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Pantami, Others for Business Metrics Forum on $2.6bn Telecom Capital Flights

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Isa Pantami

By Dipo Olowookere

On Thursday, August 5, 2021, by 10:00 am, stakeholders in the telecommunications industry will gather at a policy forum organised by an online business and tech-focused newspaper, Business Metrics.

The event is part of the platform’s new dialogue platform for stakeholders to drive various policies in the country towards effective implementation tagged Policy Implementation Assisted Forum (PIAFo).

The first series of the event slated for next month is themed National Policy for Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector and will have the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in attendance. He is expected to deliver a keynote address at the forum.

Also expected to grace the virtual event is the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta; the Director-General of Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi; and the Director-General of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion, Dr DanAzumi Mohammed Ibrahim.

In addition, the forum will have in attendance members of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) and the Institute of Software Practitioners Organisation of Nigeria (iSPON).

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According to the convener of the forum, PIAFo is designed in series and targeted at addressing policy implementation failure which is a major challenge in the administration of affairs across the various sectors that have a direct bearing on the socio-economic wellbeing of the country.

The methodology deployed by PIAFo to achieve its goal derives from a multi-stakeholder engagement and dialogue whereby a policy is dissected and all parties from private to public sectors, who have a role to play in execution, are firstly identified and then brought together at the forum to digest the policy and how they key into it.

The first series of the forum, tagged PIAFo-001 is focused on National Policy for Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sectors, one of the latest policies in the Nigerian telecom industry launched recently by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Business Metrics

The Managing Editor of Business Metrics and Chairman, Organising Committee, PIAFo-001, Mr Omobayo Azeez, assured that participation of stakeholders across the concerned sector has been secured to chart a way for the effective implementation of the policy which seeks to stem $2.6 billion annual capital flights in telecoms industry by promoting alternative solutions that come with ease of doing business.

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According to him, the forthcoming forum combines the criticality of the telecoms sector as an enabler of the economy and that of promotion of local contents which is an economic catalyst to bridge the policy implementation vacuum in Nigeria.

“The general impression expressed by people on a daily basis that Nigeria is good at policy pronouncement but often fails in implementation is about to become a thing of the past. PIAFo is dedicated to stimulating implementation and tracking progress with measurable metrics.

“The policy execution failure that has been experienced over the years is ascribed to many factors such as poor awareness, shallow stakeholders’ engagements, lack of monitoring and poor periodic assessment to track progress.

“To change this narrative, PIAFo is equipped with strategic objectives to serve as a brainstorming platform for policy assimilation; to identify demands of government policies from individual stakeholders involved; to coordinate multi-stakeholder efforts towards achieving policy objectives; to ensure effective policy implementation and to assess implementation level of policies over time,” Mr Azeez said.

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To achieve an all-encompassing treatment of the policy, a nexus of topics derived from the theme of the forum would be discussed by managing directors and chief executive officers of MTN Nigeria, Pan African Towers, Globacom Nigeria, VDT Communications, Airtel Nigeria, MainOne Cables, IHS Nigeria Limited and Broadbase Communications Ltd.

Meanwhile, the objectives of the indigenous content promotion policy in focus are to create a framework for supporting indigenous telecom businesses to become world-class service providers; to ensure compliance with existing regulatory guidelines for indigenous content; to highlight and promote indigenous capacities in the telecommunications sector, and to foster collaboration between global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) engaged in the manufacturing of telecommunications equipment and indigenous players.

Others are to ensure strategic partnerships with relevant regulatory agencies to create joint efforts to promote indigenous content; to enable the indigenous telecom industry to contribute significantly towards the overall development of the telecom industry, and to encourage and incentivise the participation of indigenous telecom institutions in relevant Standards Development Organisations.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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What’s Next for the African Tech Revolution?

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Kay Akinwunmi Zazuu Tech Revolution

By Kay Akinwunmi

In many parts of Africa, a tech revolution is underway. It’s predicted 475 million people will be mobile internet users by 2025.

Devices, networks and emerging forms of technology are proliferating, not least in Nigeria which, through R&D, has the potential to become a regional leader in AI and Blockchain.

Driven by an exploding population, (the average age of which is just 19.7 years old), Africa can become a tech powerhouse.

According to the World Economic Forum, between 2015 and 2020 tech start-ups receiving financial backing was six times faster than the global average. Despite the challenge of retaining later-stage funding, it’s an exciting time to be an African tech start-up, whose strength lies in retaining a local identity.

When Uber launched in Nigeria, it was forced to change its payment options to include cash, and this is a small example of a much bigger truth: in Africa, models that work elsewhere can rarely – if ever – be replicated without some adjustments having to be made to cater for local tastes and modes of behaviour.

This is not unique to Africa: China’s WeChat, described as an “app for everything”, has an interface many Westerners would find awkward to use, ugly, or undesirable; the same is probably true of Western apps looked at from a Chinese point of view. And this is one reason why anyone starting a business for the African market must have a presence on the ground in Africa: so that whatever they build looks and feels local.

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But it is also one reason why the tech boom is so exciting: it gives Africans the power to develop African products that are uniquely, visibly African. Africans are best-placed to identify African opportunities, as well as African problems. Through tech, they can develop solutions in a distinctly African way.

