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Experts harp on technology’s role in driving Nigeria’s digital future



By Afolabi Ifeoluwa

Industry experts have emphasised the transformative impact of technology on Nigeria’s digital future.

Speaking at the 2024 Digital Pay Expo on Wednesday, a representative of Galaxy Backbone emphasised the company’s commitment to driving Nigeria’s digital future, stating, “Our advantage as a fast-growing technology company is our mandate to build a robust nationwide network and fiber infrastructure, ensuring a secure operation center.”

Head of Market Development at Worldline Global, Mr. Anand Gururajan, illustrated the power of AI in enhancing payment security, showcasing a video demonstration of facial recognition payment technology.

He reiterated how AI would make life easier in the future, highlighting its potential to prevent fraudulent transactions and safeguard users and institutions alike.

Their insights harped on the theme of the expo, “The Future of Cashless Economies,” and set a positive tone for the event, emphasizing collaboration and innovation in driving Nigeria’s digital future.

Meanwhile, the CEO of Nigeria Inter-bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Premier Oiwoh, addressed attendees at the Digital Pay Expo 2024, highlighting the key role of fintech companies in enhancing cross-border payments.

He noted that experts from leading fintech companies like Mastercard, Cowrywise, and Wiltecon shared insights on the challenges and opportunities in cross-border payments, showcasing how technology is bridging gaps and making international transactions more seamless and cost-effective.

He said, “We had experts from leading fintech companies like Mastercard, cowrywise, Wiltecon and so on who shared their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in the cross-border payments landscape.

“Their discussion illuminated how technology is bridging gaps and making international transactions more seamless and cost-effective.”

One of the Speakers, a representative of Galaxy Backbone said that their “advantage as a fast growing technology company is that they are mandated and poised to drive Nigeria’s digital future and also build a robust Nationwide network and fiber infrastructure, making sure there’s a security operation centre.”

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    June 6, 2024 at 1:47 pm

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    June 6, 2024 at 1:48 pm

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NITDA inaugurates startup labelling committee for implementation of Nigeria Startup Act



By Blessing Emmanuel, Abuja

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has taken a significant step towards driving the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA) with the inauguration of a Startup Labelling Committee. This committee, inaugurated by NITDA Director-General Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, comprises representatives from both the public and private sectors.

Enacted on October 19, 2022, the NSA established a legal and institutional framework to foster the development and growth of Nigerian startups. A critical provision within the Act is the Startup Label, which recognises eligible startups and grants them access to various benefits outlined in the NSA. The issuance of the Startup Label hinges on a thorough assessment and validation process to ensure a startup meets the eligibility criteria as defined by the Act. The newly formed committee will play a pivotal role in overseeing this process.

In his address at the inauguration ceremony, Inuwa emphasised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration’s unwavering dedication to fostering an environment conducive to the growth and success of young Nigerian innovators. He acknowledged the pivotal role startups will play in propelling the nation’s economic development and the significance of the committee’s work in nurturing and supporting these enterprises.

Inuwa elaborated on the various initiatives and support mechanisms the government plans to implement, aimed at reducing hurdles and providing financial assistance and mentorship opportunities to young entrepreneurs. He expressed optimism about the future, asserting that with the right support, these budding innovators could transform their ideas into thriving enterprises, contributing significantly to job creation and the overall economic prosperity of Nigeria in line with President Tinubu’s priority to “reform the economy to deliver sustained inclusive growth.”

He urged stakeholders to join hands in creating a robust ecosystem that would empower the next generation of entrepreneurs to flourish and contribute to the country’s progress. Inuwa added that the committee will be instrumental in establishing a robust legal and institutional framework for the successful implementation of the Startup Act. Their collaborative efforts will ensure a participatory approach that benefits all stakeholders within the Nigerian startup ecosystem.

“The composition of the committee reflects the emphasis on collaboration. Representatives from government agencies, industry experts, investors, and startup founders will bring their diverse perspectives and experiences to the table. This collaborative approach is expected to lead to a more efficient and effective labelling process, ultimately benefiting the growth of Nigerian startups,” he stated.

The National Coordinator of the Office for Nigeria Digital Innovation, Victoria Fabunmi, outlined the terms of reference for the advisory committee. These include reviewing and evaluating startups’ applications for the label based on criteria defined in the Act, periodically updating labelling criteria to ensure alignment with industry trends, and conducting impartial evaluations of submitted applications.

Furthermore, the committee will recommend the issuance or otherwise of the Startup Label based on defined criteria, provide feedback and recommendations on areas of improvement for rejected applications, and engage startups for more clarity where necessary. It will also periodically review its activities and data on labelling to identify opportunities and gaps that policymakers may need to address, review workload capacity, and recommend a fair ceiling for the number of applications to be considered per period.

The Labelling Committee comprises nine members: four representatives of incubators (ISN Rep, North and South), two representatives of the public sector (NITDA, NSIA), two representatives of civil society, and the Portal Coordinator who will serve as Secretary.

The inauguration of the Startup Labelling Committee marks a significant milestone in the implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act. With a multi-stakeholder committee guiding the process, the Act has the potential to unlock the immense potential of Nigeria’s startup ecosystem and contribute significantly to the nation’s economic development.

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Airtel Nigeria appoints new advertising, media agencies



Airtel Nigeria has appointed new agencies to handle its advertising and media activities in the country.

This was disclosed by the Director of Corporate Communications and CSR, Mr Femi Adeniran over the weekend.

According to Adeniran, “Following a rigorous pitch process, Airtel Nigeria is pleased to announce the appointment of three marketing communications consulting agencies to collaborate with the internal teams to drive Airtel brand communications, beginning July 1, 2024.

“Insight Publicis and The Hook were successful with their RFPs and have been appointed as advertising agencies while Algorithm Media has been charged with the responsibility for media strategy, planning and buying as well as digital marketing.

“MediaTrak Limited remains the media monitoring agency for Airtel Nigeria,” the statement revealed.

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NIMC boosts data security measures to protect citizens’ information



By Opeyemi Abdulsalam

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has temporarily suspended the bypass enrolment process to prevent abuse and rectify any irregularities.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by NIMC, Head, Corporate Communications, Kayode Adegoke,  on Saturday.

Bypass enrollment is a way to avoid or skip the process of setting up a device with restrictions and management controls, usually set by an organisation.

This process allows the user to have full control over the device.

“The commission has received numerous reports regarding fraudulent online platforms compelling Nigerians to submit their personal information for national identification number (NIN) modification or enrollment services,” NIMC said.

“Perpetrators of these illegal activities will be apprehended and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

“In addition, the commission has temporarily suspended the bypass enrollment process to prevent abuse and rectify any irregularities.”

Adegoke also said NIMC will communicate to the public the resumption of the bypass process later.

The commission also stressed its commitment to providing secured identity services and protecting the citizens’ data per its mandate as Nigeria’s foundational identity provider.

According to NIMC, enhanced measures have been implemented to safeguard the information stored in its national identity database.

“These actions align with the commitment outlined by the Director-General/CEO, Engr Abisoye Coker-Odusote, upon assuming office in August 2023,” NIMC said.

“Engr Coker-Odusote emphasised that the NIMC collaborates with relevant security agencies to uphold the utmost data security standards and regulatory compliance.

“As part of these new security protocols, all licensed verification agents, front end partners (FEPs), and diaspora FEPs will undergo rigorous security vetting to ensure adherence to global best practices in identity management.

“Any FEPs in violation will face sanctions by established regulations and the nation’s laws.”

NIMC said law enforcement authorities have been directed to crack down on and apprehend individuals involved in online phishing schemes targeting citizens’ data from other sources.

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