" ITREALMS: November 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

NITRA presents self to stakeholders @ ATCON Forum

The Nigerian Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) Thursday in Lagos, leveraged the forum organized by the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) in Lagos to present itself, to industry stakeholders.

ITRealms notes that the ATCON's Telecoms Executive and Regulators Forum 2013 is an annual stakeholders' forum that brings telecoms CEO'S and the Industry regulator together to brainstorm on telecoms industry issues.
According to a press statement made available to ITRealms endorsed by NIRA secretary, Kunle Azeez, the president of the association, Mr. Emma Okonji, was quoted as leveraging on his questions on Quality of Service in the industry, to present 'NITRA' to the gathering.

Okonji told the excited audience about NITRA, which included the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah and other NCC team; ATCON President, Engr. Lanre Ajayi; Former ATCON President, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem; ALTON President, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo; representatives of telecoms firms and other ICT companies as well as other senior colleagues in the ICT journalism profession.

As said by him, NITRA has been created to further serve as a convergence point of all ICT journalists in Nigeria towards advancing the progress of the industry through quality, informed and accurate reportage of the industry.

"NITRA presents a platform for telecoms operators and the regulators in the ICT industry at large to make their voices heard through partnership with NITRA members who are reporting the industry," he asserted.

Also, Okonji  invited the regulator and telecoms companies as well as other industry players to partner with NITRA towards jointly driving ICT development in line with NITRA's motto, which is "...Driving ICT Development."

Physically excited by the NITRA creation and its important role in driving the industry's development, as it's the case in other beat where functional beat association have spurred industry coordination and effective partnership, the Director, Legal and Regulatory Affairs at Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Dikko, spoke on behalf of telecoms operators, saying "we would be happy to partner with NITRA and we're excited about the development."

Though, the NCC boss did not say anything yet, his body language exudes an approval of NITRA as a welcome development, as he only smiled, whilst Okonji presented NITRA to the gathering.

The presentation was part of the commitment of the Interim Exco of NITRA led by Emma Okonji, to deploy "both formal and informal means" to create industry awareness about NITRA among industry stakeholders, so that it would have become a household name among stakeholders in the industry before the end of first quarter 2014.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NIG e-biz confab’13: CommTech minister to lead dignitaries

Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, has been confirmed to lead dignitaries in the sector to the annual e-business conference by the Nigeria E-Business: Internet Group (NIG) with the theme,
Broadband Technology, an Important Tool for Accelerated Growth & Development, reports DigitalSENSE Business News.

The executive secretary, NIG, Mr. Fidelis Orji disclosed this to DigitalSENSE Business News, saying that the event has been scheduled to hold at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Lagos on December 12-13, 2013.

He also noted that Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization promoting the Internet in Nigeria and is organizing the event in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

NIG President, Engr. Adebayo Banjo, was quoted in a press statement made available to DigitalSENSE Business News as saying that the e-business is simply an internet technology driven business and has continued to be a catalyst to accelerated economic growth in many countries globally.

“With so many developments in the Nigeria information and communication technology sector (ICT) sector, Nigeria is set and has already joined the rest of the world in driving its economy with e-Business,” he said.

Banjo pointed out to DigitalSENSE Business News that some of the most significant developments in the sector which include the African mobile phone personal computers and liquid crystal display (LCD) manufacturing plant set up by RLG, a $10 million factory that will be sited in Osun State, and would be opened before 2013 closes. When completed, aside from being the first in the country, it would attract about 120 million active telephone subscribers.

This, he said, is an exciting news because major foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) have consistently shunned the idea of citing assembly plants in Nigeria, blaming infrastructural deficit as a major challenge.

Banjo told DigitalSENSE Business News that the conference would examine critical success factors to e-business adoption in Nigeria such as improved broadband penetration, pervasive e-payment services, skilled manpower, appropriate legal and regulatory framework and the political will of government to implement the right policies among others, while the event will attract experts from in and outside the country.

Other dignitaries include the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah and the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Dr. Ashiru Sani Daura would both present keynote addresses at the occasion. 

While NIG Board of Trustee would be handy to welcome guest and participants to the 2013 edition of this annual conference.

