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

ITREALMS : M-SCAN , a company that develops portable mobile ultrasound devices (Ultrasonic probes), was crowned as Sub-Saharan Africa’s ...

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ICT4D Week 2018

Friday, August 31, 2018

Facebook rolls out video service globally - ITREALMS

With the aim of giving people around the world a new way to discover great videos and interact with friends, content creators and other fans, Facebook has made its video-on-demand service, Facebook Watch available globally while also expanding its Ad Breaks program so more partners can make money from their videos.

According to social media giant’s management, taking Facebook Watch global also means new opportunities for creators and publishers around the world.

Facebook Watch enables users discover new videos spanning entertainment, sports, news and more in a personalized Watch feed, catch up with creators and publishers they love by keeping a watchlist, or a collection of recent videos from Pages they follow, save videos to watch later in Watch as well as participate in videos.

“Over time you'll be able to find new video experiences in your Watch feed, like watch parties, premieres, and videos focused on audience participation — like the new trivia game show, Confetti. And we'll make it easier to find live videos so you can discuss the big moments as they’re happening,” a statement from Facebook reads.

The service was launched in the US a year ago to give people a place on Facebook to find shows and video creators they love and to start conversations with friends, other fans, and even creators themselves. Over the past year, Facebook has made the experience more social — like making it easier to see which videos your friends have liked or shared, creating shows that have audience participation at their core, and opening Watch to videos from Pages.

“These updates have helped people discover and engage more deeply with videos they love — from Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith, to beauty mogul Huda Kattan’s behind-the-scenes show Huda Boss, to live Major League Baseball games. Every month, more than 50 million people in the US come to watch videos for at least a minute in Watch — and total time spent watching videos in Watch has increased by 14x since the start of 2018. We're excited to bring Watch to everyone around the world and invite you to join in the action in our new video destination,” the statement adds.

To access Watch on iOS and Android, users are urged to look for the Watch icon in their shortcuts bar or the “More” bookmark. Watch is also available on Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One, and Oculus TV. 


Meanwhile, the company’s Ad Breaks service, which is designed to allow companies monetize their content, will roll out in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand on Thursday, August 30, and launch in another 21 countries including France, Germany, Spain and across Latin America and Asia on September 21.

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Guinness Nigeria records 14% increase in revenue for FY2018 - ITREALMS

The Guinness Nigeria Plc has delivered a solid performance in the year ended 30 June 2018 as revenue increased by 14 per cent from N125.92 billion in June 2017 to N142.98 billion, reports ITREALMS.

The results, which were released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), also showed improved operating margin, as benefits from the company’s productivity program more than offset sustained cost pressures.

Commenting on the results, Baker Magunda, Managing Director/CEO, Guinness Nigeria Plc, said: “Over the year ending 30 June 2018, despite continued challenges in the operating environment, Guinness Nigeria delivered a strong performance. Revenue increased by 14% as both beer and mainstream spirits’ net sales grew double-digit. In beer, Guinness, our largest brand, saw strong growth as it benefitted from increased marketing activations around football. Mainstream spirits also delivered double-digit growth driven by innovation launches and new formats.”

“During the year, gross margin was down 4% to 34% largely driven by inflationary pressure on our raw material costs. However, this was more than offset by reduced distribution and administration costs and resulted in operating margin improving 130bps. Marketing spend increased 18%, ahead of revenue growth, as we continue to invest behind our brands.”

“Improved operating performance combined with lower finance charges have helped us deliver an overall PAT increase of 249% during year”.

“The execution of our strategy is working as we delivered both top line growth and margin expansion while also increasing investment behind our brands. Looking forward, we will continue to focus on the three strategic pillars of productivity, expansion of our portfolio, as well as the execution of the commercial footprint initiatives to drive the business forward. Whilst we remain optimistic about the execution of our strategy, we note that the operating and competitive environment is likely to continue to be challenging in the 2019 financial year.”

Mr. Babatunde Savage, Chairman of the Board of Guinness Nigeria Plc, said, “Guinness Nigeria has confidence in the Nigerian economy and will remain a major player in the country by continually investing, developing capacity and growing a portfolio that most suit the consumers’ needs for celebration and relaxation. Our aim is to continue to add value to Nigeria not only through continued investments in local manufacturing and backward integration, but also through various Sustainable Development projects, enabling job opportunities and economic inclusion.”

“As a Board, it is heartening to see the impact of the rights issue coming through in the profitability of the company. The Board is confident that we are making the right investments in the company to ensure our long term competitiveness, and continues to support the management in its efforts to build a business that aims to consistently deliver growth for all stakeholders.”


