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Truecaller replies NITDA, to adhere to Nigeria’s data regulation laws



By Ibiyemi Mathew

Caller-identification service,Truecaller has promised to to harmonise the data of its Nigerian subscribers in line with the country’s data protection regulation.

This  development was in response to alarm  raised by  the National Information Development Agency (NITDA) recently.

The NITDA Director General Mr Kashfu Abdulllahi Inuwa when he spoke to Journalists at the sideline of the just concluded 39th GITEX Technology Week in Dubai.

The DG said that the agency had forged ahead in the investigation of the breach of privacy rights by Truecaller.He added that the company(Truecaller)has communicred to the agency in writting seeking for a way they can harmonise their operations so that they can comply with Nigeria’s data protection regulation.

Speaking further,he said initial findings revealed that the Truecaller Privacy Policy was not in compliance with global laws on data protection and the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR).

He said contrary to the expectation of many users, the Truecaller service collected far more information than it needed to provide its primary service.

NITDA had earlier in September commenced investigation into the potential breach of privacy rights of  seven million Nigerians making use of Truecaller service adding that the caller-identification service was putting ‘’many Nigerians in unsavoury conditions as reported by Nigerian NewsDirect.


Minister Tijani reels out 100 days achievement, hails Tinubu



The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy has reeled out his 100 days achievements as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In a recent address, Minister Tijani expressed gratitude to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR for the unique honour bestowed upon him, and highlighted the collective accomplishments, outlining the path ahead for the Ministry.

Commending the unwavering support from directors, agency heads, and the entire team (NCC, NITDA, NigComSat, NDPC, NIPOST, GBB, etc), he emphasised the dynamic and cohesive force that has been shaped within the Ministry during this period.

Highlighting his achievements in office, Dr Tijani said, “The Ministry’s mandate, structured around five pillars – Knowledge, Policy, Infrastructure, Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Capital, and Trade – forms the core of the Strategic Blueprint. This blueprint guides the Ministry’s role in realizing the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

“In the first 100 days, the Knowledge pillar has been instrumental in driving initiatives, most notably the Three Million Technical Talent (3MTT) program. With over 1.6 million talented Nigerians applying in a month, partnerships, including a N1 Billion commitment from IHS Nigeria and UNDP’s funding for 3,000 internships, have significantly amplified the impact.

“The National AI Research Scheme received 2,118 proposals, showcasing the depth of talent in applying technology to critical sectors. Collaborations with the Raspberry Pi Foundation led to the establishment of Code Clubs in 17 locations, fostering technological talent from a young age.

“Under the Policy pillar, collaboration with NITDA resulted in the launch of the Startup Support and Engagement Portal, aligning with the Startup Act. White Papers on top AI talent of Nigerian descent and the 1:10:100 Implementation approach outline strategic directions.

“The Infrastructure pillar achieved milestones, including mapping over 2,500 innovation spaces and revamping NigComSat’s platforms. Extending coverage to underserved locations aligns with the commitment to providing digital opportunities. Engagements at global forums such as the Mobile World Congress and ITU-World Radio Conference underscore Nigeria’s global presence.”

On innovation, entrepreneurship and capital, Dr Tijani noted that “significant partnerships were forged under the Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Capital (IEC) pillar, including the $116 million financing for AFD’s I-DICE program and a $100 million Global AI partnership.”

“Initiatives like the 4IRTA platform and the Young Innovative Builders program demonstrate dedication to leveraging technology for sustainable development,” he narrated.

The Minister explained further that the achievements of his 100 days in office were a result of collective efforts that have shaped the first 100 days.

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ONDI receives 11,183 applications for third cohort of Ihatch



The Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI) has disclosed that it received 11,183 applications for the third cohort of the Ihatch programme.

The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa made this known at the Ihatch startup incubation programme 2nd cohort demo day and 3rd cohort opening ceremony organised by the subsidiary of the agency, Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI), in partnership with Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) in Abuja.

Inuwa noted that the ihatch five-month free intensive incubation programme executed by the ONDI and hosted within the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) is designed to help Nigerian tech entrepreneurs refine their business ideas through a series of coaching, lectures, and booth camps to develop scalable and adaptable business models that will focus on youth, innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.

He added that the incubation programme will be held simultaneously in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Gombe, and Kano and JICA has agreed to extend the Fourth Cohort across each of the 36 States and the FCT. This is to enable wider reach and to stimulate the startup ecosystems across the States.

The DG stated that not fewer than 1,218 applications were received for the Second Cohort and the number was pruned down to 8 startups, comprising 16 persons, a Founder and Co-Founder for each startup, after undergoing levels of rigorous selection process conducted by a panel of judges, comprising experts in diverse areas of technology and innovative entrepreneurship.

He explained that the selection process assessed the startups’ ideas based on the criteria of profitability, scalability, social impact, idea technique, competitive advantage, experience, and a clearly defined future roadmap.

Inuwa further revealed that a total of 11,183 applications were received from across the 6 geopolitical zones for the Third Cohort. This culminated in the selection of the top 8 startups, comprising 16 founders in total that will participate in the Third Cohort that was launched.

He added that 16 startups that participated in the first and second cohorts of the iHatch incubation programme have moved on to achieve remarkable success in the areas of job creation, funding, participation in events, and valuable partnerships which have created a combined total of 179 direct jobs in the span of agriculture, health, education, and e-commerce sectors.

The DG further asserted that apart from the total grant of US$45,000 (US$15,000 each) for Proof of Concept (POC) to the top 3 startups in the first cohort, some of the startups have raised some funding through other sources. Xolani Health (a health tech startup from the first cohort) secured a grant worth US$155,000, BetaLife (a health tech startup from the first cohort) secured an angel investment of US$60,000, Gifty (an e-commerce startup from the second cohort) got a grant of USD$8,000 while two other startups from the first and second cohorts respectively, raised a combined total grant of US$6,000.

Inuwa affirmed the agency’s commitment to working with relevant stakeholders and partners towards the successful implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA) which will accelerate innovation and provide much-needed jobs for our teeming youths. Leaving nothing to chance in our resolve to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in our youth to catalyze the Nigerian digital economy to the next level.

The Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, represented by National Coordinator, National Talent Export Programme, Dr Femi Adeluyi, applauded NITDA for the various initiatives and programs put in place for the advancement of the tech ecosystem in the country.

Anite noted that the NITDA DG at the Digital Nigeria International Conference 2023 edition harped on the need for Nigeria to become the talent destination of the world where countries will come to seek a workforce that will work with them towards achieving their goals and objectives.

She added that “technology is a pivotal tool in all aspects of life which cannot be overemphasised and the green transition scoreboard global total has reached about $7.13 trillion for export and about $6.6 trillion for importation, the important aspect is that 54 percent of these activities is digitally edible and prepares people to be effective and efficient in the different sector of the economy is laudable.”

The Minister also appreciated JICA for its relentless efforts toward the advancement of the tech ecosystem in the area of automobile, development, training, scholarships, interventions and a lot more which has impacted the citizens directly or indirectly.

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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.

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