‘How mobile ecosystem added $37 billion to West Africa’s GDP in 2017’

‘How mobile ecosystem added $37 billion to West Africa’s GDP in 2017’

The mobile ecosystem contributed $37 billion, which was equivalent to 6.5 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to the West African economy in 2017.

The mobile ecosystem consists of mobile operators, infrastructure service providers, retailers and distributors of mobile products and services, mobile handset manufacturers, and mobile content, application and service providers.

The use of mobile technology also drives improvements in productivity and efficiency for workers and firms.

According to the Global System for Mobile Telecommunications (GSMA) in its Mobile Economy West Africa 2018 report presented at the Mobile 360 Series conference in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, it explained that 3G and 4G technology allow workers and firms to use mobile data and Internet services, which subsequently improves access to information and services, which in turn drives efficiency in business processes across many industries, including finance and health.

GSMA said the impact of mobile Internet is particularly significant, where fixed infrastructure is poor and mostly confined to large cities and business and industrial districts.

Furthermore, the mobile operators and the wider mobile ecosystem provided direct employment to more than 200, 000 people in West Africa in 2017, predominantly in the retailing and distribution of services and handsets.

In addition to this, the GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide and uniting nearly 800 operators across the globe, noted that economic activity in the ecosystem created jobs in other linked sectors as a result of the demand generated by the mobile sector.

Going forward, GSMA said it expect the economic contribution of the mobile ecosystem to continue to increase in both relative and absolute terms. “In value-added terms, we estimate that mobile will contribute $51 billion to the West African economy by 2022, equivalent to 7.7 per cent of GDP.

GSMA explained that the number of mobile Internet subscribers doubled over the last four years to reach 78 million, nearly half of the total number of mobile subscribers, by the end of 2017.

According to the Body, the number of registered mobile money accounts in the sub-region reached 104.5 million in 2017, while the total value of transactions for the same period reached $5.3 billion.

GSMA said the rapid adoption of mobile services and the funding and infrastructure gaps in the provision of essential services present an opportunity for local innovators to create digital solutions that address a wide range of social and economic challenges across different countries in the sub-region.

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Court stops sale of 9Mobile as shareholders seek refund of $43.33 million investment

Court stops sale of 9Mobile as shareholders seek refund of $43.33 million investment

FCT High Court. Photo: Hotels

A Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday stopped the planned sale of Etisalat telecommunication firm (now 9Mobile) following opposition by some aggrieved shareholders.

The shareholders – Afdin Ventures Limited and Dirbia Nigeria Limited, which had claimed to be major investors, complained of being left out in the firm’s decision-making and have demanded a refund of their $43,330,950 investments.

They had filed a legal action before the Federal High Court, Abuja in suit No. FHC/ABJ/CR/288/2018, which has Karlington Telecommunications Limited, Premium Telecommunications Holdings NV, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Etisalat International Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) as defendants.

Justice Binta Nyako, after hearing from plaintiffs’ counsel, Mahmud Magaji (SAN) moved an ex-parte motion and ordered that status quo be maintained.

Acceding to the fact that the defendants also ought to be heard, Justice Nyako ordered the service of processes on them, including the third and fifth defendants (First Bank and Etisalat), whose addresses were outside the jurisdiction.

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Nigeria’s mobile money scheme crawls at 1% penetration

Nigeria’s mobile money scheme crawls at 1% penetration

Umar Danbatta, NCC Boss.

GSMA certifies four operators to boost service
After about five years of operation in Nigeria, mobile money has only been able to attract just one per cent penetration.

Unlike in Ghana and Kenya where penetrations have reached 40 per cent and 60 per cent respectively, only about two million of Nigeria’s estimated 198 million populations.

The implication of this is that despite the innovation that comes with it, Nigerians are yet to tap from the huge benefit it carries.

Market watchers have argued that the model operated in Nigeria, which is bank-led, has not been able to impact the initiative in the country adequately.

Nigeria is currently home to about 21 mobile money operators, which comprised 15 non-bank operators and six bank operators that have been carrying out commercial operations.

The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, at an interaction with journalists in Lagos, on Monday, lamented that mobile money is crawling at one per cent penetration in the country because it is bank-led.

According to him, other region, where the scheme is thriving has been because it was telco-led, “as such we need to re-direct our focus and ensure that appropriate model is adopted adequately.”

