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FG Spends $95M on Massive Rural Connectivity

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The federal government is spending some $95 million in a revolutionary initiative aimed at connecting the rural and underserved communities across all federal constituencies in the country to the information superhighway, Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations can now reveal.
Under the pogramme, Galaxy Backbone is spending some $83 million to deploy 5000 VSAT nodes all around the country while another $12 million will be spent by other government agencies including Nigerian Postal Service (Nipost) to prepare the agencies for the burgeoning revolution.
The initiative simply known as National Information, Communication and Education Program (Nicep), is an ICT policy intervention by the Federal Government targeted at the realization of its e-governance and Millennium Development Goals’ objectives
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that the project will enhance the lives and opportunities of Nigerians who live in rural areas by delivering access to computers, the Internet and providing them with the tools by which to further their education and access to the global online community.
Upon completion by the end of next year, at least 17 million Nigerians will have digital access through a broadband network to be deployed by Galaxy Backbone Plc.
Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that Nipost is getting 15,000 Vsat nodes for all its post offices across the country and will ride on Galaxy Backbone network to modernize itself into a modern full service postal agency that will offer various e-services to local communities including community banking.
Galaxy Backbone and Nipost havesince signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU a view to improving services of both organizations and facilitating relevant development in the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sector of the Nigerian economy. 
The partnership equally provides first level support training for Nipost staff, consulting and project management as well as post-installation services.
The Nicep infrastructure which is based on IP Technology will support the entire spectrum of ICT services, focusing especially on such initiatives as e-Government, e-Education, e-Health, e-Commerce and so on and will be connected directly to the government data centre in Abuja.
The Nicep pilot sites are spread across the six geo-political zones of the country with some locations in federal universities, post offices, unity schools and security agencies.
Connecting rural communities in Nigeria has continued to be a source of grave concern with many failed attempts.
The latest effort is the first to streamline, consolidate and integrate all the disparate existing government-owned networks into a single holistic government-wide network.
Already, some Nicep equipment made up of 600 VSAT nodes have been deployed.


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Rivers State, Shell Inaugurate Cluster Development Board for Assa North Gas Project

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The Rivers State government and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), energy company, recently inaugurated the Egi/Igburu Cluster Development Board (CDB) for pipeline communities to SPDC’s Assa North Gas project, which has a capacity for 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day and the potential to be one of the largest domestic gas projects in Nigeria when completed.

Rivers State, Shell Inaugurate Cluster Development Board for Assa North Gas Project

Barrister Elloka Tasie-Amadi, State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, at the ceremony, urged the Comrade Orikoha Ekwueme-led newly elected officials of the CDB to use the opportunity of leadership to make positive impacts that will improve living standards in their communities.

He said, “The state government is always available to support you. Always speak with your people, including the Community Trust Committees (which were also newly inaugurated). Adequate communication will ensure the buy-in of all your stakeholders”.

He decried those who see leadership as opportunity for self-seeking gains. “Leadership is more of sacrifice; not an opportunity for personal benefit”, The Commissioner said.

Also, at the inauguration, Mr. Igo Weli, SPDC general manager External Relations,  said, “The Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), that you signed today, sets the framework for long-term partnership between SPDC JV and the Egi/Igburu Cluster. The GMoU runs on the principle of community-led development. Today, SPDC JV commits to providing funding to help you realise your community development aspirations.”

Represented at the ceremony by Dr. Banji Adekoya, SPDC External Relations Manager for Projects and Opportunities, he asked the CDB to “be prudent and implement projects and programmes that will deliver maximum benefits to the Egi/Igburu communities. Note that government, SPDC JV and the communities that you represent will hold you accountable for the judicious utilisation of the development funds.”

“With the inauguration, SPDC reiterates the company’s commitment to the Assa North Gas Project and to making it an exemplary one, particularly in Nigeria’s quest for energy sufficiency, for power generation and industrialization”, he said.

On its part, the new CDB committed to use SPDC’s award-winning GMoU agreement, which is a community-led sustainable development and interface management model that puts the communities in the driving seat in setting development priorities and implementation of programmes and projects to meet their needs.

The GMOU is a proven winning approach introduced in 2006, adopted across SPDC’s operational areas and provides a secure five-year funding for communities to implement development projects of their choice.

With the inauguration of the Egi/Igburu CDB, SPDC now has 40 active GMoUs in Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers States. Since 2006, SPDC JV has disbursed a total of $252 million to communities through these GMoUs.

The Assa North/Ohaji South gas project is a joint venture project involving the SPDC, the NNPC, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, and will result in a new SPDC gas processing plant.

The development will help the federal government deliver on its ambition to provide enough gas for domestic consumption, power generation and gas-based ammonia and urea fertilizers for farmers.


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African Entrepreneurs Vying for Anzisha Recognition

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The Anzisha Prize, a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has revealed its top 20 finalists for 2020. Winners will be announced at this year’s Anzisha Prize Conference on 27 October 2020.

Organisers say this year’s application season saw a record 1 200 applicants vying for a chance to join the Anzisha Prize fellowship.

From these applications, 20 businesses emerged that were 45% percent female-owned and represented sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and education.

Young entrepreneurs from Morocco, South Africa and Tanzania displayed impressive ventures that are tackling critical issues within their communities while also turning a profit. Through their businesses and entrepreneurial leadership skills, these job starters are paving a way for other young Africans to pursue entrepreneurship.

Selected as a top 20 finalist is 21-year-old Alaa Moatamed who is the co-founder of Presto, a company she describes as one of the leading delivery management platforms in Egypt. The venture provides business owners with an affordable and convenient delivery service for their customers.

Joining Alaa is 20-year-old Benjamin Mushayija Gisa from Rwanda who manufactures and packages natural organic products for consumption and for cosmetic purposes in the form of lotions and coconut soap.

“2020 has seen a global shift in the future of work. This year’s applicants have personified the resilience and innovation that Africa needs as we navigate our way into a post-COVID-19 future,” says Melissa Mbazo-Ekepenyong, Deputy Director of the Anzisha Prize.

The Anzisha Prize, a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has supported 122 entrepreneurs and 77 of those businesses have created over 2 000 jobs, with 56% of those being employment provided for young Africans under 25.

Peter Materu, Chief Program Officer, Mastercard Foundation says, “The success of the Anzisha Prize over the last decade stands as a resounding testament to the creativity and entrepreneurial potential of Africa’s very young people—a hugely under-tapped resource.

Through Anzisha, we’re reminded of what they can achieve when challenged and enabled to own and solve the problems they see around them. Now, as ever, the innovations that have emerged through the Anzisha Prize inspire and renew our faith in and commitment to their promise.”

This year, the top 20 will gather virtually from their various countries to share knowledge and learn from expert coaches and mentors as they prepare for their final pitches to a panel of external judges.

All the entrepreneurs will receive a cash prize of US$2 500. The grand prize winner will receive US$25 000, while the 1st runner and 2nd runner receive US$15 000 and US$12 500 respectively.


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FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

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Federal Government has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to operate in Nigeria.

FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

This is part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, confirmed this via his Twitter handle on Friday.

According to Sirika, the decision was taken following a meeting between the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and European Unions (EU).

The ban would take effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.

“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban.

“The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Sirika tweeted.


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