Modex to launch an app store for Blockchain

Modex to launch an app store for Blockchain

Modex to launch an app store for Blockchain. (Image source:

Modex has launched its first fully functional product alpha, bringing to the market an App Store for the Blockchain. Modex’s Smart Contract Marketplace aims to tackle the ‘last mile’ adoption problem that will bring blockchain technology into daily use for everyone, by facilitating access to multi-protocol smart contracts.

The Modex Smart Contract Marketplace provides a forum for developers to showcase their skills and offer smart contract solutions to buyers and/or other developers. It provides a way for the real-world community to easily find smart contracts that meet real-world needs, without having to scout developers and manage one-off development projects for their individual project. At the same time developers can build a reputation and pipeline based on their accomplishments, allowing them to get clients and build recurring revenue against the on-going sale of their smart contracts.

“Modex is more than a smart contract marketplace. It’s a suite of tools designed to help blockchain developers write, deploy, manage and monitor both smart contracts and private blockchains in an easier and more seamless way.”, explains Mihai Ivascu, Modex’s CEO.

“On top of the dev tools, the platform will provide enhanced blockchain tools that enable developers and companies to easily deploy multiple types of private blockchains. The purpose is to make running and deploying to a blockchain as easy as building a simple web app.”, adds Ivascu.

Designed to serve as a central hub for multiple 3rd party applications and web platforms to plugin with and deploy smart contracts, the Modex platform incorporates significant advantages for consumer adoption, enterprise cost savings, developer tools, community trust and engagement, IP protection, and revenue opportunities for developers, all centered around the smart contract ecosystem that Modex has created. Modex aims to encourage developers’ initiatives, stimulating creativity and innovation.

The Modex platform starts by focusing on Ethereum based smart contracts, but will soon support various protocols that also have smart contracts functionality, such as: Waves, Coco, Komodo, Ark etc. Modex is bridging the gap between businesses and developers in order to accelerate global adoption of blockchain technology, becoming the App Store for the Blockchain.

Modex’s Multi-Protocol Smart Contract Marketplace launch comes right before the company’s much-awaited ICO, scheduled to begin at the end of March, this year.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Standard Chartered Bank launches digital bank in Côte d’Ivoire

Standard Chartered Bank launches digital bank in Côte d’Ivoire

Standard Chartered Bank launches digital bank in Côte d’Ivoire. (Image source: Google/

Standard Chartered Bank has on Friday, 16 March 2018 announced the launch of its digital bank in Côte d’Ivoire. According to the company, this marks the Bank’s first digital bank in Africa and the first-of-its-kind to open in Côte d’Ivoire.

The bank’s digital services are available by downloading the Standard Chartered mobile application. New clients can execute all of their banking activities from their mobile devices. OPening a bank account takes less than 15 minutes says the bank. Standard Charted Bank clients can also provide all verification documents by uploading to the application and complete their onboarding process.

Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Africa and Middle East said, “We are pleased to launch our first digital bank in Africa with the support of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire. This is a key milestone on our digital journey as a Bank and underlines our commitment to investing and growing in the market. We have been steadily investing in expanding our footprint in Africa over the years, and this will continue to be a priority moving forward. Digitising Africa remains at the heart of our business strategy for the region, and we look to implement our Côte d’Ivoire model across other markets in the coming months.”

Commenting on the launch, Jaydeep Gupta, Regional Head of Retail Banking, Africa & Middle East, said, “Our new digital bank was developed with our clients in mind. We have taken into consideration the feedback received by our clients at each stage of the design process and have incorporated innovative technology to allow them to execute all banking activities from a mobile device. This includes 70 banking services through the app.”

“In addition, for the first time, the client onboarding journey has been digitised and in under 15 minutes a client can open a new account through the app. What has also been introduced is the ability for clients to track and trace a request submitted, which is a first for Standard Chartered. This is something we are very proud of.”

