By Dipo Olowookere
A 21-year-old Nigerian, Boluwatife Omotayo, has been shortlisted among 19 other young African entrepreneurs to compete for the Anzisha Prize, Africa’s premier award for her youngest entrepreneurs.
Boluwatife is the founder of TabDigitals, an IT company that helps consumers find artisans who can repair and replace electronic gadgets.
The IT gurus will hope to have a share of the $100,000 cash prize being offered by the organisers, who have the support of MasterCard Foundation and the African Leadership Academy (ALA).
The Anzisha Prize awards young entrepreneurs who have developed and implemented innovative solutions to social challenges or started successful businesses within their communities.
Selected from a pool of over 600 applicants, from 13 countries, the finalists are armed with the tools they need to grow their business and attract investment, and are coached and mentored by industry experts. As Anzisha Fellows, they emerge as role models igniting the entrepreneurial spirit within their peers and creating job opportunities in their communities.
Now in its 8th year, the Anzisha Prize program attracts young entrepreneurs from across Africa and for the first time, the Prize is recognizing the achievements of entrepreneurs from Benin, Libya, and Sierra Leone.
Applicants represent a wide variety of entrepreneurial efforts, from manufacturing, mining, and healthcare, but agripreneurs continue to dominate the applicant pool.
Among them is Kenyan Kevin Kibet, the 22-year old founder of FarmMoja Limited which supports smallholder farmers by providing them with inputs, training, and access to reliable markets.
Since its inception in 2016, FarmMoja has distributed inputs to 30 farmers, acquired a seven-acre farm with 1,000 trees, and raised $20,000 in equity funding from angel investors to underwrite its expansion activities. Another finalist, Vanessa Ishiimwe from Rwanda is running three learning centres within a Ugandan refugee camp which are educating more than 300 children and employing 18 youth as teachers.
“Investing in young entrepreneurs to address the youth employment challenge is at the core of the Foundation’s Young Africa Works,” said Koffi Assouan, Program Manager, MasterCard Foundation. “These Fellows are tackling challenges in their communities and driving job creation and sustainable economic growth by improving efficiency in the agrifood sector. We congratulate them on their success.”
The 20 finalists will be flown to Johannesburg for a 10-day entrepreneurship boot camp where they will receive intensive training from African Leadership Academy’s renowned Entrepreneurial Leadership faculty. They will be coached on how to pitch their business to a panel of judges for a share of the $100,000 cash prize. The grand prize winner will receive $25,000. The remainder of the prize money will be shared among the rest of the finalists.
Additionally, each finalist is enrolled in a Fellowship program that will provide over $7,500 in additional support and services.
This year, for the first time, the pitch competition will be live streamed across the continent. Online audiences will have the opportunity to tune into the pitch competition and rally behind the entrepreneurs who inspire them most, possibly motivating them to begin their own entrepreneurial journey.
The pitching event will be hosted by Cameroonian Tonje Bakang, a tech entrepreneur who created Africa’s Netflix, Afrostream and a long-time supporter of young entrepreneurs.
“What makes the Anzisha Prize unique is its dedicated investment in Africa’s young job starters as a means to encourage other high potential young entrepreneurs across the continent. We want these stories to reach the right person at the right moment to catalyse their interest and entry into entrepreneurship,” said Josh Adler, Vice President of Growth and Entrepreneurship at African Leadership Academy.
The winners will be announced during an extraordinary gala evening on October 23, which will include a keynote address from Sim Shagaya, a Nigerian entrepreneur who is the founder and former CEO of Konga.com, one of West Africa’s largest electronic commerce websites.
The Anzisha Prize will be hosting events across the continent to share the stories of this year’s top 20 entrepreneurs and to encourage young Africans to start their own ventures.
FBNQuest Advises Firms What to do to Manage Rising Cyber-Attacks
By Adedapo Adesanya
As Africa faces the threat of rising cybercrimes, FBNQuest, through its Thought Leadership medium, has called on the need to recognise the strategic importance of managing companies’ security infrastructure.
In a note made available to Business Post, it stated that organisations of all sizes should be looking at what to do when (not if) they are hit by cyber-attacks.
