" ITREALMS: March 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

Cote d'Ivoire hosts African research summit powered by Glo

The acclaimed West Africa's fully integrated  telecommunications service provider, Globacom, is the telecommunication partner of  the third annual conference and fourth Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the West and Central African Research and Educational Network (WACREN) holding in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, reports ITRealms.

The two-day event which ends today, Friday, March 31s, ITRealms gathered would be an assemblage of policy and decision-makers, scientists, researchers, network managers, collaboration specialists, e-learning, identity and access management experts, connectivity and equipment providers from across Africa and the rest of the world are expected at the summit sponsored by Globacom.

The theme of the conference is "Catalyzing Quality Higher Education and Research".  

Globacom in a statement said the theme will offer a platform to generate multi-faceted ideas to elevate the standard of education and advance the cause of research and development across the African continent, especially within the West African sub-region.

“Globacom appreciates the value of research and development as a critical success factor to the development of West Africa. This is why we are backing this summit to the hilt,” the telecom company said in a statement from its head office in Lagos. “It is simply apposite that we are sponsoring this summit that is aimed at advancing education and research in Africa,” the company added.

Globacom said it would seize the occasion of the summit to showcase some of its cutting-edge solutions that can assist educational institutions to stay ahead in the field of research and development.

The company said it would, for instance, be delighted to demonstrate its capabilities to link up educational institutions in the West African sub-region with their peers within and outside the continent via fibre-optic cable to facilitate research collaboration.

“We will also showcase to institutions and business organisations some of our solutions that can significantly cut their operational expenditure, improve efficiency, and positively impact their bottom lines,” said Folu Aderibigbe, the company's Enterprise Group Commercial Coordinator.

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Uber, Old Mutual to extend money course Nigeria, Ghana & Kenya

A partnership between Uber and Old Mutual in commemoration of the Global Money Week, have agreed to extend its free money management course to its driver-partners in Accra-Ghana, Lagos-Nigeria and Nairobi-Kenya, reports ITRealms.

The course, which held in South Africa this year, ITRealms gathered, reflects Global Money Week’s theme with “Learn. Save. Earn.”

ITRealms reports that Driver-partners who attending the workshops this week, would be empowered with the skills to manage their finances in order to grow their income and save for the future.

In addition, ITRealms reports that drivers will receive an invitation via email to reserve their seat.

Driver-partners across Africa are extremely important to Uber and their own financial wellbeing is an ongoing priority. The technology and flexibility of the Uber app enables driver-partners to start, run and grow a small business on their own terms. By offering skills development in financial management, Uber can assist entrepreneurs in building sustainable businesses.

Recent statistics illustrate the contribution small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make to high growth economies on the African continent. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics notes that there are over 17 million SMEs registered in Kenya, with these businesses employing half of the Kenyan workforce. In Ghana, 92 per cent of companies registered are micro, small and medium enterprises and contribute 70 percent to the country’s GDP, while Nigeria has seen a 100% increase in small businesses in recent years.

Nonye Dom/GEE
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FG unveils management, board members for DBN

The Federal Government has given details of members of the board and management of the newly licensed Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN), with the management team led by a seasoned banker, Mr. Tony Okpanachi, reports ITRealms.

Okpanachi, ITRealms gathered, before his appointment as MD/CEO of DBN, was the Deputy Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria Limited.

Prior to that, Okpanachi was the Managing Director, Ecobank Kenya and Cluster Managing Director for East Africa (comprising Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Ethiopia). He was also at various times Managing Director of Ecobank Malawi and Regional Coordinator for Lagos and South West of Ecobank Nigeria.

A banker with over 26 years’ experience, Okpanachi  holds a Master degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Manchester Business School UK and a Master of Science degree in Economics from University of Lagos.

He would be supported by the Chief Financial Officer, Mrs. Ijeoma Ozulumba and Chief Risk Officer, Mr. Olu Adegbola.

The Board members include, according to the Director of Information at the Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Salisu Na'inna Dambatta, listed the DBN Chairman, Dr. Shehu Yahaya (who was the interim MD of DBN and former Executive Director, AfDB); Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji and Mohammed  Kalif, of the African Development Bank.