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Pix: Engr. Adebayo Banjo, NIG president

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Juwah, Ekuwem for ATCON’s forum on telcos, regulators

The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah and the Chief Executive Officer, Teledom Group International, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem are among the industry top-notchers expected to grace the 2013 Telecoms Executives and Regulators Forum by Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).

Confirming this to ITRealms, Executive secretary, ATCON, Mr. Ajibola Olude, said they have concluded plans to host the annual one-day Telecoms Executives and Regulators Forum.

He told ITRealms that the forum, scheduled for Thursday, November 28, is a full-day networking event which would also play host to the Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) of the organization.

On the main event expected to commence with a welcome address by ATCON president and Executive board member of the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Engr. Lanre Ajayi. This would be followed by goodwill messages before the keynote address by the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Eugene Juwah.

According to him, there products presentation by some designated companies, to be followed by panel discussion on ‘Effectiveness of Number Portability Scheme’ to be chaired by Aremu Olajide, Director, Network Operation, Globacom Nigeria.

The second panel discussion, he said would be on ‘Broadband: Open access, Spectrum, Right of ways, Stimulating demand etc’ to be presided over by the Executive Director, Corporate Services at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Wale Goodluck.

ITRealms also gathered that the third panel discussion, would be chaired by former president of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) and ATCON, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, who is currently the chief executive officer of Teledom Group on ’Migration from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting: Implications for Telecoms.’

Further, he said there would be yet another panel discussion on ‘Lawful Interception Issue’ to be chaired by Osondu Nwokoro, Head, Legal & Regulatory Affairs, Airtel Nigeria.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ekuwem, others condemn CBN's patronage of foreign entities

The group chief executive officer, Teledom International, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, has joined his voice to the clamour for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to patronize local firms in their dealings in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) subjects.

This is coming as several other ICT experts in Nigeria had expressed displeasure with the decisions of Nigerian government agencies including CBN preference to foreign firms on local projects.

ITRealms gathered that the latest burst was on the heels of CBN's recent pronouncement to work with a foreign firm on the banking industry biometric solutions project recently entered with German company call Demalorg BMS.

With this deal, CBN plans to gain a more reliable, technology driven, fraud-free banking services delivery and based on the terms, the first phase of the project would connect the Central Data point to at least one branch of each bank, the Central Bank and the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), within 90 days; after which the second phase, which will ensure full capture of biometric details of all bank customers nationwide, expected to come on stream within the next 12 months.

The project estimated to cost about $50 million, is expected to provide a centralised platform through which banks could enroll and uniquely verify the identity of each customer for 'know your customer' KYC purposes, perform credit checks, verify customer's integrity and authenticate customers from a point of transaction tools.

For CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the project symbolizes a major landmark in the Bankers Committee's efforts aimed at promoting financial inclusion, expansion of banking services, access to credit and more importantly, dealing with Know Your Customer (KYC), money laundering and other challenges the industry is still contending with.

Responding to this deal, Dr. Ekuwem decried the actions of CBN, pointing out that when one export, the Naira is strengthened but when you import, the Naira is devalued.

“When you export, the Naira is strengthened but when you import, the Naira is weakened" he declared, arguing that organizations, especially Federal Government agencies should maximise local human resources and talents.

In addition, Ekuwem advised foreign ICT firms in Nigeria to set up plants and assembly companies in the country, so as to aid employment.

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2013 Web Index ranks Nigeria 67th


Nigeria has been ranked 67th out of the 81 countries in a web index made available to ITRealms.

Taking the format of an 81 country ranking, the Web Index is the world’s first measure of the World Wide Web’s contribution to development and human rights globally. Scores are given in the areas of access; freedom and openness; relevant content; and empowerment. First released in 2012, the 2013 Index has been expanded and refined to include 20 new countries and features an enhanced data set, particularly in the areas of gender, Open Data, privacy rights and security.

As it were, Nigeria scored 20.2 with universal access score at 29.0, relevant content 13.6 and freedom and openness was 37.1, just as the impact and empowerment was scored 13.1.
In Africa, leading the pack in this index is South Africa with a score of 35, following by Mauritus 40 among others.