And this is something that has been denied to Africans for a long time. The reality is that big corporations can have a homogenising effect as they expand overseas, diluting local cultures.

Tech, though innately international and borderless, celebrates diversity by giving power to the individual, wherever they happen to be. And that means that over time, through tech, Africa will be able to shape its own commercial identity: its own principles around user experience, brand and design.

By giving companies and the products they produce a uniquely African identity – an identity that reflects African people and culture – tech can strengthen that culture and showcase it to the world.

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Tech also has the power to help Africa address a wealth of more serious issues, some of which have not just been persistent but seemingly intractable.

EdTech, for example, provides a solution to limited access to education for Africans, especially in poorer rural areas. Start-ups like PataTutor, based in Kenya, connects students with qualified private or online tutors, while uLesson, based in Nigeria, sells digital curricula through SD cards.

HealthTech, too, could give Africans the means to speak to medical professionals via video call or assess any symptoms they might have. In 2020, capital for health tech start-ups on the continent rose 257.5 per cent from 2019, according to a Disrupt Africa report, spurred in part by the pandemic, which shed light on the gap in healthcare services and forced healthcare providers to adjust their models and digitalise quickly.

Increasing internet penetration also means that remote working is likely to increase across Africa, and that may mean that those working abroad can return home. Some in the diaspora are returning home already. And as the cost of data comes down and the internet gets faster, the tech wave will build and roll over more of the continent.

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We may not even be able to conceive at this stage of the kinds of brands, products, services and new forms of technology that might emerge out of a bustling and uniquely African tech scene. And with all this comes greater foreign investment in Africa and less brain drain, which strips Africa of some of its most talented people.

There is still a way to go before Africa’s tech industries become sustainable and world-leading. Significant problems remain later-stage funding, supply chain disruption and cybercrime:

Nigeria has more tech hubs than any other country on the continent but is also plagued by mobile malware. But through innovation and the need to diversify its economy, Africa will advance. At Zazuu, we’re proud to be part of Africa’s growth, using tech to meet the needs of African people.

Kay Akinwunmi is the co-founder of Zazuu

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NCC Denies Renewing Airtel Nigeria’s Operating License

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Airtel Nigeria SIM update

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has refuted claims by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Ogunsanya, that the company’s operating licence has been renewed.

Mr Ogunsanya was quoted in the media last week as saying that the 10-year operating licence of Airtel Nigeria had been renewed by the agency, which regulates the telecommunications industry in the country.

But in a statement issued on Sunday by the NCC Director of Public Affairs, Mr Ikechukwu Adinde, the commission categorically said this was totally untrue.

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Though the NCC admitted that Airtel Nigeria has applied for a renewal of its licence, it was yet to approve this as it was still under scrutiny.

It was reported that Mr Ogunsanya made the claim when he spoke with newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, during the media launch of Airtel’s corporate social responsibility programme, Touching Lives 6.

“The attention of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been drawn to a recent statement on an online publication credited to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Ogunsanya, to the effect that the mobile operating licence of Airtel has been renewed by the Commission for another period of 10 years.

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Mr Ogunsanya was said to have made the statement while speaking in Lagos on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, during the media launch of Airtel’s corporate social responsibility programme, ‘Touching Lives 6’.

“The commission wishes to state that while Airtel Nigeria has applied for the renewal of the Unified Access Service (UASL) Licence granted to it by the Commission, the application is yet to be approved as it is still undergoing [the] required regulatory process.

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“This statement is issued for the guidance of our stakeholders,” the full statement read.

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Comviva Introduces mobiquity Pay X

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mobiquity Pay X

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A platform designed to enhance all aspects of digital financial solutions called mobiquity Pay X has been introduced by Comviva, the global leader in mobility solutions.

A statement from Comviva said the new next-generation platform comes with enhanced security, simpler user lifecycle management & experience, among others.

The mobiquity Pay X is said to be completely built on microservices-based architecture with fully independent and reusable components.

The enhanced modularity facilitates faster time to market and greater scalability and has enabled Open APIs to easily integrate with third-party systems and extended financial ecosystem.

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To enhance user experience, the platform now offers a revamped slicker mobile app for consumers, agents, merchants and other business users and provides an advanced User Management System (UMS) that allows back-office users to easily manage the complete lifecycle of consumers, agents, merchants, and other business users seamlessly. Its intuitive user interface, predefined templates and real-time feedback help quickly perform operations.

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mobiquity® Pay is amongst the world’s largest digital financial services platforms, powering over 70 digital wallets and payment services for 130+ million consumers and processing over 7 billion transactions exceeding $130 billion annually in more than 50 countries.

“COVID has significantly accelerated the growth of digital financial services and the entire financial ecosystem is growing at its fastest pace ever.

“Customer demand and public health priorities are pushing contactless payment adoption and our next generation mobiquity Pay X platform shall help financial service providers scale their digital wallet and payment services faster and seamlessly.

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“With this new platform, Comviva has completely automated the software delivery process. The time to market has improved significantly with continuous product development, integration, testing, release and deployment,” the EVP and Chief Growth and Transformation Officer at Comviva, Srinivas Nidugondi, said.

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