By Adedapo Adesanya
Google and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have estimated that Africa’s Internet economy has the potential to reach 5.2 per cent of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, contributing nearly $180 billion to its economy.
This, according to a new report, it says will depend greatly on the usage level of digital technologies by businesses and the right mix of policy actions, adding that projected potential contribution could reach $712 billion by 2050.
It explained that a combination of increased access to faster and better quality Internet connectivity, a rapidly expanding urban population, a growing tech talent pool, a vibrant startup ecosystem, and Africa’s commitment to creating the world’s largest single market under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are some of the key factors driving this growth.
Currently, Africa is home to 700,000 developers and venture capital funding for startups has increased year-on-year for the past five years, with a record $2.02 billion in equity funding raised in 2019.
It was noted that 19 of the top 20 fastest-growing countries in the world are in Africa and with urbanization on the rise coupled with an increasingly young and educated population is driving higher consumption of online services
Digital startups in Africa are driving innovation in fast-growing sectors, including fintech, healthtech, media and entertainment, e-commerce, e-mobility, and e-logistics, contributing to Africa’s growing Internet gross domestic product (iGDP) — defined as the Internet’s contribution to the GDP.
According to Google Africa director, Mr Nitin Gajria, “Google and IFC have created this report to highlight the role the digital startup sector is playing and other factors driving the continent’s growth, in order to showcase and support the opportunities the continent presents.”
An analysis within the report, conducted by Accenture, found that in 2020, the continent’s iGDP may contribute approximately $115 billion to Africa’s $2.554 trillion GDP (4.5 per cent of total GDP). This is up from $99.7 billion (3.9 per cent of total GDP) in 2019, with the potential to grow as the continent’s economies develop.
Investments in infrastructure, consumption of digital services, public and private investment, and new government policies and regulations will play an important role in supporting Africa’s digital growth.
The report notes that investment in digital skills will also need to increase in order to help drive technology usage and continue to grow the continent’s talent pool.
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Through products and platforms like Search, Maps, Gmail, Android, Google Play, Chrome and YouTube, Google plays a meaningful role in the daily lives of billions of people and has become one of the most widely-known companies in the world. Google is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. It works in more than 100 countries, using capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries.
In the fiscal year 2020, it has invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.
MTN Nigeria Blames System Error for October 9 Outage
By Adedapo Adesanya
MTN Nigeria has apologised to its subscribers, blaming the network outage experienced on Saturday, October 9 on a system error.
In a video message sent to Business Post on Sunday, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Karl Toriola, said the downtime was a result of system error from its end and not a result of sabotage as many feared, especially because it occurred a day after Facebook suffered a similar issue.
MTN users had October 9 experienced hours of network disruption, which affected calls and connections to the internet.
Mr Toriola explained that the technical team traced the cause of the downtime to an error that shifted all 4G customers to the 3G, overloading the band.
“Last Saturday, we had an outage that left our customers without a connection for several hours. On behalf of the entire MTN team, I want to start with a heartfelt apology. We are truly sorry for the disruption this caused for so many in our MTN family,” Mr Toriola said.
“We know that millions of people rely on us to stay connected to their loved ones, to manage their businesses, to coordinate their lives. We take that responsibility and privilege very seriously. That’s why we are putting new measures in place to make sure we never experience anything like last Saturday again.
“Our technical teams have traced the cause of the problem to an error that shifted all our 4G customers onto the 3G band. This overloaded the 3G band, causing a domino effect that impacted the whole network. Our engineers were able to resolve the problem.
“I know that recently other technology companies suffered outages. I want to reassure you that last Saturday’s event is in no way connected to those. This wasn’t [a] sabotage, it was a regrettable error,” the MTN chief added.
He further announced that MTN had refunded customers airtime and data used yesterday in addition to the time-bound subscription extension earlier promised.
He also assured users that MTN was working to ensure that they never experience such challenges with the network again.
