By Adedapo Adesanya
Aella App, Nigeria’s leading single-point financial service and payment solution provider, is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide quick access to credit and other financial services to underbanked individuals using Amazon Rekognition for identity verification.
Amazon Rekognition is a fully managed computer vision service that enables developers to analyse images and videos for a variety of uses, including face identification and verification, media intelligence, custom industrial automation, and workplace safety.
With the lack of application programming interface (API) infrastructure that allows the real-time verification of government identifications in Nigeria, Aella App is changing the fintech ecosystem by taking advantage of cutting-edge AI technologies and using biometric identity verification on its mobile application, improving the accuracy of facial verification by over 40 per cent.
In a statement, Aella said that this will help to reduce verification errors, increases credit approval speed, provides scalability, and drives financial inclusivity for everyone.
On the collaboration, Aella App’s CEO, Mr Akin Jones said: “With only 38 per cent of Nigerians who have no form of identification, we realised that a vast majority of the population were being left out of financial services, taking away their financial independence and leaving them on the fringe of building bankable credit ratings.
“Our job as a fintech organisation is to come up with more creative ways to bring more people into the ecosystem, reinforcing our commitment to provide products that democratise financial services, ultimately alleviating poverty and driving economic growth in the region.”
On the part of Amazon Web Services, Ms Michelle Lee, the Vice President, Amazon Machine Learning Solutions Lab reaffirmed AWS’s commitment to developing technology that could help tackle some of the world’s hardest problems.
She said, “We are impressed by Aella’s dedication to driving financial independence for the under-banked.
“With the fintech ecosystem in Nigeria accounting for 1.25 per cent of retail banking revenues, it is clear that there is an opportunity to continue democratising financial service access for all.
“We are proud to work with Aella as they strive to ensure everyone from individuals to small business owners are not left without financial support.”
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 email@example.com.
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.
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