By Adedapo Adesanya
Yahoo has announced that its social media platform, Yahoo Groups, will shut down on December 15, after almost 20 years of operations.
Yahoo Groups, which was aimed to help users stay connected to their community and friends, has seen a steady decline in usage over the last several years, the Yahoo Groups team said.
It added that “Over that same period we’ve witnessed unprecedented levels of engagement across our properties as customers seek out premium, trustworthy content. To that end, we must sometimes make difficult decisions regarding products that no longer fit our long-term strategy as we hone our focus on other areas of the business.”
This means from December 15, the Yahoo Groups website will be inaccessible as will its services, including sending and receiving emails.
“Thank you for helping us build one of the earliest digital communities — we’re proud and honoured to have forged countless connections over the last 20 years and played a small part in helping build your communities,” the Yahoo team concluded.
Yahoo, however, disclosed that Yahoo Mail features will continue to function as expected and there will be no changes to Yahoo Mail accounts, emails, photos or other inbox content.
It added that there will also be no changes to other Yahoo properties or services.
Launched 19 years ago in 2001, Yahoo Groups had been kicked back to the curb across the years and slowly lost most of its once-massive userbase to newer services like Reddit, Google Groups, and Facebook Groups.
Verizon, which bought Yahoo in 2017, is encouraging any Yahoo Groups members who have not left the site since the initial plan last December, to organize and move to new message boards and meeting places before emails start bouncing.
Tizeti to Hold Summit on Digital Technology Future
By Adedapo Adesanya
Tizeti, West Africa’s pioneer solar-based internet service provider, will convene Nigeria’s prominent corporate leaders, C-level executives, IT managers, technology startups, and digital thought leaders at the maiden edition of its futuristic Tizeti NeXTGEN conference themed The Future of Digital is Here.
This would be held in line with the company’s commitment to widening digital inclusion for Africa with affordable broadband connectivity to the continent’s underserved populations.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Tizeti’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kendall Ananyi, said that Tizeti NeXTGEN is a flagship conference focused on discussing the digital environment in Africa and highlight how digital transformation will empower more Nigerians.
He also noted that the conference will open participants on how to stimulate economic activities, provide a foundation for a robust and thriving ecosystem to enable digital leadership for Africa in the 4.0 world and complement the digital efforts of other industry stakeholders in driving investment promotion and building a robust technology ecosystem in Nigeria, and Africa.
Mr Ananyi noted that the maiden edition will feature product launches on Tizeti’s plans around Next Generation Unlimited Wi-Fi, Smart Interactive Voice response systems and expanding access to unlimited internet in Africa.
The event has been scheduled to hold on Wednesday, August 11, 2021, at 12 noon.
It will convene hundreds of attendees in a hybrid event and will bring together its various partners within the African telecommunications, technology, and business communities to share its ambitions for the future of digital in Africa.
The event provides an opportunity to network, discover new opportunities and discuss breakthrough trends in the global Telecoms space and tech ecosystem with unique perspectives from C-Level Executives and its partners.
Interested participants can register for the event here https://bit.ly/TizetiNeXTGEN01
Tizeti is a fast-growing wireless internet service provider in Lagos, Nigeria, delivering high-speed unlimited Wi-Fi Internet access to residential and business customers using wide-area Wi-Fi.
Its services are available in Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers State. It is also expanding rapidly to other African countries as it has been successfully launched in Accra and Tema, Ghana.
NCC Seeks Robust PPP to Drive Digital Infrastructure
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has called for more innovative Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) approaches aimed to make telecommunications infrastructure safer, more resilient and robust in Nigeria.
This was made by Mr Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, while delivering his keynote address at two-day Virtual Information Communication Technology & Telecommunications (ICTEL) organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) themed Disruptions, Resilience and Governance in Digital Economy.
He said the agency was always exploring means to attract more investment into the sector.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that the next frontier for enriching digital economy globally is through sustained investment in broadband or high-speed Internet access.
Speaking on Exploring Public-Private Collaboration for a Robust Digital Infrastructure, Regulations, Investment and Policy, he said that the concept of PPP has become one of the commonly used models of collaboration among stakeholders to fast track socio-economic development whether at the global, regional and national levels.
According to him, in 2017, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) signed a joint declaration in Geneva, “on the advancement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular, industrialization, infrastructure development and innovation”.
The UNIDO and ITU, driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 member states and over 700 private sector entities and academic institutional membership, planned to strengthen country-level collaborations.
The two agencies, Mr Danbatta said, “resolved to contribute to global, regional and national efforts toward achieving SDG9, and particularly through action plans that are designed to attract public-private partnerships and investment.
“The collaboration between ITU and UNIDO, thus, represents a very important commitment from global organisations to deliver measurable and sustainable solutions within countries, towards achieving the SDGs, with a focus on “infrastructure, industry and innovation,” through a PPP arrangement.
“It is on record that this kind of partnership is helping to fast track the realization of SDG9 with derivable quantifiable benefits to industry, including small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging economies.
“Similarly, it is particularly of interest that the African Development Bank (AfDB), in a White Paper on PPP Framework released in September 2020, was emphatic that the infrastructure gap in African countries acts as an impediment to their economic growth and development”.
According to the White Paper, the gaps impact not only the economic situation of the citizens of Africa but also the countries’ global competitiveness.
The paper also estimates that poor infrastructure shaves off 2 per cent of the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates.
“Suffice it to say that, the role of public-private partnership in infrastructure development in Nigeria cannot be overemphasised because an adequate, robust and functioning infrastructure is the bedrock of communal and societal development.