Meanwhile the Scandinavian countries top the global annual Web Index rankings, just as the United States and United Kingdom were criticised for inadequate privacy protections.
“We’re launching the second edition of the Web Index - the world’s first multi-dimensional measure of the World Wide Web’s contribution to development and human rights globally,” official statement read.

ITRealms reports that Sweden tops the table for the second year running, with Norway in second. The UK and US come third and fourth respectively, but both come in for criticism for surveillance practices. New Zealand rounds out the top five.

The 2013 Index also reports that targeted censorship of Web content by governments is widespread across the globe. Moderate to extensive blocking or filtering of politically sensitive content was reported in over 30 percent of Web Index countries during the past year.

Legal limits on government snooping online urgently need review. 94% of countries in the Web Index do not meet best practice standards for checks and balances on government interception of electronic communications.

The Web and social media are leading to real-world change.  In 80 percent of the countries studied, the Web and social media had played a role in public mobilisation in the past year, and in half of these cases, had been a major catalyst.

Rich countries do not necessarily rank highly in the Web Index. The Philippines, with a per capita income of $4,410 per year, is more than 10 places ahead of Qatar, the world’s richest country, with an average income over 20 times greater than the Philippines. Saudi Arabia is outperformed by 10 of the sub-Saharan African countries in the Index. Switzerland, the world’s third wealthiest nation, is only one place ahead of Estonia. The study shows that once countries surpass a GDP threshold of US$12,000 per capita, the link between wealth and Web Index rank weakens significantly.

The rights and priorities of women are poorly served by the Web in the majority of countries researched.  Locally relevant information on topics such as sexual and reproductive health, domestic violence, and inheritance remain largely absent from the Web in most countries. Only 56 percent of Web Index countries were assessed as allocating ‘significant’ resources to ICT training programmes targeting women and men equally.

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CWG shines @ Nigeria's Stock Market

DigitalSENSE Business News:

The Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) last weekend made up its promise to head to the Nigeria’s Stock Exchange this November.

DigitalSENSE Business News reports that the Nigerian capital market activities closed with All-Share Index going up by 0.03 per cent last week at 37,883.53, while the market capitalization appreciated by 0.14 per cent to close at N12.117 trillion.

At the end of the trading for the penultimate day, shows that the top three equities namely Computer Warehouse Group Plc, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc and WAPIC Insurance plc; measured by volume accounted for 582.873 million shares worth N1.690 billion in 1,604 deals, contributing 36.78 per cent and 10.66 per cent to the total equity turnover volume and value respectively.

Experts say that three of the indices appreciated during the week, namely the NSE Banking, NSE Oil, Gas and NSE Industrial Goods going up by 0.86 per cent, 11.55 per cent and 2.85 per cent in that order. Conversely, NSE 30, NSE Consumer Goods, NSE Insurance, NSE Lotus II and NSE-ASeM indices slipped by 1.04 per cent,3.95 per cent, 0.61 per cent, 1.73 per cent and 0.35 per cent in that order.

Further investigations showed DigitalSENSE Business News that the third place was occupied by the ICT industry with 108.423 million shares worth N565.405 million in 197 deals.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

LCA, partners host regional experts on Alternative Dispute Resolution confab


The Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA), in collaboration with the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), Chevron Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC, White and Case, and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) has assembled legal experts, entrepreneurs, investors and the government in a West Africa Regional Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) conference to reiterate the need to timely resolve commercial dispute through effective mediation and arbitration to promote economic growth.

ITRealms reports that while welcoming participants, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), represented by the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Lagos State, Mr. Ade Ipaye urged the business community to embrace Alternative Dispute Resolution for quick resolution of contractual disputes. According to him, the emergence of the LCA is due to non-avoidance of disputes in business dealings and the increasing need for an international arbitration and acceptable alternative dispute resolution center.

In his keynote at the occasion, Mr. Arnold Ekpe, Director, Sovereign Wealth Fund, stated one of the challenges of the Arbitration process in this part of the world as ‘Africans’ themselves. He said, “It is time for Africans to change their mindset by believing in arbitration process, thereby creating the right environment to build confidence in the minds of investors that the available process is reliable in the resolution of cases.”