“I’m pleased to have launched the Bank’s first digital retail bank in Côte d’Ivoire and proud to see the progress the country has made over the past decade. We have seen how digital transformation has contributed to economic development and will continue to do so, in line with the country’s National Development Plan. Our partnership with Didier Drogba has helped raise awareness, not only for our digital offering, but for enhancing financial literacy and improving accessibility to financial services across Côte d’Ivoire. Promoting the social and economic wellbeing of communities is a key component of our strategy to support sustainable development and our digital bank is certainly another step in the right direction,” said Isaac Foly, Chief Executive Officer, Côte d’Ivoire.

Ivorian professional footballer, Didier Drogba was announced as the Bank’s Digital Ambassador, Drogba shared his experience on opening an account using his mobile phone. He is the first person in Côte d’Ivoire to open a digital account at the Bank.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Internet of Things: Think big, start small

Internet of Things: Think big, start small

Internet of Things: Think big, start small.

Slowly we have seen an uptake of Internet of Things (IoT) as an enabler of business – especially since the start of 2018. It’s as if business has kicked into high gear. And not only on a global level, but locally as well.

There is an unspoken consensus that part of the drive for business to adopt and drive the concept of IoT is the perceived rise in business confidence brought on by the change in government. At the core, the perceived governmental stability has afforded business the confidence to try these new technologies, noting the imperative to keep up globally.

Globally and locally it has become evident that digital transformation is about more than the technology – it is about the people, and business needs to change its core narrative to drive the change. Regardless of the size of a business, if this is not at the core of the change then technologies become mere initiatives, with no real value at the end of the day. And as much as reworking the business operations narrative of your company is not a comfortable process, it is a necessary one.

Three themes that raised by business as having an influence when adopting IoT have been the costs involved; whether South African business is ready for IoT; and what does it mean for job security in the workplace.

South Africa is ready for the adoption of IoT, we are primed for it, based on the legacy issues we have been sitting with for the past decade. A more telling sign of the times is that business is going out there to find information on IoT, no longer are they waiting for it to come to them. For example, at the recent Investing in Mining Indaba in Cape Town, Deloitte introduced Intelligent Mining Solution, which drew a lot of attention, from not only a local but also an international audience. Intelligent Mining Solution allows mining in real-time and allows for decision-making at critical pivot points using the data at hand. The introduction of IoT in the mining industry does not mean job losses per se, but rather cost reduction and frees up funds for other capital investment and expanding assets, which indirectly would mean increased job opportunities at these mines.

Cost is still a huge factor and the initial capital investment is quite steep, but the more prevalent IoT becomes in business the more costs will come down – these are basic economies of scale. As a result of the high costs a lot of companies are starting small and using these case studies as proof points for bigger investments. Companies need to make sure that these investments will generate value and that they have proof of concept.

A key learning on the back of implementing IoT at a number of companies is that companies are realising that where they thought the benefit or cost sits, is not necessarily the right place. This does mean that there is not always an intrinsic value to those exercises, but it provides valuable insight and allows for better decision making. As a strategic partner/driver Deloitte has seen this in more than one case study and therefore partners with clients to not only identify the problems and qualify a solution, but also helps clients to execute and implement on the agreed solution.

Furthermore, IoT will be one of the main enablers for automation in the workplace and initially it will provide a granular level for machine learning to be more effective. Directly it won’t necessarily have an impact on jobs, but indirectly it will. Initially it is expected that this impact will be negative meaning that there will be a lot more automation and efficiencies in the workforce, and thus a loss of some jobs. The flipside – and the long-term view – to that, however, is that we will have, for example, improved safety and training opportunities through the immersive user experience of virtual and augmented reality. Further to that the introduction and roll-out of new skills training will be amped-up allowing for business to transfer skills at a much faster rate. All of which would be based on IoT.

Taking everything into consideration business needs to start adopting IoT sooner rather than later and it is as simple as starting to define a strategy for IoT – in the next 18 months every company should at least have this. Importantly, IoT needs to be underpinned with a business case or any business led tech otherwise it just becomes a nice toy and you are not deriving any value. Deloitte helps business pull that business case together, understand where the value sits and gives a holistic view – we help organisations find the problem, identify the solution and implement the plan.

