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Celebrating Digital Excellence: Highlights from the 6th .NG Awards

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The 6th .NG Awards unfolded as a grand celebration, placing a spotlight on innovation within the Nigerian internet space. Notable organizations, which include Sterling Bank, Jumia Nigeria, Sycamore, Nigeria Communications Commission, Web4Africa, The Guardian and Wazobia MAX, emerged as winners in the general award category, standing out for their significant contributions towards the utilization and advancement of the .ng domain.

The .NG Awards, an initiative by NiRA, stands as a beacon for acknowledging outstanding innovations on the .ng domain. This platform not only recognizes excellence but also actively promotes the .ng brand, contributing significantly to the growth in Nigeria’s internet space.

Notably, nominations of eligible organizations and the voting process were open to the public through the official awards website, fostering a transparent and inclusive process.

In its sixth year, the .NG Awards continues to be a vital platform, celebrating organizations reshaping Nigeria’s digital landscape with the .ng domain.

The inauguration of the 6th .NG Awards marked a significant milestone, with NiRA’s President, Mr. Adesola Akinsanya, highlighting a year of remarkable growth driven by impactful collaborations. His address emphasized the vision for sustained progress in the adoption of the domain.

He also appreciated all nominees for the contribution to the adoption of the. .ng domain and growth of the internet space.

The theme of 6th .NG Awards night was the increasing impact of organizations channeled through the .ng domain, underscoring their pivotal role in shaping Nigeria’s dynamic digital landscape.

In a year marked by the highest number of nominations when compared to previous years, these nominees stood out for their extraordinary efforts, shaping a digital landscape that continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace.

One of the remarkable aspects of the event was the presence of high-profile guests in the Nigerian digital space.  Their attendance not only reflected the growing importance of the .NG Awards but also showcased a collective commitment to fostering excellence within Nigeria’s digital community.

The event witnessed numerous innovative winners in the general awards categories. Sterling Bank won the Best Commercial Banking Website/Portal, Bazecity Media was awarded the Startup Company of the Year, and Web4Africa was awarded the Best Local Hosting Company, Cross River State Government won Digital Innovation in State Government, Nigeria Communications Commission won the Digital Innovation in Federal Government, Voice of Nigeria was awarded the Best Online Media Website, and Sycamore was awarded the .NG Fintech Company of the Year.

The prestigious Company of the Year award went to HiiT PLC for its significant impact on the digital landscape.

Each awardee had the opportunity to share their plans for continued impact on the .ng domain, expressing excitement at being recognized for their contributions to Nigeria’s digital space. This collective commitment to innovation and growth highlighted the vibrancy of the internet ecosystem in the country.

The 6th .NG Awards featured the prestigious Presidential Awards Category, a notable acknowledgment by the NiRA President, designed to spotlight distinguished individuals and organizations actively propelling development in the Nigerian digital space.

This category also aimed at recognizing key contributors to the growth of NiRA and the .ng domain brand. The esteemed winners in this category included Mr. Otto Orondaam, who received the Youth Development award for 2023, and Ms. Olatokunboh Oyeleye, honored for Child Online Protection in 2023.

Additionally, Whogohost was recognized as the Best ccTLD Registrar for 2023, the Nigerian Communications Commission stood out as the Most Supportive Sponsor for 2023, and Techeconomy was acclaimed as the Best Supporting Media Partner for 2023.

Special Recognition Awards within this category were awarded to individuals such as Engr. Obadiah Simon Nkomo; Director General Mining Cadastre, Mr. Muhammed Rudman; CEO of IXPN, and Mr. Toba Obaniyi, General Manager of Turaco, among other noteworthy contributors to the Nigeria internet landscape.

The 6th .NG Awards was proof to the growth of Nigeria’s internet landscape, with NiRA leading the charge in recognizing and promoting innovation on the .ng domain.

 


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PalmPay Named Among Top 250 Fintech Companies in the World by CNBC and Statista

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Africa-focused fintech platform, PalmPay, has been included in the 2024 edition of CNBC and Statista’s prestigious list of the “Top 250 Fintech Companies in the World.” This recognition underscores PalmPay’s rapid growth and significant contributions to advancing financial inclusion.

The CNBC/Statista list honours fintech pioneers significantly transforming the financial services industry through technology. More than 2000 companies were evaluated globally based on general and sector-specific KPIs to determine the final selection.

In 2024, some of the most influential fintechs in the world were included in the list, including Alipay, Nubank, Monzo, and Revolut. Six other African firms made the list: Flutterwave (Nigeria/US) – Payments; Kuda (Nigeria/UK) – Neobanking; MTN (South Africa) – Payments; Piggyvest (Nigeria) – Financial planning; and Yoco (South Africa) – Payments.