Also speaking at the conference, Mrs Bimpe Nkontchou, Director, Lagos Court of Arbitration and Partner, Addie & Co Solicitor, London, said, “It is known that Arbitrators of African origin are under-utilised in the regional and international arbitration circuit. Time has come for us to appoint skilled African arbitrators and use arbitration institutions on the continent.”

Nkonchou further added, “ADR is far more affordable than litigation. Arbitration is distinct from other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms, which include mediation, conciliation and early neutral evacuation. Though arbitration occupies center stage in the global dispute resolution market, these other mechanisms are equally important and in some cases, equally effective and much less expensive than arbitration.”

Nankunda Katangaza, Head of International Policy at the Law Society of England & Wales, who was recently named one of Britain's most influential black people, said "I am delighted to be part of what I considered the most exciting and progressive institutional developments in Nigeria and Africa. The Law Society is pleased for the collaboration because of the positive effects the LCA will have in speedy resolution of disputes and improvement of business environments. The LCA presents opportunities for members of the Law Society to work closely with Nigerian counterparts in dispute resolution by joining the panel of neutrals.’’ 

Present at the conference were several distinguished local and international legal and business experts, including Federal High Court Justice, Justice Rita Ajumogobia; former Vice President, External Affairs, Tullow Oil Plc, London, Rosalind Kainyah; Commissioner, Market Competition and Rates, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Eyo Ekpo; General Counsel, Chevron Nigeria, Eyitemi Ned Mojuetan;  Registrar, Mauritius International Arbitration Court (MCIA), Duncan Bagshaw; amongst others, who all harped on the many advantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution over litigation.

The LCA West Africa Regional ADR Conference was proudly supported by The Law Society of England & Wales, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Nigeria, and the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP), and is the center’s way of further creating and maintaining awareness of ADR and reaching the primary end users, consisting members of the public, owners of small and medium scale businesses and executives of large corporate and multinationals.  

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 (L-R)- Board Member of the Lagos Court of Arbitration, Fabian Ajogwu (SAN); President of the Lagos Court of Arbitration, Babajide Ogundipe; Director of the Lagos Court of Arbitration and Conference Chair, Bimpe Nknotchou; Director, Sovereign Wealth Fund, Nigeria, Arnold Ekpe and Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaye at the Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA) Regional Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Conference  in Lagos recently.

CWG,MTN see m-payment solutions growth in Nigeria with MTN Xaas

As part of efforts to create financial inclusion and accessibility to all Nigerians in what the company called a cost-effective way M-Commerce, the Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) has entered a deal with leading mobile network operator, MTN Nigeria on MTN Xaas platform recently.

The Group Managing Director, CWG, Mr. Austin Okere confirmed this to DigitalSENSE Business News, saying that both companies see growth potential in the payment solutions space in the banking and finance sector in the country.

CWG, he noted is a leading player in the banking and finance vertical thus considers payment solution, which includes e-payments, as an important aspect of its growth story.

He explained to DigitalSENSE Business News that MTN XaaS platform is a solution for microfinance, savings and loans, cooperative and other small scale financial institutions and shows strong penetration in Nigerian market.

The platform powered by CWG technology, Mr. Okere told DigitalSENSE Business News comes as a partnership with MTN to jointly create a business model that would set new paradigms for mobile commerce in this part of the world.

“MTN XaaS, the mobile commerce and MFB platform with CWG digital commerce at its core will enable millions of ‘bank and mobile network customers’ to make cashless payments and settlements through their mobile phones,” he said.

Further, he said that the platform also empowers banks and Mobile Money operators to roll out innovative mobile financial services to their numerous customers via mobile telephony, one of which is the just launched MTN Yellow Diamond Account, which offers the 55 million MTN subscribers with the opportunity of financial inclusiveness.

Remmy Nweke

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Pix:L-r Babatunde Osho, Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer, MTN, Brett Goshen, former CEO, MTN Nigeria and Austin Okere, Group CEO, Computer Warehouse Group, at the Sign Off ceremony between CWG and MTN held in Lagos recently.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

ICANN’s CROPP takes off in FY14

The recently approved ICANN FY14 Operating Plan and Budget (FY14 OPP) includes some expanded resources for outreach, otherwise known as the Community Regional Outreach Pilot Programme (CROPP) as part of capacity-building efforts by internet communities, reports DigitalSENSE Business News.

