By Ogaga Ariemu
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economic, Prof Isa Pantami, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta have highlighted gains of 5G network as MAFAB communications, launched 5G services.
Speaking at the unveling ceremony of MAFAB 5G networks in Abuja, Pantami reiterated that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the nation has increased by 594 percent following the laudable contribution of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.
“On 17 and 18th of October 2022 a ministry performance review was organised by our principal President Muhammadu Buhari where all the Ministries where evaluated by independent assessors in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary to the Federation. The contribution to the economy from the base line given to me form when I came into office in August 2019 we were able to increase revenue generation by ICT sector by 594 per cent. This is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria. And the quarterly generation by the ICT sector as at when I took over was around N51 billion Naira but today it is around N408 billion Naira and it is still increasing. And with the deployment of the 5G, there are still many opportunities that will come onboard. So the benefits of the 5G network deployment is beyond just quality of service.” Pantami said.
On his part, the EVC NCC, Prof Danbatta said Nigeria’s journey to embracing 5G network will not be possible with the support of President Muhammedu Buhari and relevant stakeholders in the telecom industry.
Earlier, the Chairman/Founder of MAFAB Communications, Dr Mushabu Bashir, said the takeoff of the MAFAB 5G network highlights Nigeria’s strengths and limitless potentials.
“The 5G technology is not just a mobile network but represents a new culture, in a new era of connectivity where billions of devices exchange data and instill intelligence in our everyday life. It creates new, intelligent systems; and it can help to develop new advanced manufacturing models. I cannot forget to mention the prospect of increased job opportunities as a consequence of the value-chain benefits the technology will generate and offer. That is the dream we have all gathered here to launch today.” He noted.
While enumerating the enormous opportunities which the network promises for Nigeria, Bashir said that the “5G network will usher into this country a wide array of business opportunities, wherein various business outfits will expand their frontiers with operational ease and speed, especially in the fields of education, medical sciences, engineering, security, businesses like the banking sector, SMEs, smart cities, transportation, entertainment which will not benefit only urban area but, also meet our long-term goal of ensuring that even people in rural areas and villages also enjoy benefits of this amazing technology”.
In his presentation, a MAFAB’s Communications Spokesperson, Adebayo Onigbanjo while unveiling the company’s new logo, stated that the company will provide improved wireless voice and data services to Nigerians.
While 5G promises high speeds, minimal latency, and quick downloads, Onigbanjo said that the company’s commitment to Nigerians is ubiquitous data.
“As an operator born in the data age, Mafab will aim to serve our customers and the country by maximizing the value of the digital technology. Broadband is now an essential requirement and our data native network aims to deliver this to Nigerians”, said Onigbanjo.
MAFAB communications is one of the three companies that won the bidding for the 5G 3.5GHz Spectrum licenses in Nigeria.
The company also presented a brand-new logo to herald a beginning of an era of limitless opportunities made possible by technology.
Digitization will drive growth of MSMEs in Nigeria – NITDA DG
In view of the critical roles digitalisation and technology play in optimising the operation of businesses in the 21st century, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa has averred that digitising the Nation’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) will drive the needed sustainable economic growth.
The DG made this known in Abuja while delivering a Keynote Address on the theme: “Digital Nigeria – Leveraging Technology to Improve Ease of Doing Business for MSMES” at the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) 2023 Annual Lecture series.
Inuwa who noted that technology innovation is occurring at an exponential pace and businesses are increasingly recognising and leveraging technology for growth, quoted a 2020 PwC MSME survey which states that MSMES account for about 96% of all businesses in Nigeria; contribute 49% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP); and employ 84% of the country’s workforce.
The DG took his audience through the process of starting a business, stressing that technology has helped the government to provide an easy way for anyone to register a business from anywhere, within 24 hours, which he said is quite unlike the past when one would need to travel to Abuja from states for the same purpose.
