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Prof Muhammad Bello: Modeling Galaxy Backbone to become Africa’s leading digital infrastructure services provider

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Over the past 10 years, significant progress has been made in Nigeria’s digitisation drive across both public and private sector.

An organisation that has relentlessly worked behind the scenes to contribute to this progress especially in the public sector to facilitate e-government is Galaxy Backbone.

Prior to the creation of Galaxy Backbone (GBB), technology had little or no impact on the operations ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) but with the innovations and infrastructure of GBB,  cost has been optimised and greater efficiency has been recorded. So far, 60 per cent of MDAs have gotten on board the GBB infrastructure, over 40,000 email boxes and thousands of IP and video telephony devices distrubuted to MDAs across the country.

However, beyond the public sector, GBB has extended its coverage to include private sector establishments in its network of services.

Under the leadership of its Managing Director/Chief Executive, Professor Muhammad Bello Abubakar, the organisation has a renewed focus to the regional operations of the organisation like never before to spread its reach.

Today in Galaxy Backbone, Professor Abubakar has appointed a General Manager who is the Group Head Regional operations to lead a team of experienced professionals to manage the infrastructural deployment and business operations that would ensure that organisations across the country enjoy, at the same level, the full benefits of the Galaxy Backbone digital services infrastructure.

In the last 9 months, the organisation has opened two new regional offices in Kano and in Gombe to facilitate marketing efforts and provide an opportunity for private sector establishments to take advantage of its huge infrastructure across the nation.

Professor Muhammad is driven by his belief that Galaxy Backbone’s success is not restricted to a particular location, but across the 36 states of the country in the short to medium term and for him, Galaxy Backbone would provide similar operations to other countries within Sub-Saharan Africa.

With the nearly completed National Information Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone (NICTIB) 2 project and state of the art data centres across the nation, the organisation is positioned to achieve its audacious goals to connect Nigerians, Sub-Saharan African digitally and optimise productivity.

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7G Network: NCC harps on benefits of connectivity, innovation

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By Blessing Emmanuel, Abuja

At the gathering of stakeholders at the Telecoms Industry Risk Management Conference, themed: “Harnessing Emerging Technologies and Trends,” the Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Aminu Maida, has highlighted the benefits of connectivity and innovation.

The NCC EVC addressed the increasing importance of effective risk management in navigating the dynamic environment of the industry, which presents both unprecedented opportunities and challenges.

In his keynote address, Dr. Maida delved into the current landscape of 5G networks, acknowledging the wider attack surface due to the increased number of connected devices and denser network infrastructure.

He further urged the attendees from various sectors including risk experts, academia, financial institutions, and professionals in telecommunications to cast their gaze into the future, as the industry witnesses the dawn of 6G technologies, promising even faster speeds, lower latency, and groundbreaking applications.

He however, emphasised the need to address new risks, from cybersecurity threats to ethical considerations, to ensure a secure and inclusive digital future.

Looking ahead, Dr. Maida highlighted the prospect of 7G technology and the challenges and opportunities it presents. He stressed the importance of collaboration, innovation, and a proactive approach to managing risks associated with technological advancements.

The discussion also touched upon the implications of emerging technologies such as quantum technologies, advanced artificial intelligence, and Blockchain.

Maida noted that the NCC remains committed to fostering an environment that encourages innovation while prioritising the security and stability of the telecom infrastructure.

He hence called for collaborative efforts among regulators, industry players, and stakeholders to share best practices, threat intelligence, and resources to implement robust risk management strategies.

Acknowledging the transformative impact of rapid technological advancements on the telecommunications industry, he reiterated the industry’s pivotal role in shaping modern communication, connectivity, and business practices, underscoring the need for robust risk management strategies in this dynamic landscape.

Maida also emphasised the importance of building a culture of risk awareness within the industry, empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills to proactively identify and report risks.

He urged attendees to harness the power of emerging technologies and trends to build a resilient and future-proof industry.

Speaking also at the grand opening of the conference, Mr. Kelechi Nwankwo, Head of Corporate Planning, Strategy & Risk Management (HCPSRM), acknowledged the NCC’s commitment to reviewing and enhancing current operating standards, aligning them with international best practices.

“This strategic initiative aims to fortify the industry’s resilience in the face of the rapid technological transformations sweeping across the sector,” he said.

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Airtel breaks digital divide with Ads platform

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Airtel Africa has embarked on an ambitious drive in advertising bridging the digital divide to optimise services to consumers across various platforms with the launch of Airtel Ads.