The ICANN Board and Senior Staff recognized in the financial year 2014 (FY14) OPP that, while organization-wide efforts to develop a comprehensive ICANN outreach strategy.
DigitalSENSE Business News also reports that ICANN plans to give individual communities some immediate flexible support to start or continue targeted outreach efforts that support specific community outreach or recruitment strategies.

In an effort to provide that support as soon as possible and to test whether such a resource can be effectively and consistently managed on an organization-wide basis, staff was directed to develop – as a pilot program - a community regional outreach trip programme to be made available to regional At-Large organizations and non-contract Generic Name Supporting Organisation (GNSO) constituencies.

DigitalSENSE Business News gathered that based on the foregoing, ICANN recognizes that the formal FY14 OPP was approved almost two months into the fiscal year, staff reportedly worked hard over the last several weeks to develop a pilot programme framework that is “implementable” in the short term and “assessable” over the long term.
To this extend, DigitalSENSE Business News reports that a detailed overview of this new Community Regional Outreach Pilot Program (CROPP) shows ICANN has created a new wiki workspace in addition to administer the programme.   

Further, DigitalSENSE Business News reports that in according with the FY14 OPP directive to CROPP provides a framework in which each of the 5 At Large Regional Organisations (RALOS) and each of the 5 GNSO non-contract Constituencies will have available 5 "regional" (three-day) outreach trips in FY14.

The specific processes for how these resources are to be made available are set forth in the attached overview document and in the wiki workspace.

Three critical components of the programme include specific pre-trip approval standards such as flexibly administered by community-based leadership and ICANN Regional Vice Presidents; post-trip reviews and assessments and finally an overall spirit of transparency by which all ICANN community members could observe the implementation of the programme.

Remmy Nweke
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Pix: Steve Crocker, ICANN board chairman

ITU, UN ESCAP bridge digital gap with interactive Terrestrial Transmission Info superhighway

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Monday in Bangkok say they are introducing maps of the Global Information Superhighway, to bridge the digital divide in Asia-Pacific region.

ITRealms reports that the project tagged the ITU Interactive Terrestrial Transmission/ESCAP Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway Maps will show policy makers and investors where the missing links in terrestrial transmission are across the region, assisting ESCAP in its efforts to bring affordable information and communication technology (ICT) and broadband connectivity for all.

Only 7 per cent of people in the Asia-Pacific region have fixed broadband access and it is the most digitally divided region in the world, with Republic of Korea at 37.56 per cent fixed broadband penetration, compared to Myanmar with only 0.01 per cent.

“We have seen significant progress in the area of broadband connectivity with the landing of submarine cables in many countries, along with the expansion of national and cross-border fibre backbone networks, as well as mobile and wireless services,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré.

He also said that the ITU Interactive Terrestrial Transmission/ESCAP Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway maps would demonstrate the current status of ICT connectivity around the globe, empower network planners policy-makers and regulators from developing countries, while also industry with a powerful tool to assess market opportunities.”

Addressing Connect Asia-Pacific Summit in Bangkok, Dr Noeleen Heyzer, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP said the Information Superhighway mapping will play an important role in addressing this digital divide.

“In Asia and the Pacific, what we call the ‘digital divide’ is in fact an income divide, a gender divide, an education divide and a knowledge divide,” Dr Heyzer explained, stressing that rising inequality – both income and non-income poses one of the greatest challenges in Asia-Pacific and technological progress has often widened these gaps, separating those with education and knowledge from those without.

Toure continued to together we must bridge the ICT divide by building a seamless information and communication space in the region through the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway. Our efforts must be global in ambition, regional in scope, and local in execution.”

“These new online interactive maps, developed with the assistance of ESCAP and the United Nations Cartographic Section, will serve as a powerful tool to facilitate the development of broadband connectivity worldwide,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “These authoritative, cutting-edge ICT data-mapping platforms will take stock of national fibre and microwave backbone connectivity, as well as other key metrics of the ICT sector.”