“As a government we have the responsibility to carry everyone along, especially when it comes to inclusivity or access to digital infrastructure, it is no longer a privilege but a necessity”.
“With the way we are increasingly using systems to make decisions and a whole lot of things, there is need to carry every along as we cannot afford to be left behind in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.”, Inuwa maintained.
According to him, “we are rounding off with legal framework that will make it easier for investors to come and invest in digital public infrastructure because this will make it a lot easier for SMEs would aid automation of governance”.
“Nigeria has the largest vibrant tech ecosystem in Africa as the country is leading so far in unicorn counts on the continent with five of the seven known unicorns originating in Nigeria”, Inuwa said.
The sustenance of NIgeria’s economy, Inuwa stressed, relies heavily on enterprises, given the the fact the trajectory of customer satisfaction, advertising and payment are results of the increased attention turned to digitalisation in today’s businesses.
“MSMEs that have embraced digitalisation and technology tend to fare better and that underscores a study done in Turkey which shows that 41.2% of 131 SMEs underwent technological innovations and this led to an operational efficiency of 96.9%”
“With the power of technology, you start small but in the long run, you will definitely grow exponentially, if you continue to add value to your business, of course”, the DG avowed.
While painting a picture of what the MSMEs in Nigeria could add to the country’s GDP through digitisation, the Director-General appealed to the Development Bank of Nigeria to also consider giving Startups access to funds as they do MSMEs, adding that the two are basically the same, with the only difference being their nomenclatures.
“If all SMEs in Nigeria can digitise today, we can add $60 Billion by just leveraging technology and recent research has shown that any MSME that transformed digitally could increase its revenue by 26% and reduce costs by 22%”, the DG assured.
The NITDA Boss who highlighted and explained the seven points Strategic Roadmap Pillars of the Agency, said the Federal Government is committed to digitally transforming the economy.
“Today, we collaborate more with western countries than our neighbours, this shows that we are the next frontier when it comes to digital economy”, Inuwa said.
Inuwa harped on the need to foster collaborations with key development partners and build strong institutions so as to deliver and execute all the digital visions in Nigeria, maintaining that the focus of the digital vision remains to uplift Nigeria through digital transformation and innovation.
“Start-ups and MSMES are the engine room for digital transformation and innovation, therefore, I want to encourage DBN to keep up the good work and to also receive the need to include tech startups in all your funding schemes”, Inuwa concluded.
Earlier in his welcome speech, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Development Bank of Nigeria, Dr Tony Okpanachi, alluded to the fact that the discovery of the internet and its impact on human interaction and commerce have changed the dynamics of human coexistence, as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social platforms which started as a means of interaction between people now have commercial and advertising nodes to them, promoting not just social exchange, but also fulfilling an economic need through hyperlinking, interactivity and multimodality.
Dr Okpanachi disclosed that although internet penetration is still at 55.4% in Nigeria, according to DataReportal’s report, which suggests that there were 122.5 million internet users in Nigeria in January 2023, there is a strong need to plot how extant technology, and the new upcoming ones can be used to shore up the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria which sits at 131 out of 190 economies, on the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Rank.
“While issues like security, and poor infrastructure have bedeviled the country for so long, the country must look to other means that transcend these major roadblocks, one of which is technology, and a digitised business environment”.
“MSMEs in Nigeria play a crucial role in economic growth, poverty reduction, employment creation, as well as shared wealth creation and by leveraging technology within their operations, companies can improve their efficiencies, which is one of the roadblocks to doing business in Nigeria”, Dr Okpanachi noted.
The CEO affirmed that the DBN’s Annual Lecture Series is a platform that advocates for MSME financing in Nigeria, and leads the conversation on how technology can drive innovation, resilience, and profitability for MSMEs.
The fourth DBN Annual Lecture hybrid event marked the bank’s 6th anniversary and to celebrate the milestone, the Bank’s Lecture featured speakers drawn from a range of subject matter expertise, comprising public sector, academia, development economics, financial services, and entrepreneurship.
