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Clickatell Wins Business Efficiency Solutions Provider of the Year @ABoICT Awards

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Clickatell, a pioneer in mobile messaging and Chat Commerce innovation, was acknowledged by Nigeria Communications Week as the winner in the Business Efficiency Solutions Provider of the Year category as part of their 14th Africa’s Beacon of ICT Merit and Leadership (ABoICT) Awards, held on 27 May at the Lagos Oriental Hotels, Lekki.

A respected local technology publication, acknowledges and champions through the awards best practices and outstanding contributions to the growth of the ICT sector. Clickatell was declared a winner in its category through a voting process that included business leaders, readers, as well as independent quality experts.

In a letter announcing the achievement, Ken Nwogbo, Editor In-Chief of Nigeria Communications Week said, “This is a testament to your talents, innovations, contributions and commitments to the growth of the ICT industry, and we are happy that Nigerians have recognized your hard work, sincerity and dedication towards the development of the ICT industry.”

Speaking after the awards ceremony and annual ABoICT lecture delivered this year by Dr. Krishnan Ranganath, Regional Executive, West Africa, Africa Data Centres FZE Nigeria, Clickatell’s Samson Isa, Regional Managing Director, West Africa, shared his thoughts on the past year and what the award means for the company and his team.

“We are delighted to once again be recognized by our peers at this prestigious event. Over the past year we have seen a marked increase in awareness of chat commerce with some great success stories coming from early adopters.

“Over the last 12 months, Clickatell has expanded to provide new and full commerce experiences in mobile messaging channels and worked closely with local customers to begin their chat commerce journey.

“We have helped them to optimize their processes, improve efficiencies and ultimately reduce costs.

“It is a great honor to see our efforts formally recognized, not just by our satisfied customers, but by the industry in general here tonight,” Isa said.

According to Isa, companies in the banking and aviation sectors have shown particularly strong interest in the opportunities offered by chat commerce, and he says transactions on Clickatell’s Chat Commerce Platform have increased by over 25% compared to 2022.

According to Isa, chat commerce is also set to revolutionize the retail sector in the coming months.

“Despite the many macro-economic pressures of the last year, we are pleased to see our business expanding into more verticals as Nigerian business leaders become more familiar with chat commerce.

“We believe this will continue into 2024 and beyond. We are grateful to the organizers for creating platforms such as this, where the industry can salute one another’s efforts.

“We congratulate all the participants and winners and we are proud to be in such excellent company,” Isa added.

Clickatell’s Chat Commerce offering has already been deployed by many respected brands including EcoBank, Wema Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank. In the past year the company has also added among others CBN, eNaira, and QRIOS tto its list of clients.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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Court Orders 9mobile Network Owners to Pay N55bn Debt To Keystone Bank

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Justice Yellin Bogoro of a Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the owners of 9Mobile Network, to pay the sum of Fifty-five Billion Naira, Seven Hundred and Seventy-six Million, Five Hundred and Seven Thousand, Five Hundred and Nine Naira, Sixty Kobo, being owed to Keystone Bank Limited.

In an action filed on behalf of Keystone Bank Limited by its counsel, Bode Olanipekun (SAN), Teleology Nigeria Limited was accused of failure to service the loan facility which was deployed towards financing its acquisition of strategic assets in Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd., doing business as 9Mobile Network.

Olanipekun pointed out that despite the bank’s offer of restructuring the loan facility, Teleology failed to meet various conditions precedent, operation conditions, transaction dynamics, as well as other conditions stated in the restructuring letter.

According to Olanipekun, “Rather than receive payment on the defendant’s debt liabilities, the plaintiff received a presentation from a company called PAC Limited proposing amongst others, a debt sale and/or acquisition by Bankruptcy Remote Special Purpose Vehicle in a proposed transaction structure akin to a conversion of the debt to equity without any immediate downpayment or repayment of the outstanding huge indebtedness of the defendant.”

Counsel to Teleology Nigeria Limited, Michael Kaase Aôndoakaa (SAN), urged the court not to deliver judgment in favour of Keystone Bank as according to him, the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain matters relating to banker-customer relationship.

In his reaction, Olanipekun prayed the court to discountenanced Aôndoakaa’s submissions, as there was no application for the arrest of the court’s judgement or an appeal against the order of the court, adjourning the matter for judgment.

In its decision, the court held that the defendant’s application was akin to an arrest of judgment and that the said procedure was incompatible with the proceedings before it.

While holding that the defendant had no defence to the action, Justice Bogoro entered judgment in favour of the Keystone Bank, ordering Teleology to pay the sum of sum of Fifty-five Billion Naira, Seven Hundred and Seventy-six Million, Five Hundred and Seven Thousand, Five Hundred and Nine Naira, Sixty Kobo, being the outstanding debt from the loan facilities granted to the defendant.


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A Look into the Fight Against Substance Abuse in Nigeria with ASAP

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Substance abuse remains a pressing issue across the globe, with profound implications for public health, social cohesion, and economic stability. In Nigeria, the statistics are clear: approximately 40% of the youth population, between the ages of 18-35, are caught in the grip of drug addiction. This trend endangers individual health, undermining the nation’s productivity and progress in the future.

The MTN Foundation, through its Anti Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP), has emerged as a pivotal force in the fight against this growing crisis. Launched in 2019, ASAP is a multifaceted initiative designed to raise awareness about the devastating effects of substance abuse and addiction among Nigerian youth. For over 5 years, MTN Foundation has mobilised a coalition dedicated to tackling this issue head-on.

Central to ASAP’s strategy are advocacy walks, educational programs, and stakeholder conferences held across key cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt. These initiatives serve to educate and empower communities to take a proactive stance against substance abuse. One of ASAP’s flagship events is its annual Stakeholder Conference where stakeholders gather to discuss strategies and share insights on combating substance abuse.