Ayo Midele/GEE

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Strategic partnerships, investments key to Africa’s economic transformation says AfDB president - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:
The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, has taken the case for expanded partnerships and investments in Africa to the Netherlands, reports ITREALMS.

Adesina, who is on a three-day visit this week, met with government officials and private and public sector business leaders and affirmed the accord between the Bank and the Dutch government’s development agendas and foreign policy.

At a meeting with Sigrid A.M. Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, in the Hague, on 29 August, Adesina spoke about investing in Africa and commended the Netherlands for its support, which has extended to legal systems, water, food and nutrition, and gender. He also congratulated the government for its Development Policy, which emphasizes global fragility, gender and climate.

“Africa is growing economically. Foreign direct investment is on the increase. This is due to political stability and improved governance. Africa is open and ready to do business,” Adesina said.

Kaag said the adoption of renewable energy by a growing number of African countries was a key element to reducing fragility of countries and to fighting climate change and said this aligned closely with her government’s policy.

“I am happy to see where we can work together on gender, fragility, and conflict prevention in countries in Africa”, the Minister said.

Making a similar point, Peter van Mierlo, Chief Executive Officer of the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO),   called for greater harmonization between the work of FMO and the Bank in the area of energy, agriculture and institutional investment. President Adesina met with him and other officials, the same day.

“A benefit for Africa is that it can skip development cycles that often developed countries had to go through”, Mierlo said. 

Commercial banks are withdrawing from trade finance and as such FMO and African Development Bank would be able to work jointly in boosting trade financing, Mierlo said. Currently, joint projects between FMO and the Bank are estimated at US$ 55 million.

Addressing a High-level Roundtable with Dutch Business Leaders, hosted at Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), on 29 August, Adesina presented the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), the Bank’s innovative marketplace scheduled for 7-9 November in Johannesburg, South Africa. The AIF will bring together project sponsors, lenders, fund managers and investors, to attract investment and capital for development, projects in Africa.

 “Our role is to mobilise capital for Africa. We have done this through the High 5 Agenda. In the energy sector, the African Development Bank is investing US$12 billion over the next 5 years, with the goal of leveraging US$40-50 billion. The Bank will also be investing US$ 24 billion, over ten years, in agriculture to implement its Feed Africa Strategy,” Adesina said,

Susan Shannon, Vice President for Government Relations, Policy & International Organisations for Shell, who was present at the meeting, said the move towards cleaner and renewable energy in African countries had resulted in a higher level of engagement by the oil giant on the continent.

“Shell can work with the African Development Bank to expand access to energy in Africa”, Shannon said.


ITREALMS/GEE

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To Samir Amin, a tribute - ITREALMS

The year 1982 began with a revolutionary upheaval in Ghana: a group of young and radical military officers—some retired, others still in service—appeared to have seized power! It soon became clear, however, that what took place—or was taking place—in Accra was not a classical military coup d’etat, but a popular armed uprising led by a loose assemblage of Leftist groups and individuals, military and civilian. Appeals went out from Accra for revolutionary solidarity.

Favourable responses came from across Africa—including Nigeria—and beyond. In particular, at least one response came from Calabar. My spouse and I had just been re-instated as lecturers in the University of Calabar (UNICAL) after a forced absence of about three years. The Calabar Group of Socialists was vibrant. So was the Democratic Action Committee (DACOM), also based in Calabar. The Left in Calabar was in the strongest period of its post-Civil War history. Meetings and consultations were held and I left for Accra, Ghana. I entered the country as a “journalist”.

Late in the evening of the day of arrival, I went to the restaurant. There I saw only two male guests, sitting together, talking animatedly. Ostensibly, they were waiting for their orders. One was black, the other was white. The blackman I knew very well: he was Comrade Eskor Toyo who had left Calabar a few days before me. I thought the other person, the “whiteman”, was an enterprising or curious journalist. On enquiry, he turned out to be the famous Samir Amin whom I had encountered, through his works, about seven years earlier. Since then, those works had contributed significantly to the resolution of some of the critical questions that confronted me as a young revolutionary socialist and Marxist. I was elated, and with this rose my preliminary assessment of the potentials of this latest revolutionary rising in post-colonial Africa.

I was elated because attracted to what was happening in Ghana were several serious revolutionaries, including Eskor Toyo and Samir Amin, who were long-standing revolutionary Marxist intellectuals and well-respected African economists and political economists. Eskor Toyo, then 53, was a Nigerian; Samir Amin then 51, was of Egyptian and French parentage. Eskor Toyo had also been involved, for at least three decades, in grassroots workers’ and popular education, mobilization and organization as well as in the labour movement. Here they were, sitting together and discussing an ongoing revolutionary rising on the African continent—not too far from where the event was being coordinated. Because of the nature of my own presence in Ghana, I could not make any contact at that point. I withdrew from the restaurant and initiated an alternative arrangement. Eskor Toyo died on Monday, December 7, 2015, aged 86. Samir Amin died on Sunday, August 12, 2018, also aged 86.