The event also featured keynotes and panel sessions, where the facilitators shared their perspectives on how to drive sustainable business growth with technology that adapts to a green economy.
Digitising agriculture will boost farmers productivity, GDP – DG NITDA
With smallholder farmers producing an estimated 90% of the country’s food and contributing 21% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $477 billion, rejuvenating the agricultural sector by digitising all its processes for smallholder farmers through initiatives developed by the government would not only boost productivity but increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $67billion.
The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa made this disclosure at the Policy Dialogue session in collaboration with the Office of the Presidency, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Food Security and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) at the Barcelona Hotel, Abuja.
The Policy Dialogue Session which with the theme: “Deepening Partnership for Scale-up of Information & Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) for Smallholder Farmers in Nigeria is aimed at fostering partnership among the relevant players in the ecosystem to scale solutions for farmers in enhancing productivity.
Giving more insight into his disclosure during his opening remarks, Inuwa said that the policy dialogue is a step in the right direction towards actualising the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in diversifying the economy through the digital transformation of critical sectors in the country.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed to uplifting Nigeria through digital transformation, innovation and economic growth”.
“To achieve this, the President has mandated our Ministry, the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy to accelerate the Nigerian economic diversification by enhancing productivity in critical sectors through technological innovation”, he stated.
While maintaining that the agricultural sector contributes about 70% to businesses in Africa and contributes about 21% to the country’s GDP, he said that priority in terms of technology penetration should be given to it considering its importance.
Buttressing the importance of technology on agricultural productivity, the NITDA DG added that “Nigeria in terms of land size is almost 22 times larger than the Netherlands but in terms of production, Netherlands is the second largest agricultural producer in the world because of its use of technology”.
Speaking on NITDA’s commitment to implementing the presidential mandate, Inuwa stated that the agency worked with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in crafting the National Digital Agricultural Strategy which also birthed the development of the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture.
“We have implemented that initiative in six states in collaboration with different institutions, including academia, fintech and telco companies and we have established a platform that provides a marketplace for the participants as well as to connect them with financial institutions”, he added.
He further noted that a wallet is provided on the platform to ensure that funds are controlled and properly utilised for the purpose and beneficiaries it is meant for.
“I believe that with this kind of partnership, we can scale up that platform and make agri-business a fancy business for our youth to be part of it”, he concluded.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Country Director of the IFAD Country Office, Abuja, Mrs. Dede Ekoue thanked the NITDA DG for his participation in the steadfast commitment to putting NITDA’s high-quality technical expertise to the service of enhanced digital solutions for farmers.
She said that IFAD is committed to promoting the empowerment of smallholder farmers globally and in Nigeria through several solutions and is scaling up its support in digital solutions.
“We invite all stakeholders from the public sector, the private sector, civil society, farmer organizations, and development partners, to discuss the best approaches to strengthen our partnership and our digital solution. We are confident that together we can do more, we can do better, and we can do faster to increase access of smallholder farmers to digital solutions”, she noted.
In his remark, the Special Senior Assistant to the President on Agribusiness and Productivity Enhancement, Dr. Kingsley Uzoma commended the DG NITDA for his active participation with the Office of the President in different policy developments.
He asserted that sustained efforts at digital literacy in partnership with key agencies like NITDA as well as the private sector will be critical in ensuring greater technology absorption by smallholder farmers which can translate to improved productivity, extensive technical upscaling, promoting best practices and increased trade.
He also expressed the need for a centrally coordinated agricultural data hub that would aggregate and provide insights on open and targeted data that is relevant for planning, policy direction and essential decision-making.
“Increased collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Food Security, and NITDA is necessary to implement a national digital dialogue strategy to further leverage technology for advancements from the agricultural sector”, he averred.