Danbatta said there should be effective cooperation among all the various stakeholders in the value chain that is the telecommunications operators, agents, CBN and the services providers too.

The NCC EVC revealed that discussions are on-going in the industry on how to get telcos to become super agents in the scheme of things.

“With the population we have in the country, Nigeria should play big in the mobile money ecosystem in Africa. Only about one per cent that is about two million Nigerians is currently on the scheme. That is rather too poor. All hands must be on deck to revive that sub-sector of the economy.

“If we are to improve on Nigeria’s digital landscape, we must revive the mobile ecosystem, which includes the mobile money scheme,” he stated.

Meanwhile, at the just concluded Mobile 360 – West Africa event held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the Global System for Mobile Telecommunications Association (GSMA), he launch of the GSMA Mobile Money Certification, a global scheme for mobile money providers to offer safer, more transparent and resilient financial services to millions of mobile money users around the world.

The certification relies on an independent assessment of a mobile money provider’s ability to deliver secure and reliable services, to protect the rights of consumers and to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

The certification is designed to enhance consumer trust and accelerate commercial partnerships by setting a high bar to which all providers can aspire.

Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA, John Giusti, said the Mobile Money Certification is a consumer-focused initiative, aimed at giving customers confidence that a provider has taken steps to ensure their funds are in safe hands, their rights are protected and they can expect a high level of customer service.

“With over 690 million accounts globally, the mobile money industry is having a clear impact on the global effort to expand financial inclusion, providing access to life-enhancing financial services and serving as a gateway to the digital economy.

“Mobile money is directly advancing 13 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by facilitating access to essential services such as health and education, providing employment opportunities and reducing poverty,” he stated.

The certification scheme follows a three-year consultative process led by the GSMA, which worked together with providers in Africa, Asia and Latin America to understand the challenges of their business and assemble best practices from these markets.
Certification is open to all mobile money providers, whether they are a mobile operator, a bank or other type of payment service provider.

Orange Côte d’Ivoire, Safaricom (Kenya), Telenor Microfinance Bank Ltd. (Easypaisa Pakistan), Tigo Tanzania (Millicom Group) and Vodacom Tanzania are the first to be certified, covering 98 million accounts in four markets.

The certification promotes the application of consistent risk mitigation and consumer protection practices across key areas of business. The requirements include a set of eight high-level principles and 300 detailed criteria covering issues such as security, consumer rights and the prevention of money laundering, financing of terrorism and fraud.

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How to build a cyber resilient security organisation, by Inlaks

How to build a cyber resilient security organisation, by Inlaks

Inlaks has identified building formidable structures as a way to prevent cyber security threats in organisations.

This was highlighted by the company’s Cyber Security Manager, Adeyemi Ademiluyi, at the West Africa Cyber Security Summit (WACSS) organised by Afrocet Montgomery in partnership with KPMG Nigeria in Lagos.

Ademiluyi, who was a speaker at the summit, explained that with Nigeria as the second on the list of the most attacked countries in Africa after Zambia in the 2017 Global Threat Impact index, cyber-attack has become a global phenomenon that requires more technical, creativity and diplomatic approach to address.

“Basic tools such as antivirus, firewall, intrusion detection and prevention systems are no longer enough to combat today’s weaponised and sophisticated malwares persistently launched by the Cyber Adversaries. The implementations of security tools are good to prevent internal and external invasion but not panacea against Cyber-attacks and cybercrimes. .”

He also added that building a Cyber resilient organization was very key for any organisations that wish to survive in the Digital age, adding: “it should be seen as the collective responsibility and efforts of all stakeholders within the organisation and the Cyber ecosystem in general. Since no organisation, group or person is immune to attack, capacity building is key to winning the war and reducing the cost on cybercrimes and attacks. Awareness training and education on Information and Cyber security will definitely play a vital role in staying ahead of cyber thieves.

“The weakest link in the security chain should be motivated, trained and empowered to be the best line of defence. Effective training and education will also help the staff to identify threats, avoid malicious links and downloads. The staff will also know their roles in the response plan and how to communicate effectively in the event of any attack.

“Aside from those that are involved in the day-to-day running of the organisation, other members of staff like the cleaners and security personnel need to be trained because they are all part of the organisation. Building cyber resilience is building a room for continuity so there is a need to employ best practices like information security practices and business continuity strategies. There must be collaboration among all, especially the Management, IT team, information security team, and business operation team to form a strategy that will suit the organization.”