Cybercrime is estimated to cost Africa $4 billion a year (a figure that hits $450 billion worldwide), broken down into yearly losses of $570 million, $500 million, and $36 million for the economies of South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya, respectively.
Drawing real-life parallels, in early October 2020, Uganda’s telecoms and banking sectors were plunged into a crisis in the wake of a major hack on Pegasus Technologies that compromised the country’s mobile money network.
Hackers used approximately 2,000 mobile SIM cards to gain access to the system, and an estimated $3.2 million was stolen.
In June 2020, the second-largest hospital operator in South Africa, Life Healthcare, was hit by a cyberattack in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, paralysing the 6,500-bed provider and forcing it to switch to manual backup systems.
As per the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol), the most prominent threats in Africa, based on input from Interpol member countries and data drawn from private sector partners, identified that the top five threats listed in the report include online scams, digital extortion, email account compromise, ransomware, and botnets.
FBNQuest noted that “the current international threat landscape is incredibly diverse and includes a resurgence of bored teenagers who hack just for the fun of it, nation-state groups, and cybercriminal syndicates and gangs. For the latter groups, the operational objective is to leverage a new exploit to extort millions and achieve an extraordinary return on investment.”
It then tasked organisations to apply the fundamentals of cybersecurity that will offer protection. This includes tightening the email loop, which makes it difficult to fall for phishing attacks.
Others include fending off malicious ransomware, securing network access, shutting down internal threats, solidifying storage and backups, as well as managing vulnerabilities, noting that, “The key to successful vulnerability management is to identify all the ways an attacker can move throughout your network and reach your business-critical assets. Once you have identified these attack paths, you can focus on locking down chokepoints and stopping hackers before they even get started.”
It also tasked parties to ensure that a detailed Incident Response Plan (IRP) is put in place.
“Cyberattacks may be inevitable, but a detailed Incident Response Plan (IRP) provides both a buffer and an antidote if the plan is tested. This means that the first time to verify an IRP is not in the middle of a crisis.
“The best way to determine whether the company’s IRP is effective is through tests that assess the readiness of their incident response teams. These tests, which work for all-size companies, come in the form of fire drills and tabletop exercises (TTXs). Each test serves a different purpose.”
The company noted that while cyber-security has been largely associated with computers and IT infrastructure, greater consumer use of smart devices has raised overall vulnerability. At the enterprise level, shifting to cloud computing may have cut company costs significantly, but it has also increased the risk of digital attacks.
“Despite the broad-based implications of these risks, many businesses are unprepared to deal with them, as the alarming number of threats clearly indicates. These developments imply that security is no longer merely a concern of IT managers, but a key boardroom topic because enterprises need to recognise its strategic importance. Companies need to beef up their security infrastructure to prevent breaches while simultaneously building a sustained organisational culture of safety,” it warned.
African Fintech Targets 800% Revenue Growth by 2025—McKinsey
By Adedapo Adesanya
Revenues from financial technology (fintech) companies could grow by 800 per cent to reach $30 billion by 2025, consultancy firm McKinsey & Company has revealed.
As the fastest-growing start-up industry on the continent, African fintech raised over $1,3 billion in 2021 alone; the success of fintech companies is being fuelled by several trends, including increasing smartphone ownership, declining internet costs, expanded network coverage, and a young, fast-growing, and rapidly urbanizing population.
African fintech has a significant impact on day-to-day life on the continent, and with its current upward trend, it can be perfectly poised to rapidly advance Africa’s global competitiveness with an increase in the exporting of fintech services globally.
However, it said these fertile grounds do have challenges. Regulatory uncertainties and differences between countries are a bottleneck, throttling the expansion of financial inclusion in Africa. This has led to the continent’s fintech’s calling for a Pan-African regulatory body to define comprehensive regulatory policies for regions rather than countries.
Certain governments and the private business sector continuously work on providing regulatory policy frameworks for businesses, customers, and economies with the current focus on regulations, anti-money laundering scrutiny, consumer centrism, and protection of privacy and security of data.
In terms of regulations, digital-only banks and fintech are influenced by but independently regulated from the traditional financial system regulations.