Independent Directors of the DBN are former Group Managing Director/CEO of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Philips Oduoza; President and CEO, African Finance Corporation,  Mr. Andrew Alli; Chairman, FBN Merchant Bank, Alhaji Bello Maccido; Founder/Managing Director, JNC International Limited, Mrs Clare Omatseye and the Managing Director, CEO Excel Professional Service Limited, Mr. Oladimeji Alo.
ITRealms recalls that the Finance Ministry had on Wednesday received notice from the regulator that it was free to commence operations of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) focused Development Bank of Nigeria.

Speaking at a recent strategy retreat with the management team, board members, and other key stakeholders of DBN in attendance, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun reaffirmed the importance of the DBN’s mandate and assured them of the public sector support needed to ensure the DBN’s success.

“Despite limited access to financing, MSMEs contribute a significant 45% to the national economy.  If these institutions could have reliable access to working and investment capital at low cost, the multiplier effect on economic growth and job creation would be significant” she said.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Voice IT wins 48-hour African Fintech hackathon

An information technology start-up, Voice IT, has emerged winner of Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF) 48-hour ReCode Nigeria hackathon sponsored by Access Bank, reports ITRealms.

The software developers got cracking with access to Access Bank’s Application Programming Interface (API) to build their solutions during the event.

This, ITRealms gathered, was the first time the bank would open its API to external software developers via its PayWithCapture.

The prize for the winning team include N1.5 million cash from Access Bank, 1 year access to IBM Bluemix artificial intelligence platform worth over N10 million, 1 year access to Microsoft BizSpark developer toolkit worth over N6 million plus mentoring from the AFF team.

To win these prizes, Voice IT designed an Android application that helps temporarily or permanently disabled bank customers to carry out transaction with the aid of a natural voice interface with artificial intelligence.

Packaged to address challenges of customer experience and value creation opportunities beyond payment in Africa, the competition received 18 teams and 70 participants who are developers, start-ups and fintechs. The objective was to develop innovation that could help shape the future of banking.

Speaking at the event, Group MD and CEO of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, commended the contestants for their resilience, saying that, “Access Bank is the first Nigerian bank to fully support the hosting of a fintech hackathon. We are committed to giving our customers the best value and to supporting the fintech community in Nigeria”.

AFF spokesperson, Victor Okigbo said the participants were subjected to 48-hour intense burst of ideation and execution with teams of bankers and programmers co-creating working prototypes and experimenting with innovative customer-centric approaches to old challenges.

“The message to investors, analysts and the public is that Nigerian banks can lead financial technology ecosystem to secure future growth while creating real value for stakeholders”, he added.

Okigbo informed that hands-on solutions and APIs from IBM’s Bluemix artificial intelligence platform, Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing infrastructure and Access Bank’s digital financial services platform were available to the teams of ethical hackers.

Entrepreneur-in-Residence for AFF, Olugbenga Agboola, stated that the gesture demonstrated how the bank has shifted its focus to innovation for the benefit of their customers, adding that the “Nigerian financial services can be reshaped by leading the way with technology and creating the next generation solutions”.

Other winners are Paysense and Creative Jar. Paysense studies bank customers’ behaviour based on withdrawal, savings, spending, investments habits and frequency for effective credit scoring, financial solutions streamlining, insights and decision making with segmented data received through artificial intelligence. Creative Jar is a financial assistance that manages money, track expenses and make payments.

Held at Lagos office of Access Bank and new AFF hub on Victoria Island, the hackathon witnessed 18 prototypes with three winners. All 70 participants got affiliate membership of the AFF.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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JAMB says ‘No going back on Computer-Based Test’ on UTME

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has described as "misleading" reports in some news media that it had dumped the Computer-Based Test (CBT) mode in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), reports ITRealms. 

The organization, ITRealms gathered, restated its determination to continue all its examinations using ComputerBased Test (CBT) mode.

JAMB spokesperson, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, informed ITRealms in Abuja via a press statement, that the clarification became necessary "following the misleading caption in the front page of The Nation of Thursday March 30 2017 with the headline: "JAMB dumps CBT, adopts eight keys."