I had earlier said that Samir Amin, through his books, essays and articles, contributed significantly to the resolution of some of the questions that confronted me as a young Marxist and socialist. That critical period of my development can be taken roughly as the second half of the 1970s, that is, when I was between 29 and 34 years old. I shall pick out two of the questions and build what I have to say around only one of Samir Amin’s “early books”. That book is Imperialism and Unequal Development. And the two questions are: What Marxism is (in coherent and accessible summary) and The Lessons of Cambodia.

Lenin had written in his Three Sources and three component parts of Marxism (1913) that there were three “sources” and (hence?) three “component parts” of Marxism. These three “sources-components” he gave as political economy, philosophy and socialism. But having emerged, Marxism, in the words of Lenin, became “integral”, “harmonious”, “irreconcilable with any form of superstition, reaction or defence of bourgeois reaction” and “omnipotent because it is true”. This was the language of a revolutionary combatant who had no business being in the field, let alone leading the struggle, unless he or she was “certain” and could instill this “certainty” in the fighting forces.

In that critical period, that is, about 40 years ago, I could make pronouncements on Marx’s and Marxist positions on political economy (or rather, critique of political economy), philosophy and socialism. I could give lectures on beliefs and actions that were not only incompatible, but also irreconcilable, with Marxism. But having apprehended what Marxism was not, what, in precise terms, was it? In Imperialism and Unequal Development, published by the Monthly Review Press in 1977, but getting to me in January 1979, Samir Amin gave me, not an answer, but a direction in which to seek an answer: “The critique of economism has allowed the rediscovery of the unity of Marxism, which is neither an economic theory, a sociological theory, nor a philosophy, but the social science of revolutionary socialist praxis”.

Samir Amin wrote this at the age of 45, about 20 years after his doctoral dissertation on Political Economy. The passage is in the Introduction to the book which itself was a collection of Amin’s essays in response to reviews of two of his earlier books: Accumulation on a World Scale (1974) and Unequal Development (1976).

In the year that I received Imperialism and Unequal Development, I started drafting my first collection of essays titled The Tragedy of the Nigerian Socialist Movement. That is also the title of the main essay in the collection. It was an angry review of the movement’s “unseriousness” in the politics of Murtala Mohammed/Olusegun Obasanjo transition to civil rule (1975-1979). The collection also carries a two-page review of what was happening in Cambodia. I asked: How did the heroes of 1975 become “mass murderers” and “villains” by 1978? Why was the condemnation of the Khmer Rouge revolutionaries (whose “face” was Pol Pot) global and total: From East to West (except China); from North to South, from capitalists to socialists and communists, and cutting across global ideological and political divides—at the height of the Cold War? What were the Cambodian Khmer Rouge revolutionaries trying to do? What type of society were they trying to build? What were the sources of their grave errors?

I could not get satisfactory answers to these questions until I read Samir Amin’s The Lessons of Cambodia, the eighth essay in Imperialism and Unequal Development. His analysis, which was published in the second year of the revolutionary regime, rested heavily on his critique of imperialism and economism. Now, that the regime was fighting imperialism everyone knew. But that it was also fighting economism was an entirely new insight for me in 1978/79. In The Lessons of Cambodia, Samir Amin severely criticized the economism of “Stalinism” and other Soviet-type transitions to socialism.

Beyond this, Samir Amin also criticized “Trotskyism”, a frontline enemy of “Stalinism”, for not being able to transcend the problematic of economism which a college dictionary defines as a “theory or viewpoint that attaches decisive or principal importance to economic goals or interests”, thereby devaluing other factors of revolutionary transformation such as culture, de-alienation, equality, and political consciousness. One particular element of economism which came under Amin’s hammer was popularly expressed as the need for socialist transitions “to aim at catching up with the West”—a notion that he classified under “vulgar Marxism”.

With Samir Amin’s analysis, I immediately saw the sources of Khmer Rouge’s monumental difficulties and tragic errors of voluntarism. I could then also explain the equally tragic global convergence of opposition which Khmer Rouge’s attempted transition to socialism through the rejection of the Soviet road of “catching up”, attracted.

I saluted Samir Amin. Thereafter, I have saluted him several times—the last time being in my article of December 1, 2011 entitled Time to recall, and to honour. Now, the man is gone. Who replaces Samir Amin?

Edwin Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.


