by trained experts who will be on ground to handle the repairs and attend to customers’ enquiries.

He explained that customers living in Apapa and environs should avail themselves of this opportunity and make use of the new service center which has been brought to their neighbourhood in a bid to enhance their lifestyles and put their minds at ease while using LG products.

“As always, we implore the support of our media friends to help spread the good news of the new service centre to Apapa residents and Nigerians as a whole with the assurance that LG Electronics is set out to make life good for them,” he said.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Okere commends ICT Alliance

The Group Managing Director (GMD), Computer Warehouse Group, Mr. Austen Okere, has commanded a group known as Information and Technology Communications (ICT) Publishers Alliance for its determination in forming a formidable force especially in the commemoration of the 10 years of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).

He also said that by the emergences of this alliance that they would contribute meaningfully to the myriads of challenges facing the industry.

Welcoming the group to his office, recently, Okere noted that too many IT associations have weakened the capacity of the industry players to address the common challenges they face.

Okere whose company has established presence in about six other countries commended the alliance for the foresight to create a single body to address that genre of publishing that has emerged as one of the positive consequences of the country’s ICT revolution in the last 10 years.

“I want to commend your alliance for the vision with which it was founded and the lofty objectives it has set out to achieve. It is my hope that the various IT associations in the country will come together to form a single strong body at addressing the problems we all face as an industry,” he said.

According to Okere, at the moment, getting the critical support base is difficult because the bodies are myriad for the software, hardware and even integrators, stressing that the technology industry is one.

Although he affirmed CWG’s support for the ‘A Decade of GSM Forum’ slated to hold in August, jointly organized by the ICT Publishers Alliance in association with the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Okere asserted that CWG is part of Nigeria’s mobile telephony success story.

“CWG is the topmost indigenous player for the backend infrastructural services for the GSM industry. About 38 per cent of its earnings come from that subsector, the oil and gas industry is 12 per cent while the banking sector accounts for 50 per cent,” he declared.

Okere pointed out that CWG was established nearly 20 years ago with about $16, 000, but has grown to become a multinational IT company in an emerging market with annual turnover in excess of $120 million.

“We are a proof that Nigerian companies can truly excel; become world class in terms of management, vision, profitability and best corporate practice like any other global company from the western part of the world,” said Okere, adding that ExpertEdge Limited, an arm of the CWG services about 15 of Nigeria’s 24 banks with software application services to drive the financial sector.

Chairman of the ICT Publishers Alliance, Mr. Aaron Ukodie who also publishes eWorld magazine, pointed out that part of the objectives of the group is to encourage fact-based insightful media practice in the specialized genre of ICT reporting and help consolidate on the country’s growing achievements in the ICT sector by pressuring for rightful policy thrust and best industry practice.

“We are convinced that every industry must first self-regulate to earn the respect it deserves. We are also of the belief that for us to foster real growth in the sector and get all stakeholders whether private or public to contribute their quota, we must speak as one body,” he said.

The ICT Publishers Alliance consist of the premier media organisations focusing exclusively on the ICT sector, including eWorld, IT & Telecom Digest, Communication Weekly, IT Edge News.Com, IT World, and eBusiness Life whereas members have with over 10 years of publishing history.

“The Alliance underscores the unrelenting spirit of media entrepreneurs and the challenge at proving that the country has got strong-willed entrepreneurs in various fields to sustain its national economic growth,” said Mr. Mkpe Abang, publisher of IT &Telecom Digest in a vote of thanks to CWG for supporting ICT publishing industry.

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

MainOne, Global Crossing partner on IP expansion

MAIN One Cable Company, and Global Crossing are partnering on Internet Protocol (IP) expansion on worldwide IP-enabled services.

This partnership, Champion Infotech gathered would bring global connectivity to its clients in addition to the fact that the strategic agreement would enable MainOne to further extend its customers connectivity in countries where it doesn’t have coverage by being part of the Global Crossing Tier 1 MPLS network that reaches more than 700 cities in more than 70 countries.

Head of Marketing and Strategy at MainOne, Mr. Adebayo Oyewole said that customers would now be able to extend their connectivity through Main One across the United States (US), Canadian and Latin American markets.

Additionally, he said, to expanding Main One’s reach, the partnership would increase flexibility with its new set of products and provide significantly reduced transit charges for customer terminations.

“We chose Global Crossing for its particular regional strengths. Our partnership with Global Crossing enhances Main One’s position as the one-stop shop for accessing the public Internet via the Main One network, which is designed for high capacity service,’ he said.

Mr. Oyewole also said that the new product portfolio enables Main One to deliver a wide range of connectivity options to geographically dispersed locations, while reducing customers’ costs by converging previously disparate data, voice and video networks.

