" ITREALMS: August 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Breaking News: A4AI names Omobola Johnson honourary chairperson

The immediate-past Nigerian Minister of Communication Technology, Dr. (Mrs) Omobola Johnson has been named the honourary chairperson of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), reports ITRealms.

This appointment which took effect from Tuesday, September 1, 2015, ITRealms gathered would entail that Dr. Johnson provides the A4AI with strategic policy guidance, in addition to leading a high-level international advocacy efforts, designed to deepen Alliance as it works to drive down unacceptably high broadband prices, and bring billions more online, fast.

Dr. Johnson replaces Dr. Bitange Ndemo, former Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communication, who served as A4AI Honorary Chair from the Alliance’s creation in October 2013 until 2014.

Affirming this development, Communications Manager, Alliance for Affordable Internet, Lauran Potter noted that A4AI is the world’s broadest technology sector coalition, with over 70 diverse members and working closely with governments, companies and civil societies.

A4AI, Potter said in a press statement sighted by ITRealms that the Alliance uses a blend of research, advocacy and on-the-ground engagement to create policy and regulatory change that pushes broadband prices down.

“In under two years, A4AI has doubled membership and started work in five countries on three continents - Dominican Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Myanmar; meaning over 300 million people stand to benefit from the Alliance’s work. A4AI’s global sponsors are Google, UK DFID and USAID, and the World Wide Web Foundation serves as the secretariat. Other high-profile members include the Internet Society, MainOne, Microsoft, and UN Women,” Potter highlighted.

Potter equally described Dr. Johnson as a consummated ICT policy professional, who tends to bring to the role over 30 years of experience across both the private and public sectors.

“Between 2011 and 2015, she served as Nigeria’s Minister of Communication Technology, where she oversaw the creation and implementation of policy to enable affordable Internet, including the development and presentation of the country’s 2013-2018 National Broadband Plan. During her time as Minister, the percentage of Internet users in the country nearly doubled from 24 per cent (2010) to 43 per cent (2014), and Nigeria became the first African country to join A4AI in 2013. Prior to 2011, she spent over two decades at Accenture, including a five-year stint as country managing director for Nigeria. Dr. Johnson holds a DBA from Cranfield University in the UK, and from 2014 to 2015 served as the Chair of the 18th session of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD),” A4AI spokesperson said. 

Reacting to her new post, Dr. Johnson noted that at this era of technological innovation, it is simply unacceptable that policies and regulations still conspire to keep Internet access unaffordable for billions.

“Today, an entry-level mobile broadband package costs the average African over 15 per cent of their monthly earnings, while an average European would pay just 1 per cent. That affordability gap helps to explain why over 80 per cent of European households are online, compared to just 11 per cent of African households,” she said.

Dr. Johnson pointed out that she has seen firsthand the incredible power of the web to improve health, education, economic and development outcomes, particularly for women and rural populations.

“I’ve also seen how smart, collaborative policymaking can drive prices down fast. Now, I’m excited to be able to use my experience and networks to accelerate the progress A4AI is already making,” she said.

For the Executive Director, A4AI, Ms Sonia Jorge, the appointment of Dr. Johnson was thrilling to the A4AI team. Describing her as a long-time advocate of universal and affordable Internet access and active supporter of the Alliance’s work since the launch in 2013, hence, Dr. Johnson brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge in the ICT field.

“As Minister of Communication Technology in Nigeria, she achieved great success in developing the policy framework for the extension of broadband infrastructure, increasing competition and focusing on reaching the most marginalised, women and rural dwellers. These policy steps allowed prices to drop and more Nigerians to come online. We look forward to working together with Dr. Johnson to advance our work and goal of making affordable broadband for all a reality, and have no doubt she will make a significant contribution,” Jorge said.

+Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) 

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Burglars invade NewsDiaryOnline Abuja Office, vital items removed

Burglars at the weekend, invaded the office of Newsdiaryonline located at Extension D-49, EFAB Mall in Garki district, Abuja, reports ITRealms.
Publisher and editor-in-chief of Newsdiaryonline, Mr. Danlami Nmodu, conformed to ITRealms that those who burgled the office forcefully broke the doors before gaining entrance. 
"They also ransacked some drawers and made away with some vital office items," he said.
Also, Nmodu listed some items removed from the office to include laptop computers, a generating set, 1 LCD television set and electric kettle among other items.
“Surprisingly, the burglars left the  internet router and the  satellite  TV decoder behind  apparently  because these two items  could have made it easier to trace the location of whoever  broke into our office” he said.

Describing the removal of some laptop computers particularly unsettling because they contain some information.
The editor–in-chief however assured readers and followers of Newsdiaryonline, that the acclaimed fastest growing Nigerian online news organization will in spite of this setback, ”shall continue to serve and provide you with credible news, opinions and analysis without fear or favour.”
Correspondent +ITRealms DSA  +Remmy Nweke (ITRealms)
ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Nigerian research content website goes live

Academix.ng, a website dedicated to collating research originating from Nigeria has been launched by Quest to Reality, a Nigerian Information and Communication consultancy.

Speaking at the launch in Calabar, CEO, Quest to Reality, Engr. Iso Bassey stated that the lack of access to Nigerian research content gave birth to academix.ng which is a pool of research by academics and professionals.

“We have aggregated research material originating from Nigeria from across multiple disciplines and published them on academix.ng thus ensuring easy access for anybody who desires good quality Nigeria-focused research. You no longer have to spend time online browsing multiple websites for research originating from Nigeria. Simply log on to academix.ng, register and find the topic you are looking for.”

Bassey also noted that the website is a work in progress as it is continuously being uploaded with new content. “We are signing up new partners on a weekly basis, increasing the number of papers on academix,ng, presently we have over 3,000 papers on our website.”

Speaking further, Bassey noted that the website supports both Open Access and Fee Access material. Bassey used the launch of the website to call on Nigerian research institutions to partner with academix.ng to take Nigerian research content forward and strengthen the global reputation and positive perception of Nigerian researchers.

Utibe Uko

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Dangote says choice of Cameroon for N49.79b cement investment strategic

The President, Dangote Group, AlikoDangote, has revealed that the choice of Cameroon for the multi-billion Naira cement investment is quite strategic, ITRealms reports.

Cameroon is the largest economy in Central Africa and is well endowed with abundant natural resources. The country also enjoys political stability, adequate security and growing infrastructural development in addition to President Biya’s creation of an enabling environment that has continued to attract investors both from within and outside the African continent.

“For this reason, we feel particularly at home in Cameroon. And for this reason too, we are determined to explore other areas where we can contribute our own quota to the remarkable economic transformation, taking place under the government of President Biya”, he said.

He stated that due to the warm welcome given to Dangote Cement, the company has decided to begin work on the second phase of the plant, which will see the doubling of its capacity from the current 1.5mmetrictonnesperannum (mtpa) to 3.0mmtpa.

“Our desire to increase our investment with the Phase 2 project is based on not only the fast growth rate of the Cameroonian economy but also due to the warm welcome extended to us and the enabling environment created by the government of Cameroon,”he said.
As part of its effort to fast-track economic integration within Africa, Dangote Cement Plc,  commissioned its $250 million (about N49.79 billion)  1.5million metric tonnes per annum cement grinding plant in Douala, Camaroon,  barely three weeks after the cement plant in Zambia was commissioned.
The company, in addition laid foundation for a 200m Jetty in Base Elf area, of the Douala Port of Cameroon.

Dangote said he was delight at the commissioning of the project which commenced in 2011, adding that the plant is the company’s largest Greenfield project in a neighbouring country, which Nigeria has a long history of brotherly relationship that dates back to the colonial era.


ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Senator Akpabio in car accident but stable

The former Executive Secretary of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and immediate past governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Dr. Godswill Akpabio was Monday morning involved in a motor accident, but said to be stable, reports ITRealms.

The accident which occurred along Airport Road at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja was said to have left the former governor and currently the minority leader of Senate visibly shaken.

Following the accident, Akpabio accompanied by the wife were rushed to the National Hospital Abuja.