PalmPay has developed an integrated platform that caters to consumers and businesses in the African market. The startup, which has been operating since 2019, pioneered a unique model in Nigeria that provides financial services such as money transfers, bill payment, credit services and savings via a one-stop-shop fintech ‘superapp’ and mobile money agents.

This dual approach of easy-to-use digital banking, combined with offline touchpoints for those without smartphones, has contributed to driving financial inclusion in a market where more than 40% of adults remain unbanked.

In 2023, PalmPay announced a major milestone of reaching 30 million registered users on its smartphone apps and 1.1 million businesses in its network of mobile money agents and retail merchants. A third of PalmPay customers report that the platform was their first-ever financial account.

PalmPay has quickly grown to become a market leader in Nigeria thanks to its user-friendly interface, reliable transactions, and focus on driving market share through fee-free transfers and promotions. PalmPay processes 15 million transactions on its consumer app daily and maintains a 99.5% transaction success rate.

To achieve this scale in a market where 10% transaction failure rates were common, the company built out its payment infrastructure, channel integrations and transaction routing systems. In addition to its consumer wallet, PalmPay offers services to businesses that leverage the PalmPay platform via its suite of POS machines, APIs and checkout solutions.

“It’s an honour for PalmPay to be recognised by CNBC and Statista as one of the World’s Top Fintech Companies,” said Sofia Zab, Global CMO, “This recognition validates our unique approach to financial services and our commitment to driving financial inclusion. We are actively expanding PalmPay’s reach and offerings, ensuring more people have access to essential financial services and promoting economic development in emerging markets”

PalmPay operates in several key markets across Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania, with plans to expand further in the region and other emerging markets. The company has global HQs in China and London.


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WiDEF Launches Round of Technical Assistance to help Close the Gender Digital Divide

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The Women in the Digital Economy Fund (WiDEF) announced today the launch of its second competitive round, this time inviting applications from large private sector enterprises seeking technical support to scale proven solutions to significantly close the gender digital divide.

Announced by the White House in March 2023, WiDEF is a joint effort between USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate progress on closing the gender digital divide, managed by CARE, Global Digital Inclusion Partnership and the GSMA Foundation.

This round of support takes the form of tailored technical assistance to scale products, services or approaches that can significantly increase women’s access to and usage of the internet. It follows WiDEF’s     first round of funding and support that closed on May 6th 2024 for local organisations.

The technical assistance on offer aims to help to unlock opportunities to significantly close the gender digital divide, rather than supporting an enterprise’s ongoing “business as usual” activities. Examples of the kind of technical support private sector enterprises might apply for might include:

–  Research into the principal barriers and needs of underserved segments of women to inform actions to better support them to access and use digital technology and the internet

–  Evaluation of existing products and services for women to inform their evolution and wider usage

–   Testing specific approaches and services to ensure they best meet the needs of underserved women

–  Product adaptation and iteration, including the analysis of service usage data, user feedback and further design research

Business modelling and support for scaling products and services

“From our experience, we have seen how the right technical assistance can truly help companies unlock impact at scale.

“Through this new round, we believe we can deepen the private sector’s contribution to the closing of the gender divide across low- and middle-income countries, in line with the GSMA Foundation’s unwavering commitment to addressing this challenge,” said Max Cuvellier Giacomelli, Head of Mobile for Development, GSMA.

WiDEF will provide successful applicants in countries where USAID operates with tailored technical assistance for up to two years valued in the range of $50,000 to $150,000 USD. This support will be provided by the WiDEF Consortium and third-party suppliers engaged by WiDEF.

WiDEF aims to support commercially sustainable, scalable and evidence-based solutions to help close the gender digital divide. Successful applicants will need to articulate how their solution – and the technical assistance they draw on – will address at least two of the following core priority areas for WiDEF:

Improved access to affordable devices and online experiences

Increased availability of relevant products and tools

Elevation of digital literacy and skills

Enhancement of safety and security

Additionally, all applications will need to generate insights and data that expand the collection and use of gender-disaggregated research and analysis.

Full eligibility criteria and the application process can be found here. Applications are due by September 12, 2024.

 


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Reps to Donate 50% of Salaries to Fight Hunger

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House of Representatives at a plenary session on Thursday pledged to give up 50 per cent of their salaries for six months to address the hunger across the country.

During the session presided over by Speaker Tajudeen Abbas, Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu amended the motion, urging his colleagues to sacrifice 50% of their salaries. He made this plea when it was his turn to speak, seeking their support for this gesture.

“This government is doing its best but one year is not enough to address the challenges of this country. I want to plead with our colleagues to sacrifice 50 per cent for a period of six months.

“Our salary is N600,000 a month. I want to plead that we let go of 50 per cent of our salary for a period of six months,” Kalu said.

With each member paying N300,000 into a common purse, the legislative chamber will be contributing N108m monthly to the Federal Government and N648m for six months.


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