With increased investments in technology, Glo is powering the ambitions of Nigerian entrepreneurs
It is no news that the current global economic landscape has been a very tough tide especially for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
In Nigeria, the story is not different either. Many businesses have had to implement cost reduction measures and staff strength inother to survive in the current business clime. With an inflation rate of 27.33 percent and the unstable power supply, many entrepreneurs are on the brinks of collapse and are bearly feeding from hand to mouth.
However, this daunting challenges businesses faced have not deterred tenacious entrepreneurs who have retained to the table to rethink and implement cost-effective strategies to remain profitable.
One tool this tenacious individuals have seamlessly adopted into their operations is the adoption of technology. Technology makes business more profitable and productive.
Having entrepreneurs and small businesses in mind, the Globacom Brand has reiterated its commitment to investing in state of the art technologies to improve its services and help businesses thrive.
At an exclsuive event tagged an Evening with Glo, Executive Vice-Chairman of Globacom Nigeria, Bella Disu unveiled the new communication direction of the digital solutions giant.
In this new chapter, Glo seeks to power and drive the ambition of entrepreneurs.
Speaking at the event in Lagos, Bella Disu noted that the event is special for many reasons, one being that Globacom celebrated its 20th anniversary this past August.
“We’re incredibly proud of this feat, which symbolises two decades of our commitment to excellent service delivery, quality, innovation, and outstanding communication strategies. This remarkable journey and the heights we’ve reached are all thanks to the visionary leadership and tenacity of our founder and Chairman, Dr Mike Adenuga Jr.
“You’ll agree with me that the current pace of digital transformation is far quicker than what it was when Globacom started. What was once deemed impossible is now the norm. As a digital solutions provider, we embrace these unlimited opportunities to serve our customers by constantly investing in the latest tools and technology.
“Tonight, we are thrilled to unveil a new communication direction that focuses more on powering and driving ambition, while ensuring success for our existing and future customers. These creative campaigns will undoubtedly inspire accolades for our hardworking Marketing Communications team. They deserve it, but I’ll let you in on a secret – The creative genius steering us and whipping up most of these ideas is none other than the great guru himself, our Chairman, Dr Mike Adenuga Jr. I’m not sure he would have wanted me to share that, but after 20 years of his creative direction, I think it’s fair to let the cat out of the bag!”
Disu also expressed excitement at the next 20 years of the company.
She assured that the company will continue to serve its customers by pre-empting and fulfilling their needs in ways that help them achieve their ambitions.
Earlier at a press conference held at the company’s headquarters, Mike Adenuga Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos the Chief Technology officer, Remi Makinde speaking on how the company is empowering SMEs with its services said the company has commenced the upgrade of its LTE sites with additional spectrum resources nationwide geared towards ensuring it always provide premium voice and high-speed data user experience.
Speaking further, Remi said, “Our national optic fiber and IP/MPLS backhone and metro network is also currently being expanded with additional 5,000Km from current span of 14,000Km.
“Further Capacity Expansion of our Glo 1 submarine optical fiber infrastructure from Lagos – London is ongoing to accommodate our massive data growth for our direct interconnectivity with the likes of Google, YouTube and Facebook and other ISPs and corporate bodies across all sectors of the economy.”
Promising on delivering increased customer satisfaction and efficiency, Remi also stated that Glo will further expand its footprints nationwide with additional 2,000 sites per year.
He explained that the focus of its infrastructure expansion in 2024 will be more visible in the metro areas due to increased pressure on the bandwidth.
The Evening with Glo event witnessed performances by Yemi Sax, humour merchant, Arinze Baba, and tap dancers from South Africa and award-winning comedian, Godwin Komone (Gordons), anchoring the show.
The company also seized the opportunity to reward some of its partners by doling out 4 all-expense-paid business class tickets to the United Kingdom courtesy of Globacom.
The event was wrapped with electrifying performances by Glo ambassadors and music stars, Asake and Chike.
With the roadmap and new communication direction unveiled, Glo is redefining customer experience and innovation for future brands to follow being the pacesetter it has always been since 2003.
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