Ademiluyi, who is the pioneer president of Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), a non-profit group of professionals in the field of information security, said that, “Cyber threat can bring down an organization and cause reputational damage. Imagine an organization that has been in existence for over 20 years and because the organization is being attacked, customers decide to take away patronage. It is going to affect the organization’s image, reputation and perception and can cause a huge damage to the organization regardless of the size.”

He further highlighted that Inlaks has embraced international best standard to implement the ISO27001 certification in information security management system. “This means that we know the value of information security, we want to control risks within our organisation and continue to improve our people, process and technology.

“When it comes to measures to be used to fight cyber-attack, we understand that there is need for us to be innovative and creative because cyber thieves are always looking for different ways to circumvent the established control systems. Our advice to customers is to be ahead of cybercrime perpetrators and employ a collection of tools, policies, frameworks, risk management approach, risk assessment approach,” he noted.

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Tackling public sector corruption starts and ends with technology

Tackling public sector corruption starts and ends with technology

PHOTO: iAfrikan

1999 was a big year for Nigerian technology. The fear of the Y2K bug and the drive by institutions to become compliant was a boost to hardware sales and software implementation. Proposals got sent to everyone, and we were lucky to have been chosen to implement our custom built ERP solution for one of the largest federal government parastatals.

When we started implementation, the first surprise I got was not that they had absolutely no processes in place and were relying on bank statements alone. It was that, there was an articulate process manual provided that they had abandoned. Someone had painstakingly done the work of reviewing and documenting public sector processes and had produced a manual to guide our implementation. This manual sped up our implementation process, and the client was surprised at the results. It revealed things they did not want to be exposed and we were promptly kicked out with payments still outstanding to us. This project was our first stint with a public sector establishment as a technology company, and it almost made us give up on the sector entirely.

Change Management lessons
We tried our hands at public sector technology once again when I discovered that my friend David, who was a Finance Commissioner in one of the states, had to sign ten thousand payment warrants every month physically. He wanted that fixed and also wanted his accounts payable process revamped as there was proof that massive fraud was going on because people were taking advantage of the manual method.

We went through a competitive tender process and won the bid to implement SAP financials for David’s ministry. It was one of the most exciting and profitable projects I had executed, and it showed a lot of promise. The only problem was once again “people.” Getting them to use this new “world class” technology was a nightmare. It made me realise the importance of the soft side of tech implementations. Training and Change Management were more critical in the public sector than anywhere else.

Technology is all about change, and people are creatures of habit. Getting both to work together meant understanding implementations and executing workarounds. I learned while in graduate school in the UK that technology projects fail when we typically view them as technology projects instead of “Business or Process Change” initiatives. 60% of ERP implementations at that time had been unable to achieve their objectives as either those objectives changed or the people sabotaged the efforts.

I realised eventually that technology itself IS “Change.” Change Management is managing the technology delivery process to deliver real value.

The Optimization vs Innovation dilemma
There are public sector projects that have been successful. While consulting for the IFC, I had insisted that SocketWorks consider outsourcing solutions for Healthcare, Education and Government. They were the sectors with the most need for outsourced services as the strategic impact was high, but resource availability regarding human resources was low. SocketWorks successfully implemented its outsourced model for education and government.

Outsourcing is an innovation when it comes to government technology. The default model is typically to optimise processes. The truth is that government has no business with running any technology, they only require processes to be streamlined and value delivered by the right means.

Immigration and educational institutions processes are now vastly improved with Socketworks outsourced technology. The current Treasury Single Account (TSA) and Bank Verification Number platforms in Nigeria are examples of outsourced operations that have yielded significant value.

The flaw with internalised optimisation models as I found out with my first public sector stint is that the outcomes are at variance with the motivations of those who benefit from manual and opaque processes. No amount of change management or arrests will stop corruption if it is effortless to achieve. Institutions have to be optimised from outside by fiat or brute force as TSA and BVN have done while taking steps to make fraud practically impossible to achieve or hide in the public sector.

How technology can help end corruption
I discovered while working on public sector projects in Nigeria that our standard processes are amazingly simple. Too simple in fact and that is why loopholes get found quickly. I am sure most income and expenditure accounts of most public sector establishments can be run on a spreadsheet. Opacity is created by deliberately contrived manual processes to keep people employed and aid corruption. I discovered once that a higher institution had 400 students but 2000 staff members. We can quickly do the mathematics to identify fraud when things are transparent.