“With MainOne, you can start small and grow with confidence that you are connected to a provider who is tuned in to the fast changing needs of its clients,” he said. Oyewole explained that Main One joined a selected list of top-tier service providers offering Global Crossing Fast-Track Services portfolio to their enterprise end users, stressing that with converged IP services and private line, fast-track services include ethernet, collaboration and managed services.

Commenting, Global Crossing’s head of Carrier Sales for South Europe, Middle East and Africa, Mr. Habib Issa, said they are pleased to join with Main One in offering its customers global access and IP-based solutions.

“Global Crossing Fast-Track Services combine the business processes, products, services and system tools necessary for service providers to quickly offer their enterprise customers end-to-end global data solutions, backed by consistent Service Level Agreements,” Issa said.

ITRealms Online notes that Main One Cable Company Limited is the acclaimed first submarine cable company offering open access, wholesale broadband capacity in West Africa.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Monday, May 23, 2011

Juwah, Adebayo lead speakers @ Nigeria IPV6 Roundtable

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah and chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo would be leading speakers at the first-ever Nigeria Internet Protocol Version Six (IPV6) Roundtable slated for Lagos next month.

The organizers of the Nigeria Internet Protocol Version Six (IPV6) Roundtable, DigitalSENSE Africa made this disclosure at the weekend.

The Executive Director, Operations, DigitalSENSE Africa, Mrs. Nkemdilim Nweke, while confirming this said that while the EVC, Dr. Juwah would be giving a keynote address on the theme of the roundtable scheduled for hold at Planet One Entertainment Centre, Maryland, Lagos, tagged ‘IPV6 – Join The Players,’ whereas the ALTON chairman, Mr. Adebayo would take on the position of his association on deployment of IPV6 in Nigeria.

She also described as gladdening that EVC and ALTON boss would be gracing the Roundtable and invited internet stakeholders in the country to take advantage by ensuring attendance to listen and learn from these notable gentlemen of repute.

According to her, the EVC participation was confirmed by the Director, Public Affairs at the Commission, Mr. Dave Imoko.

Mrs. Nweke noted that following the allocation of the last batch of the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) it became imperative for the deployment of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

“The Internet is now the global communication network and to join this evolution, Nigerian stakeholders need to integrate IPv6 in all areas, so as to achieve national goals for universal access to Information Technology and sustaining development as well as global competitiveness for ordinary Nigerians,” she declared.

She recalled that the Internet Society (ISOC), the organisational home for the groups responsible for Internet infrastructure standards, including the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) came up with the World IPV6 Day, which this year would be commemorated on Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

“Therefore, we at DigitalSENSE Africa (DSA), a team of internationally reputed and award-winning Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry analysts and perception managers, decided to align with the stakeholders to host this enlightenment initiative for the Nigerian internet community,” she said.

The one-day Nigeria IPV6 Roundtable, she said, is to stimulate public awareness on the importance of the World IPV6 Day equally referred to as ‘Test Flight Day’ in addition to providing first-class platform for networking.

“Primarily, the World IPv6 Day is a strategy to encourage successful migration to IPv6 through participation of some key Internet Service Providers like Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Akamai and Limelight networks to offer their contents over IPv6 only for a 24-hour period,” she explained.

Stressing that the goal of the Test Flight Day is to motivate organizations across the industry – regulators, operators, Internet service providers, hardware makers, operating system vendors, content providers, manufacturers, web companies and key stakeholders; to ensure a successful transition as IPv4 addresses run out.

She therefore expressed excitement on the kind of acceptance the Nigeria IPV6 Roundtable has received so far, while invited others interest groups and relevant government agencies to fall in line.

The Roundtable scheduled for Thursday, June 2, 2011, at Planet One, she said, would be presided over by chairman Board of Trustees (BOT) of Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) and former Communications minister, Chief Olawale Ige.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

AfTLD, DCA battle for soul of dot Africa

Two Mauritius-based African Top Level Domains (AfTLD) and DotConnect Africa (DCA) are squaring up for the soul of Dot Africa (.africa) over who the Africa Union (AU) should back in pursuit of this continental domain.

AfTLD acts as a focal point for all the African TLDs managers, to discuss matters of policy that affect over 50 country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) including dot ng for Nigeria, among others, as well as present the group’s position as one voice in relation to Domain Name System (DNS).

On the other hand, DCA is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organisation incorporated in Mauritius Africa with intension to primarily sponsor, establish and operate a TLD registry with global recognition and regional significance dedicated to the needs of pan-African and African community.

While AfTLD is still seeking the endorsement of AU, DotConnect Africa (DCA), said it has already gotten the ‘AU mandate’, even as African Union Commission has debunked the claims by DCA, saying it has not yet given any endorsement or mandate to any particular organisation on dot Africa, pending the decision of the commission which is currently accepting applications for the dot Africa bid until Friday, June 3, 2011.

