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GSMA Report Reveals 100M Women Per Year Will Need to Adopt Mobile Internet to Close the Gender Gap by 2030

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Over 800 million women will need to adopt mobile internet in order to close the digital gender gap by 2030 across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), according to the latest Mobile Gender Gap Report published by the GSMA on which .

The latest figures indicate that the gulf between the numbers of men and women using mobile internet will not be closed without an enhanced effort by a broad range of stakeholders. Progress in reducing the mobile internet gender gap remains stalled, with women in LMICs 19% less likely than men to use it, equating to around 310 million fewer women than men.

If the gap remains unchanged, current forecasts suggest that only 360 million more women (less than half of the 800m target) are expected to start using mobile broadband by the end of the decade.

The Mobile Gender Gap Report analyses mobile ownership and mobile internet usage in low- and middle-income countries[1] (LMICs) in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The report provides figures that uncover the scale of the mobile gender gap in each region, a review of the barriers to mobile ownership and internet adoption, and recommended actions for stakeholders, including policymakers, regulators, mobile operators and NGOs.

It is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) via the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • While almost two-thirds (61%) of women across LMICs are now using mobile internet, their rate of adoption has slowed for the second year in a row – with only 60 million women adopting mobile internet in 2022, versus 75 million in 2021.
  • 900 million women across LMICs still aren’t connected to mobile broadband, of which two-thirds live in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Once women own a smartphone, their awareness and use of mobile internet is almost on par with men. Despite this, women are 17% less likely than men to own a smartphone in LMICs, translating into around 250 million fewer women than men.
  • There are still 440 million women across LMICs who do not own a mobile phone and are difficult to reach.
  • For mobile users who are already aware of mobile internet, the top-reported barriers to adoption are still affordability (primarily of handsets), literacy and digital skills, and safety and security concerns.
  • The majority of men and women who use mobile internet believe it has an overall positive impact on their lives and use it every day, with little difference between women and men.
  • Mobile ownership and mobile internet usage deliver significant benefits to women and their families, the economy and business.

“Mobile phones are the primary, and often only, source of internet access in LMICs, particularly in rural communities, so it’s alarming to see women’s digital inclusion slow for the second year in a row,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “Greater collaboration across all stakeholders in the digital community, from governments to operators, NGOs to internet companies, is needed to enable more women to access and use mobile internet and ultimately ensure women are not being left behind in an increasingly digital world.”

In 2016, the GSMA launched the GSMA Connected Women Commitment initiative, to support mobile operators reduce the gender gap in the customer base of their mobile internet or mobile money services. Since its inception, over 40 mobile operators across LMICs have made formal commitments to reduce the gender gap, collectively reaching over 65 million additional women, delivering significant socio-economic benefits to underserved women, their communities, and the economy.

Mobile network operators (MNOs) have been able to narrow the mobile gender gap by taking informed, targeted actions to address women’s needs and the barriers they face to mobile internet adoption and use. But to fully address the issue, and achieve meaningful progress, will require increased focus and targeted action from all stakeholders, including MNOs, internet companies, policymakers and regulators, and the development community.


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9mobile Urges Subscribers to Link their NIN to Their Phone Lines to Avoid Disconnection

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Telecommunication network, 9mobile, has urged its subscribers who have not linked their SIM cards with their National Identity Number (NIN) to carry out the exercise on or before February 28, 2024, to avoid disconnection from the network.

Customers who do not comply with this directive will be unable to make or receive calls, have no access to the internet, no SMS, no One Time Password (OTP), and no bank alerts.

This was revealed by the Director, Customer Care at 9mobile, Ehimare Omoike, who said that this action was in line with the directive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The Commission had in December 2023 directed that all telephone subscribers must have their NIN linked on their operator’s network to verify the identity of the phone users and minimize the criminal use of network services. At the moment, more than 35% of subscribers’ lines are yet to be linked to their NIN, forcing authorities to issue a deadline.

Ehimare noted that customers whose mobile lines are not linked to their NIN will be disconnected from all telecommunication service of the network. “Your line will be disconnected when you do not link your SIM to your National Identity Number (NIN).

“The implication here is that as a subscriber on 9mobile network, you will be completely shut out from access to the virtual world and you will be greatly inconvenienced.

“We therefore urge all our valued subscribers to endeavour to link their mobile lines with their NIN before February 28, 2024, to keep enjoying endless and seamless value offerings that enhance their lifestyle from 9mobile.”

He advised 9mobile subscribers to go and link their line now by visiting any 9mobile outlets for instant linking of their lines, or visit  https://9mobile.com.ng/experience-centres to check the nearest 9mobile experience centers.

It will be recalled that the compulsory registration by Nigerians of the National Identity Number (NIN) and the subsequent linkage of the NIN to their Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards is a policy by the Federal Government through the NCC to improve the integrity and transparency of the SIM registration process and consolidate the achievements of the SIM registration exercise of 2019.

The long-term goal of this initiative is to attain a widespread digital identity database and improve security in Nigeria.

The linking involves validating the NIN with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and matching the subscriber’s NIN records with the SIM registration information (verification) to ensure proper subscriber identification.