Staff Writer

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Capitalising on new insurance opportunities in East Africa

Capitalising on new insurance opportunities in East Africa

Ashok Shah, Group CEO of APA Apollo.

Consolidation is taking place in the East African insurance market due to rising capital requirements and mergers with international firms that want to gain a foothold in the region. Ashok Shah, Group CEO of APA Apollo examines the opportunities this brings.

“In addition to operating in such a dynamic business environment, insurers in East Africa have access to a growing young population with significant purchasing power. This is especially the case in Kenya which EY ranked as one of the continent’s most mature insurance markets with strong growth potential.”

Urbanisation and developing economies will likely spur increases in annual insurance premium income in the region. However, the market still needs to overcome challenges common to the sector in the emerging world.

For example, insurers are struggling to expand coverage to the large informal sector and income-sensitive population. For this sector of the population, insurance remains a secondary or tertiary need.

“Having said that, millennials will provide new avenues for growth. Selling to this segment via mobile is easier than ever but products must be designed to have a limited life cycle to appease the instant gratification culture of this generation. While a lack of trust and fraud remain difficult to combat, insurers must embrace technologies like artificial intelligence to counter it and be able to pay claims faster. This is critical to capture the attention of this younger customer segment.”

Reaching the uninsured

Given how mobile is becoming increasingly pervasive, it must be the primary platform for growth. According to the Communications Authority of Kenya, [mobile] penetration in the country stood at 88.1 percent as at the end of September last year with 37.8 million subscribers.

“The growth in mobile phone ownership is the most dominating factor compared to other technologies. It can reduce risks by controlling cost, increasing productivity, and enhancing the customer experience.”

But even though other industries are adopting mobile because of its convenience and reach, insurers in East Africa are still slow in the uptake. Critically, mobile technology can have a huge impact on the insurance industry by attracting new customers and retaining former policyholders.

“Access to a mobile device is the first step towards broader financial inclusion since it allows people to access affordable financial products like insurance.”

Embracing innovation

Even though insurance in Kenya is mainly sourced through agents, brokers, or directly by insurance companies, this is changing as insurers are moving from a product-focused sales process to one determined by the needs of the customer.

“Real‐time data at the point of sale and ability to drive needs‐based selling is a growing priority of insurance in Africa not just Kenya or the region. Additionally, evolving technology and changes to the regulatory environment are driving significant shifts across the insurance distribution landscape.”

Even though the need for insurance to be sold more directly and at a lower cost is not new, the need to do it has changed into an organisational priority. Similarly, the adoption of bank assurance in Kenya have seen these financial institutions become intermediaries themselves by forming an agency.

“They market insurance and receive a commission. For them, the commission becomes an extra income while the risk remains with the insurer. The opportunity to automate the business by using technology is important for a quick execution. Here, two different systems need to be integrated. However, it becomes an important market for an insurer as it can increase the market share for the insurance industry as the bank’s database can represent a significant client base.”

Microfinance presents insurers in the region with another potential channel to drive sales. It provides access to financial services that can help reduce poverty by promoting opportunities and facilitating empowerment. In general, formal financial services are not available to everyone due to high-interest rates, collateral requirements, complicated application procedures, and long admissions processing.

“However, microfinance provides low-income consumers with access to basic financial services, such as loans, savings, money transfer services, and micro-insurance.”

Aggregators are also becoming an increasingly important channel for insurers in Africa. They provide the possibility of integrating insurance into a complete buying experience that blurs industry boundaries. However, the need to tailor products with the flexibility of dynamic pricing remains a significant obstacle to overcome.

“Insurance in East Africa is changing. How quickly insurers embrace this and utilise new technologies to adapt should be a strategic priority for them if they want to remain competitive.”

By Ashok Shah, Group CEO of APA Apollo

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Chemical companies should leverage digital tools to detect shifts in markets

Chemical companies should leverage digital tools to detect shifts in markets

Bruce Peters, Regional Manager in charge of manufacturing at Cisco Southern Africa.

