By Dipo Olowookere
No fewer than nine firms linked with Nigeria have been shortlisted among the 20 most promising African digital start-ups to partake in the XL Africa residency, the flagship initiative of the business accelerator launched last April by the World Bank Group’s infoDev program.
From November 6-17, 2017 in Cape Town, the entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from their mentors and peers, increase their regional visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors.
The residency will conclude with the XL Africa Venture Showcase, a regional event organized in association with the African Angel Investor Summit, in which the entrepreneurs will present their business models to a select audience of corporations and investors.
With support from African investment groups, XL Africa will help the start-ups attract early stage capital between $250,000 and $1.5 million.
Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialize in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B. All companies provide a digital product or service currently available in one or more African markets and show potential to scale across the region.
“We are pleased by the interest infoDev and XL Africa generated across the continent in just a few months,” said Klaus Tilmes, Director of the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group. “XL Africa attracted firms with high-growth potential; many have female co-founders, have already raised early stage investment, and have demonstrated significant market traction. The number and quality of applications received are a clear testament to the competitiveness of African start-ups and the key role they play in Africa’s growing digital economy.”
The selection for XL Africa was conducted by a panel of industry experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC); implementing partners IMC Worldwide, Koltai & Co, and Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A); as well as investors from prominent African funds, including Knife Capital, 4Di Capital LLP, Singularity Investments, TLcom Capital LLP, Goodwell Investments, Nest Africa, and Africa Tech Ventures.
“We encountered very strong companies, particularly in the transportation, HR, and data analytics sectors,” said Danai Musandu, investment associate at Goodwell Investments. “We also observed signals of a nascent pipeline of digital companies beyond the traditional hot spots of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. These talented entrepreneurs are among those who are going to drive innovation on the continent and offer great opportunities for investors looking at African markets.”
The selected start-ups participating in the event are Aerobotics (Data, South Africa); Asoko Insight (Data, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, United Kingdom, and Nigeria); Coin Afrique (Marketplace, Senegal and Benin); Edgepoint Digital (Jamii) (FinTech – Insurance, Tanzania); Electronic Settlement Limited (FinTech, Nigeria); Lynk Jobs Ltd. (HR, Kenya); MAX (Transport, Nigeria); ogaVenue (Venue Platform, Nigeria); Ongair (SME Services, Kenya); Pesabazaar.com (FinTech, Kenya); Prepclass (EdTech, Nigeria); Printivo (Printing, Nigeria); and Rasello Company Ltd. (SME Services, Tanzania).
Others are Rensource (Energy, Nigeria); Sendy Ltd. (Delivery, Kenya); Snapplify (Publishing, South Africa and Kenya); Sokowatch (Delivery, Kenya); TalentBase (HR, Nigeria); Timbuktu (Travel, South Africa); and Tizeti Network Ltd. (Connectivity, Nigeria).
XL Africa is funded by the governments of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and administered by the World Bank Group with implementation support from IMC Worldwide, VC4A, and Koltai & Co.
NITDA Wants Nigerians’ Contributions to AI Development
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has called on Nigerians to make contributions to the National Artificial Intelligence Policy (NAIP), which will enhance digital innovation and the evolution of technology.
This was disclosed by Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations of the agency in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday.
She explained that globally, countries are grappling with ways to manage the exponential growth of new and emerging technologies to advance their economies.
Mrs Umar said that the cognisance of the exponential growth and potential value of digital technologies is in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari to diversify the Nigerian economy.
This, she said, is through utilising digital technologies and the launch of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).
“It is against this backdrop that Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, directs NITDA to develop a National Artificial Intelligence Policy (NAIP).
“The development of the NAIP is envisaged to maximise the benefits, mitigate possible risks, and address some of the complexities attributed to using AI in our daily activities.
“Furthermore, it will provide directions on how Nigeria can take advantage of AI, including the development, use, and adoption of AI to proactively facilitate the development of Nigeria into a sustainable digital economy.
“The agency, hereby, invites the public to contribute and participate in developing the NAIP,” she urged.
She directed them to make further inquiries by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NITDA is responsible for developing standards, guidelines, and frameworks for the IT sector in Nigeria, as enshrined in Section 6 of the NITDA Act 2007.
Twitter Introduces Location Spotlight, Others to Benefit Professionals, Businesses
By Adedapo Adesanya
Twitter has launched Location Spotlight globally, a tool designed to help professionals customize and strengthen their business presence and showcase their products to customers directly on the social media platform.
According to a release made available to Business Post, Twitter said, “Professionals – whether they are creators, nonprofits, developers, small business owners, or big brands – come to Twitter every day to drive results that can move their business forward.
“For the past year, we’ve been developing a collection of foundational, free-to-use products that give this community the tools they need to customize and strengthen their business presence and showcase their products to customers directly on Twitter.
“Today, we’re hitting an exciting milestone in this journey: we’re making the Location Spotlight available to all professionals on Twitter. This is the first spotlight for professionals to become globally available.”
As a tool, Location Spotlight allows professionals with physical business locations to display their business address, hours of operation, and additional contact information so that customers can reach them via phone, text, email, or Twitter Direct Message.
The company noted that, “As we scale the Location Spotlight, we’re also giving it an extra boost that can help professionals drive their customers further down the path to purchase.
