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DPI, Verod Capital Partner to Back Management of Pan African Towers

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Pan African Towers (PAT), a leading digital infrastructure company based in Nigeria, has announced a strategic investment from Development Partners International (DPI), a premier investment firm focused on Africa, and Verod Capital (Verod), one of the continent’s leading investment management firms.

DPI and Verod are investing in PAT to fuel its continued growth and will work with management to build on the company’s recent achievements and reaffirm its position as Nigeria’s largest homegrown digital infrastructure provider.

Established in Nigeria in 2017 to capitalise on the growing demand for wireless communications across Africa, PAT has emerged as a prominent telecommunications and tower infrastructure provider in Nigeria, playing an indispensable role in the nationwide expansion of mobile communications.

Since founding, PAT has built a successful business model centred around establishing tailored, long-term contracts with blue-chip customers, including Nigeria’s leading mobile network operators (MNOs) and internet service providers (ISPs).

The success and strong performance of the company to date has further accelerated under the leadership of Chief Executive Azeez Amida, who has a strong track record of executing successful growth strategies in emerging market telecommunications.

Nigeria is an attractive market for digital infrastructure in Africa. Underpinned by its strong demographics, it is Africa’s leading telecommunications market by number of mobile subscribers (208m) and contributed c.13% of national GDP in 2021 compared to 8% in 2015.

As of December 2021, there were 41,120 towers in Nigeria mostly supporting third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) technology across the country.

However, according to Nigeria’s Ministry of Communications, the country needs between 70,000 to 80,000 towers to enable proper quality and coverage for 4G and 5G technology, creating a supply gap of more than 30,000 towers. This investment will enable PAT to capitalise on this opportunity and help close this gap, providing world-class digital infrastructure to support Africa’s economic development.

Azeez Amida, CEO of Pan African Towers, said: “As a proud Nigerian-founded and run business, Pan African Towers is on a mission to accelerate the Nigerian market and support the growth of the mobile telecommunications sector in the country. We also have a clear strategic vision to grow the business sustainably, including actively reducing the carbon footprint of our network to uphold best-in-class ESG practices.

“We are excited to partner with DPI and Verod and will leverage their sector experience and market expertise to help us achieve these goals. The evolution of Nigeria’s mobile and wireless industry presents significant opportunities for our business, and we look forward to being a part of this next chapter of growth.”

PAT’s experienced management team will work closely with DPI and Verod to accelerate its strategic plan, leveraging their expertise in areas such as market entry, operational efficiency, and talent management. With the support of both investors, PAT will deepen relationships with existing partners, expand its customer base, and grow its footprint of towers to reach new parts of the country where mobile and wireless penetration remains low.

PAT will also benefit from DPI’s experience in scaling towers companies, as the first institutional investor in Eaton Towers, another of Africa’s leading telecoms businesses it exited in 2019.

Adefolarin Ogunsanya, Partner at DPI, said: “Pan African Towers is an exciting homegrown business with significant potential and is uniquely positioned to benefit from the opportunity presented by Nigeria’s digital innovation boom.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with PAT’s management team to help crystallize the Company’s vision of becoming Nigeria’s digital infrastructure provider of choice and look forward to sharing our deep knowledge and experience of Africa’s towers industry and the Nigerian market to help achieve this.”

Daniel Adeoye, Principal and Head of Investments at Verod Capital, said: “The Nigerian demographic is currently experiencing a surge in data consumption and related services, driven by a generation of tech-savvy digital natives that are unparalleled.

“The ‘Verod Consumer Spend Index’ indicates that telecommunication expenses are increasing significantly, providing a tailwind for tower companies like PAT. Verod is delighted to support PAT’s management with ample capital and value-creation expertise to navigate this period of growth.”


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Recovery Costs for Ransomware Attacks on 2 Critical Infrastructures Quadruples to $3m in 1 Year – Sophos Survey Finds

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Sophos, a global leader of innovative security solutions for defeating cyberattacks, today released a sector survey report, “The State of Ransomware in Critical Infrastructure 2024,” which revealed that the median recovery costs for two critical infrastructure sectors, Energy and Water, quadrupled to $3 million over the past year.

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This is four times higher than the global cross-sector median. In addition, 49% of ransomware attacks against these two critical infrastructure sectors started with an exploited vulnerability.

Data for the State of Ransomware in Critical Infrastructure 2024 report comes from 275 respondents at energy, oil and gas, and utilities organizations, which fall under the Energy and Water sectors of CISA’s 16 defined critical infrastructure sectors.

The results for this sector survey report are part of a broader, vendor-agnostic survey of 5,000 cybersecurity/IT leaders conducted between January and February 2024 across 14 countries and 15 industry sectors.

“Criminals focus where they can cause the most pain and disruption so the public will demand quick resolutions, and they hope, ransom payments to restore services more quickly.

“This makes utilities prime targets for ransomware attacks. Because of the essential functions they provide, modern society demands they recover quickly and with minimal disruption,” said Chester Wisniewski, global Field CTO.

“Unfortunately, public utilities are not only attractive targets but vulnerable to attacks on many fronts, including the requirement for high availability and safety, as well as an engineering mindset focused on physical security.

“There’s a preponderance of older technologies configured to enable remote management without modern security controls like encryption and multifactor authentication. Like hospitals and schools these utilities are frequently operating with minimal staffing and without the IT staffing required to stay on top of patching, the latest security vulnerabilities and the monitoring required for early detection and response.”

On top of growing recovery costs, the median ransom payment for organizations in these two sectors jumped to more than $2.5 million in 2024—$500,0000 higher than the global cross-sector median.

