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Falana, Odinkalu to speak @LAP awards - ITREALMS

ITREALMS : Leading human rights activists, Mr. Femi Falana SAN and Prof. Chidi Odinkalu are billed to speak at this year’s League of An...


ICT4D Week 2018

Friday, December 14, 2018

Falana, Odinkalu to speak @LAP awards - ITREALMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kasie Abone/GEE

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ICT skills wanted to connect people everywhere - ITREALMS

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

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

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

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

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

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nenye Dom/GEE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ayo Midele/GEE

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'Biggest threat to 2019 is fake news' - ITREALMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nenye Dom/GEE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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UNCTAD unveils Rapid eTrade Readiness Assessments on 3 countries - ITREALMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remmy Nweke/ED, Ops

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

US drums support for 105 emerging entrepreneurs in Nigeria – ITREALMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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164 governments adopt UN global migration pact - ITREALMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nenye Dom with agency report/GEE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Investors must capture 2019 opportunities - ITREALMS

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

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

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

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

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Google celebrates Kenya @54 with doodle - ITREALMS

Global technology company, Google has on Wednesday, celebrated the business hub of East Africa, Kenya as the country marks 54th anniversary as a republic with a doodle, reports ITREALMS.

Kenya, ITREALMS gathered is an East African nation with coastline on the Indian Ocean, encompassing savannah, lakelands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands.

Locally, ITREALMS reports that Jamhuri Day also known as Republic Day, is a national holiday in Kenya, celebrated on 12 December each year. Jamhuri is the Swahili word for "republic" and the holiday is meant to officially mark the date when Kenya became an independent republic which happened on 12th December 1964.

Kenya, also home to wildlife like lions, elephants and rhinos with its capital in Nairobi, which safaris visit the Maasai Mara Reserve, known for its annual wildebeest migrations, and Amboseli National Park, offering views of Tanzania's 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Remmy Nweke in Nairobi/ED Ops

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Half world population now use Internet revealed ITU - ITREALMS

More than half of the world’s population is now using the Internet, according to the 2018 global and regional Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) estimates by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), reports ITREALMS.

ITU which is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), 
ITREALMS gathered, estimated that at the end of 2018, 51.2 per cent of the global population, or 3.9 billion people, will be using the Internet.

The Secretary General, ITU, Mr. Houlin Zhao, made this known to 
ITREALMS, asserting that ITU’s global and regional estimates for 2018 are a pointer to the great strides the world is making towards building a more inclusive global information society.

“By the end of 2018, we will surpass the 50/50 milestone for Internet use. This represents an important step towards a more inclusive global information society. However, far too many people around the world are still waiting to reap the benefits of the digital economy. We must encourage more investment from the public and private sectors and create a good environment to attract investments, and support technology and business innovation so that the digital revolution leaves no one offline,” he said.

Director of ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Brahima Sanou, said that the new 2018 estimates revealed that there continues to be a general upward trend in the access to and use of information and communication technologies.

“Access to telecommunication networks continues to increase, in particular in mobile connections. However, affordability should continue to be at the top of our priorities for the digital economy to become a reality for all,” Sanou said.

According to ITU, in developed countries, slow and steady growth increased the percentage of population using the Internet, from 51.3 per cent in 2005 to 80.9 per cent in 2018. In developing countries, growth has been much more sustained increasing from 7.7 per cent in 2005 to 45.3 per cent at the end of 2018.
ITREALMS also gathered that of all ITU regions, the strongest growth was reported in Africa, where the percentage of people using the Internet increased from 2.1 per cent in 2005 to 24.4 per cent in 2018. Equally, ITU disclosed that the regions with the lowest growth rates were Europe, with 79.6 per cent, and the Americas, with 69.6 per cent of the population using the Internet.