Powered by Intent AI, Airtel Ads is designed for media agencies and businesses, streamlining the process of purchasing advertising space. This feature enables advertisers to make informed ad placement decisions by combining various tools and functionalities within a single platform and offers a comprehensive solution for digital advertising management.

The platform will leverage Airtel Africa’s extensive customer base of more than 150 million customers, utilising data from both telecommunications services and mobile wallets. This approach aims to not only target digitally engaged individuals but also include those traditionally excluded from the digital realm through its 2G and feature phone user base. Additionally, through the integrated Airtel Voice Reward Ads, the platform has the capability to reach consumers on various devices.

Understanding the current limitations in ad performance for organisations, Airtel Ads aims to seamlessly merge all ad networks with Airtel Africa’s first party telecommunications data. It will provide a unified advertising platform with precise audience segmentation, a dedicated marketing team, data analytics with post-campaign support in addition to both native language support and access to 260+ bidding parameters. The platform, powered by ai based brand safety tools, will also accept payments in local African currencies.

Since its inception, the platform has achieved a weekly audience reach of 27 billion impressions, 23.5 million in-app daily impressions and over 200 million daily SMS notifications daily with end-of-SMS tag messaging potential.

Speaking on the launch, Airtel Africa’s Chief Commercial Officer, Anthony Shiner said, “We are excited to introduce Airtel Ads in Africa. This innovative platform will support advertisers and businesses to gain unprecedented control over their marketing campaigns, leveraging Airtel Africa’s extensive customer base and world class technology. Airtel Ads is a testament to our leadership in shaping the communications landscape in Africa, ensuring businesses are supported to achieve their objectives using data first tools to inform their business decisions.”

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NITDA strengthens partnership with VON to spread awareness on Renewed Hope initiatives

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has strengthened its partnership with the Voice Of Nigeria in projecting the Renewed Hope initiative of the present administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

This was made known when the NITDA DG, Kashifu Inuwa and his management team played host to a delegation from VON led by its newly appointed Director General, Jibrin Baba Ndace to the corporate headquarters of the Agency in Abuja.

Kashifu said the agency is aligned with the agenda of the President to reform the economy for sustained inclusive growth by leveraging on digital literacy and cultivating talent growth of its citizens by mitigating disinformation and misinformation that could pose a threat to national economic stability.

Outlining its newly crafted ambitious Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (2024-2027l which is aimed at propelling Nigeria into the forefront of digital transformation, the NITDA DG emphasised the critical role of collaboration, support, and guidance in achieving the objectives of the Federal Government’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

Inuwa disclosed that in supporting these objectives, NITDA has restructured its SRAP into 8 pillars towards achieving 95 percent digital literacy by 2030 and positioning Nigeria as a leading technology hub in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Robotics, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles amongst other emerging technologies.

“As we digitise our economy, we need our citizens to have access and use these digital devices and platforms safely as well as responsibly and the only way to achieve that is through digital literacy,” he noted.

He stated that the Agency is working with the Ministry of Education, the United Kingdom government, and GIZ to develop National Digital Literacy Standards that will aid Nigerian youths in obtaining certifications with local institutions.

Recognising the importance of strategic partnerships in driving these initiatives with key stakeholders which include the media, Inuwa stated that collaboration with VON would create a medium and wider reach in communicating the government’s transformation goals to the public rather than fake news pervading the society.

“We are thinking of developing content in local languages on TV and radio stations so that we can reach as many people as possible and I think that is an area of collaboration where we can work together,” Inuwa added.

Inuwa particularly emphasised the need to effectively publicise the various efforts and policies deployed by the present administration in alleviating poverty and boosting the economic growth of the nation in addition to educating the populace on the safe and responsible use of digital technologies which will consequently shield them from the social engineering gimmicks used by cyber manipulators.

While expressing his excitement at the collaboration with VON which he believes would help the Agency in delivering its mandate beyond expectations and propelling the nation into a digital future, Inuwa gave assurances of the Agency’s support to the visitors in areas of digital infrastructure and capacity building development.

In his earlier remark, Mr Ndace expressed gratitude to the NITDA DG and the entire NITDA management for the support that VON has enjoyed from the Agency thus far.

He said that the various milestones achieved by the Agency under the leadership of the present Director General are not only commendable but inspiring to other MDAs.

Ndace however pleaded for more support and a deepened collaboration with NITDA to fully realise the goals and objectives of the present administration.

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