“The AU Commission would like to hereby categorically state that it is not supporting any one individual or organization in this bid,” a communiqué made available to ITRealms Online May 12 read.

AU also said that its member states meeting within the framework of the Conference of African Union Ministers in Charge of Communications and Information Technologies had decided to allow competition from any African organization or entity that is interested in bidding for the domain name on behalf of and for the use of the African organizations and citizens at large.

This decision, AU confirmed was endorsed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2010 and was reiterated in 2011.

However, raising from its three-day 5th annual African ccTLD meeting in Accra, Ghana, AfTLD’s position to bid for the dot Africa domain name was backed by the Minister of Communications, Mr. Haruna Iddrissu and .gh chairman, Dr. Nii Quaynor.

The Ghana Minister of Communications in his address, noted, that the government of Ghana, attaches great significance to online privacy, and plans to pass into law the Data Protection Bill by July this year, and expressed Ghana’s support to the Africa Union Commission (AUC)-led process of endorsing a suitable bidder that will apply to ICANN for the delegation of the dot Africa new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD).

He stressed that AfTLD, as the foremost TLD association in Africa, represented sufficient African Internet community interests to manage the dot Africa new gTLD on behalf of the AUC.

Dr. Quaynor in his address reminded the meeting how Ghana was instrumental in establishing AfTLD about a decade ago and urged African TLD managers to take note of the imminent changes in the domain name policy environment globally.

He enjoined African TLD operators to be strengthened to meet the challenges that ICANN’s new gTLDs will bring as many capacity challenges still faced African TLDs, including higher level governance interventions.

He echoed the Minister’s support for an AUC endorsement of a suitable bidder to apply to ICANN for the operation of dot Africa.

At the end of the AfTLD Annual General Meeting (AGM), its chairman, Mr. Vika Mpisane said the case of the AfTLD dot Africa project was an illustration of the commitment of the AfTLD to help African TLDs grow.

Mpisane expressed the belief that AfTLD had a good opportunity to win the endorsement of the African Union (AU) and the approval by ICANN, stressing that they would do their best to ensure that AfTLD wins the dot Africa bid, even as all the ccTLDs drummed support of AfTLD’s dot Africa bid.

But reacting, Dot Connect Africa Organization described AfTLD meeting outcome as innuendoes and veiled references to DCA made by some prominent participants in the same meeting, saying that DCA’s concerted campaign against the “illegal proposal of awarding an unjustified mandate to AfTLD by the AU” has been again vindicated.

DCA position made available by Thomas Kamanzi, showed that this is against the backdrop that DCA has already received the same endorsement from the AU more than one year ago.

“The position of the AfTLD and its backers is grossly untenable and very unjustified. This mandate can only be given by ICANN,” he said, pointing out that DCA was not surprised by the attendance and list of attendees of the Ghana meeting, since it has become increasingly clear by the day that the most vocal voices and viewpoints expressed are the same forces that have arrayed themselves in vehement opposition to the DCA on the issue of DotAfrica.

DCA, therefore reiterated its “unshakeable belief that AfTLD is not suited to operate DotAfrica, and would like to again stress that DCA has no problem with any organization attempting to compete and win the DotAfrica gTLD mandate from ICANN based on rules of fair competition.

“DCA believes that any eligible organization is free to participate in an open and transparent bid process that is corruption-free,” he said. Just as he insisted that DCA refused to accept a situation whereby double-dealing are being institutionalized to pave the way to enable AfTLD win an unfair endorsement from the AU on DotAfrica.

AfTLD cannot maintain its credulity as a fair player whilst being an obvious beneficiary of illegality, alleging that DCA frowns upon the fact that AU Task Force members on DotAfrica are also advisors and confederates of AfTLD, maintaining that such affiliations are unwholesome and foster corruption, nepotism, abuse of office, and large-scale illegality.

As we wait for the result of the application submitted to Africa Union Commission on the endorsed organisation to bid on behalf of the continent on dot Africa after June 3, all eyes are now on AUC to ensure every process leading to that is devoid of DCA allegations by instituting transparency on the bid.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

InterSwitch revives brand identity

Electronic payment (e-payment) transaction switching company, InterSwitch, has revived its brand identity at a corporate unveiling in Lagos.

The chief executive officer, InterSwitch, Mr. Mitchell Elegbe, said at the unveiling that his firm is vigorously pursuing its expansion plans across the continent of Africa.

“We are expanding into East and West Africa, however we realise that InterSwitch has typically been viewed as a card company and the primary driver of the growth in Automated Teller Machines (ATM), and Point of Sale Terminal (POT) usage in Nigeria, but we do far more than that,” he said.