In the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, 71.3 per cent will be using the Internet; 54.7 per cent in the Arab States and 47 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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ACSIS president wants sanctions for erring tech giants in Africa – ITREALMS

The President of the African Civil Society on the Information Society (ACSIS), Dr. Cisse Kane has called on African leaders to leverage technology by ensuring that erring industry giants on the continent are sanctioned as obtainable in other parts of the world, reports ITREALMS.

Speaking at the opening business and civil society forum on Monday at the week-long Africa eCommerce Week in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr. Kane lamented that despite violation by some technology giants lately, without any reactions from any African leaders or governments.

According to him, technology laws as it pertain to consumers, for instance, is not much difference when it comes to Africa, so he does not get it when African consumers are exploited by international technology companies without any representation from the continent’s leaders.

Those largely affected by this lack of concern are the youth and women.

ITREALMS recalled that a few weeks ago, Brussels, headquarters the European Union (EU), had warned Facebook it will face sanctions unless it changes what the European commission calls its “misleading” terms and conditions.

As said by the EU commissioner-in-charge of consumer protection, Věra Jourová, EU had run out of patience with the social network technology company, after nearly two years of discussions aimed at giving Facebook’s European users more information about how their data is used, declaring “Progress is not enough for me, I want to see results.”

Facebook has been given until the end of this year, 2018, to change its terms of service, as EU insisted, “Facebook will face sanctions from national authorities. They will look into sanctions after the new year in case they do not see sufficient progress.”

For him, sanctions on some of the international technology firms will help in supporting youth innovation in Africa.

The Africa eCommerce Week is hosted until Friday, December 15, 2018 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development at the conference centre of the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya.

Remmy Nweke in Nairobi/ED Ops

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Kituyi tasks African leaders on eCommerce adoption – ITREALMS

The Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi has said that time is running out for African Union to do catch-up on electronic commerce (eCommerce), reports ITREALMS.

In his opening speech to the business and civil society session at the Africa eCommerce Week in Nairobi, Kituyi said this has become imperative for a sense of urgency, decrying that Africa was being left out of the discourse on e-commerce that had already taken place elsewhere.

He also said, “That’s why this meeting is important,” just as Rapid eTrade Readiness Assessments were unique products that had been much in demand by African governments.

“Faced with current global trade challenges, many countries are moving forward with e-commerce strategies, but it is important that governments include all stakeholders,” he said.

UNCTAD’s Rapid eTrade Readiness Assessments focus on practical steps that national governments, with the support of donor agencies, development banks and international organizations, can take to boost online trade.

The assessments show that vast reforms are needed to seize the development opportunities offered by e-commerce. But they also help African countries to identify opportunities, barriers and relevant policy measures required to improve their readiness to engage in and benefit from e-commerce.

The Africa eCommerce Week, which commenced on Monday would last till Friday, December 15, 2018 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Remmy Nweke in Nairobi/ED, Ops

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Instagram inspires women startups - ITREALMS

As part of the Africa Tech Week which took place in Lagos, photo sharing app, Instagram on Thursday, 6 December held the maiden edition of ‘Inspire Action’ training - aimed to inspire, educate, and train between 70 to 80 women entrepreneurs and women working in the technology industry during TechCrunch Week.

Speaking on the programme, Kezia Anim-Addo, Communications Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Facebook said that part of the goal is to demonstrate to entrepreneurs and policy makers that Instagram is the perfect platform that creative businesses need to grow locally and internationally.

“We have come to realise that more women are keying into the tech culture, and as a result, there is a new wave of growth that cannot be neglected. More importantly, the number of startups and young entrepreneurs who are keying into the Instagram platform is on the increase. This training will serve as a guide, while introducing them to new models of ensuring business growth,” Anim-Addo said.

She added that the training also celebrated the achievements and contributions of women-owned businesses on Facebook and Instagram.

The programme introduced participants to an overview of Instagram including local insights, branded content and influencer narrative, better ways of leveraging Instagram stories, and a host of others. It also featured an influencer panel.