“While we work to strengthen our network to prevent further disruptions of any kind, we wanted to find a way to say sorry. Something more than extending the validity of all time-bound plans by 24 hours, which we did as soon as service was restored,” he added.
“So, while we can’t give you back the time you lost last Saturday, we can give you back what you spent yesterday. Every customer on the MTN network has received a refund for the data and airtime that they used between 12 noon and 7 pm yesterday.
“We hope it shows how much we value our customers. You truly are our most important focus.
“We all have challenges, each and everyone, young or old, personally or professionally. What matters is how we respond. With you by our side, we will continue to improve and grow,” Mr Toriola stated.
This newspaper understands that many MTN users were given 1MB of data valid till October 31.
FG Inaugurates Governing Boards to Fast Track Development
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
In a bid to fast track the development of the country as well as overcome science, technology and innovation (STI) challenges, the federal government has inaugurated governing boards and councils of agencies or institutes under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Recall that recently, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the change of name of the Ministry of Science and Technology to STI in a bid to focus on ensuring the provision of STI-based solutions to overcome societal challenges.
On Thursday in Abuja, the Minister of STI, Mr Ogbonnaya Onu, during the inauguration, noted that in spite of the present challenges, his team was determined to break grounds by building a world-class ministry that would be the best in Africa and comparable with the best in the world.
However, he stressed that the team must work together efficiently to achieve this noble goal, as they are now in the path of repositioning and strengthening the Ministry to emphasize the desire to contribute to national development efforts of this administration to lift 100 million people out of poverty within the next decade.
According to Mr Onu, using the enormous power of STI, the focus will be on the development of abundant natural resources as well as the orderly exploitation of huge potentials of people and businesses.
The Minister further noted that the role assigned by the federal government on the ministry as custodian of all the fundamentals of innovations in Nigeria carries enormous responsibilities coupled with the recent change of name by the ministry.
“The new logo, vision and mission statement, our core values and critical success factors (CSF) would be unveiled very soon. A rebranded Ministry is emerging with implications for the commitment of all stakeholders within the STI ecosystem, especially the members of the various boards and councils of the Ministry.
“I employ you all to be diligent and unrelenting in the new journey to greater heights of service to our nation,” he noted.
The Minister also urged the governing boards and council members to familiarise themselves with the relevant instruments governing the operation and supervision of their respective agencies and institutes.
He expressed that the role and responsibilities of governing boards are stated in the relevant government circulars, laws, public service, administrative guidelines regulating the relationship with parastatals and government-owned companies.
In his remarks, Mr Micah Umoh, who represented the Chairman Senate Committee on Science, assured to give their full support to achieve the goal for the initiative.
Third Telecom Consumer Initiative Holds October 15
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
The third edition of the Telecom Consumer Town Hall on Radio (TCTHR) will take place on Friday, October 15 2021, at 7:30 am, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said.
The telecom consumer initiative will air on the Human Rights Radio, 101.1 FM, Abuja and will focus on the benefits of the National Identification Number to Subscriber Identity Modules (NIN-SIM) integration.
Interested individuals can tune in to listen and participate in the discussion via life streaming on the Human Rights Radio social handles, the telecommunications industry regulator said.
The TCTHR is the modified version of the Consumer Town Hall Meeting, a consumer outreach programme of the Consumer Affairs Bureau of the NCC.
Like its forerunner, the TCTHR is a train that will traverse Nigeria in keeping with management’s commitment to reach and engage every telecom consumer wherever they are.
It could be recalled that two editions of the TCTHR had taken place earlier in Kano and Lagos.
The key purpose of the programme is to create greater awareness on the linking of SIM to NIN and to educate consumers on the benefits and how to achieve NIN-SIM integration, and which consumers can reach the commission.
This initiative over the years has made it easy for consumers of telecom services in the country, who are dissatisfied with services rendered to them by any of the service providers to file a complaint.
The NCC has insisted on October 31 as the deadline for users to link their NIN to their SIM cards, stressing those who fail to do this would soon be denied the opportunity of acquiring driving licences and passports.
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