The Energy and Water sectors also reported the second highest rate of ransomware attacks. Overall, 67% of the organizations in these sectors reported being hit by ransomware in 2024, in comparison to the global, cross-sector average of 59%.

Other findings from the report include:

·       The energy and water sectors reported increasingly longer recovery times. Only 20% of organizations hit by ransomware were able to recover within a week or less in 2024, compared to 41% in 2023 and 50% in 2022. Fifty-five percent took more than a month to recover, up from 36% in 2023. In comparison, across all sectors, only 35% of companies took more than a month to recover

·       These two critical infrastructure sectors reported the highest rate of backup compromise (79%) and the third highest rate of successful encryption (80%) when compared to the other industries surveyed

“This once again shows that paying ransom payments almost always works against our best interests. An increasing number (61%) paid the ransom as part of their recovery, yet the amount time it took to recover was extended.

“Not only do these high rates and amounts of ransoms encourage more attacks on the sector, but they are not achieving the claimed goal of shorter recovery times,” said Wisniewski.

“These utilities must recognize they are being targeted and take proactive action to monitor their exposure of remote access and network devices for vulnerabilities and ensure they have 24/7 monitoring and response capabilities to minimize outages and shorten recovery times.

“Incident response plans should be planned in advance, the same as for fires, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes, and be rehearsed on a regular schedule.”


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ChamsSwitch Partners Wema Bank, launches UnionPay Cards in Nigeria

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ChamsSwitch, a leading financial technology company, is thrilled to announce its strategic partnership with Wema Bank to launch the UnionPay card in Nigeria.

This collaboration is set to revolutionize the payment experience for Nigerians travelling abroad, especially to China and other Asian countries, as well as for those conducting international online transactions from the comfort of their homes.

Speaking on this development, Dumebi Obodo, ChamsSwitch Managing Director said, “We are excited to partner with Wema Bank to bring the UnionPay card to Nigeria.

“This collaboration aligns with our mission to provide innovative and seamless payment solutions for Nigerians.

“The UnionPay card offers unparalleled convenience and security for our customers, whether they are traveling abroad or making international online purchases.

“We believe this product will significantly enhance the payment experience and meet the diverse needs of our users.”

UnionPay, recognized as the largest card scheme in the world by card volumes, brings an array of benefits to Nigerian consumers. With the introduction of the UnionPay USD Prepaid card, ChamsSwitch and Wema Bank are poised to meet the growing demands of Nigerian travellers and businesspeople.

The UnionPay USD Prepaid card is the perfect companion for Nigerians travelling abroad, particularly to China and other Asian countries, where UnionPay is the dominant card scheme.

The card ensures a seamless and hassle-free payment experience, allowing travellers to load their cards in Nigeria and withdraw cash from ATMs in their destination countries.

This is especially advantageous in regions like China, where other card schemes may face acceptance issues.

The UnionPay card is not only beneficial for travellers but also for business professionals and online shoppers in Nigeria. The card facilitates secure and straightforward international purchases, providing a reliable alternative for those who wish to buy products from global online marketplaces.

ChamsSwitch and Wema Bank are committed to offering a cost-effective and secure payment solution. The UnionPay card is designed to provide lower transaction fees, enhanced security features, and a seamless user experience, making it an attractive option for Nigerian consumers.

UnionPay’s extensive global network ensures that cardholders can use their cards in numerous countries worldwide. Notably, UnionPay cards has strong presence and widely accepted in Asia countries such as; Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, etc. A region where other card schemes may not function effectively.

The card is also well accepted at BRICS countries. This global acceptance makes the UnionPay card a versatile and indispensable tool for international travelers and businesses.


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TECNO Celebrates Nigerian Idol Winner, Chima

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The flight to stardom has reached its crescendo as Chima emerges victorious as the winner of Nigerian Idol Season 9, a victory well-deserved and celebrated by all. Empowered by TECNO, this season of Nigerian Idol has been nothing short of spectacular, showcasing incredible talent and delivering unforgettable moments.

TECNO played a vital role in this journey, empowering all the contestants with their latest and most innovative CAMON device, the CAMON 30. As the grand prize winner, Chima has also been awarded an entire suite of TECNO eco products, including the TECNO PHANTOM V fold, the TECNO True 1 buds, the TECNO Smartwatch, and the TECNO Megabook. These cutting-edge devices are designed to enhance productivity, creativity, and connectivity, ensuring he has all the tools needed to excel in his new stardom journey.

Mr. Chidi Okonkwo, MD of Transsion Holdings, expressed the collective joy and pride in this partnership, noting that this season has been enriching for TECNO, the contestants, and loyal fans and users. The success of this collaboration underscores TECNO’s commitment to the “Stop At Nothing” mantra, driving innovation and excellence in every endeavour.

Throughout the season, fans have been an integral part of this journey, participating in weekly challenges, the home edition, and various engaging activities. The excitement and enthusiasm shared by fans have made this season of Nigerian Idol truly memorable. Their involvement and support are testaments to the strong bond between TECNO and its community.

As this remarkable season concludes, the celebration extends beyond Chima’s victory to the enduring spirit of all participants and fans who have made Nigerian Idol Season 9 a success. TECNO remains dedicated to empowering talent and fostering connections through its advanced technological innovations. The commitment to innovation ensures that every user, fan, and contestant experiences the very best that TECNO has to offer.

Fans who were part of the winners of the weekly challenge, home edition, and all the other engaging activities will not forget this exciting season of Nigerian Idol in a while, and it is proof of TECNO’s “Stop At Nothing” mantra.

Stay connected with TECNO on Facebook, Instagram, and X for more exciting updates, opportunities, and the latest in the technology ecosystem. With TECNO, the journey of innovation and inspiration never ends.


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