Ideally, the job of tech is not to stop corruption but make it impossible to hide it. I, however, believe that tech can even be more aggressive to create change. BVN verification alone has removed a lot of ghost workers from payrolls. Solving the identity problem at a macro level has had tremendous impact at the micro level.

Identity verification and process transparency have led to more arrests by law enforcement because technology works. I believe it can even work better when the government is more deliberate about fully enabling outsourced technology-driven processes at all levels. The most significant value of technology in governance is transparency and permanency. You can destroy paper trails, but you can’t burn replicated cloud storage.

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Google launches new application

Google launches new application

Search giant, Google has launched ‘Google Go’, a new app that provides a lighter, faster, way to search, with everything you need just a tap away.

As more and more Africans come online every year, using mobile phones as their primary and sometimes only Internet device, online isn’t somewhere they ‘go’ anymore, it’s where they live – connecting with the people, places and things that matter to them. Weak data connectivity, high data costs and low RAM or storage space often make it hard for people to get the most out of the internet – Google Go is built to handle these challenges.

Google Africa Chief Marketing Officer, Mzamo Masito, said: “Users come to us to experience the web and access accurate information quickly. Unfortunately users can’t always decide on the type of device they have or the kind of connection they are on. Google Go is designed from the ground up to address these issues and provide a seamless experience irrespective of what device or network the user is on.”

Google Go is available today in 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa through the Google Play Store. It will come pre-installed on all Android Oreo (Go edition) devices, available in stores soon. It is available for devices running Android v4.3 (Jelly Bean) and above.

With Google Go, everything you need is just a tap away. Easily search for information or see what’s trending in your country. Find an inspirational quote for a loved one with an image or GIF search, discover places nearby, and browse videos. Access all your favorite apps and websites and discover the top destinations in your country.

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Firm revs up investment in electronic security

Firm revs up investment in electronic security


Security solutions provider, Hamgad Security, has boosted investment in modern and electronic security to tackle the myriads of challenges facing the country.

The company, which launched a store, composed of security, surveillance and safety sections to mark it sixth anniversary, disclosed that its latest move was to complement Federal Government’s effort at tackling the scourge of insecurity in Nigeria.

While also harping on the need for individual protection, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Hammed Ibrahim, stated that the mission of the firm was to make Nigeria a safe place for both locals and foreigners, to be the destination for high end security and safety and to provide immediate solutions to average Nigerians to feel safe.

“We all understand that security is a major drawback in Nigeria and that created a vacuum for us to come in and solve the problem which is why we launched out with equipment sales. We are planning on diversifying security to capture the entire market space in Nigeria.”

He advised that the present state of the country is the one that required an upgrade to battery and technological powered safety equipment rather than depending solely on man power.

He said: “ Technology has so advanced that one can personally protect oneself even without hiring a security guard, one can get to monitor one’s home or office from a distance, one. can get to open the door via a mobile phone and even in an emergency situation , one can be sure of getting details of an occurrence by planting equipment at strategic points without visiting the venue . This is the kind of solutions the country needs at the moment which is what we are investing in.”

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Bosch opens new experience centre in Lagos

Bosch Power Tools Nigeria has inaugurated its experience centre in sub-Saharan Africa, in Lagos. The experience centre, which was said to focus on delivering the latest Bosch Power Tools innovations to professionals and tradesmen, was established in partnership with Amicable Concerns Limited,

According to the Country Sales Director, Frank Diermann, the experience centre will focus on professional users in the construction space as well as tradesmen, artisans, and craftsmen. He also stated that it will assist users to meet the demands of the growing Nigerian economy, especially in the area of infrastructural development.

“Users can enjoy tailored application trainings, for example, with bench top, impact drills and measuring tools and have the opportunity to purchase the latest Bosch power tools and accessories. To increase user convenience, the centre offers a drop off and pick up service for all aftersales service needs.

“In support of the rapid infrastructural developments in Nigeria, the exclusive first of its kind Bosch Power Tools experience centre in the Sub Saharan Africa provides professionals and tradesmen with know-how and tools that are easy to use and that will significantly increase productivity in their day-to-day work. The experience centre is essential for the Nigerian market,” he said.