As a key sector of the South African economy, the chemicals industry accounts for about 25% of the nation’s manufacturing sales and is the most developed of its kind in Africa, according to the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association, an industry group.

“To seize the Industry 4.0 opportunity, Cisco believes that chemical companies should leverage digital tools and capabilities to detect shifts in markets, develop more accurate and agile planning, heighten customer awareness and collaborate with business partners throughout the value chain,” says Bruce Peters, Regional manager in charge of manufacturing at Cisco Southern Africa.

“We are seeing more and more chemical companies evolving. They are no longer selling chemicals; they’re selling solutions to customers’ problems through connectivity or across digital platforms,” says Peters.

Innovation in the chemicals industry relies on a number of enabling technologies, such as micro-and nanotech, industrial biotechnology, advanced materials, and photonics. In turn, all these enabling technologies require an intelligent and intuitive network that links them to each other and allows employees to collaborate across the company and with suppliers and customers. This is where a smart network that can protect itself can give chemical manufacturers an edge.

The very real threat of industrial espionage and data breaches, as well as the need to protect valuable intellectual property, bring with them understandable concerns in the chemicals industry. In addition, the materials and products that the chemicals industry uses and manufactures are by their very nature often in need of strict management, resulting in a hesitancy to deploy new technologies, such as digital transformation. But that does not mean that digital transformation is a pipe dream for the chemicals industry.

Chemical companies that understand this are implementing a digital ready network – a software-defined network with inbuilt end-to-end security, a network that can be automated, a network with analytics and assurance built in, a network where policy can be implemented and monitored in real time – essentially the network as a sensor and enforcer.

International chemicals companies are fast-tracking their digital transformation, often with the help of governments. One example is Singapore’s “Smart Nation” drive, which aims to leverage Internet of Things technologies to improve the quality of life of the country’s citizens, infrastructure and industrial sector. Another example is chemicals giant Dow, with about 53,000 employees and revenue of close to $57 billion, which produces more than 6,000 science – and technology-based products for customers in more than 180 countries. It does this using collaboration tools from Cisco and the Internet of Things to help address many of the world’s most pressing issues. The collaboration tools have resulted in increased productivity, have fuelled innovation with closer connections between employees, and have allowed Dow to connect easily with suppliers and achieve better visibility across its supply chain.

“But we also know that at least one consulting firm (Accenture) is firmly of the opinion that we need to leverage off international knowledge to provide uniquely African ways of enabling digital transformation, rather than simply copying international methodology/solutions,” says Peters.

Cisco’s view is that local chemical manufacturers, such as Sasol*, have shown that South African chemical companies are doing digital transformation already, and that all digital transformation is ultimately built on a network.

Traditionally, the chemicals business views security as paramount. This means visibility of the whole manufacturing chain, from supply to delivery, is key. This visibility, however, can only be achieved if all aspects of the business are connected in a single system, and only if the network used to connect solutions is secure, Peters says.

Intent-based networking is the difference between a network that needs continuous attention and one that simply understands what you need and makes it happen.

“It’s the difference between doing thousands of tasks manually and having an automated system that helps you focus on business goals. Virtualisation, automation, analytics, and cloud, all in one architecture, are what enable traditional businesses such as the chemicals industry to deliver more secure, yet uniquely African solution for the African environment,” Peters says.

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Tech and telecom sector in Africa to thrive in 2018 and 2019

Tech and telecom sector in Africa to thrive in 2018 and 2019

Tech and telecom sector in Africa to thrive in 2018 and 2019.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the technology and telecommunication sectors in Africa and the Middle East will more than quadruple in 2018, from 2017. This is according to Baker McKenzie’s Global Transaction Forecast, developed in association with Oxford Economics. The report shows that M&A in the tech and telecoms sector in Africa and the Middle East was valued at US$1 .2 billion in 2017. This is predicted to increase to US$5.9 billion in 2018 and a further US$5.9 billion in 2019, before decreasing to US$3.9 billion in 2020.

The report notes that a more positive global economic outlook, the expansion of technology across industries, investment from emerging markets, and strong corporate balance sheets are the key factors in driving investment in tech M&A around the world, including in Africa.