“Using Google Maps Platform, this spotlight now gives professionals the option to add a map of their business location. Customers can then click on the map for directions to navigate there.”
Alongside Location Spotlight, Twitter also announced other professional products and resources it plans to introduce this year. These include – Professional Home, Profile Spotlights, and Taking Care of Business series, among others.
On Professional Home, Twitter said, “For the first time, professionals will be able to access a homepage to track performance, discover product offerings, tap into additional resources and drive performance. Professional Home will become available to all professionals globally in the coming weeks with additional updates and iterations to come throughout the year.”
For Profile Spotlights, the company announced that “We plan to test and launch a few additional profile spotlights this year to better serve our broader audience of professionals. Ultimately, these spotlights will enable professionals to encourage potential customers to take the actions they care about most when discovering their account on Twitter. Stay tuned for more information as we begin piloting these spotlights!”
Starting this month, Twitter said it will be offering a monthly, live online workshop series created by Twitter Flight School called “Taking Care of Business.” The series is designed to help professionals who are just getting started with Twitter gain a better understanding of the newest products and offerings available to Professionals on the platform or simply need a refresher on how to leverage Twitter to grow their business.
The workshops will cover how to set up Professional Account; how to activate an appropriate spotlight for businesses and how to tweet confidently and engage with your audience.
It also announced #TweetLikeAPro On-Demand Courses on Twitter Flight School.
“In addition to the live webinars, in August, we’ll be rolling out 10 a la carte courses on Twitter Flight School that will cover several topics that are top of mind for professionals on how to leverage Twitter to drive customers to buy. Our #TweetLikeAPro coursework will be designed specifically for small to medium businesses and will cover topics like how to Up Your Tweet Game, Creating a Community of Engaged Followers and Keeping it Simple: The 4 Cs of Content Strategy.”
“We are proud of the foundation we’ve laid with the initial suite of products we’ve unveiled to date and we’re excited to continue introducing new ways to help professionals achieve business success on Twitter,” it announced.
Nigeria’s Broadband Penetration Jumps to 44.5% as NCC Reviews Short Code Services
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria’s broadband usage has continued to rise, moving up by 3.6 points from 40.9 per cent in February 2022 to 44.5 per cent in July 2022.
This was disclosed in a statement released on Thursday by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), through its Director of Public Affairs, Mr Reuben Muoka, a figure considered hopeful for achieving the national broadband penetration target of 70 per cent in 2025.
The statement quoted the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Mr Umar Danbatta, as making the revelation at the beginning of a three-day public inquiry on five telecommunication regulations and guidelines which began in Abuja yesterday.
“With the technological advancements anticipated in the coming years, it is expected that there will be a proliferation of devices in the industry. It is, therefore, essential for the Commission to ensure that the right regulatory frameworks can accommodate such eventualities,” he said.
The agency’s boss said the public inquiry, which covered five areas of existing regulations, is aimed at achieving operational efficiency and operational excellence.
He listed the regulatory instruments under review at the public inquiry to include Type Approval Regulations, Guidelines on Short Code Operation in Nigeria, Guidelines on Technical Specifications for the Deployment of Communications Infrastructure, Guidelines on Advertisements and Promotions, as well as Consumer Code of Practice Regulations.
He said the focus areas were already articulated in some important documents guiding the operations of the Commission, which include the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020 – 2025, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 – 2030, NCC’s Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024, and its Strategic Vision Implementation Plan (SVIP) 2021–2025, which are being implemented towards achieving its mandate.
While stating that these strides are the results of the commission’s regulatory efficiency and focused implementation of policies and strategies of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Mr Danbatta said the public inquiry is in tandem with the NCC’s strategy of consulting stakeholders in all its regulatory interventions.
The EVC further stated that the amendment of these regulatory instruments was to reflect current realities, one of which is the anticipated deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) technology, and management of shortcodes in Nigeria, including the Toll-Free Emergency Code 112.
Earlier, Head, Telecoms Laws and Regulations at NCC, Mrs Helen Obi, had stated that public inquiry allows the agency to incorporate the comments and suggestions of industry stakeholders, in the development of its regulatory instruments.
She said the process ensures that the NCC’s regulatory instruments are in line with the current realities in the industry as it had done with some regulatory frameworks and guidelines in 2021.
Latest News on Business Post
- 95% of Insurance Firms Upload Data to NAICOM Server August 13, 2022
- Africa Gets Just 12% of Climate Change Financing August 13, 2022
- NITDA Wants Nigerians’ Contributions to AI Development August 13, 2022
- International Youth Day 2022 and Nigerian Youth Ordeals August 12, 2022
- A Thoughtful Approach to Wealth Management August 12, 2022
- Firm Launches Yellow Pay to Facilitate Easy Intercontinental Transactions August 12, 2022
- Verification of Bank of Agriculture Pensioners Begins August 12, 2022
- Twitter Introduces Location Spotlight, Others to Benefit Professionals, Businesses August 12, 2022
- CitiTrust Lifts Over-the-Counter Bourse by 0.05% August 12, 2022
- Value of Naira Falls at P2P, I&E, Parallel Market as Forex Scarcity Worsens August 12, 2022