Participants at the training included SMBs, women founders of brands of various categories including fashion, beauty, food & beverage, lifestyle, artists, social initiatives and a host of others.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

MainOne bags business leader award - ITREALMS

The Data Centre Dynamics (DCD) Awards has announced MainOne,  CEO, Funke Opeke, the 2018 Data Centre Dynamics Business Leader of the Year during the 2018 edition at the Royal Lancaster, London on Thursday, December 6, 2018, reports ITREALMS.

The Business Leader of the Year Award recognises a company or individual who has done the most over the past 12 months to build the profile of the data centre industry to key stakeholder groups including investors, shareholders, financiers, owners, operators, the media and/or government.

Selected by an independent panel of data centre experts from hundreds of entries from across the world, Opeke was recognized for her role in leading her company, MainOne to success in West Africa, taking on the task of building a Tier III certified data centre from the ground up with cables connecting it to the rest of the world, as well as her ability to assert herself, deliver results and actively take on challenges within a male-dominated field while encouraging other women in her team to do the same.

Expressing her delight at winning the award, the Ms. Opeke, who was unable to attend the awards, shared a one-minute video where she thanked the organizers of the Data Centre Dynamics Awards for the award and affirmed the company’s commitment to the digital transformation of West Africa “Digital infrastructure is so critical to improving productivity and helps build economies and we are truly committed to ensuring that West Africa is well connected with the rest of the world and that we are able to provide high quality and low latency access to services to people in our region.”

Other big winners of the night include Equinix, CyrusOne, Microsoft, American Express, Next DC, and Apple.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Reject Buhari, Atiku says Ositelu - ITREALMS

Nigerians have been urged to reject the presidential candidates of All Progressive Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming general election, reports ITREALMS.

The Presidential candidate of Accord Party, Isaac Babatunde Ositelu, gave this charge, promising to turn Nigeria into the food basket for the West Africa sub-region during his tenure as the President of the largest populated country in Africa.

A press statement weekend in Lagos and made available to ITREALMS, Ositelu stressed that with the resources available in the country, hunger ought to be a rear feature of the nation’s socio-economic make up.

He assured that not only will the nation be self-sufficient in food production for local consumptions, the nation would also embark on export of food crops to countries in the sub-region.

He said that Nigeria is blessed with very resourceful and enterprising population, excellent weather and expansive land area good enough for large scale food productions. According to him, the tertiary institutions; particularly the Universities of Agriculture and the relevant stakeholders in the agricultural value chain as well as financial institutions would be networked to form a coalition of support system in the sector.

As said by him, the visionary plan of Accord Party is to have hunger banished from the land by the guarantee of at least two square meals for every citizens of Nigeria.

Ositelu, however, said that for Nigeria to come out of the present state of despair in its socio-political and economic travesty, the Nigerian electorates must reject the candidacy of Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

This daring charge was made by Ositelu, who said that the candidates of both APC and PDP were part of the grand designs that led to the current misery and hopelessness in the country.

He said that the political leadership of Nigeria needs a break away from the old order that plunged the country into the abyss of low self-esteem, hunger, disease and backwardness as a nation. He said that the recent rating of Nigeria as the poverty capital of the world and its latest ranking as the third most terrorised nation of the world, are demeaning for the potentials and the huge image of Nigeria as a nation.

Promising a new beginning and a fresh start that would lift the nation out of the woods, he said that if voted into power as the next President of Nigeria, he would embark on economic rejuvenation that will bring prosperity to all parts of the country. Ositelu said that the economic blueprint of his party would focus on empowerment for the energetic and youthful population of Nigeria.

According to him, the Accord Party led government will create clusters of micro economic centres across the six geo-political zones of the country. He said that his government will identify niche business opportunities and vocation in each of the geo-political zones and provide the needed funding for trainings and skills development that will lead to the teeming youths becoming employable, employer of labour and generating economic activities that support GDP growth.

The Accord Party Presidential hopeful said that solving the humongous economic challenges facing the nation does not require rocket science. He said that by adopting the backward integration economic policy, he could reverse the trending rural-urban migration currently plaguing the nation. 