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Pix: Late Samir Amin,

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Eliminating risk is too risky a business - ITREALMS

What if we fail? This is the question that has haunted all businesses and leaders on the eve of every new venture, every ‘supposed’ milestone and ground-breaking announcement they have to make. Sure, the idea sounded good at first, perfect even. It was a ‘eureka’ moment, a “why didn’t we think of it before?” scenario. But, when the doubt kicks in, it keeps them up at night, wondering, fearing what could happen, and how it will happen. All of a sudden, everything is uncertain, the future isn’t as clear as you first thought it would be, and you find yourself asking if this was a mistake or a risk worth taking. Ignorance apparently is not bliss.

Truth be told, no one has it all figured out – at least, not entirely. Even the geniuses ruling Silicon Valley know that the world is full of uncertainty and that there is no recipe for success.

“Success is never certain. It never comes without risk. Even if you’re the smartest or the hardest working, there’s no guarantee of anything. The people who go on to do great things in their lives know this. They also embrace it,” says author Gary John Bishop. “They didn’t succeed because they were certain they were going to succeed; they succeeded because they didn’t let uncertainty stop them.”

Successful businesses today know this all too well. And, if we’re going to keep moving with the change, we have to embrace uncertainty as innovation’s necessary evil twin. With digital technologies metamorphosing at lightning speed, and business models uprooting accordingly, uncertainty will need to become the new norm we learn to leverage. It is a natural-born shapeshifter that can bring prosperity or havoc, and it’s our job to unlock its benefits – against all odds, all risks.

Risk and Uncertainty: the two ends of a spectrum
Risks are cases of known probability, according to famous economist Frank Knight. Say you have to pick a card out of a deck, while you cannot predict exactly what card will turn up, you know your chances – regardless of how slim they are. Renowned as one of the world’s leading economists during the twentieth century, Knight made significant contributions to modern day understanding between economic risk and uncertainty through his book Risk Uncertainty and Profit.

Uncertainty, on the other hand, is the complete lack of certainty. You didn’t think it was possible, you didn’t even think it existed. But, while the two may be the ends of a single spectrum, uncertainty is not akin to being sucked into a black hole or vanishing into oblivion. It, in fact, even breeds new possibilities, challenges limitations, and brings hope that everything can change and anything can happen. We have no choice but to embrace and acknowledge it. As a revered Persian poem by Ebn Yamin goes: “One who doesn’t know and doesn’t know that he doesn’t know…he will be eternally lost in his hopeless oblivion.”

In his book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, Jonathan Fields speaks to the opportunity that always goes hand in hand with upheaval: “If everything is known and certain, that means it’s all been done before. And creation isn’t about repetition.”

There has to be room for obscurity and utter failure, chaos or quandary, that will thrust you into the dark room of innovation until new and better ideas can take form in the light. The more ‘chameleon-like’ in its approach, the more adaptable and open to reinvention, the more likely an organisation will be to ride out the waves of disruption and come out on top.

The problem, however, is not everyone has enough courage to face uncertainty, instead fearing potential reputation damage following a risky move. But, as overwhelming it can be, not knowing what will happen is an unacceptable excuse not to act. It actually suggests otherwise. If you choose to stay in bed all day to reduce the chance of misfortune, you also miss all the glorious opportunities and chances to enrich your reputation that a day outdoors and with other people can bring. Minimising risk means eliminating opportunity; in these constantly evolving times, it’s important to identify and manage risks and opportunities, while also protecting your reputation.

Start small, think big, optimise risk!
Risk professionals are not strangers to uncertainty; it’s one of their biggest hurdles. As the access to information and the power to pass it on (whether fake or not) is now literally within arm’s reach of anyone who has a handheld smart device, disruptions can come from anywhere. Thus, risks become harder to identify and manage.

What if looking at the big picture is not the key? What if zooming in the lens a little further or taking a microscopic view of the risk factors is the solution for businesses to become nimble and agile in the face of uncertainty?

More often than not, risk is described as a single event. It is not. It is actually a combination of several aspects we can call ‘symptoms’ – elements of an activity, product or service that has the potential to cause an impact. Take for example, the risk of getting hit when crossing a road. There are a lot of symptoms and factors: how far is it from your side of the road to the other, are you going to stroll or run across, are you on crutches or in a wheelchair, and what is the weather like? What are the kinds of vehicles that will pass by, what is the state of the drivers of these vehicles, are they rushing to their destinations, or are they under the influence?

Individually, these symptoms can be harmless, but together they can be damaging or life changing. They can affect each other, triggering a ripple effect such as in dominoes where every piece matters, like a risk chain. If you change one aspect, more changes may follow for better or worse.