Benjamin insisted that the headline was not only misleading, but capable of causing panic, distortion and confusion in the minds of Nigerians particularly the candidates planning to take the UTME of a well-conceived CBT examination which the Board was consolidating on the gains and feat recorded.

"This report was mischievous because more than 10 other journalists were there at the retreat where the Eight keys intended to make the navigation of the examination easy and friendly  for first time user of computer or any electronic device was restated.

"The serial misleading captions of the Board activities by Nation even when their reporters are at such functions send accurate report to their headquarters is a clear demonstration of an orchestrated attempt to pull the Board down and berates her desire to improve the fortunes of the education sector as it concern public examination.

"In our attempt to make CBT friendly, JAMB introduced the use of 8 keys without a mouse. This we have explained to Nigerians and all stakeholders at the just-concluded strategic planning.

He pointed out on supervision and evaluation of the conduct of the 2017 UTME in Kaduna, where JAMB had the privilege of having over a 100 distinguished scholars from the academia, civil society and  other critical stakeholders.

At the meeting, the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede was quoted as saying that they are determined to continue to innovate on policies that will ease the phobia for CBT, one of which is the introduction of the use of 8 keys without a mouse.

Uj. N. Dominic with additional report by Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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Turkish Airlines passengers to enjoy special headsets

The Turkish Airlines is now offering a special headset to its economy class (EC) passengers on long-haul flights, reports ITRealms.

 This, the airline said, would help passengers to have a world leading high-tech entertainment experience.

ITRealms gathered that the airline revealed, the new service would kicked off with all United States flights as from March 30, 2017 and all other long haul flights of Turkish Airlines as from May, this year.

 A public statement made available to ITRealms by the Turkish Airlines, stressed that the passengers would feel more comfortable by experiencing this high quality headset, specially designed for long flight hours.

“By taking the advantage of this headset on long haul flights of the airline, the passengers will also be able to uninterruptedly enjoy the awarded in-flight entertainment system, planet, includes a wide variety of entertainment options for all preferences,” part of the statement read.

Further, Turkish Airlines said would continue to improve inflight offerings alongside other services to make its passengers feel more special and valued throughout the flight.

Ayo Midele/GEE
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Kenyans tops senders of mobile-to-mobile remittances

Electronic transfers via mobile money accounts for 93 per cent of WorldRemit latest transactions to Kenya showed that Kenyans have continued to be early adopters of innovative technology, even when abroad, reports ITRealms.

Revealing this on the sideline of the 10th anniversary of ground-breaking mobile money service M-PESA, WorldRemit in newly released data indicated that the Kenyan diaspora is the biggest sender of digital remittances to mobile accounts.

Mobile money has played a key role in the growth of WorldRemit’s Kenyan customer base, attracted by the low price, speed and convenience of sending instant remittances from the app or website directly to a mobile phone in Kenya.

In January 2017, WorldRemit customers transferred more than $140m (at annualised rate) to Kenya, making WorldRemit one of the largest remittance companies serving the Kenyan diaspora.

Top remittance-sending countries are the UK, Australia, US, Germany, Canada and Nordic countries.
Around three million Kenyans live abroad, with large communities in North America, Europe and Australia.

Remittances play an important role in Kenya’s economy – inward remittances reached a record value of just under $161m in November 2016, according to the Central Bank of Kenya, making it one of the nation’s top earners.

WorldRemit is now connected to over a fifth of all mobile money accounts - 112 million of 500 million mobile money accounts around the world.

74% of all international remittances to mobile money accounts coming from money transfer operators are sent via WorldRemit.

The company has pioneered mobile to mobile remittances, sending to 32 mobile money services in 24 countries - more than any other money transfer service.

Globally, WorldRemit customers send more than 580,000 transfers every month to over 140 destinations. WorldRemit makes sending money as easy as sending an instant message.

Ismail Ahmed, Founder and CEO at WorldRemit, comments: “Kenya is famed for leading Africa’s digital transformation, and today it’s Kenyans abroad who are at the forefront of digitising international money transfers. Most of our Kenyan customers use our mobile app, demonstrating the strong demand for convenience when sending to friends and family.