Similarly, at a national level, the National Drug Law and Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), in collaboration with MTN and the United Nations on Drug and Crime (UNODC), holds an annual National Conference on World Drug Day, for the same purpose.  This year’s theme, “The evidence is clear: invest in prevention,” shows the importance of early intervention and education in mitigating the impact of substance abuse.

The urgency of addressing substance abuse cannot be overstated. Beyond its immediate health consequences, substance abuse erodes social cohesion, diminishes educational attainment, and hampers economic progress. The MTN ASAP campaign, with its holistic approach and collaborative partnerships, represents a significant source of optimism in this struggle. By fostering a culture of prevention and support, ASAP seeks to deter initial experimentation with drugs and offers a lifeline to those already grappling with addiction.

As Odunayo Sanya, Executive Director of MTN Foundation, aptly puts it, “It is everyone’s fight, because their high is our low.” This sentiment resonates deeply as Nigerians unite under the banner of ASAP, reaffirming their commitment to safeguarding the well-being and future of the nation’s youth. Through its advocacy walks and educational initiatives, MTN Foundation and its partners reaffirm their resolve to combat substance abuse and empower a generation resilient to its influence.

In conclusion, combating substance abuse is not just a moral imperative but a strategic necessity for Nigeria’s sustainable development. Through initiatives like ASAP, MTN Foundation demonstrates leadership in addressing one of the most pressing challenges facing Nigerian society today.


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Salesforce Unveils Einstein Service Agent an Autonomous AI Agent which would Revolutionise Chatbot Experiences

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Salesforce on Friday announced  Salesforce’s first fully autonomous AI agent. Einstein Service Agent makes conventional chatbots obsolete with its ability to understand and take action on a broad range of service issues without preprogrammed scenarios, helping make customer service far more efficient.

Unlike traditional chatbots — which can only handle specific queries that have been explicitly programmed into their system and don’t understand context or nuance — Einstein Service Agent is intelligent and dynamic. Built on the Einstein 1 Platform, Einstein Service Agent interacts with large language models (LLMs) by analysing the full context of the customer’s message and then autonomously determining the next actions to take.

It uses generative AI to create conversational responses — grounding its responses in a company’s trusted business data, including Salesforce CRM data — tailored to a company’s brand voice, tone, and guidelines with a few clicks. For service organisations, this means they can offload a large number of tedious inquiries that bog down their productivity so they can focus on tasks that require a human touch. For customers, this means they get the answers they need much faster because they no longer need to wait for human agents.

Einstein Service Agent is standing ready 24/7 to communicate with customers in natural language, respond across self-service portals and messaging channels, and perform tasks proactively while operating within clear guardrails that companies can define using the Einstein 1 Platform. And when more complicated, high-touch issues arise, requiring escalation to a human worker based on the parameters set by the company, Einstein Service Agent performs the handoff quickly and easily.

Currently in pilot and generally available later this year, Einstein Service Agent can be set up in minutes with user-friendly interfaces, pre-built templates, and low-code actions and workflows.

“Salesforce is delivering a future where human and digital agents join forces to improve the customer experience,” said Linda Saunders, Head Solution Engineering for Africa. “Einstein Service Agent, our first fully autonomous AI agent, will not just complete service jobs on its own; it will augment how human agents work and completely transform how service teams operate, making them far more efficient and productive. We are reimagining customer service for the AI era.”

Studies show most companies use chatbots today, but 81% of customers would rather wait to speak to a live agent because the current generation of chatbots aren’t meeting their expectations and the experience can be frustrating. Yet, 61% of customers say they’d rather use self-service to resolve simple issues, underscoring an opportunity and need to deliver more intelligent, autonomous agents powered by generative AI.

Einstein Service Agent has fluid, intelligent conversations with customers. It uses its reasoning engine to interpret and process information to provide answers and solve problems for customers. The advanced reasoning engine interacts with LLMs by analysing the full context of the customer’s input to understand their intent, drawing logical inferences from the data, and connecting various pieces of information to determine the right set of actions to take.

Einstein Service Agent executes those actions and uses generative AI to create responses that align with a company’s brand voice, tone, and guidelines.

Einstein Service Agent grounds its responses in a company’s trusted business data, including Salesforce CRM data. Using Data Cloud and Unified Knowledge, companies can even integrate data and knowledge from third-party systems, like SharePoint, Confluence, Google Drive, and company websites and files, to help Einstein Service Agent generate accurate responses that are personalised to every customer’s specific needs and preferences.

Einstein Service Agent is built on the Einstein 1 Platform and leverages the Einstein Trust Layer to perform functions like masking personally identifiable information (PII) and defining clear parameters and guardrails for Einstein Service Agent to follow.

Einstein Service Agent doesn’t require thousands of lengthy structured dialogues for setup. It can be turned on in minutes with its out-of-the-box templates, Salesforce components, and an LLM. Companies can even reuse existing Salesforce objects, like flows, Apex code, and prompts, to equip Einstein Service Agent with skills faster and create custom actions that are specific to their business needs using a low-code builder and natural language instructions to save time and money.

Einstein Service Agent can assist customers anytime across self-service portals and messaging channels, like WhatsApp, Apple Messages for Business, Facebook Messenger, and SMS. Because Einstein Service Agent understands text, images, video, and audio, customers can send photos when their issue is too difficult to explain in words.

If an inquiry is off topic or falls outside of Einstein Service Agent’s scope, it will easily transfer the conversation to a human agent using Service Cloud. The human agent will have full context of the conversation and can pick up where Einstein Service Agent left off without asking the customer to repeat themselves.


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