Dr Heyzer stressed the importance of public-private people partnerships, saying the full potential of ICTs will only be realized if transformative technologies are accompanied by shared values, shared commitment, and shared solidarity for inclusive and sustainable development.

The need to synchronize the deployment of fibre-optic cables with the construction or maintenance of railways and roads was also highlighted at today’s launch, as up to 90% of the costs of laying out fibre are associated with civil-engineering work that is regularly performed when roads or railways are constructed.

The ITU Interactive Terrestrial Transmission/ESCAP Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway maps will feature the region’s main transport networks – the Asian Highway and the Trans-Asian Railways –as it is critical that fibre-optic cables can be laid in coordination with the construction of railways and roads to ensure appropriate cost savings.

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GDES explains debut of Nigerian free.lanci.ng website

The management of one of the pioneer Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nigeria and owners of SKANNET network, the General Data Engineering Services (GDES), has explained the reason behind its recent introduction of a Nigerian Free.lanci.ng website.

According to the chief executive officer, GDES, Mr. Sunday Folayan who gave this explanation in a chat with ITRealms, said that the freelancing website was created by Nigerians for Nigerians, to facilitate easy and intuitive website for workers and employers, with login system using existing Facebook identity (ID) which means “No need of Registration” although registration is available for those who would not like to use their Facebook ID in addition to free account profile for workers and employers with instant N100 credit, when users sign-up to the website.

Also, Folayan disclosed to 
ITRealms that payments could be made and received using Interswitch Verve or Mastercard, just as direct remittance to freelancers' Nigerian NUBAN accounts has been streamlined, whereas terms and conditions favourable to freelancers, even as the Escrow system, assures payments for jobs done promptly.
He noted that most Nigerians who patronize popular freelancing websites before now face some challenges not limited to a high level of commission charged on jobs done, difficulty in having earnings remitted to their accounts in Nigeria, working under jurisdictions not favourable to them, stiff competition with thousands of lower bids, and language barrier, communicating with people who do not speak English to name a few.

Free.lanci.ng was created to make these problems become things of the past, and usher in an era of prosperity for Nigerian freelancers,” Folayan asserted, decrying the low rate of turnover for freelancers and competition.

Folayan went on to state that job categories available on Free.lanci.ng comprises advertising and public relations, artisan and workmen, business and management, engineering, graphic design and animation, human resources, online advertisement, sales and marketing, software, IT solutions and programming, trainings, websites and web design, writings and translations among others.

Remmy Nweke
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Onuegbu, SA CEO, makes finalist in E&Y Entrepreneurship award’13

DigitalSENSE Business News:

Managing Director of a leading Nigerian Information Technology (IT) solutions company, the Signal Alliance (SA), Mr. Collins Onuegbu made it as 2013 finalist in the recently concluded Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award under its Master Category for the West African sub-region.
DigitalSENSE Business News reports that the Minister of Trade, Dr. Olusegun Aganga in his remarks at the ceremony, detailed benefits of events such as the Ernst and Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Award, stressed the need to celebrate entrepreneurs as they boost the economy by their businesses which provide employment for the citizenry.
Regional Managing Partner for West Africa, Ernst & Young, Mr. Henry Egbiki,  told DigitalSENSE Business News that the award is “the most prestigious award that recognizes entrepreneurs across the world,” saying that finalists and winners of the award emerged after an extensive and intensive process.
Also, DigitalSENSE Business News gathered that Mr. Onuegbu, one of the few entrepreneurs in the indigenous ICT sector to be so nominated, narrowly lost to the winner Engr. Femi Akintunde of Alpha Mead Facilities & Management Services Ltd.
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year nominees, DigitalSENSE Business News further learnt were reviewed by an independent judging panel composed of several distinguished business leaders and previous award recipients using various criteria in entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, corporate strategic direction, local and global  impact, innovation, personal integrity and influence.
In his reaction on the nomination, Mr. Onuegbu who is a graduate of University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) and founding CEO of the company told DigitalSENSE Business News that it was a most humbling manifestation of the giant strides made by the company over the years.