“With half a billion registered accounts worldwide, mobile money continues to transform lives by allowing people to access financial services for the first time. WorldRemit customers now send more than 65,000 transfers to the country every month from the WorldRemit app and website with over 90% going to M-PESA”.

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Mauritian to host eLearning Africa 2017

The organisers of eLearning Africa, have confirmed that the Government of Mauritius has agreed to host this year’s conference in September, reports ITRealms. 

The conference will be held under the patronage of the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Hon. Mr Yogida Sawmynaden and the Minister of Education, Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Hon. Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun. It will take place in Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, from the 27th to the 29th of September. 

eLearning Africa, which this year is being co-organised by ICWE GmbH, the German company which originally created the event, and the Mauritian Government, has played a major role in promoting technology assisted learning in Africa. Rebecca Stromeyer, CEO of ICWE, said:

“This year will mark the twelfth anniversary of eLearning Africa. The conference has been remarkably successful. It doesn’t just bring people from all over Africa together to discuss, share experience and learn. It also brings experts, entrepreneurs and investors in education from all over the world to Africa. In doing so, it has helped to create a host of new partnerships, to bring about some major investment deals and to inform political decision-making in all sorts of ways.

“I am delighted that this year the event will take place in Mauritius. The Government of Mauritius is committed to using technology to open up a range of new opportunities in education. It is investing heavily in technology-assisted learning and training. Mauritius is a wealthy and stable country with highly developed tourism and financial sectors. The Government is keen to encourage innovation and promote tech start-ups. So, it’s an exciting time to be coming to this beautiful African island and I’m sure that everyone who attends eLearning Africa 2017 will really profit from the experience.” 

Ms Stromeyer added that the theme of this year’s conference – ‘Learning in Context’ – is a very important one for African educators.

“Too often in the past, people from outside have ignored the local context in Africa. But anyone who understands Africa knows how important context is. There are around 3,000 languages spoken across the continent and there is a vast amount of traditional knowledge, which we need to preserve. Technology offers us the opportunity to overcome obstacles and to make the most of diversity. Africa is going to be one of the most successful and prosperous places on the planet, so all of us – Africans and non-Africans - need to understand context and how it shapes education.

“We need to ask how we can localise content to maximise opportunity and how we can apply or adapt technology to meet local conditions and needs.”

In recent years, eLearning Africa has been attended by over 1500 participants from more than 80 different countries. It is accompanied by a ministerial round table, which is attended by Ministers of Education, Science, Technology, Information and Communications from all over Africa and beyond.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Corrupt practices: FG receives 282 tips from whistle blowers via ICT

The Federal Government (FG) has said it received a total of 282 tips from whistle blowers on various corrupt practices, especially with the aid of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), for the week ending March 24, 2017, reports ITRealms.

The government, ITRealms gathered received tips from whistle blowers from across telephone calls, Short Messaging Service (SMS), website and electronic mails (emails).

The use of the whistle blower website, www.whistle.finance.gov.ngITRealms gathered top the list of ICT tools deployed for this whistle blower initiative with a record of 95 tips.

This was followed by tips received through the Short Messaging Service (SMS) recorded 87 clues; while emails received on whistle@finance.gov.ng within this given period as tips was 51 and phone calls recorded 49 tips on its 09098067946.

Confirming this, the Special Adviser on Media to Honourable Minister of Finance, Festus Akanbi noted that since the platforms were opened there have been a total of 2,251 communications received.

In addition, he said that the website received 95 web-based communications that was received by the initiative. Just as 1,550 phone calls was received; 412 SMSes and 194 emails were received respectively.

He also said that the actionable tips received was 154 and some of them worth the while include 22 item lines with contract Inflation and conversion of government assets to personal use, topping the list, followed by subject of ghost workers, payment of unapproved funds, outright embezzlement of salaries of terminated personnel , improper reduction of financial penalties, diversion of funds meant for distribution to a particular group of people (farmers).

Equally, the Ministry said there have been diversion of funds to personal commercial Bank Accounts to earn interest; non-Remittance of pension & NHIS deductions, failure to Implement projects for which funds have been provided, embezzlement of funds received from donor agencies, embezzlement of funds meant for payment of Personnel emoluments, and violation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) regulations by keeping funds in commercial banks, as well as violation of FIRS (VAT) regulation by adjusting Value Added Tax payment  to name but a few.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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ICANN59 fellows emerged

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announces 55 individuals from 43 countries selected to participate in ICANN's Fellowship program at the 59th Public Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26-29 June 2017, reports ITRealms.

ICANN59, ITRealms gathered is a Policy Forum, hence only alumni of the Fellowship Programme were eligible to apply.

These successful candidates represent all sectors of society including; civil, government, ccTLD operations, academia, facets of the business community, technical, security and end user groups.

The Fellowship program seeks to create a broader and more diverse base of knowledgeable constituents with priority given to candidates currently living in underserved and underrepresented communities around the world, those who represent diversity of gender, sector, region, experience, expertise and/or have established financial need.

An independent selection committee assessed the 72 Fellowship applications received for this meeting.

ITRealms gathered that the list of selected candidates is accessible here: http://www.icann.org/en/about/participate/fellowships

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Access to WhatsApp encryption vs your privacy

In the wake of last week’s terrorist attack in Westminster, the British government on Sunday disclosed that its security services must have access to encrypted messaging applications such as WhatsApp, revealing it was used by the killer behind the parliament attack.

In this piece, Yudala – the largest online and offline retail chain – examines the benefits of WhatsApp encryption and why access to these encrypted messages by a third-party may mean less privacy for you.

Created in 2009 as an alternative to text messaging, WhatsApp is today one of the world’s most popular instant messaging service with over one billion users in 180 countries.

According to a May 2016 report from research firm SimilarWeb, WhatsApp is the top chat app in 109 countries, including Brazil, India, and the United Kingdom. Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 to make a bigger play in the rapidly-growing messaging market, along with its own Messenger platform. At the time the deal was announced, WhatsApp had 450 million users worldwide.

Khalid Masood, the 52-year-old Briton who killed four people before being shot dead in a rampage in Westminster on Wednesday, reportedly used WhatsApp to send a message some moments before the assault – a discovery that has seen the UK government determined to gain access to the end-to-end encrypted messages sent through the app.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd affirmed that it was “completely unacceptable” that police and security services had not been able to crack the heavily encrypted service.

“You can’t have a situation where you have terrorists talking to each other — where this terrorist sent a WhatsApp message — and it can’t be accessed,” she said.

WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you're communicating with can read what is sent and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. Your messages are secured with a lock and, only the recipient and you, have the special key needed to unlock and read your message. For added protection, every message you send has a unique lock and key. All of this happens automatically: no need to turn on settings or set up special secret chats to secure your messages.

It is also important to note that end-to-end encryption is always activated, provided all parties are using the latest version of WhatsApp. There is no way to turn off end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption is available when you and the people you message are on the latest versions of WhatsApp.

The benefits of end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp are numerous and has remained one of the major factors that has contributed to the growing popularity of the Facebook-owned service. These benefits include:

Privacy: With end-to-end encryption in place, people can communicate with each other and express themselves freely without fear of unintended people gaining access to their private stuff. This way, you can talk to your doctor about your medication, hold intimate chat sessions with your spouse/partner or have a discussion with an associate about a business proposal without the fear of being overheard or the call being tapped.

Safe group chats: Group chats are also safely encrypted, thereby lending an air of confidentiality to messages sent in such a forum. With encryption featuring in group chats, non-group members will have no clue at all about the happenings in the group. This makes it more attractive for people with like minds and interests to discuss their affairs in WhatsApp groups without the fear of being overheard.

Encryption works by default: Encryption setting is turned on by default by WhatsApp in all devices. If you are running the version of WhatsApp that has encryption support, you will be informed of this on your chat screen when you send messages across along with a lock symbol next to the confirmation screen. You can also verify the default ON setting by making use of a unique QR code on the phone of each contact in your list. In case, for some reason, the default encryption setting does not get activated, you can do it yourself through a simple process. In your chat window, just click on your contact’s name at the top of the window to display his or her profile details. You will find an option to turn the encryption on.