Elegbe also said that they revived the company’s identity and communication to reflect exactly what InterSwitch do so as to know where to serve organisations and governments across Africa.

According to him, the repositioning of Interswitch business has given them an opportunity to refresh its corporate identity in line with current times, develop consumer associations in line with business offering.

Additionally, he said, the refreshing of its identity would create an awareness of Interswitch products and services in existing and new markets. InterSwitch, he said, opened the preliminary stage of its Pan-African expansion drive through the sale of 67 per cent equity to Helios Investment Partners and Adlevo Capital.

Elegbe said Helios has significant investments in financial service firms in East and West Africa while Adlevo Capital has typically invested in businesses where technology and continuous innovation are critical for business success.

Earlier to the sale, he said, InterSwitch had acquired a controlling stake in Bankom Limited, Uganda’s only licensed inter-bank switch, and more recently won a competitive bid to partner with the Central Bank and Bankers Committee of Gambia and Sierra Leone to design, implement and manage the national switches in these countries.

He explained that with multi-channel innovative solutions such as Quickteller; a value added service platform, Paydirect; a payment collections, lodgment and monitoring solution, Verve; a domestic Chip and PIN payment card, and MasterCard Verve - a co-branded payment card for domestic and international markets; InterSwitch has become a prominent brand in electronic transaction switching and payment processing in Africa.

The Chief Marketing Officer, InterSwitch, Mrs. Tito Adeniyi-Aderoju said, the reviving of the corporate identity forms part of an overall brand strategy to communicate how InterSwitch has, and could partner with businesses to accelerate growth, and reduce transaction costs irrespective of where the business may reside on the African continent.

“InterSwitch has phased the brand refresh over a period of time and expects to complete the entire process by third quarter of 2012,” she disclosed.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

MTN, MTV partner on African youth empowerment

MTV Networks Africa and MTN Group are partnership on the empowerment of African youth as their interest in national and global affairs continued to rise with a function tagged MTV Base Meets … with MTN, in Lagos last week.

This follows an eight-part youth empowerment initiative under MTV Base Meets … with MTN television series that creates a platform for a dialogue between young people and the political, business and cultural leaders who shape the world today.

Senior Vice President and Managing Director, MTV Networks Africa, Mr. Alex Okosi, disclosed that the intimate documentary series would allow African youths to put probing questions to influential, inspirational and sometimes controversial individuals.

He noted among the prominent people who will feature in the series include the former Liberian President and Africa’s first and only elected female head of state, Madame Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Mr. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and South African politician and President of the ANC Youth League, Mr. Julius Malema and many African leaders or influencers who exercise a significant impact on the continent.

As said by him, the series are expected to keep television viewers - young and old - on the edge of their seats.

“A diverse panel of young people representing different youth interests will be assembled from across the African continent, with participants coming from Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda, among others,” he said.

Okosi further said that young, but well-informed, the panelists are articulate, engaging, provocative and opined on a range of complex subjects but not limited to HIV/AIDS, global warming, education, poverty, corruption or entrepreneurship.

“They are fearless and have attitude. Their no-holds-barred approach will make for exciting television viewing as they fire big questions to the influential people whose actions and opinions have a direct impact on their lives,” he said.

African youth will be encouraged to nominate influencers and submit their proposed questions for the programme via a dedicated MTV base Meets…with MTN website or via their mobile handset.

“MTV base Meets…with MTN provides young people with the opportunity to engage directly with decision-makers and world leaders in order to address some of the key issues that are important to them. The initiative demonstrates our belief in the positive impact that the youth can have in shaping the future of the Continent. We hope that MTV base Meets…with MTN will inspire young people across Africa to know that their voice matters and to help prepare them to take their own roles among the leaders of tomorrow,” Okosi said.

Equally speaking, the Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Bola Akingbade, said MTN’s association with this initiative forms part of the on-going focus on youth empowerment, which is informed by the recognition that the world’s demographics favour the youth - with half of Africa’s population of 1 billion being under the age of 35.

“Through this series, MTN hopes to give this growing segment of Africa’s population a bridge to connect with decision-makers through dialogue. Gone are the days when young people were relegated to the periphery of important debates in business and politics,” Akingbade said.

MTV Base Meets…with MTN is an African localized version of the established MTV Meets… franchise and has previously interviewed influential individuals including Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair, Morgan Tsvangarai and Wyclef Jean. The series will air across African from 18 July on MTV base (DStv Channel 322), and on terrestrial, DTT and CATV channels including STV (Nigeria), HiTV (Nigeria), WBS (Uganda), NTV (Kenya), Canal2 (Cameroon), Muvi TV (Zambia), Zuku (Kenya), ZAP (Angola), Smart TV (Kenya) and Star Times (Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, and Burundi).

Remmy Nweke
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