Darryl Bernstein, Head of the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Practice at Baker McKenzie in Johannesburg, South Africa, explains the predicted rise in tech and telecoms M&A in Africa, “Africa’s growing telecoms infrastructure and access to online services and platforms continue to improve access to the online economy. Increased local demand for innovative products, services and solutions drives offshore telecommunications and technology companies to target opportunities in Africa. The growing financial services sector has also seen domestic banks make significant investments in technology to advance their innovation agenda. African tech companies are also targeting offshore investments in companies that will deepen their access to new technologies, markets and talent.”

“The expansion of emerging technologies across industries, including agribusiness, automotive and of course fintech, will also drive M&A activity as we expect to see more cross-sector deals involving technology,” says Bernstein.

Globally, deal activity in the technology and telecommunications sector is also likely to accelerate. In 2018, M&A activity in the tech and telecom sector is forecast to rise significantly across all regions.  North America will top the list with transactions totalling US$243 billion, followed by Asia Pacific with US$108.3 billion, Europe with US$106 billion and Latin America with US$4.9 billion.

“The rapid growth of innovation in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and big data is driving anticipated deal activity,” says Matthew Gemello, an M&A partner at Baker McKenzie based in Palo Alto.

“Hybrid sectors represent the growing convergence of traditional industries and technology as companies battle to remain competitive,” says Anne-Marie Allgrove, global chair of Baker McKenzie’s Global TMT Industry Group based in Sydney. “When you couple the rapid pace of innovation and continued push for vertical integration, it creates a recipe for increased M&A activity.”

One of the clearest market dynamics driving transactions is that businesses focused on the use of customer data need to increase the scope of their customer reach and are seeking to achieve this by buying competitors and new technologies that will attract more customer engagement.

“Top talent continues to be an important driver in technology acquisitions,” Gemello says. “We are seeing fewer pure ‘acqui-hires’ as compared to prior periods in the last 10 years, but the overarching need remains paramount from a competitive perspective.”

By: Darryl Linington
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South Africa gets first-of-its kind ATM pharmacy

South Africa gets first-of-its kind ATM pharmacy

South Africa gets first-of-its kind ATM pharmacy.

An ‘ATM pharmacy’ that gives patients with chronic illnesses their repeat medication has been launched in Alexandra, a township in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday, 15 March 2018.

The Pharmacy Dispensing Unit (PDU) is the first of its kind in Africa and was developed by a team comprising experts from Right to Care and Right ePharmacy in collaboration with the Gauteng Department of Health. The Pharmacy Dispensing Unit (PDU) works like an ATM for medication, with Skype-like audio-visual interaction between patient and tele-pharmacists, cloud-based electronic software and robotic technology to dispense and label medication.

Right to Care CEO, Professor Ian Sanne says, “Our partnerships made this innovation possible and we are grateful to the Gauteng Provincial Health Department and for the contributions of USAID, GIZ who are implementing on behalf of the German Government and Mach4. The PDUTM was developed to ensure accurate dispensing and quick collection. A clinically stable patient on chronic medication can be given the option to collect chronic prescriptions from the PDUTM pharmacy. While driven by sophisticated technology, patients’ concerns and information needs are still handled one-on-one by tele-pharmacists.

“Alexandra Plaza, where our first PDU is located, is a central community shopping centre which is on transport routes and it is open on weekends and public holidays. Sites in Diepsloot and two sites in Soweto have also been selected for the pilot of this public pharmacy programme.”

Gauteng Health MEC, Gwen Ramokgopa, says, “This is a great step forward for patients in our city as it dramatically reduces waiting times and congestion in public healthcare facilities. In Alex, there are eight primary healthcare clinics in the vicinity which refer patients.

Pharmacy Dispensing Unit in Alexandra township.

