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Facebook Integrates Marketplace for Buyers, Sellers in Nigeria

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facebook south africa

By Adedapo Adesanya

Facebook has announced the launch of Marketplace, a convenient destination where people can discover, buy and sell items from others in their local communities in Nigeria.

Previously available in South Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya, Nigeria joins the growing list of countries where people can simply tap on the Marketplace icon or visit www.facebook.com/marketplace to browse and search for items, sort based on distance or category.

Commenting on this new development, the Head of Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa, Mrs Adaora Ikenze said, “The launch of Marketplace in Nigeria further highlights our ongoing efforts in helping to boost buying and selling in Nigeria and connecting communities.

“This comes at a crucial time as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact people and businesses, and with many people buying and selling on Facebook, this will provide people with a convenient destination where they can discover new products, shop for things they want or find buyers for the things they are ready to part with.”

According to the social media giant, “When a seller lists an item on Marketplace, they create a public listing that can be seen by anyone on Facebook. This includes people on Marketplace, News Feed, Facebook search, Facebook Groups or search engines. Sellers can simply take a photo of an item, enter a product name, description and price, confirm their location, select a category, and post.”

Facebook explained that buying and selling responsibly on its marketplace include “Commerce Policy: Items, products or services sold on Facebook must comply with our Community Standards, as well as the Commerce Policies.

It also explained that sellers and merchants who use the service are responsible for complying with all applicable laws and regulations.

“Verify the item: For high-value items (example: watches, luxury bags), consider requesting a certificate of authenticity or proof of purchase. If you’re not satisfied with an item’s condition or have doubts about its authenticity, you can decline to complete the purchase.

“If the seller offers to ship the item rather than exchanging it in person, keep in mind that you may not have the opportunity to verify the item before completing your purchase.

“Meet in a public location: If you are meeting, ensure this is in a public place. Don’t invite buyers or sellers into your home. Before going to the agreed location, tell a family member or a friend the exact location where you will meet, bring your cell phone, and consider asking another adult to come with you.

“If the value of the item you intend to buy or sell requires a significant amount of cash, you might consider using a person-to-person payment method. Please follow local guidelines for how to stay healthy and help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) while buying and selling.

“Use cash, COD, or person-to-person payment methods: Buyers and sellers may offer or accept cash, Cash on Delivery (COD) or person-to-person (P2P) payments. If you choose to pay electronically using bank transfer or money order solutions, avoid payment links and log in directly through the payment method’s website.

“Keep in mind that personal checks or bank drafts can be counterfeit. Transactions are between the buyer and seller only, and no third-party guarantee should be involved.”

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.

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Facebook, JAN Empower Young Digital Marketers

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Digital Marketers

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

A partnership that will empower Nigerian youths with digital marketing skills has been entered into between Facebook and Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN).

The collaboration is in line with the organisation’s vision of raising a generation of digitally-inclined young business leaders.

Beneficiaries of the scheme will be incorporated into the digital marketing module of JAN’s flagship company programme.

This element teaches secondary school students how to start and run their own business, develop a product or service, form a company, choose a business name and elect company officers to oversee the operation of the company.

The initiative aims to help students move a business idea from concept stage to reality and help them succeed in a global economy.

According to JAN, this scheme was developed as a result of the growing need for digital literacy among young people. The aim is to expose students to digital tools in order to help them bring their business online and market their brands through the programme.

“We are thankful to Facebook for this amazing partnership that will help our company programme students boost their business profitability and equip them with digital marketing skills.

“Digital marketing is the skill of the future. It fulfils the objectives of traditional marketing concepts and delivers competitive advantages, measurable ROI and better visibility and engagement,” the Executive Director of JAN, Foluso Gbadamosi said.

“When I came on board, one of the strategic methods I devised to accelerate JAN’s impact is to leverage digital technology to expand our reach as well as enrich our curriculum with relevant digital modules.

“This partnership is the right step in the right direction as we are on the right track to reaching another one million youth in five years,” Gbadamosi added.

On his part, the Policy Programs Manager at Facebook, Mr Phil Oduor, stated that, “The economic empowerment of Nigeria remains a priority for us at Facebook.

“We are excited to partner with JAN as it is an opportunity to further provide Nigerian entrepreneurs, small business owners and citizens with the skills needed to build a profitable business in a digital society.

“This partnership adds to our ongoing efforts to promote, guide and boost efforts to grow Nigeria’s economy by empowering citizens with digital skills.”

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Applications for Apple Entrepreneur Camp Open

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Apple Entrepreneur Camp

By Adedapo Adesanya

The applications for the next Apple Entrepreneur Camp for Female Founders and Developers have opened.

The Apple Entrepreneur Camp was established with the goal of supporting entrepreneurs who are underrepresented in technology as they build the next generation of cutting-edge apps, and to form a global network that encourages the pipeline and longevity of founders and developers of all backgrounds.