WhatsApp can’t read your messages: End-to-end encryption means that even if it wanted to, WhatsApp cannot gain access to your messages. In other words, only the sender and receiver can read intended messages. Not even WhatsApp employees or hackers will be able to gain access to the messages sent or received. This applies to any form of messages – text, images, videos and files.

Encryption works on all devices: The encryption in WhatsApp works using an open-source protocol known as Signal that is developed by an organization called Open Whsiper Systems. This company has worked in close association with WhatsApp in determining its requirements and the level of encryption to be provided. The app ensures that smartphones featuring this app support the encryption and decryption keys to be applied to messages going out and coming into the device. The encryption technology is supported by all recent WhatsApp versions running on Android, Windows, iPhones, and Nokia phones. Keeping in line with the usual trend, WhatsApp first introduced encryption on Android before extending it to other platforms.

Even in error, you are protected: WhatsApp has become very focused on making encryption mandatory that it now refuses to work on unencrypted messages. If a person tries to send a contact an unencrypted message, WhatsApp will immediately prevent him or her from doing so. Additionally, the sender will be informed that this is because the messages being sent from his or her end are not encrypted.

No server hacks with end-to-end encryption: When the encryption process was first implemented by WhatsApp, it took place over a central hub. Messages management and key exchange coordination take place centrally, apart from central control of the encrypted code that is executed on both the servers and mobile phones. However, this did not result in complete safety and paved way for end-to-end encryption. As a result, messages will get decrypted only on the receivers’ handsets rather than in between the server and the handsets.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Ifeanyi Ubah, Jimi Agbaje, lead speakers to CYON Business Summit’17

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil & Gas Industry Limited, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah will be leading speakers to the 2017 Business Summit by the Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON), St. Jude Catholic Church, Mafoluku Oshodi, Lagos, reports ITRealms.

Disclosing this, the President of Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON), St. Jude Catholic Church, Mafoluku Oshodi, Lagos, Emmanuel Agbo and Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson, Cynthia Diko, said in a public statement made available to ITRealms that the summit theme would be on ‘Discovering the Hidden Treasure of the Nation.’

The summit, ITRealms gathered would be presided over by the former governorship aspirant in Lagos State and chief executive of Jaakay Pharmaceuticals and Chemicals Limited, Mr. Joseph Olujimi Agbaje.

Other speakers, Agbo said, include the Chief executive officer, Zaron Cosmetic Limited, Ms Oke Maduewesi and chairman, African Centre for Business Development, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa.

Also, Agbo said that the business summit will take place on Saturday, May 6, 2017, at the Dini Hall, St Jude parish compound, Mafoluku-Oshodi.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE
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CBN to monitor sale of Forex by banks, sets rate @N360

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all banks in the country to immediately begin sale of forex for BTA, PTA, Tuition and Medical fees to customers at not more than N360 per dollar, reports ITRealms.

The Acting Director, Corporate Communications at CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, disclosed this in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja on Monday.

Also, CBN has directed all banks to ensure immediate posting of this changes in their banking halls nationwide.

“CBN will sell to banks at 357 naira per dollar. Banks are to post the new rates in the banking halls of their branches immediately,” he said.

According to him, CBN would be monitoring this directive by sending examiners to banks to ensure the new rates are implemented and directive complied with.

“Banks are prohibited from selling FX funds meant for invisibles to Bureau De Changes (BDCs),” he said.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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Graham warns African digital workers of ‘parastic capitalism’

Oxford based digital expert, Professor Mark Graham, has warned African digital workers over what he tagged as danger of ‘parastic capitalism’ where digital companies give little back to the places where they are embedded and platform workers are left to fend for themselves, reports ITRealms.

Addressing the 4th UNI Global Union held in Dakar, Senegal, Prof. Graham drew attention on his recently launched paper “Digital Labour and Development” and the corresponding report “The Risks and Rewards of Online Gig Work At the Global Margins,” saying that there is an alternative to the ‘Upwork.com’ and ‘Mechanical Turk’ model which is unfortunately successfully pushing the platform economy in its image.

“Unions must work together to produce an alternative which safeguards the rights of workers. There is no time for excuses because the new structures are being put into place now,” he said.