He stressed that the economic activities to be generated in each geo-political zones of the country would help to stem the population drift from the rural areas to the urban centres.

He said that the comprehensive policy document of his government will ensure the provision of reliable and clean energy in the various critical masses across the country. According to him, industrial parks and markets as well as manufacturing hubs across the country would be given focussed priority in the provision of electricity, portable water and critical infrastructure that will help to grow and develop the nation’s economy.

Ositelu said that his government would carry out the mapping of the nation’s current and future manufacturing hubs, industrial parks and markets so that information sharing critical for support services could be easily accessible for operators in the various sectors of the economy. He assured that building and sustaining the rural roads would be given a pride of place in the policy drive to connect the nooks and crannies of the economic roadmap of his government.

He said that the federal government under his leadership would walk hands in gloves with the various arms and tiers of government to ensure that the complex intrigues that often setback economic recovery and growth is made a thing of the past. He said that by diversifying the economy, each state would be encouraged to focus on its area of strength where federal government and requisite global development partner agencies will join hands to make such efforts profitable and rewarding for the local communities in each state. According to him, the short, medium and long term policy vision of the Accord Party led government is to have manufacturing and/or agro-business located at every local government in the country.

The presidential hopeful stressed that the period when cocoa produce left Nigeria only to return into the country as chocolate and other derivatives will be a thing of the past. He said that in each of the agricultural produces, government would create the enabling environment whereby there would be robust value-chains that will guarantee economic prosperity for the farmers and other sector investors.

Ositelu said that by creating a unique database for the manufacturing, agro-business and production hubs across the country, the Nigerian and foreign investors will have access to relevant information that would fast track participations in the industrial, manufacturing and agricultural sectors. He said that the promise of shared prosperity for all Nigerians is a sure way that government intends to use for curbing the trends of brain drain and needless search for greener pastures across the globe by the human resources produced in the country.

According to him, if the Central Bank of Nigeria’s report that the country had saved $21billion from foods imports within 24 months, the Accord Party led government will triple that record by long term and integrated development of the food chain with the focus on local food productions. He assured that the apex bank and the deposit money banks would be given needed policy supports to enhance their resources deployment for growing the agro-business.

Ayo Midele/GEE

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Appeal Court sets aside conviction of Shell MD, others - ITREALMS


The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt has set aside the order of a High Court of Rivers State which sentenced the Managing Director of The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Osagie Okunbor, and two other senior officers of the company to three months in prison for contempt.
The appellate court gave the ruling on Wednesday, November 5, following an appeal of the committal order filed by SPDC.
The High Court had on October 9, 2018, ordered Osagie; SPDC Company Secretary, Nike Oyinlola; and the Managing Counsel for Litigation, Sub-Sahara Africa, Keibi Atemie, to be committed to prison for disobeying a 2008 judgement of the High Court to forfeit the land on which the Bonny Oil Export Terminal is built.
But SPDC, in a statement after the committal order, said the company had not disobeyed any court order and had appealed the conviction. “We do not accept that SPDC has disobeyed any lawful order of court and have accordingly appealed this judgement. SPDC has utmost respect for the courts and the laws of Nigeria,” said the SPDC statement.
The Bonny Oil Terminal on Bonny island in Rivers State is a critical national asset in which  the Federal Government holds 55 percent interest. The terminal receives crude oil from international and local oil companies through the Trans Niger Pipeline and the Nembe Creek Trunk Line for export.
Nenye Dom/GEE
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Pix: Mr. Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director, The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and  Country Chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria.

Samory Kpotufe takes Bell prize 2018 - ITREALMS

Nokia has revealed the top three winners of its fifth annual Bell Labs Prize with Samory Kpotufe, taking the top prize for this year as star winner, reports ITREALMS.

The prize, ITREALMS gathered is an international competition for innovators with ideas that will significantly 'change the game' in the field of information and communications technologies by a factor of 10.