“Therefore, to meet future challenges, our industries and infrastructure must be upgraded by evolving an enduring PPP model that services all the sectors of the economy.
“Objectively, the high level of infrastructure deficit and its attendant effect on socio-economic development in Nigeria explains government’s concern and search for an alternative means of providing infrastructure for Nigeria’s teeming population.
“Thus, in 2005, the Federal Government established the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) with a clear objective to accelerate investment in national infrastructure through private sector funding; and to assist the Federal Government of Nigeria and its Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to establish and implement effective PPP processes.
“It is gratifying that state governments have also adopted variants of PPP models in order to tackle the challenge of infrastructure in their respective jurisdictions”, the EVC recalled.
The NCC boss added that if the telecom and ICT sector is the real ‘infrastructure of infrastructure’ as it is often referred to because of its impact, efficiency and effectiveness on the growth of other sectors, it stands to reason, that the telecom sector is the most important sphere PPP should be adopted.
Interestingly, a 2012 World Bank report already documented how PPP projects have been used to provide broadband access nationally, regionally, or in rural areas to improve broadband access to unserved and underserved locations.
Indeed, the World Bank equally revealed in its 2021 report PPP that the PPP scheme is also helping in key areas of supporting the development of innovative policies, actions, standards and technologies in order to connect the unconnected in any nation, create jobs, enable efficient natural resource utilisation, and electronic waste management.
“The report also states that Public-Private Partnerships have also served as organising principles to facilitate product interoperability, reduce the digital and gender divides, and support growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
“In Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is particularly noted for its faith in strategic collaboration and partnership as a central principle of its stakeholders’ relationship management and regulatory activities.
“Our daily regulatory processes are marked by consultations with a wide spectra of stakeholders as well as strategic partnering and collaboration with both private sector players and other sister public sector organisations”.
He said that following the liberalisation of the telecoms sector in 2001, the Commission has continued to facilitate investment inflow into the country’s digital space through licensing of many private sector players, who are deploying services in a different segment of the nation’s telecom market.
“This has resulted in rollout of massive infrastructure ranging from the deployment of Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) and laying of thousands of kilometres of fibre optic cables to every nook and cranny of the country.
“Hence, the sector has grown significantly in investment with significant access to an array of voice, data and other kinds of enterprises.
“The commission has also continued to enhance existing infrastructure through the licensing of a category of private sector players known as Infrastructure Companies (InfraCo), who are to deploy fibre optic cable on a wholesale basis across the country with broadband Point of Access (PoA) in each of the 774 Local Government Areas of the country.
This InfraCo scheme is running on a PPP arrangement, where the government provides a counterpart fund as a subsidy to stimulate faster, more robust and resilient broadband infrastructure rollout across the country.
While broadband penetration in Nigeria has reached 45 per cent at the moment, from less than 6 per cent in 2015, and by that fact stimulating digital activities in the country, there still exist access gaps which the Commission is making efforts to bridge.
It is noteworthy that the hitherto existing access gaps of 217 identified in the country have been reduced to 114 through increased collaboration between the Commission and stakeholders in the telecom ecosystem.
“Hence, the InfraCo project being implemented by NCC and other similar regulatory initiatives which has PPP component are in line with policy expectations of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025; the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020-2030; the NCC Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024, as well as a number of regulatory instruments and frameworks which envisioned the PPP model as a central organising principle for fast-tracking the development of Nigeria’s telecoms industry”, he said.
The EVC said that NCC is renowned for its tradition of engaging in robust stakeholder consultation on the development of its various regulations and policy initiatives.
Firm Raises $120m for Digital Infrastructure in Africa
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
A private equity investor focused on the technology sector across sub-Saharan Africa, Convergence Partners, has raised $120 million to drive digital financial inclusion in Africa by putting in place digital infrastructure.
The funds raised from this exercise is the first close of its Convergence Partners Digital Infrastructure Fund (CPDIF), which aims to secure a total of $250 million.
The company plans to use funds from the exercise to put in place fibre, wireless technologies, data centres and towers, as well as 5G, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), fintech and network virtualization across Africa.
CPDIF expects this money to boost entrepreneurship, innovation and skills development through augmenting access to the internet and all the critical digital tools it offers.
“We are delighted to have achieved this milestone particularly given the headwinds in African PE fundraising generally, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business activity, over the past 12 months.
“We are very pleased with the level of support from both repeat and new investors and believe this reflects our solid track record and the opportunity CPDIF presents at this crucial time in both a tech and African context,” the CEO of Convergence Partners, Mr Brandon Doyle, said.
On his part, the Chairman of Convergence Partners, Mr Andile Ngcaba, while commenting on the development, stated that, “In the past 20 years, we have witnessed the exponential growth of internet penetration on the African continent.
“Internet penetration in sub-Saharan Africa alone has grown tenfold, compared to the threefold increase the rest of the world has seen.
“As Convergence Partners, we pride ourselves on contributing to this growth through our numerous communication infrastructure investments across the continent.
“However, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that there is still much work to drive digital inclusion. Today, Africa is experiencing the highest growth in international internet bandwidth compared to any other region in the world.
“As we embark on this journey as CPDIF, the next twelve years will be spent continuing to build on our original vision of ubiquitous pan-African communications. As the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) commences in the same year, we embark on the next step of our journey as Convergence Partners.
“We believe that AfCFTA will benefit immensely from the availability of digital infrastructure. Our greatest strength is our knowledge of technology, investments, and deep understanding of the African market and cultures.”
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