The heart of Apple Entrepreneur Camp is an intensive technology lab working one-on-one with Apple experts and engineers to significantly accelerate your app.

The event will see participants hear from Apple executives and leaders on a variety of topics such as the latest advances in machine learning and augmented reality.

Applicants will have the opportunity to connect as a cohort to discuss challenges specific to their community, and form relationships with their fellow attendees.

At the conclusion of the lab, they will have the opportunity to present their progress, get feedback, and chat with some of Apple’s most senior leaders.

In addition, Apple Entrepreneur Camp consists of an immersive technology lab, as well as mentorship, education, and support.

Selected organisations receive the following free of charge: One-on-one code-level guidance from Apple engineers; Ongoing support from an Apple Developer representative for at least one year; One year of membership in the Apple Developer Program; and access to the Apple Entrepreneur Camp alumni network, a world-class group of inspiring and ambitious leaders.

Eligibility:

Applications are accepted from developers worldwide. To be eligible to apply:

The organisation must have:

A female founder, co-founder, or CEO;

A female developer proficient in Swift or Objective-C; and

A developed app or functional build that you can demo live.

The participants must be 18 years of age or older and proficient in English.

The female founder, co-founder, or CEO, the female developer, and additional developer or designer of any gender (if applicable) must be 18 years of age or older, proficient in English, and able to attend together for the entire duration of the program.

Benefits:

One-on-one code-level guidance from Apple experts and engineers; Ongoing support from an Apple Developer representative for at least one year;

One year of membership in the Apple Developer Program; and Access to the Apple Entrepreneur Camp alumni network, a world-class group of inspiring and ambitious leaders.

Review Criteria:

Applications will be reviewed based on:

Content of written responses to the questions in the application form; Commitment to development for Apple platforms using the latest Apple technologies; and whether the app is unique or innovative.

Application:

The application consists of four parts, which include uploads and prompts for written responses.

Organisation details. 

Tell us about your organization and provide contact information for up to three employees who would attend if your organization is selected.

Your app. 

Provide details about your app and development team. You may include a download or demo link, as well as up to three screenshots or wireframes that best illustrate the user experience.

The future. 

Describe what you plan to gain from participating in Apple Entrepreneur Camp, as well as your plans for the future.

Additional information.

Select the dates for which you’d like to apply and provide any additional comments.

Each application will be kept on file for one year.

How to Apply:

Click here to get started.

Application Deadline:

Apply by March 26, 2021.

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5G Network Not Dangerous to Health—Pantami

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5G Network

By Ahmed Rahma

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has stated that there is no known scientific evidence suggesting that the 5G network poses any risks to public health and safety.

He revealed this when he led the heads of agencies under his ministry and other stakeholders to an investigative public hearing by the Senate Joint Committee on Communications; Science and Technology; Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Cyber Crimes; and Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, at the National Assembly Chamber in Abuja on Thursday, February 25, 2021.

Speaking at the public hearing, Mr Pantami affirmed the findings from independent scientific reports published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), both agencies of the United Nations (UN), which clearly indicate that there is no health risks to human lives associated with the deployment of 5G.

The Minister said after the initial approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, which led to the commencement of 5G trial in 2019 in selected locations in the country and the subsequent intervention of the National Assembly in 2020, seeking clarifications on probable health risks of 5G deployment, the Ministry had so far undertaken wide-ranging stakeholder consultations to ascertain the safety of 5G networks.

He explained that having aligned with the ITU and WHO reports and studied 5G deployment situations in many advanced countries where it has been fully deployed without any health risks, the ministry can affirmatively say that there is no health risks to 5G networks.

“To this end, we are also working on a 5G deployment policy that will take care of all security, health and safety concerns of Nigerians and we will get the nod of the President after all issues have been addressed before we proceed with our deployment, as we cannot afford to lag behind in the 5G revolution,” he explained.

The Minister further explained that 5G is an enhanced technology over the previous technologies of 4G, 3G and 2G, the three of which have more radiations than the 5G technology, adding that the “radiation from mobile technologies such as 5G is internationally certified by ITU and WHO as non-ionising, meaning such radiation does do not have a harmful effect on human lives and it is far low compared with radiation from a microwave oven that individuals use in their homes.”

Earlier in his address, the President of the Senate, Mr Ahmed Lawan, said the Senate resolved on May 5, 2020, that the joint committee conduct the public hearing, following a motion of public importance and urgency by Mrs Uche Ekwunife, Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, to resolve all public health and safety concerns around 5G before the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) can proceed with its deployment in Nigeria.

After listening to all the views and submissions by the various stakeholders, the Lead Chairman of the Senate Joint Committee, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, said that the purpose of the public enquiry was meant to help clarify and allay the fears of any health concerns among Nigerians.

