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Convergence Partners Concludes Plans for $200m Pan-African ICT Infrastructure Fund

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Convergence Partners, an investment management firm focused on the African telecommunications, media and technology sector, on Tuesday announced the successful final close of its Convergence Partners Communication Infrastructure Fund (CPCIF).

CPCIF, now with capital of over $200 million, retains its position as the largest fund dedicated solely to ICT infrastructure in Africa.

CPCIF reached its final close with capital commitments from the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), acting on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), and an Africa-focused fund of funds.

Additional investors in the Fund include Convergence Partners (as sponsors), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the CDC Group (CDC).

This diverse range of investors adds to the depth and capability of CPCIF.

It is anticipated that CPCIF will deploy capital to portfolio investments across the African ICT infrastructure spectrum, improving access to technology as well as communication and broadband services.

The Fund has a strong pipeline, notably in West Africa, where Convergence Partners is opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub.

The office will be headed up by Iheanyi Kanu, who has in-depth knowledge and experience within both the private equity and ICT sectors, and will enhance the management and monitoring of portfolio companies in the region as well as Convergence Partners’ on the ground transaction capability.

“We believe the current fund size is well suited to the scale of infrastructure investment opportunities we are seeing across the continent, including fibre, data centres, wireless/spectrum, fintech and ICT platforms that enable e-learning and broadcast and media,” says Andile Ngcaba, the Chairman for Convergence Partners. “Access to quality ICT infrastructure is a catalyst for more competitive and efficient business operations and provides new business models for traditional industries such as financial services, healthcare, education and retail; driving sustainable growth and socio-economic development.”

Brandon Doyle, CEO of Convergence Partners said that the demand for broadband and related services is exploding across the continent.

“The Ericsson Mobility Report (2015) predicts that the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to increase the number of connected devices – machine to machine (M2M) and consumer electronics, excluding mobile phones – globally from over 6 billion devices in 2014 to more than 16 billion in 2020. Africa will follow suit. However, in order to realise this potential the continent requires reliable, ubiquitous broadband. This forms part of CPCIF’s vision and our commitment to transforming the African ICT infrastructure landscape,” Doyle said.

Investments that currently form part of CPCIF include Comsol, a wireless network deployment and solutions company and FibreCo, a national long-haul network (both in South Africa) as well as Synergy Communications (SynCom), an investment platform for enterprise and wholesale communication services providers, which amalgamates fixed and wireless technologies across sub-Saharan Africa.

SynCom is currently invested in two leading corporate ISPs, in Malawi (Skyband) and Mozambique (IS Mozambique).

Convergence Partners, founded in 2006, is an investment management firm focused on the telecommunications, media and technology sector in Africa.

Convergence Partners has a proven track record of developing new investment opportunities, as well as adding value to investments across the life cycle of ICT assets.

As impact investors, Convergence Partners is dedicated to catalysing investment capital to accelerate communications access and ICT infrastructure development on the continent, focusing on initiatives that increase availability of communications, broadband services and new technology offerings to the people of Africa.

 Convergence Partners’ founders are seasoned pan-African private equity players, experienced in developing investments that deliver enhanced returns while underpinning continental development.

Convergence Partners has played a leading role in landmark African ICT infrastructure investments, such as: SEACOM, the first undersea fibre system serving East Africa and the first independent investor-led undersea system for Africa; New Dawn, the first ever African private sector communications satellite; and FibreCo Telecommunications, the first independent, open access national fibre network in South Africa and the first provider of a managed long haul fibre product in Africa.

 


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CBN Pulls Rate Cut Trigger, King Dollar Returns

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By Lukman Otunuga, Senior Research Analyst at FXTM,

In a move that caught investors off-guard this week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slashed interest rates by 100 basis points bringing the MPR to 11.5%. Given how inflation has been above target since 2015, rates were expected to remain unchanged for the rest of 2020 and possibly early 2021.

 

The question on the mind of many is whether the rate cut will achieve the desired effect by stimulating consumption and economic growth? Ongoing border closures and disruptions created by COVID-19 have pushed inflation to levels not seen since March 2018 above 13.20% while a drop in the production and price of Oil continues to rub salt into the wound. While looser monetary policy could support growth, it may come at the cost of rising inflation and weaker Naira.

 

Over the past few months, central banks across the globe have deployed unprecedented measures to defend their respective economies against the coronavirus menace. However, fiscal policy has been identified as the sharper tool with governments across the world providing a critical lifeline to keep the wheels of their respective economies rolling.