He also said that the Union could imagine organisations committed to transparency and identifying best practices doing a lot to ensure that workers are paid living wages, have appropriate social and economic protections, and aren’t saddled with an undue amount of risk.

“So, a Fair Work foundation instead of a Fairtrade foundation – verifying and certifying these sorts of things. We can also use what we know about the socially disembedded nature of this work, to push for more of it to be sourced through firms, social enterprises, non-profits, and of course cooperatives – of the non-platform – variety - that adhere to local labour laws.”

“The geographically dispersed nature of digital work platforms has made it extremely hard to regulate. There are many who thrive in that environment. But the role of labour regulation should be to help the most vulnerable. One solution may be that employment status should be established in the place that a service is actually provided. Why should an employer based in Germany or the US be able to avoid adhering to labour laws and minimum standards just because they used a digital platform to connect with a worker?” Graham said.

The UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings' said research into the Future World of Work followed by action was crucial.

“We have to face the reality - the research that has been undertaken by Oxford University, the World Economic Forum, the OECD and others all points to a bleak future of employment which cuts across many sectors. This poses policy questions at all levels and there needs to be more urgency in the policy response,” Jennings said.

Chuks Egbune with additional report from APO Dakar/GEE 

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Pix: Professor Mark Graham

Turkish Airlines offers eXPhone service for roaming passengers

The Turkish Airlines is now offering "eXPhone" service for an uninterrupted communication during the flight, reports ITRealms.

Turkish Airlines, ITRealms gathered is the Europe’s Best Airline for the sixth consecutive years, said the revolutionary service, will redefine flight experience for its customers across the its over 200 destinations while on board.

As an extension of Wi-Fi and live TV availability on its Boeing B777 and Airbus A330 aircrafts, Turkish Airlines said it is being enabled through the initiative to offer a mobile internet connectivity by eXPhone to its guests.

Passengers on Turkish Airlines will begin to enjoy the service commencing from April 2017.

“By using this service, passengers will be able to send text messages (excluding voice messages), check their e-mails and browse internet (including social media platforms) with their own mobile phones,” the airline said in a statement.

According to the airline, the stages of the process for the usage of the service are two-pronged.

“First, the cabin crew will make an announcement to inform the passengers about the service’s current availability for on-board use, after the take-off.

“Second, provided that the “Data Roaming” mode is activated on passengers’ mobile phones, the exPhone service will automatically run, which will be used till the flight is ready for landing.”

The airline also confirmed that the service has been tested to offer communications service that allow its passengers to run their businesses and exchange communication with relatives and friends while on-board.

“The eXPhone service, which is offered in close cooperation with Panasonic and AeroMobile, has successfully been tested on-board during a flight with the participations of our relevant authorities, via one of our cabin attendant’ mobile phone.

“The eXPhone service will be billed by the passengers’ mobile phone operators, and the prices will vary depending on their individual roaming contracts. Passengers may find the details of this service in Turkish Airlines’ inflight magazine, SkyLife.”

Turkish Airlines has always been at the forefront of deploying technology to offer improved flight experience for its customers.

In December, 2016, the airline selected Panasonic Avionics Corporation’s (Panasonic) advanced eX1 inflight entertainment and communications (IFEC) system and Global Communication Services for its new fleet of narrow body aircraft.

The eX1 solution is an advanced narrow-body IFE system. Its uncompromising industrial design, high-definition display technologies and high fidelity audio create a home theater atmosphere that draws passengers into an immersive entertainment experience.

The system will include Panasonic’s unique Passenger Data Integration (PDI) service, which will allow Turkish Airlines to add higher levels of personalisation to its inflight experience.

The PDI will also allow Turkish Airlines to seamlessly recognize the travel preferences of their guests and recommend content, services and amenities specific that will enhance their experience both in flight and in their destination city.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Nigeria commences online Visa on Arrival

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has commenced a liberalised online Visa on Arrival (VOA) facility to the public for foreign investors and willing professionals desirous of coming to Nigeria, reports ITRealms.

The Comptroller-General of the NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, Thursday, said that‎ the measure was part of the resolution of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) aimed at attracting foreign investors to the country.

