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Four Nigerian Techpreneurs Narrate Journey to Success to CNN




By Ahmed Rahma

A global news platform, CNN, has given entrepreneurs in the technology industry in Nigeria an opportunity to showcase what they have to the world.

CNN, through its programme called Inside Africa, profiled some innovators, entrepreneurs, tech trailblazers and artistic visionaries shaping the future of the African continent.

Four start-ups stars; Olatunbosun Tijani, Odun Eweniyi, Chika Madubuko and Joel Kachi Benson, shared their journey into the space on the show.

Tijani, who spoke about his inspiration, hub’s strategy and latest project on the programme, was named one of the 100 Most Influential People on the continent by New Africa Magazine.

The Nigerian-British entrepreneur is the co-founder and CEO of Co-Creation Hub, a  pan-African innovation enabler that works at the forefront of accelerating the application of innovation and social capital for a better society.

About his inspiration, he said, “Science and technology can leapfrog development across Africa and there are so many smart people on this continent, we just need to build a platform that will enable them to create.”

Discussing the strategy of the Hub which has partnered with a healthcare logistics company that delivers lifesaving blood, a digital security platform promoting internet safety, and Google-sponsored ‘Pitch Drives’ that help introduce African start-ups to Asia, Tijani said, “I believe that Africa is going to be a lot stronger if we start to see the continent as one.

“How do we leverage the expertise and resources that you may find in a country like Kenya and lay eyes on the creativity and energy that you find in Nigeria?”

Speaking on his latest venture, the STEM café, an imaginative space dedicated solely to children, the brain behind one of Africa’s biggest networks of tech talents said, “I want to help build a generation of people in Africa with a strong belief in science, people that are comfortable in science, that can apply science to change things. So, it’s a maker space for kids.

“It’s a space where we don’t use curriculums. It’s a nonlinear way of teaching so we actually don’t teach but we encourage kids to build.”

Featured next was one of the founders of PiggyVest, a financial technology company that is teaching young people the value of their money, by helping them to save it, Eweniyi.

“PiggyVest is an automated saving and investment platform that helps young Nigerians put aside little amounts of money daily, weekly or monthly towards their targets or their responsibilities and eventually gives them access to micro-investments to get competency returns,” he explained.

According to Eweniyi, PiggyVest now has more than two million registered users despite the impact of COVID-19 on the economy stating that she remains committed to her original the mission of helping people save small in order to achieve big results.

“Whether we’re in a crisis or out of a crisis the mission remains the same, to get them to a place where they are financially free with the power to continue to manage their finances,” she said.

The third techpreneur that was introduced was Madubuko, the co-founder and CEO of Greymate Care.

This healthcare start-up is a pioneer in providing on-demand care in Nigeria and the CEO detailed the concept, narrating that, “Before Greymate Care was launched, you would normally find someone who was a caregiver or an auxiliary nurse signing up with the hospital or an agency, but then they stayed for so long without jobs.

“With Greymate Care they got more jobs quickly, and they got the appropriate jobs that matched the kind of services they could provide.”

Madubuko’s company is one of many start-ups revolutionising the healthcare industry. She speaks about differentiating her product. “I knew we had to be very innovative, we have to make our processes different, we have to differentiate ourselves in the market. We added a training curriculum, which was the best in Africa, training our caregivers to make sure that they can provide adequate care to our service users.

“Running background checks on our caregivers to make sure that service users feel safe letting them through their door.”

Finally, Inside Africa meets documentary filmmaker Benson, the founder and CEO of VR 360 Stories. Benson works as a virtual reality storyteller.

Speaking about his first experience of using a gadget, “I think it was February 2018 that I wore a headset for the first time. And my experience was a Coldplay concert. It was like I was there.

“And I remembered what the guy was trying to tell me two years before about putting viewers in the midst of the action. All I could see was the IDP camps that I’ve been filming in northeast Nigeria, the places that I had been to, and that I felt I did not properly express with my 2D camera. You know, what a tool for storytelling.”

Benson’s 360-degree immersion into the lives of internally displaced people was a first for a Nigerian filmmaker and it influenced another project focusing on the families of the Chibok schoolgirls.

He recalls the aims of the film, “With the Daughters of Chibok, what I wanted to do was to take people to Chibok and show them this reality that was almost unreal. It’s so far away, so distance, we’re so detached from the story. I wanted to put people in that space. But I also wanted to amplify the voices of these women that I saw.”

Nigeria’s techpreneurs are innovators across multiple fields of industry and are putting in the hard work to build businesses that both help and inspire.

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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