“We hope all the submissions here today which point to the same direction on the safety of 5G to human lives will put the mind of Nigerians at rest that there is nothing to fear.

“We also hope that Nigerians will be looking forward to having 5G deployed in Nigeria,” she said.

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Buhari Foresees Nigeria Driven by Prosperous Cyberspace, Digital Economy

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Digital Economy

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed optimism that Nigeria will be great with the help of the internet and the digital economy.

However, he stressed that to achieve this, efforts must be made to sanitise the cyberspace and explore the internet for economic growth opportunities, enhancement of knowledge and mitigation of crime.

He, therefore, called for an overhaul of the national strategy on cybersecurity.

Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja at the launch of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021, the President tasked the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mr Babagana Monguno, to continue to “coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders to ensure that our internet and cyberspace are used for the enhancement of national security and economic progression.”

“I am confident that, together, we can pave the way for the creation of new opportunities to usher Nigeria into a bright future driven by a prosperous cyberspace and digital economy,” Mr Buhari said.

According to him, his administration has taken some major policy decisions to increase penetration of the internet in the daily lives of citizens, particularly for the utilitarian purpose, with the launch of the National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 in March 2020; National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020 – 2030; National Identity Program, Treasury Single Account and  Bank Verification Number schemes.

He stressed that, “All these initiatives serve as enablers for tackling many of the economic and security challenges facing our country while also providing us with the platform to improve accountability and transparency in our unwavering resolve to tackle corruption.”

“However, like many other countries across the globe, the growth and development of the internet is accompanied by significant problems. We are witnessing a rise in threats posed by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists who use the internet to cause apprehension,” he added.

The President noted that the internet and social media have witnessed a surge in the propagation of hate speech, fake news, seditious and treasonable messages, as well as the risks of breaches to personal information and government sensitive data.

“It is almost impossible to overstate the challenges. Some global events such as the rapid emergence of new technologies, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the advent of 5G technology, have further widened the scope and diversification of these cyber threats.

“In October 2020, we all witnessed an escalation in the use of the social media for dissemination of subversive messages and incitement of violence which played a part in heightening tensions, causing unrest and spurring widespread acts of looting and destruction across the country,” he stated.

President Buhari said the federal government had been proactive, over the past couple of years, in taking steps to ensure progressive use of the internet and cyberspace.

“In 2014, the maiden National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy was developed to provide the necessary roadmap for the realisation of our national cybersecurity programme. This national effort paved way for Nigeria to reach numerous cybersecurity milestones over the past six years.

“Therefore, in order to build on this achievement and reposition ourselves for enhanced engagement in cyberspace, it became expedient to review the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2014 and develop a comprehensive National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 for the common good of our country,” he said.

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Opera Launches ‘Hype’ Inbuilt Mobile Browser Chat

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Opera Hype

By Adedapo Adesanya

Norwegian app giant, Opera, has launched Hype, its new dedicated chat service built into the popular Opera Mini browser in Africa.

Set in the pilot market of Kenya, Hype is the first African inspired chat service built into a mobile browser.

With Hype, Opera reimagines the chat experience, with content sharing as a key feature; Opera Mini, with more than 100 million users worldwide, becomes the world’s first mobile browser with an integrated chat service.

With the introduction of Hype in the Opera Mini browser, Opera is rethinking the concept of mobile browsers providing its users with a personalized, engaging browsing experience that enables seamless surfing, chatting and sharing content– without compromising speed or driving increased data consumption.

Speaking on this, the Product Lead for Hype Mr Charles Hamel said, “Chat services and browsers are apps people use every day and feel very personal about.

“With the integration of Hype in Opera Mini, we are not only rethinking what a chat service should be like in 2021 but also changing the very definition of what a mobile browser should be.”

Hype is launching first in Kenya as a pilot market and starting today, users will be able to easily set up their Hype account and begin chatting with secure end-to-end encryption.

This launch is a facet of Opera’s emphasis on investing and growing its digital ecosystem in Africa, with the goal of bringing more people online; since 2018, Opera has grown its user base in Africa by 40 per cent.

Speaking further, Mr Hamel explained that, “Hype was developed first and foremost with African consumers in mind. Today, 40 per cent of the Kenyan population has access to smartphones, with younger generations dominating as 75 per cent of their 47 million inhabitants are under 30 years old.

“With such early adopter demographics at play, there is massive potential for the growth of Hype in Kenya. On top of that, we are also partnering with the leading telecommunication carriers in the country, offering daily free browsing to all Opera Mini users. We believe the combination of these factors will lead to the rapid adoption of Hype in the country.”

This announcement follows similar browser innovation from Opera, which was the first to integrate messenger services as part of their PC browser, in 2019.

Today, its more than 80 million users enjoy the integration of services such as Facebook messenger, Telegram, Whatsapp, Instagram and Twitter.