ITRealms report further has it that Akpabio has since been moved to a private ward in the hopsital and received in audience, the Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Mr. Emmanuel Udom, who invariably flow into Abuja on hearing the news, which occurred before 10am on Monday.

However, a relative who pleaded non-mention of his name in the press said they are praying for Akpabio's quick recovery.

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

SimbaPay, Choice Microfinance Bank app for Kenyans


SimbaPay, a leading digital money transfer provider is partnering with Choice Microfinance Bank to bring financial services to Kenyans living in United Kingdom and other European Union countries, ITRealms reports. 

Kenyans living in the UK with a bank account, debit card or credit card are now able to use the SimbaPay app to make money transfers from any mobile phone, tablet or computer. The service will be rolled out to Kenyans living in other EU countries in the near future.

In the press release made available to ITRealms, the Head, Operations, SimbaPay, Victor Karanja, “Our customers who already bank with Choice Microfinance Bank or have friends and family using the bank will be glad to see their transfers being credited instantly”. 

The Deputy CEO, Choice Microfinance Bank, Stanley Kasyoka, added that “We are very excited about this new partnership with SimbaPay which is heavily engaged with the economic force that is Kenyans living abroad. Kenyans abroad are the country’s largest earner of foreign exchange today”.

SimbaPay and Choice Microfinance Bank, ITRealms gathered, announced the partnership on August 29, 2015 in London at the annual “Kenya in the Park” event where they also exhibited the service. The two companies jointly sponsored the event  with other businesses targeting Kenyans abroad. The event is an annual celebration of Kenya’s rich vibrant culture.

For ease of use, Choice Bank has been pre-loaded on to the SimbaPay platform which eliminates the need for customers having to remember the Choice Bank pay bill details. At the time of making a money transfer using SimbaPay, customers will be required to select the bank from a database of Pay Bill businesses and then enter the destination account number and amount, ITRealms learnt.

SimbaPay also launched free, instant transfers to all Nigerian banks in May 2015.  In June it became the first platform in the world to allow Kenyans living abroad to make M-Pesa Pay Bill payments and continues to disrupt the cross-border remittance industry with its focus on speed and convenience, ITRealms informs.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE

ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Nigeria must take advantage of 58m Internet users - Ajayi

The National President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Engr. Lanre Ajayi, has called for the optimization of the 58 million Internet users in the country, reports ITRealms.

He said even though Nigeria has more than 58 million active internet users which is more that the population of many African countries, stressing that with availability of infrastructure little content is being placed in there.

Currently, he said, what is seen online are a few e-commerce and government services,adding that every business should be online, declaring, “it is time to rise up for everybody to benefit from the internet.”

Ajayi, ITRealms gathered,made this known in  a goodwill message at the 2015 Edition of the annual Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) Conference and Exhibition whichhad the theme: “Internet Penetration, the Way Forward” and held at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos at the weekend.

He revealed that the evolution of NIG began in 1995 when the internet usage was still at its infancy and acknowledged the contributions of Engr. Olawale Ige, the then Minister of Communication for his contributions to the growth and development of NIG. He said that while the internet use in Nigeria has been upbeat, only 50 per cent of the job has just been concluded, calling on Nigerians to support NIG to achieve better internet penetration.

Engr.Ajayi pointed out that even though Nigeria internet awareness began late the coming on board of NIG brought great impetus to the development and promotion of the internet through advocacy, conferences and exhibitions, ITRealms learnt.

The immediate past NIG president, Engr Adebayo George Banjo,had earlier welcomed guests to the occasion stating that the Conference and Exhibition has been with the group since inception and called for support.

ITRealms informs that this year’s conference and exhibition is germane because of the theme which aims to achieve internet penetration and  an improved internet service.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE
 ITREALMS ... everything news digitally!
Pix: Lanre Ajayi

Featured post @ITREALMS

NDSF@15: Ojo, Adebayo, Nnamani, Ekuwem, Nwannenna, Odusote join DigitalSENSE Hall of Fame - ITREALMS

ITREALMS ... making leadership SENSE with digital news! The Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda, Mr. Edetaen Ojo alongside the chairman,...