In an article titled Risk Management and the Butterfly Effect, Thomas Frenehard, SAP Senior Director, Business Development for Finance & Risk solutions, explains that: “Key risk indicators are a great way to keep an eye on these underlying risks and their drivers. And if these indicators are automatically updated, it means that they can be regularly compared against thresholds and that you will be notified only if a negative trend is building.”

In fact, engineering firms have started adopting this model, using hybrid tools and techniques comprising various risk management frameworks to ensure a more certain outcome. Risks and critical success factors are initially identified on a larger scale, and then each one is further isolated and analysed with the help of other tools and techniques to determine and optimise decision making.

If risk professionals act like uncertainty’s neurosurgeons, wielding the scalpel and diagnosing the health of those symptoms, we can dissect situations and then pull back the magnifying glass to gain the big picture.

Can it be machine learned?
The tedious process of configuring these risk chains is painfully manual and never ending. There will always be new factors, risks, and surprises, uncertainty says so. But the good news is, in the hands of today’s powerful technology, this has the potential to be machine learned.

Once we understand these symptoms and risk chains, we can build a library of configurations that can be developed, updated, and improved through time as we encounter the different faces of uncertainty. Utilising hybrid tools and techniques custom-framed to address the organisational reality for each sector, the algorithm can split all the courses of probability of taking a certain decision in just one click.

However, machine learning should not be seen as a silver bullet, according to Lourenco Miranda, head of model risk management for Americas at Societe Generale in New York. “Humans would never be replaced for the more complex decisions in model risk but, by training a machine to process repetitive parts of validation, we can focus our attention on the higher and more complex models responsible for the biggest exposures. It is a great increase in efficacy of the model risk management process,” he says.

If we can learn to navigate in the dark, sidle up to uncertainty, and leverage the right tools and big data, we can train ourselves and our organisations to thrive in these volatile and random times. We will never know if we’re going to succeed or fail until we do, that is uncertainty; but, the more we welcome risk through the front door and reframe it as resilience, the better poised we’ll be to shape our collective future. There is a lot to know in not knowing.

Aurecon’s award-winning blog, Just Imagine provides a glimpse into the future for curious readers, exploring ideas that are probable, possible and for the imagination. This post originally appeared on Aurecon’s Just Imagine blog. Get access to the latest blog posts as soon as they are published by subscribing to the blog.


Contributed by Simon Van Wyk/GEE

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Visa partners Lagos to digitize payments for MSMEs - ITREALMS

As part of its efforts to educate and enable Nigerians to reduce reliance on cash, Visa, the global leader in payments, today announced the launch of the Cashless Lagos Hackathon in partnership with Lagos Innovates, an initiative of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), reports ITREALMS.

The three-day event, which is scheduled to hold from 14 September until 16 September, will seek to digitize payments for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and will be delivered by Passion Incubator (www.passionincubator.ng). The hackathon is open to software developers, programmers, coders, data specialists and designers who have the capacity to create lasting technology based financial solutions for MSMEs who are beneficiaries of LSETF.

Participants can access lagosinnovates.ng/hackathon for details on the hackathon and have until 11 September 2018 to submit their applications. Selected applicants will meet with the MSMEs on the first day of the hackathon to understand their pain points before the commencement of the hackathon.

Through the hackathon, participants are required to come up with solutions that would allow the business owners to receive payments, make bulk purchases and keep inventory of their transactions, thereby allowing access to bank loans and government grants.

Kemi Okusanya, Country Manager, Visa West Africa said; “This partnership is part of our strategy to help merchants become more financially responsible. What makes this hackathon unique is that it encourages Nigerians to develop locally relevant solutions, tailored for their specific environment and needs. We are always looking to support innovative programmes that can better equip individuals to manage their money more effectively, and these solutions will achieve that.”

Six teams will present their ideas to the judging panel constituted of representatives from a cross section of business and payments experts drawn from the public and private sectors. Three finalists will be selected based on impact, design, innovation, and customer validation. The winning teams will receive ₦2million, ₦1million and ₦500,000 grants respectively to be used for the development of the solutions, courtesy of Visa.


Commenting on the partnership, the Executive Secretary LSETF, Akintunde Oyebode said; “We are pleased to have Visa on board with us for the second edition of our Hackathon. Lagos State is the economic capital of Nigeria and the home of Africa’s leading startups. Our partnership with Visa puts us in a unique position to help uncover, support and apply emerging technologies to some of the biggest transaction challenges faced by entrepreneurs. We are excited by the possibility of leveraging technology, especially digital channels to improve our current cash-based economy”.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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All On Partners with AfDB, NDF others to launch a $58 million Off-Grid Energy Access Fund - ITREALMS

Nigerian off-grid energy investment company, All On, has announced its partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB); the Nordic Development Fund (NDF); Global Environment Facility (GEF); and Calvert Impact Capital (CIC) towards a $58 million first close for the Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (OGEF), reports ITREALMS.