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SpaceX postpones launch of NASA’s planet-hunter spacecraft

SpaceX postpones launch of NASA’s planet-hunter spacecraft

Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket is prepared for a launch to the International Space Station February 17, 2017 at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on LC39A, one of the renovated Space Shuttle launch pads that SpaceX leases from NASA. The Falcon 9 with a Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to be launched February 18.BRUCE WEAVER / AFP

SpaceX postponed the launch of NASA’s new planet-hunting mission Monday in order to verify the Falcon 9 rocket’s navigation systems, the California-based company said.

The next opportunity to blast off the $337 million satellite — which aims to advance the search for extraterrestrial life by scanning the skies for nearby, Earth-like planets will be Wednesday.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, is “in excellent health and remains ready for launch,” SpaceX said on Twitter.

“Launch teams are standing down today to conduct additional guidance navigation and control analysis.”

The postponement was announced about two hours before the planned blast off from a NASA launchpad in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The washing machine-sized spacecraft is built to search the nearest, brightest stars for signs of periodic dimming. These so-called “transits” may mean that planets are in orbit around them.

TESS is expected to reveal 20,000 planets beyond our solar system, known as exoplanets, NASA said.

Its discoveries will be studied further by ground- and space-based telescopes for signs of habitability, including rocky terrain, a size similar to Earth and a distance from their sun — neither too close nor too far — that allows the right temperature for liquid water.

NASA predicts that TESS could find more than 50 Earth-sized planets and up to 500 planets less than twice the size of the Earth.

TESS will survey far more cosmic terrain than its predecessor, NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, which launched in 2009, taking in some 85 percent of the skies.

“TESS is equipped with four very sensitive cameras that will be able to monitor nearly the entire sky,” said George Ricker, TESS principal investigator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“That is about 20 times what the Kepler mission was able to detect.”

– Kepler vs TESS –
Kepler, the first planet-hunting mission of its kind, “was launched to answer one single question: How common is a planet like Earth around a star like the Sun?” said Patricia “Padi” Boyd, director of the TESS guest investigator program at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center.

“It was designed to look at 150,000 stars in a fairly wide field of view without blinking, for four years,” she told reporters on the eve of the launch.

“One of the many amazing things that Kepler told us is that planets are everywhere and there are all kinds of planets out there.

“So TESS takes the next step. If planets are everywhere, then it is time for us to find the planets that are closest to us orbiting bright nearby stars, because these will be the touchstone system.”

TESS and Kepler use the same system of detecting planetary transits, or shadows cast as they pass in front of their star.

While Kepler confirmed some 2,300 exoplanets and thousands more potential planet candidates, many were too distant and dim to be studied further.

With Kepler running low on fuel and nearing the end of its life, TESS aims to pick up the search while focusing closer, on planets dozens to hundreds of light years away.

“TESS is going to dramatically increase the number of planets that we have to study,” said Ricker.

The Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2020, should be able to reveal more about planets’ mass, density and the makeup of their atmosphere — all clues to habitability.

The first data from TESS is expected to be made public in July, and NASA says citizen astronomers are welcome to help study the planets.

It may be decades before astronomers know whether or not life exists elsewhere.”TESS is the first step,” said Stephen Rinehart, TESS project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center.

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Mobile Internet users increase marginally to 100.9m in February – NCC

Mobile Internet users increase marginally to 100.9m in February – NCC

Issouf Sanogo (AFP/File)

Internet users in the country increase to 100. 9 million in February from 1.2 million in January, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has said.

The NCC made this disclosure in its Monthly Internet Subscribers Data for February 2018 on its website on Monday in Abuja.

The data showed a marginal increase of 670,385 new subscribers in the country.

NCC said Airtel, MTN gained more internet subscribers during the month in review, while Glo and 9mobile were the big losers.

The breakdown revealed that MTN gained the most with over 762,366 new internet users increasing its subscription in January to almost 38 million from 37 million recorded in January.

It said Airtel also gained 247.216 new internet users in February amounting to 25,075,110 million users as against 24,827,894 users in January.

It said 9mobile however lost 146,034 internet users in February, decreasing its subscription to 11,132,153 as against 11,278,187 recorded in January.

The data showed in February that Globacom lost 193,127 internet users decreasing its subscription 26,733,989 from the 26,927,116 recorded in January.

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