Connect with us


AfCTFA Will Benefit FinTechs—FG Assures




By Adedapo Adesanya

Financial technology companies (FinTechs) will benefit massively from the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), says Nigeria’s National Action Committee on AfCFTA.

The team, which is in Lagos on a visit to sensitise stakeholders in the media, manufacturing, trade, and financial services sector, said the deal will help all members get preferential market access over non-members.

According to Mr Francis Anatogu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector Matters, the agreement hopes to create a single market for well-produced goods and services on the continent.

He added that the adopted multilateral contract will afford signatory countries access to a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion.

“With over 1.27 billion consumers and an aggregate GDP of $3.4 trillion, which AfCFTA is expected to help deliver, we are convinced that this will be a game-changer for the African business community, which Lagos state and Nigeria currently plays a leading role.

“We, therefore, encourage fintechs to take advantage of this initiative,” Mr Anatogu said.

Speaking on the timeline for the delivery of the deal, Mr Anatogu, who doubles as the Secretary of the National Action Committee, explained that it was a gradual process that would be delivered over time.

The AfCFTA agreement requires members to remove tariffs from 90 per cent of goods traded, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent and the elimination of tariffs could boost trade in Africa by 15-25 per cent in the medium term.

Answering questions on the likely impact of this on the country’s revenue generation, Mr Anatogu explained that over time, the country would get on its feet as AfcFTA fits into Nigeria’s economic diversification objectives because it provides huge export opportunities on the continent for products manufactured in Nigeria and services rendered by local businesses.

He added that there was the situation of increased variety as imports become easier and cheaper, consumers will gain access to a variety of products that are inexpensive as tough competition will make countries produce more products they are most efficient at.

Lagos Commits to AfCFTA

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday pledged its readiness to AfCFTA after a delegation paid a courtesy visit to the Governor of the state, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.

Mr Sanwo-Olu said, “I assure you that Lagos is not just the commercial or economic nerve centre by mouth, it’s also so that we can take that leadership role in the comity of states and lead effectively. We need to scale up infrastructure, capability to be able to take full advantage of what the entire African economy has to offer our country and state.

“With almost a billion population and a total Gross Domestic Product, GDP that is over 3 trillion I think it’s a ready-made market for us as a nation and in Lagos, in particular, to be able to take advantage.

“It’s no small feat being the largest cosmopolitan in Africa and we do not take it for granted, we know that we can be home to everybody and so we want to build that capacity which can only be possible if we have enough infrastructure and understanding what is expected of us.

“Over the weekend, we inspected the Lekki ports and see the things we are doing at the free trade zones. We looked at the refinery and fertilizer plants and all the opportunities that abound in the zone.

“Lagos indeed is getting ready because of the ports, which create about 20 to 30 per cent of GDP ( for big economies). Lekki port will open up Nigeria to international and African businesses more, both for import and export.

“The Apapa and Tincan Ports can only take 4,000 MTUs as the biggest vessel that can come there but the Lekki port, once completed by last quarter next year, is 18,000 MTU that’s about four times. This means that in both ways we can receive a lot more imputes and take more.

“So, mark to business will be quicker and faster and we see also developing the entire infrastructure that is required to do this business, road, power and extensive community engagement so that they are ready and able to take full advantage of the opportunity.

“We are happy it’s still a 5 to 10 years first phase, and we know that though we don’t have all the t’s crossed and i’s dotted, but in another 12 months, am sure Lagos will be fully ready. “We are also intervening in power, off-grid capacities, buying meters for our people so that we can be ready.

“This is the largest investment in fintech in Africa, we are not just collaborating with the private sector, we are also enabling startups on a yearly basis, we will approve another set for some of our tech startups, granting them funding as seed for them to come up with creative ideas, some of them even get international recognition, so we are getting ready on all platforms.

“We are building another terminal at the airport, thanks to the federal government, and this attracts a sizeable percentage of international travel.

“We are doing a 3000 kilometres metropolitan fibre optics connectivity to grid Lagos. Once we get this right. What is required for telecom companies, small businesses, to rise and use it for security, health services, education and other platforms that can be the future that we see?