OGEF, which is managed by LHGP Asset Management (LHGP), an alternative fund manager with offices in Lagos, London, and Nairobi, is a dedicated debt fund for off-grid energy companies and is part of the AfDB-sponsored Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI). The FEI is a $500 million finance platform designed to provide loan facilities in both local and hard currencies to support innovative energy access companies.

Dr. Akin Adesina, AfDB President said, “Access to electricity is a fundamental human right. That is why the African Development Bank set up the Fund for Energy Inclusion, to support off-grid energy systems. I am delighted that All On and Shell have joined forces with the African Development Bank to invest private capital in this Fund to help accelerate access to electricity in Nigeria. Together we will close the energy access gap in Nigeria and across Africa.”

OGEF achieves its first close with equity and debt commitments of US $58 million from All On, AfDB, NDF, GEF and CIC, and the structuring process and investments build on support from Shell Foundation, DFID and USAID. FEI OGEF has been designed to provide a flexible range of loan facilities in predominantly local currency, to companies in the household energy access sector including distributors, manufacturers, end-user credit providers and other businesses supporting the ecosystem.

According to Wiebe Boer, the CEO of Nigeria-based All On, an off-grid energy impact investment company backed by Shell, “We see OGEF as a great opportunity for public and private investors to work together to address Africa’s significant access to energy gap.  We look forward to working with LHGP, especially the Nigeria-based team, to build a solid portfolio of off-grid energy companies that are improving livelihoods by providing affordable power to unserved and underserved communities.”


This first close follows the official launch of FEI at the Africa Energy Market Place (AEMP) on July 5 and 6, 2018, where the initiative was presented to the governments’ representatives of five African countries - Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Egypt, Nigeria and Zambia - as well as leaders from the private sector and the development partner communities.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Shittu’s Resignation: CGN orders probe of Minister by EFCC, ICPC - ITREALMS

The Computer Guild of Nigeria has called on the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to go after the recently resigned Communications Minister, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, reports ITREALMS.

A press release issued and signed by the National President of the Guild, Mr. Wole Adedoyin after an emergency meeting in Lagos, and made available to ITREALMS, demanded the probe of former Minister of Communications.

Adedoyin, who is also the National Coordinator of the Information Technology Writers Association of Nigeria (ITWAN), urged ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to commence investigations and probe of Minister Shittu’s past financial activities in the Ministry.


“We are fully aware that Minister Shittu awarded so many contracts when he was in the Ministry. He cannot just leave the Ministry like that without being probed before his resignation from the ministry, we have heard lots of allegations and misdeeds committed by the Honourable Minister apart from some hidden secret recently unearthed by one of his former Personal Assistants. We, therefore, demand independent probe and investigation of Minister Shittu by both the ICPC and EFCC and should be prosecuted if involved in any financial scandal in the ministry” the group said.

Ayo Midele/GEE

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Communications Minister, Shittu, resigns to contest Oyo governor - ITREALMS

The Minister of Communications, Alhaji Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu, has resigned, ITREALMS can authoritatively report.

His letter of resignation, ITREALMS gathered, was received at the Presidency on Monday, August 27, 2018, entitled “Request for Mr. President’s Approval to Contest for the Governorship of Oyo State During the 2019 Gubernatorial Election.”

In his reply Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari acknowledged the letter same day and thanked him on behalf of the Federal Executive Council and Nigerians for his services as Minister under his administration.
“I note with passion your past contributions to our great party APC during and after the 2015 elections,” he said, in the reply delivered to Shittu's office on Tuesday, 28 August, 2018.

Buhari in a personally signed-response, reminded Shittu of his commitment to free and fair elections.

“Our policy is to support all APC candidates,” he declared.


He further wished Shittu well in his ambition to be the governor of his state, insisting that INEC has been directed alongside security agencies to conduct free, fair and transparent elections in 2019.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Strategic alliance: AfDB, FAO target $100m agro investments - ITREALMS

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have entered into a strategic alliance aimed at catalysing agriculture sector investments in Africa to end hunger and malnutrition and increase prosperity throughout the continent, reports ITREALMS.

In terms of the agreement, ITREALMS gathered included that AfDB and FAO are committed to raise up to $100 million over five years, to support joint partnership activities.

The new alliance precisely seeks to enhance the quality and impact of investment in food security, nutrition, social protection, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development.