Looking further into the features, Hype infuses new formats like memes and stickers for users to express themselves, often relating to pop culture references and internet content they find. To make this easier and fun, Hype also adds WebSnap, a feature previously known from the Opera desktop browser, that allows users to take snapshots from the web.

Once a websnap is captured, users can edit it by adding colours, text, and emojis, making it fun and entertaining before sharing with others.

It also offers its users a series of stickers created by Kenyan artists Brian Omolo and Lulu Kitololo. These unique collections of stickers reflect everyday expressions used by Kenyans to provide users with a more engaging experience when communicating with others.

“This comes in handy as users no longer need to copy links from websites and switch between apps to share the content they want.

“We are extremely happy to celebrate African culture with Hype and we are very excited with the end result and the collaboration we had with Brian and Lulu.” added Mr Hamel.

“These unique stickers with original designs are something we are very proud of at Opera as we become the first major browser to integrate real African art and pop culture into our products.”

The introduction of Hype in Kenya is part of Opera’s Africa First business strategy, adopted three years ago by the Norwegian company. This strategy consists of four main pillars: 1) Develop products with African consumers in mind; 2) Invest and grow Opera’s digital ecosystem in the African region to bring more people online; 3) Partner with leading global and regional companies; and 4) Employ and collaborate with African colleagues and stakeholders.

The latest population census in Kenya, published in 2019, reported that the country is strongly youthful. Of Kenya’s 47 million inhabitants, 75 per cent are under 30 years old, with children and adolescents representing 63 per cent of the total population.

To this, Mr Hamel said, “Hype was developed first and foremost with African consumers in mind. Today, 40% of the Kenyan population has access to smartphones, with younger generations becoming early adopters of technology.

“With such demographics, there is massive potential for the growth of Hype in Kenya. On top of that, we are also partnering with Safaricom and Airtel, the leading carriers in the country, offering free daily browsing to all Opera Mini users.

“We believe the combination of these factors will lead to the rapid adoption of Hype in the country.”

In the fourth quarter of 2020, the Opera user base reached 380 million monthly active users worldwide, with nearly 150 million monthly active users (MAUs) based in Africa. Since the announcement of Opera’s Africa First strategy in Q1-2018, Opera has grown its user base by 40 per cent in the African region.

This rapid growth in the region gives Opera a unique position to scale its digital ecosystem infrastructure and leverage its brand awareness and recognition. Opera also gives more value to its users by introducing new products and features that truly address the needs of its users locally.

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Free NIN Enrolment at 9mobile Experience Centres Begins

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9mobile business communication app

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The free registration for the National Identification Number (NIN) for linking to SIM cards of subscribers has commenced at select Experience Centres of 9mobile.

The decision to use its Experience Centre for enrolment of the NIN was taken by the management in order to enable customers of the company to physically register without hassles or payment.

9mobile is reputed as Nigeria’s customer-friendly telecommunications company because of the several initiatives it puts in place to make its customers happy.

When the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) directed network providers in the country to disconnect any subscriber who fails to link his NIN with mobile number, subscribers rushed to the various offices of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) for registrations.

The large crowd at the agency’s offices caused many people to lambast the government, especially because it contravened the COVID-19 prevention guidelines of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

9mobile was among the companies which pushed for hassle-free registration of NIN and when it was granted permission to do it, it came up with plans to make this happen.

In a statement, the company said the centres where customers can register effortlessly and free of any charges include the 43, Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island; 31, Marina Road, Marina and 23 Road by 402 junction, Festac Town, all in Lagos. The two Abuja Experience Centres are 8, Kikuyu close, off Aminu Kano, and Plot 1774, Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, both in Wuse 2.

With this development, subscribers don’t need to queue endlessly for their NIN registration or expose themselves to the risk of the ongoing pandemic.

Commenting on the development, the Chief Commercial Officer of 9mobile, Mr Stjepan Udovicic, said the telco was concerned about the large number of people clustering at NIMC centres, adding that the firm was happy to be of assistance to its esteemed subscribers and Nigerians in general.

“As Nigeria’s customer-centric telco, we understand the pressures Nigerians are going through in trying to obtain a valid NIN and link it to their SIMs and the possible exposure to COVID-19 in the process.

“So, we took this opportunity to collaborate with regulators in making the exercise easier and safer for our customers,” Mr Udovicic said.

He assured customers that the operator is always ready to go the extra mile and that the free physical registration at the designated centres will follow all COVID-19 protocols.

Mr Udovicic further disclosed that more 9mobile Experience Centres would commence NIN enrolment soonest.

Recall that 9mobile was the first to launch an Intelligent Portal for Instant Verification at the beginning of the NIN registration exercise.

The Online Self-Service NIN update portal is live on the 9mobile website. It enables subscribers to verify and update their NINs instantly.

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