“The system is run by qualified pharmacists and pharmacy assistants and integrates with the clinical management of patients with chronic conditions at public facilities. It also supports adherence. The date for the next collection is shown on the receipt the patient receives when collecting medication and prescription collection reminders are sent by SMS. Late collections are immediately flagged for follow up. It also offers patients service in all eleven languages and there is support at the site to help patients deal with the technology.”

US Charge d’Affaires Jessica Lapenn explains, “This ATM-like approach to dispensing medication demonstrates innovative thinking to overcome challenges we encounter in ensuring people stay on HIV treatment or treatment for other chronic illnesses. We are pleased to have partnered with Right to Care on this and other innovations for people living with HIV. The Pharmacy Dispensing Unit is a unique solution that uses technology to move beyond traditional healthcare delivery. It is a wonderful example of commitment by the United States Government to the people of South Africa through PEPFAR to help create a safer, healthier, and brighter future for South Africans.”

“Improving access to medication is key,” said Klaus Streicher, Deputy Head of Mission at the German Embassy in Pretoria. “The PDU promises to significantly improve people’s ability to deal with their illnesses. The German government is pleased to be a part of this multi-stakeholder partnership which brings together government, international donors and the private sector.”

Remote pharmacist in Alexandra township.

Medicine is dispensed in a simple 5-step process:

  • Patient scans barcode ID book, ID card or pharmacy card and enters PIN
  • Patient talks to a remote pharmacist
  • The prescription and or items are selected
  • The medicine is robotically dispensed and labelled and drops in the collection slot
  • Patient takes receipt which indicates next collection date.

Fanie Hendriksz, managing director of Right ePharmacy comments, “This pharmacy enhances access to quality pharmaceutical services and improves patient convenience. The early benefits have shown valuable patient and community data trends that are needed to improve patient outcomes. The technology is making it easier for people with various illnesses to have access to medication, ultimately improving adherence.”

Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko
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Where WAF fits into the data path

Where WAF fits into the data path

Martin Walshaw, Senior Engineer at F5.

Web application firewalls (WAFs) are an integral component of application protection. They are excellent at protection against the OWASP (The Open Web Application Security Project) Top 10 and are a go-to solution for addressing zero-day vulnerabilities – but where do you put them?

Everyday data paths offer various insertion points at which a WAF can be deployed, says Martin Walshaw, senior systems engineer at F5. “However, we need to think carefully about where the WAF should be plugged in. According to a recent blog from F5, some points are less efficient, some introduce points of failure, and others introduce architectural debt that incur heavy interest penalties over time.”

F5 recommends that businesses should ideally be deploying WAF behind the load balancing tier, which optimises for utilisation, performance and reliability, while providing the necessary protection for all apps, including those exposed on the internet. The following are important considerations to debate when considering WAF placement on the data path:


Where WAF is concerned, utilisation becomes a key factor in operational costs as higher utilisation, which is inherent to a WAF solution, leads to additional resource requirements, which consume budgets.


While many WAFs scale well, they can still be overwhelmed by flash traffic or attacks, so if the choice is to place the WAF in front of the load balancing tier, companies will need another load balancing tier to scale separately. Without this, you risk impact performance and availability.


Not only that, but performance will be affected by choosing to place in front – to increase performance and save time you will want to eliminate layers of network from the equation rather than adding to it and that means deploying your WAF behind the load balancing tier.


This is a key requirement for security solutions in the data path. If you cannot inspect the entire flow, much of the security functions boasted by a WAF become moot. When the WAF is behind the load balancing tier, SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) decryption happens before traffic is passed to the WAF for inspection.

“While these are all valid considerations, a WAF can fit pretty much anywhere you want it to fit,” says Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited, a value-added distributor of F5 in Africa.

“As F5 notes, it could sit at the edge of the network, if that’s where you want it. However, best practice to optimise your architecture for performance, utilisation and reliability is to position it behind the load balancing tier and close to the application it’s protecting.”

Staff Writer

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Russia baits Nigeria with light, $14Bn for nuclear power project

Russia baits Nigeria with light, $14Bn for nuclear power project


Despite warnings that nuclear energy has no place in a safe, clean, sustainable future; lobbyists are pushing Nigeria to commit to building nuclear power plant.