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva signed the agreement, which builds on a longstanding collaboration between their organizations, at the UN agency's Rome headquarters.

"FAO and the AfDB are deepening and broadening our partnership to assist African countries achieve the sustainable development goals. Leveraging investments in agriculture, including from the private sector, is key to lift millions of people from hunger and poverty in Africa and to ensure that enough food is produced and that enough rural jobs are created for the continent's growing population," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said: "The signing of this supplementary agreement is a milestone moment in the relationship between the African Development Bank and FAO. It signals our joint commitment to accelerate the delivery of high quality programs and increased investment for public-private-partnerships in Africa's agriculture sector. This will help us achieve the vision of making agriculture a business, as enshrined in the Bank's Feed Africa strategy."


The Bank's Feed Africa strategy, launched in 2015, targets to invest $24 billion into African agriculture over a ten-year period. The aim is that of improving agricultural policies, markets, infrastructure and institutions to ensure that agricultural value chains are well developed and that improved technologies are made available to reach several millions farmers.

Ayo Midele/GEE

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Pix: FAO Director General Josè Graziano da Silva and Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, signing the Supplementary Cooperation Agreement between the two Institutions. Courtesy: FAO/Giulio Napolitano.

Temenos unveils learning community engine to banks, enhanced change - ITREALMS

The banking software company, Temenos has unveiled the Temenos Learning Community (TLC) Engine, the latest addition to the TLC training suite, reports ITREALMS.


TLC Engine, ITREALMS gathered, helps banks to reduce operational risk and costs, monitor their regulatory compliance better, and increase staff engagement; it could be deployed on the cloud or on premise and integrates seamlessly with Temenos banking software products, and could also be integrated to third party systems, which a bank may be using.

TLC Engine is specifically designed for banks, to serve as a foundation for change management and training activities. With TLC Engine, financial institutions can record, update and cascade their unique business processes, using the Temenos Standard Operating Procedures (TSOP) as a basis. TLC Engine can then utilize these processes to support the ongoing training of staff across all of a bank’s organization. TLC Engine also enables banks to train, test and certify their teams in Temenos software solutions, offering access to the official Temenos content and certification processes found across the Temenos Learning Community suite of products.

Following the launch, Byblos Bank, the third largest bank by assets in Lebanon, became one of the first clients to sign for the new offering. Lebanon-based Byblos Bank is a leading financial institution with operations in Armenia, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Iraq, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. Byblos Bank will use TLC Engine to help drive and support change in its current digital transformation project that is delivering a new, upgraded Temenos T24 core banking platform.

Raffoul Raffoul, AGM and Head of Group Organization Development, Information System & Operational Support at Byblos Bank, commented: “The need for digital change is greater than ever to cope with a rapidly changing marketplace. The speed at which we need to deliver change and new functionality demands the need for an online training solution.
 Signing for the TLC Engine to ensure success and drive change as part of our transformation project was an obvious choice. With the platform, we are able to prepare for each phase of implementation, and down the road ensure that our employees continue to be educated on best practices and new solutions. We will use TLC Engine to intelligently link technologies and incorporate business processes to implement technology in the most optimal way for our needs.”

Dale Thomas, Director of The Temenos Learning Community said: “The key to a project’s success is staff engagement, knowledge, and ability to use the new system to its full potential. With the launch of this new platform, we are bringing to new and existing clients easy-to-access knowledge of our products and technology, as well as personalized support from our experienced change management team. We are delighted that the launch of TLC Engine is accompanied by extending of our relationship with Byblos Bank, a long-term client of Temenos. We are already very proud to be helping Byblos Bank to deliver its upgrade project, and now to support the Bank in creating and implementing a change management program with TLC Engine.”

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

HDP Candidate promises economic revival - ITREALMS


The governorship candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the forthcoming Osun State Governorship election, Mr. Wale Adedoyin, has promised to revive the state’s economy, reports ITREALMS.

Speaking at the state capital, Osogbo, Adedoyin said he will not only revive the state’s economy but will work towards providing more jobs for the youth.

“I want to focus on the agriculture and tourism industries. We will also create enabling and conducive environment for private sector to flourish. I don’t just want to create just jobs. I want to create the opportunity for the private sector to flourish and to create jobs,” he said.


Corrupt activities, he said, will not be tolerated, stressing that its high time citizens inculcate a culture of hard and honest work and declare zero tolerance to corruption. No person will be allowed to loot or steal that which belongs to the people of Osun State.

Ayo Midele/GEE

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Offshore wind technologies rapidly become commercialized - ITREALMS

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has said that offshore wind technologies are rapidly becoming commercialized, which result in keeping electricity cheaper, reports ITREALMS.