“Our vision and programs sit with what AfCFTA is all about and we see your committee as partners. We want our people to think local but act global so they can have the opportunity to send their goods and products to every part of Africa and the world.

“We will work with your team, set up a local action committee where we can have a one-stop-shop for the private sector on information, guidelines, understanding what is expected of them so that this thing can take footing quickly and Nigeria can take its full benefit.

“We want others to enjoy the benefits, but we are not a big nation for nothing. We want to take the full benefits but also to open our markets for others to access.”

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.


Africa’s Rise in Technology is Unstoppable—Sanwo-Olu



rise in technology is unstoppable

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has declared that Africa’s rise in technology is unstoppable, noting that his state will continue to play a prominent role in the ecosystem.

The Lagos Governor made this declaration at the GITEX Africa Digital Summit in Morocco, where the state government sponsored 25 startups in partnership with the Dubai World Trade Centre to demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.

GITEX Africa Morocco is Africa’s largest and most influential tech and startup event, renowned for showcasing technological advancements, innovations, and digital transformation.

The event provided a platform for Nigerian startups to pitch their ideas, connect with investors, and network with industry leaders on a global scale.

The small firms sponsored by the state government included Pocket Food, Access Tech, Printivo, Startup Lagos, Eko Institute of Technology, Kirgawa, Qore, Imperial EdTech, Bunce, Etaps, and Innovia Labs.

Mr Sanwo-Olu, who also attended the summit with the delegation, highlighted the remarkable growth of Africa’s tech start-up sector and emphasised that Nigerian tech start-ups surpassed the $4 billion mark in 2022, with Lagos playing a leading role in the continent’s digital transformation.

He said that from Nairobi to Cape Town and Rwanda to Morocco, the continent was emerging as a global tech hub, attracting local and international investments.

He then called for continued collaboration between the public and private sectors to harness Africa’s limitless potential.

GITEX Africa Morocco brings together the brightest minds, entrepreneurs, and investors worldwide to explore Africa’s rapidly advancing tech landscape.

With a focus on AI, Cybersecurity, Fintech, Cloud Computing, and Connectivity, the event offers invaluable insights and opportunities to shape inclusive digital societies and drive technological advancements across various sectors.

The Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos, Tunbosun Alake; the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr Hakeem Fahm; and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Mrs Ibilola Kasunmu, were among the delegation.

The Lagos team and startups were also supported by the Eko Innovation Centre, an innovation hub focused on driving the growth of startups and promoting digital transformation in Nigeria.

Continue Reading


Stakeholders Anticipate Emurgo Africa’s State of Web 3.0 in Africa Report



Emurgo Africa

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

All is now set for unveiling the State of Web 3.0 in Africa report by a dynamic blockchain technology company, Emurgo Africa.

The study, the first on the continent, aims to fill a knowledge gap by examining the potential of these technologies to advance social and economic development in Africa.

It presents a detailed view of the current landscape and prospects of Web 3.0 technologies in the region, featuring real-world use cases, possibilities and obstacles connected with their adoption.

It was gathered that work explored various aspects of Web 3.0, such as decentralized finance (DeFi), blockchain technology, digital identity, smart contracts, and data privacy.

It also looked into the regulatory environment, infrastructure, and access to technology in the target nations, identifying areas for development that will facilitate the growth and adoption of Web 3.0 technologies.

The chief executive of Emurgo Africa, Mr Ahmed M. Amer, while commenting on the reports, which would be released on June 23, 2023, at a media conference in Nairobi, Kenya, said, “The future of Web 3.0 technologies in Africa is bright, with the potential to drive unprecedented social, financial and economic development across the continent.

“This report emphasizes the critical importance of collaboration between stakeholders, policymakers, and regulators in fully realizing the transformative power of Web 3.0 technologies in Africa.”

Expected at the unveiling are industry leaders, policymakers and the press, as well as key figures from prominent blockchain investors, developers and ecosystem players, including NODO, CVVC, GreenHouse Capital, PwC and Cardano.