DigitalSENSE Business News recalls that Signal Alliance in the past 17 years has continued to set records in performance and growth in the area of information technology business process solutions and consultancy in all sectors of the nation’s economy; using its strategic partnerships with global OEMs in the IT market like SAP, Microsoft, Cisco, CA amongst others, Signal Alliance has been able to leverage on its expertise to redefine the aspect of enterprise IT solutions in the sub-region.
 Chuks Egbuna/GEE
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Pix 1: From left Ernst & Young Regional Managing Partner for West Africa, Henry Egbiki, Director-General, Securities and Exechange Commission (SEC) Arunma Oteh OON, Collins Onuegbu, CEO Signal Alliance adn Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Olusegun Aganga during the award ceremony.
Pix 2: From left Adanma Onuegbu, Executive Director, Collins Onuegbu CEO, Michael Chinwuba, marketing and communications manager, Chinyere Azike all of Signal Alliance Limited at the award ceremony.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wolfgang joins ICANN board of directors

Prof. Wolfgang Kleinwächter has been nominated into the Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), reports ITRealms.

Chairman, 2013 Nominating Committee (NomCom), Yrjo Lansipuro confirmed this to ITRealms, saying they were pleased to announce the selection of Wolfgang Kleinwächter as a member to the ICANN Board of Directors.

The position, ITRealms also reports became vacant following the recent resignation of Board member Ms. Judith Duavit Vazquez, selected by the 2011 NomCom.

Wolfgang Kleinwächter, therefore, according to Lansipuro, takes up his position on the ICANN Board of Directors with immediate effect, serving for the remainder of the term vacated by Ms. Vazquez, ending at the conclusion of the 2014 ICANN Annual General Meeting (AGM).

ITRealms recalls that Wolfgang, a professor for International Communication Policy and Regulation at the Department for Media and Information Sciences of the University of Aarhus in Denmark teaches "Internet Policy and Regulation" since 1998.

He studied Communication, International Law and International Relations at the University of Leipzig (B.A. 1971, M.A. 1974, Ph.D. 1981); with academic teaching experiences including courses and lectures on Internet Governance at numerous universities around the globe, including, inter alia die School of International Services at American University in Washington D.C. and the Faculty of Journalism at Lomonossow University in Moscow.

Also involved in Internet Governance issues since 1997, he has participated in various capacities, mostly in 45 ICANN meetings out of the 48 on record. He served five years in the NomCom (2009/2010 as its chair) and was since 2011 a member of the GNSO Council, elected by the Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG) where he is a member of the NCUC.

In the WSIS process he was a member of the Civil Society Bureau, co-chaired the Internet Governance Caucus (IGC) and was appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as for the UN Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). In the Tunis Summit he was part of the governmental delegation of Denmark. Between 2006 and 2010 he served as Special Adviser to the Chair of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), Nitin Desai. In 2011/2012 he was a member of the UNCSTD Working Group on IGF Improvement. In 2012 he joined the German governmental delegation to the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT) and served in the Informal Expert Group of the World Telecommunication Policy Forum in 2013.

He is a co-founder of the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EURODIG), the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GIGANET), the Summer School on Internet Governance (SSIG) and chair of the ICANN Studienkreis. He served in the Advisory Board of the dotmobi Registry and became in 2010 an International Adviser to CNNIC. In the EU, he was involved in the Safer Internet Action Plan (SIAP), the Task Force on the Internet of Things and the Inter-Regional Information Society Initiative (IRISI). In the Council of Europe he chaired the Expert Group on Cross Border Internet (2009 – 2011).

For more than 20 years he was a member of the Council of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) and served as the president of the IAMCR Law Section between 1988 and 1998. He was a member of the Program Committee for INET 2002 in Washington D.C. and a Key-Note Speaker, Panelist, Moderator and Rapporteur of numerous international conferences.

His research work includes more than 100 international publications, including 7 books. Since 2011 he is the editor of the publication series MIND (Multistakeholder Internet Dialogue). He also served as member of several advisory boards of scientific journals, including Transnational Data and Communication Report, Computer Law and Security Report, The Journal of Media Law and Practice, Gazette and the Journal for Virtual Reality.

He testified in Hearings in the Deutsche Bundestag and the European Parliament. He is Chair of the Board of Medienstadt Leipzig e.V., a recognized At Large Structure under the ICANN Bylaws and got the "Internet Award" the highest Internet prize in Germany, by the German Internet Economy Association (eco) in 2012.

ITRealms joins the global internet users’ community to wish him a successful tenure at ICANN board of directors.

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Pix: Prof. Wolfgang Kleinwächter

MTN Group Selects Etisalat SmartHub to Extend Regional Network Reach

MTN and Etisalat groups respectively are partnering on smart hub to extend regional networks.

Ali Amiri, Executive Vice President, Carrier & Wholesale Services, Etisalat, confirmed this to ITRealms, saying that Etisalat, leading telecom operator in the Middle East and Africa, at the weekend, made this revelation of its partnership with MTN Group to extend their regional network reach via Etisalat SmartHub.

He said, MTN Group, a leading emerging markets telecommunications provider, will connect through Etisalat’s SmartHub at Fujairah CLS to expand its advanced data network capabilities.

ITRealms recalls that MTN, the South Africa-based multinational company operates in African, European and Middle Eastern countries.

He explained that Etisalat’s SmartHub provides advanced content, IPX, IX and high speed data services for its customers in the UAE and the region. Stressing that the new partnership will also enable MTN Group to connect via a new route to Europe, beneficial to its large customer base in the Middle East.

Etisalat's SmartHub is a global communications hub facilitating direct routing of traffic between the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.

Amiri said they are delighted to have such a prestigious telecom group as MTN join the SmartHub community of operators and content providers. Explaining that SmartHub is designed to provide partners with a one stop shop for connectivity to the region.

“This partnership with MTN Group showcases the importance of the SmartHub as well as puts UAE in the limelight as the regional hub for telecom services. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship and enhancing customer experience," Amiri said.

For Jyoti Desai, the Group Chief Technology and Information Officer, MTN “Etisalat’s Smarthub is seen as an important hub in our bid to expand MTN’s world class global multi-services network, as it allows us to provide advanced communication services to our customers in the Middle East and Africa. The rising significance of UAE’s strategic position as the communication network hub for the Middle East and Africa region underpins the importance of this partnership in our expansion plan.”

Nenye Dom/GEE
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

OnMobile, Airtel Africa partner on football services

Leading Value Added Service (VAS), OnMobile Global Limited has partnered Airtel Africa to power a service called Airtel Football across the continent.

Reports gathered by DigitalSENSE Business News noted that as part of this engagement, OnMobile has partnered with Goal.com, and holds the official rights to English Premier League live match alerts in Africa. Airtel subscribers will benefit from updates on their favorite football clubs and live match alerts.

The partnership, DigitalSENSE Business News reports, evolved incredibly achieving an adoption rate of 11.6 million subscribers across 11 countries in Africa since its launch in August, 2012 making Airtel Football one of the most all-encompassing operator-branded mobile football subscription services.

DigitalSENSE Business News recalls that this service is an offshoot of OnMobile’s and Airtel’s vision to reach out across subscriber segments from the bottom of the pyramid users to smartphone users as well as high-value customers. This also supports Airtel’s objective of adapting to the enormous proliferation of Mobile Internet users across the continent.

Vice President, Africa, OnMobile, Biswajit Nandi, said that football in Africa is a television phenomenon, especially on paid channels.

“A lot of subscribers across the continent do not have access to television but love Football nonetheless. OnMobile is excited to power this service, through our partnership with Airtel, a leading global operator. Our aim is to directly touch the lives of millions of sport lovers and offer our consumers the best possible user experience,” he said.

Andre Beyers, Chief Marketing Officer, Airtel Africa said, “Football is the greatest passion in Africa. Our vision is to enable and take the game to all fans, even those without access to television. Combining Airtel’s customer reach and knowledge with OnMobile’s strong technology, we believe that we can take the world of football closer to the fans.” 

The football service which is accessible through SMS, IVR, USSD, WAP, Web and very shortly a handset app, is currently available in English, French, Swahili and Hausa. More languages are in the process of being added to ensure all subscribers receive official, authentic and the latest football news in their preferred language.

Chuks Egbuna/GEE

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