 

Outside of Nigeria, King Dollar made a return by appreciating against every single G10 currency. In times of uncertainty, everyone wants a juicy piece of the world’s most liquid currency. As coronavirus cases rise in Europe and other parts of the world, the flight to safety is likely to boost appetite for the Dollar. This is bad news for many emerging markets currencies, especially those with high Dollar-denominated debt.

 

On the commodity side, Oil prices remain heavily influenced by demand-side factors and the state of the global economy. Prices are likely to remain stuck around the $40 regions in the near term, especially If another round of possible lockdowns hit Oil demand. Looking at the technicals, WTI Crude is under pressure on the daily charts. If prices are unable to break away from the sticky $40 regions, the next key point of interest remains around $38. A weekly close above $41.50 could pave a path towards $43.


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NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

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Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), has arrested one Mr Aliu Olalekan, for allegedly hacking into DSTV system and watching the channels free without subscription.

NCC Arrests Man for Hacking into DSTV System

Mr Matthew Ojo, NCC Director in the Lagos Directorate Office said this while speaking with newsmen in Lagos, on Tuesday.

He said that the suspect used to watch DSTV channels free without subscription on his Android phone via an app which he downloaded on google play store.

“This suspect distributed the know-how to his telegram followers and on his blog with the aim of gaining more followers and viewership on his blog and makes more money through google ad-sense.

“The operation was based on surveillance which had earlier been carried out by the Multi-choice team and verified by a copyright inspector, ” he said.

He added that the arrest was made in collaboration with a team of copyright inspectors led by the Head of Enforcement Department, Mr Charles Amudipe.

Others included; a team from Multichoice Nigeria led by Mr Umar Ibrahim and policemen from Lagos Command Headquarters, Ikeja.

Ojo said that the joint team conducted an anti-piracy operation at the premises of the culprit in Amukoko, Lagos.

According to him, the suspect was contacted on phone by a member of the operation team on the disguise of patronising him. “The suspect came out to meet the caller and in the process of discussion, he was apprehended.

“The suspect took the team to his resident. The squad paraded his one-room apartment and recovered his laptop and phones used in perpetrating the ungodly act. “He was arrested and brought to the copyright commission office for further investigation, ” he said.

Ojo said that, on getting to the commission’s office, the statement of the suspect was taken and the inventory of items seized from him taken. He said that investigation on the matter was still ongoing and if found guilty the suspect will be charged to court.

 


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NCC, Digital Encode Support NITRA Innovative Tech Forum On Post-COVID-19 Strategies

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s telecommunications regulator and Digital Encode, Cybersecurity and Compliance advisory company, have indicated interest to partner with the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), the national umbrella body of ICT reporters, as it organizes a forum that will x-ray the industry’s future plans for ICT growth post pandemic era.

 

The event, slated to hold on October 15, 2020, will seek to discuss the needs for a fortified ICT sector after the COVID-19 era, and the level of preparedness of ICT stakeholders to embrace the challenge of being pivotal to the stability and growth of all other sectors.

 

A statement from NITRA National Secretariat in Lagos indicates that due to the pandemic and need to observe the COVID-19 protocol on social distancing, the event will be held via a Webinar.

 

This year’s theme, “Multi-stakeholder Approach To National Recovery Post-Pandemic”, is in line with the annual event’s generic theme, ‘NITRA Innovative Tech Forum’, a contribution by NITRA to the development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) innovations and policies in Nigeria.

 

Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC is expected to deliver the keynote speech at the event and will throw more light on Federal Government’s plans, programmes and policies on post-pandemic strategies using ICT.

 

Dr. Adewale Obadare and Dr. Seyi Akindeinde, founders of Digital Encode, while accepting to support the event expressed their readiness to offer their expertise in Cybersecurity for organisations to prepare against cyber- attacks with the new normal.

 

They will also highlight areas that are high risks that need fortification in terms of cybersecurity.

 

Speaking on the event, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi, national chairman, NITRA, noted that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its negative trails across the globe, economic reboot for countries will not only depend on how well they readapt to the new normal, but also more on their recovery plans.

 

According to him: “While the federal government has consistently expressed its willingness to set all policies in place to engender growth, and accelerated implementation of these policies, private sector firms have also shown great hunger for the task ahead in post-COVID-19 era.

 

However, the question that needs to be answered is whether all stakeholders are ready for the required task ahead.”

 

The event will also offer participating companies opportunities to publicize some of their individual efforts at contributing to reacting a soft landing or lifeline for SMEs and other ancillary companies as the pandemic threatens their survival.

 

Digital Encode is a multi-award winning and leading consulting and integration firm that specializes in the design, management, and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.

 


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