 


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Airtel Ads to Support African Businesses Achieve Effective and Enhanced Advertising Reach

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Airtel Africa has launched Airtel Ads, Africa’s first integrated Demand-Side Platform (DSP) aimed at empowering advertisers and agencies to efficiently manage, purchase, and optimize digital ad inventory across multiple ad exchanges in real-time.

Powered by Intent.ai, Airtel Ads is designed for media agencies and businesses, streamlining the process of purchasing advertising space.

This feature enables advertisers to make informed ad placement decisions by combining various tools and functionalities within a single platform and offers a comprehensive solution for digital advertising management.

The platform will leverage Airtel Africa’s extensive customer base of more than 150 million customers, utilizing data from both telecommunications services and mobile wallets.

This approach aims to not only target digitally engaged individuals but also include those traditionally excluded from the digital realm through its 2G and feature phone user base.

Additionally, through the integrated Airtel Voice Reward Ads, the platform has the capability to reach consumers on various devices.

Understanding the current limitations in ad performance for organisations, Airtel Ads aims to seamlessly merge all ad networks with Airtel Africa’s first party telecommunications data.

It will provide a unified advertising platform with precise audience segmentation, a dedicated marketing team, data analytics with post-campaign support in addition to both native language support and access to 260+ bidding parameters.

The platform, powered by ai based brand safety tools, will also accept payments in local African currencies.

Since its inception, the platform has achieved a weekly audience reach of 27 billion impressions, 23.5 million in-app daily impressions and over 200 million daily SMS notifications daily with end-of-SMS tag messaging potential.

Speaking on the launch, Airtel Africa’s Chief Commercial Officer, Anthony Shiner said: “We are excited to introduce Airtel Ads in Africa. This innovative platform will support advertisers and businesses to gain unprecedented control over their marketing campaigns, leveraging Airtel Africa’s extensive customer base and world class technology.

“Airtel Ads is a testament to our leadership in shaping the communications landscape in Africa, ensuring businesses are supported to achieve their objectives using data first tools to inform their business decisions.”


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Anambra State ICT Agency Unveils Pilot Phase of Free Public Wi-Fi Initiative in Awka

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In a monumental leap toward transforming Anambra State into a smart mega city, Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, has reaffirmed his commitment to a technologically advanced future for the state, through the launch of the pilot phase of the Public Wi-Fi initiative tagged Solution Wi-Fi.

Driven by the Anambra State ICT Agency in collaboration with Pineheight Systems Limited (PHSWEB), this pilot phase initiative, which signposts a resounding fulfillment of promises outlined in the People’s Manifesto, marks a significant stride towards launching the state into the digital age.

As part of his visionary manifesto detailed on Pages 20 and 33, Governor Soludo pledged to “Provide cheap (and ultimately free) Wi-Fi hotspots in public places for the takeoff of the State’s emergence into the digital age” and “Work with development partners to deploy broadband access to schools across all levels and public libraries to improve access to the internet for all and continue to build the digital tribe.”

According to a statement signed by the MD/CEO of the Anambra State ICT Agency, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, CFA, the agency is dedicated to realizing Governor Soludo’s vision of “Everything Technology, Technology Everywhere”, adding that this pilot phase is part of the ongoing technological transformation under the Soludo Agenda.

CFA explained, “The broader vision includes collaboration with development partners to provide broadband access to schools and public libraries, thereby enhancing internet accessibility across all strata of the society.”

CFA emphasized that the Solution Wi-Fi initiative, now operational in three strategic locations in the state capital Awka namely Aroma Junction, Book Foundation, and UNIZIK Back gate, will see users within these locations enjoy one hour of free internet access, every 24 hours, during the pilot phase.

He further explained that all 3 locations are not only strategic but quite important for students and businesses alike. “The deployment of the Solution Wi-Fi to these areas will no doubt boost educational activities while businesses can also leverage it to enhance their online presence.

“High speed and free internet access can also help our teeming young population to begin to create content that will yield revenue amongst other prospects, the opportunities are endless,” CFA concluded.

To access the free Solution Wi-Fi, businesses around the designated locations and individuals, can upon activation of their Wi-Fi, and selection of “Solution Wi-Fi”, follow the SMS authentication prompt, to create a username (phone number). After which they will receive an auto-generated code via SMS. This code serves as the password, granting them one hour of fast internet access per day, with an effective range of up to 200 meters, depending on the user’s device.

This groundbreaking initiative underscores Anambra State’s unwavering commitment to technological excellence, recently acknowledged at the National Council on Communication, Innovation, and Digital Economy (NCCIDE) meeting in Kano, where the state received prestigious awards, including Overall Best State in Digital Technology Development, First Position for Best State in Digital Infrastructure Technology Development, and First Runner-up in e-government Implementation and Digital Technology Human Capital Development.

Anambra State proudly takes its place on the technology map of Nigeria, a testament to Governor Soludo’s steadfast commitment and investment in technology, and the State ICT Agency reaffirms its commitment to a future marked by technological advancement, innovation, and unparalleled progress for the state.


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