“‎As a critical member of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the NIS has automated its visa application and processing services at all entry points. This is to ensure that all genuine requests for Visa on Arrival facility from any part of the world are processed and issued within 48 hours (two working days),” NIS boss said.

He explained that the‎ online VOA application and processing facility is a product of robust visa reforms regime intended to bring Nigeria in tandem with global best practices and attract Foreign Direct Investors and skilled professionals into the country.

Also, the controller-general said that the new process was‎ designed to eliminate all unnecessary bureaucratic visa processing procedures in Nigerian Missions abroad. Stressing this would be of great help for potential visitors from countries where Nigeria does not have a Mission.‎

He said that‎ ‎a dedicated e-mail address oa@nigeriaimmigration.gov.ng has been deployed where visa applicants, their representatives or companies could forward their requests and details.

Advising applicants to use functional e-mail addresses where copies of approval letter shall be forwarded upon a successful process and payment.‎

“Applicants are, however, to note that successful payment online is not an approval and should not proceed to Nigeria until you have received ‘Visa on Arrival Approval letter’ duly issued by the NIS Headquarters, Abuja.”‎

He said that a VOA desk had been opened at all international airports in the country where visas would be issued upon the presentation of all the necessary travel documents and evidence of visa payment.

The NIS boss expressed optimism that the VOA process and the introduction of the harmonised arr‎ival and departure cards would go a long way in attracting investors to the country. 

Nonye Dom with additional reports from NAN/GEE

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Dell, Intel launch cloud ecosystem hub for EMEA

Dell EMC and Intel have launched a new web-based Cloud Ecosystem Hub, to provide Cloud Service Providers (SPs) in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) as well as end users with an online one stop site to unify and simplify access to Dell EMC’s cloud proposition and resources, reports ITRealms.

Country Manager, Dell EMC Nigeria, Travers Nicholas said that the hub will connect customers with SPs to help establish stronger marketing efforts, enabling digital transformation and significantly growing long term Cloud business.

This new unified platform demonstrates Dell EMC’s commitment to providing choice and unique solutions to every customer and removing obstacles to cloud adoption through hosting an online cloud portal for Dell EMC Technology, making it easier for customers to select the right SP to address their needs. For SPs, the hub will be a platform to launch key initiatives and drive new business through the marketplace. With sales revenues in the hardware market decreasing and much of the Cloud market set to transition over to hybrid Cloud, it is expected that Cloud SPs will acquire a considerably larger market share over the next five years[i] and Dell EMC and Intel will act as key business enablers to all parties.

“Historically, vendors have failed to support Service Providers in their campaigns and the Dell EMC Cloud Ecosystem represents a game-changing development for both Service Providers and customers alike,” said Eric Velfre, senior vice president, Compute and Networking Sales Dell EMC EMEA. “By simplifying access to the Dell EMC Cloud value proposition and offering content and support for co-marketing projects, we can generate awareness and enable new capabilities to achieve greater profitability for our partners. Through the Dell EMC Cloud Community we can also drive demand from the customer towards Service Providers and capture feedback to help develop future Dell EMC Cloud technologies” he said.

The country manager also said that the One-Stop site for enterprise customers, the Cloud Ecosystem Hub promises to help them understand how to transform their businesses, with a dedicated repository of up-to-date resources and assets explaining the value proposition and benefits offered by Dell EMC’s Cloud technologies. Customers will be able to select SPs through bespoke searches to find the most relevant solutions for their businesses, with options to contact providers directly through the platform. The Cloud Ecosystem Hub will also allow customers to discover and register for broader industry events organised by SPs and Dell EMC.

The Cloud Ecosystem Hub, he said, includes an array of new tools for SPs, including LeadPool demand generation, allowing partners to identify ‘hot’ vendor agnostic leads, along with additional resources to help promote offerings directly to customers.

As said by him, the platform also provides the latest insights and information around Dell EMC’s and Intel’s Cloud technology offerings to help SPs build a stronger portfolio. In addition Dell EMC will allow SPs to run co-marketing campaigns with tools to assist in the creation of marketing assets, campaign building and client and influencer networking, featured within the marketplace.

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