For Anti Money Laundering Scrutiny, more regulatory bodies are insisting on compliance herewith; worldwide, there is a clampdown on non-compliant companies. This requires the verification of information received from the client to avoid fraudulent, terrorist, or other illegal activities being facilitated, supported by other processes such as Know Your Customer.
Also, fintech must be vigilant in consumer education, especially the consequences of services and products that did not exist before, protecting the consumer from being exploited.
For the protection of privacy and security of data, it warned that stored personal consumer information is susceptible to cyberattacks, and as a result, fintech companies must comply and have the necessary security systems and protocols to secure sensitive data.
The Global fintech Index of 2020 lists the top 100 fintech ecosystems, and four sub-Saharan African cities features, that are leading this sector, namely Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos, and Cape Town, and account for most of the continent’s fintech start-up funding.
“The countries represented by the four cities above have taken significant strides towards regulatory systems designed to protect stakeholders. Each country’s approach to regulations shares similarities, while others are unique to the challenges faced in their market.
“Regardless of the size of the fintech, these changes become prohibitive to the success of fintech due to the cost and/or inconvenience caused since they impact all areas of the customer relationship lifecycle,” it said.
Nigeria’s Telecommunications Sector has Attracted $70bn Investments—NCC
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Umar Danbatta, has disclosed that the country’s telecommunications sector has attracted about $70 billion in investments.
In his keynote address delivered at a two-day International Conference of the Association of Media and Communication Researchers of Nigeria (AMCRON), the NCC chief described the industry as a critical component of the economy.
He also said these huge investments were made possible through the implementation of policies designed by the government to create enabling environment for stakeholders.
Speaking on the theme Influence of Communication Policies on Digital Revolution in Nigeria, Mr Danbatta stated that communication policies are essentially blueprints and strategies, marked by plans for the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in a way that nudges people to harness opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution through the embrace of digital culture across sectors by individual, businesses and institutions.
According to him, this diligent implementation of various telecommunications policies, strategies and regulatory frameworks has continued to enhance the nation’s capacity to deepen citizens’ access to digital resources, transformed media and knowledge production and positively impacted Nigeria’s economic and social progress.
The NCC boss, represented by the agency’s Director of Research and Development, Mr Ismail Adedigba, while tracing the trajectory of growth in the telecoms industry from 1960 till date, said the past decades had witnessed formulation of various policies and laws for developing the industry, but remarkable growth in the sector started after the sector’s liberalization in 2001.
He said through diligent implementation of policies, vision plans and strategic regulatory frameworks by the NCC, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders in the industry, there is increased access to digital services, and the media industry is being shaped in terms of patterns of information dissemination through multiple platforms while the digital revolution has revealed a new vista of research areas for scholars in the field of mass communication.
“Today, the active telecom subscribers have grown significantly to 212.2 million from about 400,000 aggregate telephone lines in the country as of 2000, on the eve of liberalisation. This represents a teledensity of 111 per cent. Basic Internet subscriptions grew from zero ground to 152.7 million now, while broadband subscriptions stand at over 86 million, representing a 45.09 per cent penetration as of July 2022.
“The industry has also become a major contributor to our national economy, with the ICT industry contributing 18.94 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as of the second quarter of 2022, according to the latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). From this, the telecommunications sector alone contributed 15 per cent to GDP.
“The ICT contribution to GDP is, by far, the second largest contributor to the national economy aside from the agriculture sector. From less than $500 million investment in 2001, the investment profile in the nation’s telecommunications sector has also surpassed $70 billion. The telecommunication sector has also created direct and indirect jobs for millions of Nigerians to date,” Danbatta said in his keynote speech,” he said.
Mr Danbatta expressed hope that just as the liberalisation policies have worked quantifiably for Nigeria’s progress, yielding exponential results, the commission is committed to the implementation of the various extant economic recovery plans, digital economy policies, the national broadband plan as well as strategic management plans which have been streamlined in NCC Strategic Vision Plans.
The EVC promised that the NCC would continue to ensure more quantum leaps and retain its current leadership role in the telecommunications space to lead Nigeria into the next level of development.
“To achieve this, the NCC will continue to strengthen collaboration with the media professionals and communication research-focused bodies such as AMCRON, towards creating an environment where stakeholders can leverage digital infrastructure to achieve greater efficiency in what they do,” he said.
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