The lobbyists claim that nuclear power plant can underpin the country’s poor public power supply and help her save some $14 billion annually.

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has however raised concerns that nuclear power plant is not good for the environment in Nigeria because of the radioactive waste and the cost, $20 billion, of the project.

In clear and simple terms, nuclear energy is both expensive and dangerous, and just because nuclear pollution is invisible doesn’t mean it’s clean.

But Viktor Polikarpov, regional vice-president, Central and Southern Africa of ROSATOM, said all of the concerns are driven by lack of information.

He said that when the nuclear plant would be operational, the country would save $14 billion in a year on off-grid diesel generation.

ROSATOM by the way is the Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation which had reportedly signed an agreement with Nigeria to build a nuclear energy plant.

ROSATOM is currently working with Nigeria on two planned projects, the Center for Nuclear Research and Technology for which an agreement on cooperation in construction was signed in 2016; and the Nuclear Power Plant project for which project development agreements on construction and operation were signed in October 2017.

Coming to the radioactive wastes he said, “Nuclear power is the only energy industry which takes full responsibility for all its wastes and builds this cost directly into the product. International co-operation and systems are also in place to effectively control and track the movement of many materials, including radioactive materials.”

Russia is not new to building Nuclear energy plants, Polikarpov noted that Russia started building nuclear plants 11 years ago, has launched a large-scale NPP construction program in the country and abroad that have finalised 13 units.

Nigeria, is infamous for unreliable public supply and it is a country where everybody generates own power supply.

According to estimations, Nigeria spends $14 billion annually on off-grid diesel generation.

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Operators decry high cost of fibre optic leasing

Operators decry high cost of fibre optic leasing

A fibre-optic cable

High cost of leasing fibre optic infrastructure has been blamed for the desire of telecommunications operators to seek ownership of that transmission link, Nigeria Communicationsweek has learnt.

Metro or national fibre optic infrastructure is required by telecommunications operators to transmit bandwidth from where they are bought to their network operating centres for service delivery especially data.

Stakeholders in the telecommunications space have attributed lack of transmission infrastructure in the country to poor service delivery and high cost of data services especially in cities outside of Lagos where most of the undersea cable that brought bandwidth to the country land.

Against this backdrop that operators seek ‘Right of way’ approval to enable them lay fibre optic along state and federal roads to move bandwidth required to deliver services to their subscribers.

Abhulime Ehiagwina, chief financial officer, ntel, a 4GLTE operator, said at a recent Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) ‘breakfast meeting with the CEO’, that high cost of leasing fibre optic from owners of the infrastructure does not make economic sense compared to owning the link.

“Imagine if we lease fibre to deliver service from Port Harcourt to Aba, it will cost us N20 million per month. The question is, how many subscribers can we get in a short run that will cover this amount and other associated cost in delivering service to Aba? This is why operators seek ‘Right of way’ approval to lay their own fibre links,” he said.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed that leasing of intra city fibre optic is not cheap either as it costs N200, 000 to lease fibre to transmit 20mega of bandwidth for Victoria Island to Ikeja in Lagos Nigeria.

It was in response to this that Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has licensed InfraCos that are expected to deploy fibre optic infrastructure for operators to lease at competitive cost.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek also gathered that some existing national and metro fibre links are not being use by operators as a result of high cost which is why stakeholders are calling for articulated business friendly policy in the deployment and provision of telecommunications transmission infrastructure in the country.

Ajay Awasthi, chief executive officer, Spectranet, a 4G LTE internet service provider, said that it costs higher to move bandwidth from Lagos to Ibadan than moving it from London to Lagos.

Engr. Samuel Adeleke, immediate past president, Internet Services Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) said that licensing of spectrum as a way to increase broadband penetration is not enough to achieve the target.

“NCC needs to look at the proper use of its licenses moving forward. For instance, Globacom has invested in intra-city and inter-city fibre network, which are presently not in use. This infrastructure is required to increase broadband penetration in the country, the regulator should ensure the effective utilization of licensed spectrum,” he said.

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