IRENA in its third Quarterly publication, made available to ITREALMS showed that in the year 2000, the world’s installed offshore wind capacity amounted to 67 megawatts (MW) – only enough to supply 33 500 average within European Union (EU) households with electricity.

By last year, IRENA said, this had reached almost 20 gigawatts (GW), which could, cumulatively, power a large United States (US) city like Los Angeles.

This growth has been driven by continual cost reduction, enabled by technology improvements and other developments in the offshore wind industry.

Since the first offshore wind farm operated in Denmark, in 1991, turbine blades have been getting bigger and foundations more diverse. Yet turbines anchored to the sea floor are still constrained by water depth, keeping areas with the greatest wind potential – some close to enormous markets, like Japanese or US cities – out of reach. This is set to change quickly, however, with the advent of floating foundations.


Until today, offshore wind power has mainly been developed in Europe. Further expansion depends on more research, continued technology improvements and achieving reliability in different environmental conditions.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Siemens combines fashion, data for Iconic African designs - ITREALMS

The power of technology and fashion have been combined in a thought-provoking project that demonstrates how data could transform African cities, as technology leader, Siemens used data from the cities of Lagos, Nairobi and Johannesburg, waving same into unique fabrics, reports ITREALMS.

The FABRIC - launched in Johannesburg on 23 August - showcased how digitalization of the industrial world is fast becoming the biggest transformation of our time, and highlights how data combined with smart technology will ensure that tomorrow’s cities are more connected, efficient and powered.

Three iconic African fashion designers were brought on board to create 12 extraordinary outfits from vast amounts of data extracted from the cities of Nairobi, Lagos and Johannesburg.  The intricate garments by John Kaveke (Kenyan), Zizi Cardow (Nigerian) and Palesa Mokubung (South African) outline a variety of patterns from power grids, shipping and tonnage to population densities, transport and areas of connectivity. Data from each of these sectors tell a powerful story about each city and how digitalization can transform them. All of this is told through the universal language of fashion and design.

“This is how we thought to express the aspect of digitalization. As urbanization rapidly increases, cities need to start preparing for the effects it will have on infrastructure, energy, water and transportation systems,” said Keshin Govender, Group Communications Head for Siemens South Africa.

Data gives greater insight on what makes each city tick, helping us make calculated decisions and improve service delivery to the people. Through the FABRIC project, it was evident that the challenge is not what to do with the avalanche of data but rather accessing reliable and recent data.
“This project has highlighted the need for access to data in order to make sound urban planning decisions,” explained Govender.

Siemens is well positioned in automation, electrification and digitalization to find solutions to the various challenges of today. It is uniquely positioned to unlock the potential of digitalization through its combination of digital expertise, domain know-how and understanding of hardware in order to leverage digital technologies and optimize operations.


While there is a growing adoption of intelligent machines within certain sectors like the automotive industry, the real opportunity for Africa lies in sectors where it has not yet been explored like manufacturing, energy and transportation. This is a remarkable opportunity for Africa which will result in the establishment of new industries and new jobs, while exponentially increasing skills development and contributing to GDP.

Admin/GEE

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Notary Public denies First Bank over complicity in mortgage - ITREALMS

A lawyer who allegedly forged mortgage agreement on behalf of the First Bank Plc, Mr. Chuks Dibiaezue, has been arrested by operatives of the Nigeria Police, at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command, reports ITREALMS.

Just as the Notary Public, Godwin Imakhai, who was alleged to have deposed to two affidavits dated October 25, 2013 and associated to the loan agreement has since denied it.

This came on the heels of complaint by Abuja-based Whiteplains British School Ltd, alleging that the First Bank PLC forged a Tripartite Legal Mortgage Agreement through Dibiaezue, using a firm known as Lagardera and Co, to defraud the school.

The fake documents, ITREALMS gathered includes the ‘Form CAC 8’, (Particulars of Mortgage) and were filed with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Reports has it that First Bank Plc had purported the Tripartite Mortgage Agreement was made at its Shippers House offices on January 27, 2014 between it, White Plains British School Ltd, and former owner of the school’s land, France Lee Nigeria Ltd.

In the claimed agreement, First Bank Plc could at a short notice takeover the school’s property at Plot 528 Cadastral Zone B4, Jabi, Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Also, FBN was alleged to have used the said forged agreement to obtain an order of a Federal High Court in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/1023/2015 granting it access to the school’s property.

A major twist, ITREALMS  learnt is that the Notary Public, Godwin Imakhai, before whom the directors allegedly deposed to two affidavits dated October 25, 2013 endorsing the said Tripartite Agreement, has denied the document.


 Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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