The winners collectively earned $175,000 in cash prizes and are given the unique opportunity to collaborate with Nokia Bell Labs researchers to help realize their vision.

First Place: Samory Kpotufe, currently an Assistant Professor at Princeton, and joining Columbia University next month, won the First Prize and $100,000 for his pioneering work on the critically important field of 'transfer learning' in machine learning that answers the question of how and when can learning from one machine learning tool, be applied to another; this is a question that lies at the heart of all machine learning - is each model a 'one off' or can the learnings be applied to other scenarios, and if so when? Samory has answered this question with a breakthrough theory that provides a quantitative answer.

Second Place: Aydin Babakhani of UCLA won Second Prize and $50,000 for his work on novel terahertz devices that can produce and receive a broad spectrum of Terahertz radiation at low cost and tiny form factor, opening the door to the imaging of our world in profoundly new ways.

Third Place: A team comprised of Benjamin Zaidel of Bar-llan University and Shlomo Shamai of Technion Institute of Technology, won Third Prize and $25,000, for their pioneering work on a practically implementable optimal air interface solution for connecting millions of IoT devices over radio network resources that is extremely close to the theoretical performance limit and cost-optimized.

Marcus Weldon, President of Nokia Bell Labs and CTO of Nokia, said, "The Bell Labs prize is a unique opportunity for innovators to collaborate with Bell Labs researchers to invent the future and solve the critical problems confronting humanity. This year's collection of proposals elevated the competition to new levels, reflecting the ever-increasing role that technology has in improving nearly every facet of our lives. The top three projects were extremely close in the final judging, but Samory is a well-deserved winner of the 2018 Bell Labs Prize as his research in transfer learning takes the much-vaunted field of machine learning and puts it on a much firmer foundation for the future. The team here at Bell Labs looks forward to collaborating with all top three winners to help realize the full potential of their research ideas, in the coming years."

This year's Bell Labs prize competition attracted more than 250 proposals from around the world. Proposals were reviewed by Nokia Bell Labs researchers and evaluated based on three criteria, including whether the idea has a "10X innovation potential" to change the world; the proposal's technical merit; and the overall feasibility of the proposed idea.

The proposals were narrowed down to a select group of outstanding candidates who were given the opportunity to partner with Bell Labs experts to help expand the impact of their proposals. Five finalists were then invited to the final judging event held this week at the iconic headquarters of Nokia Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J, with the judging panel comprised on Nobel Laureates, and former Bell Labs Prize winners, as well as Bell Labs alumni.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Stage is set for Africa eCommerce 2018, Kenya agog - ITREALMS

The United Nations body responsible for helping leverage on trades, the Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has concluded plans to host the maiden edition of the Africa eCommerce Week in Nairobi, Kenya, reports ITREALMS.

The week-long event which opens today, Monday is to last till Friday, December 14, in what has been classified as the first regional incarnation of UNCTAD’s global eCommerce Week, held annually in Geneva.
ITREALMS reports that under the theme “Empowering African Economies in the Digital Era”, Africa eCommerce Week is a response to the growing demand for e-commerce dialogues, as the digital and mobile revolution continues apace.

It comes at an opportune moment, given that the international community, regional organizations, and individual countries are exploring ways to advance development gains from the digital economy and thereby help achieve the ambition of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Moreover, the landmark African Continental Free Trade Agreement, signed in March this year, is expected to have a positive impact on intra-African trade. As trade increasingly moves online, there is a growing need to discuss the implications of e-commerce for African economies.

Already, in 2017, Africa had 21 million online shoppers – showing the enormous potential of the African e-commerce marketplace.

“Turning this tremendous opportunity into inclusive development requires a massive effort on the part of all of us – in Africa and beyond,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.

“We are at critical juncture – and that it is why UNCTAD decided to have a meeting in Africa, for Africa and by Africa, focused on harnessing the potential of digitalization and the mobile revolution.”

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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