Web 3.0 technologies are gradually becoming popular in Africa, and this report by Emurgo Africa will highlight the rapidly-evolving landscape, providing an in-depth analysis of their impact, opportunities, and challenges and offering recommendations for fostering growth and measurable impact.

The system can potentially bring transformative change to industries such as trade and industry, financial services and lending, supply chain management and logistics and healthcare provision and accessibility.

Factors such as regulatory clarity, infrastructure development, and collaboration between stakeholders will play a significant role in these technologies’ widespread use and successful implementation.

Key findings from the report include the immense opportunities for the African continent through the adoption of Web 3.0 technologies, a staggering 1,668 per cent increase in investment in blockchain technology in Africa between 2021 and 2022, and the crucial importance of collaboration between industry stakeholders, policymakers, and regulators in fostering an environment conducive to the growth of Web 3.0 technologies.

Continue Reading


Nigeria, Others Break Pledge Not to Impose Internet Restrictions



impose internet restrictions Surfshark

By Adedapo Adesanya

A new study showed that Nigeria was among those that pledged to uphold free Internet according to a 2021 United Nations resolution but yet imposed restrictions.

The UN resolution on human rights on the internet aims to protect and promote human rights online, but some supporting countries have broken their word, according to a study by Cybersecurity company Surfshark, analysing UN countries’ stances in the 2021 UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution on the promotion, protection, and enjoyment of human rights on the internet.

It was conducted by comparing countries’ stances with data from Surfshark’s Internet Shutdown Tracker, Surfshark was able to identify 5 African countries that claimed to support the resolution but “broke their word” by imposing internet restrictions.

On Nigeria’s end, it had one ongoing restriction at the time of the resolution’s adoption but has had no new restrictions since then.

Nigeria had banned Twitter a month before the adoption, and the restriction lasted until January 2022.

The federal government suspended Twitter on June 4, 2021, after it removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional secessionists.

The FG told the nation’s telecommunication companies to block access to users in Nigeria, leading users to fall to the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). It was not until January 13, 2022, that the suspension was lifted.

Other African countries that supported the 2021 UN resolution but “broke their word” were Sudan, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Somalia.

The report noted that Sudan has “broken its word” the most in Africa, with nine internet disruptions that took place after the country supported the 2021 resolution, the first one happening amid the 2021 military coup.

Burkina Faso comes in second, with four restrictions since the resolution’s adoption in 2021. The country’s 2022 restriction on Facebook is still in place today. Mauritania and Somalia both had one internet restriction since supporting the resolution. Mauritania restricted mobile internet amid a prison riot, and Somalia had an internet blackout after the parliament voted to remove the prime minister.

Speaking on this, Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, Surfshark spokeswoman, said, “In today’s world, internet shutdowns have become a major concern. Authoritarian governments frequently employ them as a means to manipulate the public and stifle free speech. The UN resolution on human rights on the internet aims to make countries openly condemn these shutdowns and other ways of restricting online speech.”

“However, it’s concerning that even though 5 African countries publicly supported the resolution, they still imposed internet restrictions. It’s important to promote an open and accessible internet and pressure countries to uphold their commitments regarding human rights online,” she said.

Nine countries from other continents also “broke their word”: India, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Russia, Brazil, Armenia, Indonesia, and Ukraine.

Surfshark’s Internet Shutdown Tracker reveals that there were a total of 58 internet disruptions in these 14 countries during or after the adoption of the resolution.

India stands out as the country that has “broken its word” the most, with 19 internet disruptions since the resolution’s adoption in 2021, adding that if it included the Jammu and Kashmir region, this number would be even higher.

The Human Rights Council convenes at least three regular sessions annually. The upcoming 53rd session is scheduled for the summer of 2023.

“While the agenda of the specific resolution is currently unknown, Surfshark will keep an eye out for any updates regarding upcoming UN resolutions on human rights on the internet,” the firm noted.

Continue Reading
%d bloggers like this: