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IHS Nigeria, NSCDC’s synergy on protection of critical national assets and infrastructure

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By Lere Ojedokun

A secure environment is essential for political, economic and social activities to flourish in every society. It enables the government to focus on formulation of policies that can stimulate economic growth, provision of basic amenities for the citizens, and building essential infrastructure that can drive national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

 

Businesses and investors (local and foreign) are more likely to invest in an economy where their operations, assets and operations are protected from crimes such as theft and vandalism, terrorism, and other security threats.

Reasons include the fact that an effective and efficient security system will reduce the cost burden on the government and businesses, allowing for more funds to be directed towards product research, development projects and economic growth initiatives.

With the rising global security threats occasioned in part by the advancement in technology and increasing activities of terrorists and other non-state actors, defence and security receive huge votes in annual government budgets in many countries, including Nigeria.

In Nigeria, the protection of essential physical and virtual Critical National Assets and Infrastructure (CNAI) consisting of systems, assets, and networks are prioritised by the federal, state and local governments because they have direct and indirect impact on our daily lives. These include roads, airports, seaports, railways, electricity grids, transformers, transmission cables, oil and gas pipelines, water supply facilities, schools, hospitals, government buildings, courts, national defence and security institutions, custodial facilities, and international travel passports, among others.

Equally pivotal for Nigeria’s security and socio-economic growth are the essential physical and virtual telecommunication infrastructure that drives our nation’s functioning communication, security, and general well-being of Nigerians and foreigners resident in the country. The physical infrastructure includes telecom towers, fibre optic cables, and power generators at cell sites. The virtual infrastructure such as digital networks, information systems, and data repositories underpin crucial operations such as telecommunications, financial transactions, emergency response coordination, and national defence, and internal security.

Theft, vandalism and destruction of telecom’s physical and virtual assets ranked among the nagging challenges faced by telecom operators and infrastructure companies in Nigeria. With Information and Communication Technology (ICT), of which telecom is a significant driver, contributing 16.66% to Nigeria’s real GDP in Q4 2023 according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the protection of telecom infrastructure and assets cannot be overemphasised.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) is the lead federal government security outfit with a mandate to protect and safeguard Critical National Assets and Infrastructure across the country.  Commandant General of the NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, recently reaffirmed that any act of destruction or vandalism of our CNAI would have debilitating effects on the national economy.

Thus, recently, IHS Towers, one of the largest independent owners, operators, and developers of shared communications infrastructure in the world by tower count, took a bold step by donating ICT equipment to NSCDC during a visit to the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.

The gesture, according to IHS Nigeria’s Associate Director, Government Relations, Fatima Ibrahim-Haruna, was to enable the security agency to scale-up effectiveness and efficiency in its operations by leveraging technology to adequately tackle insecurity challenges and threats in the country. While commending NSCDC for its efforts at protecting the nation’s CNAI, she added that the donation of the ICT equipment underscored the commitment of IHS Towers to promoting the wellbeing of people and communities, in line with the core pillars of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Ibrahim-Haruna noted that IHS Towers owns over 16,000 towers across Nigeria and pledged the company’s continued collaboration and partnership with NSCDC, as well as other strategic institutions to foster a sustainable future for Nigeria. She added that IHS Nigeria would further support the agency by upgrading its ICT Centre.

“Telecom infrastructure is integral to national security by supporting communication for defence operations and intelligence activities, financial institutions, healthcare, education, aviation, commerce and many other sectors that rely heavily on telecommunications for their daily operations. Disruptions in telecom operations can lead to significant economic losses, affecting productivity and growth. Ensuring security and protection of telecom infrastructure helps prevent espionage, cyber-attacks, and other security threats that can undermine national security and economic stability,’’ she stated.

The NSCDC Commandant General, Dr. Audi, commended IHS Nigeria for the ICT equipment and reiterated the unwavering commitment of the security outfit to ensuring adequate safety of lives and protection of critical national assets and infrastructure in the country.

“Maintaining law and order, and most importantly safeguarding all critical national assets and infrastructure in the nation is a core mandate to which NSCDC is irrevocably committed, as the lead agency in this regard,’’ he affirmed, while restating that critical assets and infrastructure were pivotal for national security, economic growth and social order.

Audi added: “It is against this backdrop that NSCDC has mapped out different strategies to nip in the bud all activities of economic saboteurs vandalising government properties and critical national assets and infrastructure. As a lead agency in the protection of CNAI as contained in the National Security Document, we remain resolute, and call on other critical stakeholders and security agencies to collaborate with NSCDC for maximum protection of CNAI.’’

The Commandant General assured the delegation from HIS Nigeria of the agency’s continued partnership with IHS Towers by ensuring there is no obstruction to its operations.

Telecom infrastructure is essential for fostering innovation and technological advancements. Telecom infrastructure provides the backbone for emerging technologies like IoT, AI and 5G, which drive economic development through creating new opportunities for individuals, businesses and countries. Critical services such as national security and intelligence, law enforcement, emergency response, healthcare, education, financial transactions, among others depend on reliable telecommunications. Therefore, protecting telecom infrastructure like other critical national assets and infrastructure will ensure these services are made available without disruptions and the economy will be the best beneficiary if this can happen.

Ojedokun, a brand strategist and development expert writes from Lagos.

 


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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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Oriental News 2024 Summit: Muda Yusuf to Lead Discussion on Nigeria’s Path to Green Economy Transition 

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Dr. Muda Yusuf, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the Center for The Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE, would drive discussion on Nigeria’s policy direction to establishing pathway towards economic recovery in line with global green economy initiative.

Muda Yusuf

Muda Yusuf

Yusuf, a renowned economist and former Director General, DG, of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, is the chairman of the 3rd National Conference being put together by Oriental News Nigeria, coming up on July 25th, 2024, at Radisson Blue GRA Ikeja, Lagos by 9am.

In recent years, economies all around the world have been experiencing a protracted slowdown driven by structural, global, and cyclical factors. Economic strategies that have been implemented to tackle recession and achieve rapid economic development have endangered sustainable growth by contributing to environmental degradation, global warming, and other negative repercussions.

Changing the paradigm to a green economy will boost natural capital stocks, safeguard the environment, and ensure social justice by providing practical tools and approaches to achieve sustainable growth while reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

A transition to a green economy, however, faces challenges such as a lack of an appropriate policy framework, inadequate capital expenditure, varying levels of development, and resource endowments.

Therefore, for green sustainable development, newer business models, strategic changes and innovation in the use of resources, responsible and cleaner business practices, and green technologies are needed.

Above issues will form part of discussion to be spearheaded by Yusuf, who will further highlight challenges and how to accelerate the process.

Also, the Ag. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, MD/CEO of the Rural Electrification Agency, REA, Abba Abubakar Aliyu, will be addressing key energy professionals and other government officials on the Agency’s current drive towards delivering clean and reliable electricity across Nigeria.

Aliyu, who has confirmed his participation at the conference will take audience through World Bank approved Nigeria Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up (DARES) project

At the event also, the Director General, D-G of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Dr. Emomotimi Agama, would be x-raying key policies and options available in the country’s drive to strengthen her national economy while aligning with global push towards promoting green economy.

All of these will be the high point at the 3rd National Conference.

Oriental News Nigeria a leading digital media platform would gather key policy makers, Government and non-Governmental Organisations, industry experts in Nigeria’s financial sector to the conference which revolves around Nigeria’s Green Economy Initiative.

The theme of the 2024 Conference: ” Green Economy, Sustainable Growth and Infrastructure Transformation” considers various options available for Nigeria to sustain economic development and growth.

Sub-themes of the conference include, Green Finance, marketing, and supply chain, Strategies and Policies for a green economy, Renewable energy and Ecosystem for a green economy and Digital economy Entrepreneurship.

Agama, who has confirmed his attendance, expressed the belief that opportunities in terms of green economy are linked to the enormous possibilities for sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, ecotourism, and coastal development.

Also, other stakeholders have highlighted that Nigeria’s commitment to harnessing its natural resource potential could make the country a pioneer in promoting green economy development, hence the choice of the theme of the conference.

The conference is segmented into two main broad areas, with the opening programme to address the key thematic topic through the guest speakers intervention and chairmans remarks with comments from participants which centers around the conference theme.

The second segment is round-table discussion through wider engagement by select professionals to discuss the main theme and sub-themes of the conference.

The conference will draw together and engage researchers, eminent practitioners, and policymakers from across the country who will form part of the plenary (Round-Table) session that will deliberate on the latest findings on practices and policies for a green economy and sustainable growth through strategic change and identify priorities for action by stakeholders to pursue the most promising policies and practices.

The conference will also serve as a venue where academic peers may exchange information, share experiences, collaborate, and develop management answers to pressing business issues.


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5 Core Business Areas where AI can Drive Revenue

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By Kehinde Ogundare, Country Manager, Zoho Nigeria.

According to the United Nations, artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030 – of which $1.2 trillion could be generated by Africa. With the potential to unlock significant growth and development in key industries across the continent, AI is fundamentally changing how businesses operate, driving innovation, improving efficiencies, and transforming lives.

Kehinde Ogundare, Country Manager, Zoho Nigeria

Businesses of all sizes that have already invested in AI are reaping its benefits, from increasing business productivity and agility to improving customer experience and decision-making with McKinsey noting that AI leaders are outperforming their industry peers by a factor of 3.4.

But if businesses are to make the most of the opportunities offered by AI, it’s also important that it be deployed in the areas where it will have the greatest impact. Here are some areas and subsequent examples of how businesses can use AI within those areas to drive revenue.

1. Finance and billing

One of the most obvious places AI can help drive revenue in a business is in finances and billing. Having an accurate, up-to-date overview of finances can help an organisation know when to invest in growth, for example. And if a business wants a steady revenue flow, it must send out bills, invoices, and payment reminders on time.

Here, AI can help in several ways. When it comes to expense bills, for example, an AI tool with built-in image recognition would allow a business to scan its bills with the system, then auto-generate the amount, place, date, time, and category of expense, helping save loads of time and effort. For billing, meanwhile, AI can greatly speed up the onboarding process for new clients by automating large parts of it. AI-powered tools can also extract relevant information from invoices, including customer details and product descriptions, and automatically populate billing systems, creating further efficiency.

2. Lead prioritisation

Another key area is new business leads. More specifically, AI can help assess the calibre of leads that the sales team is bringing in. After all, two or three great leads can be more beneficial than 10 weak ones.

Using a points-based system, AI can help score leads according to their quality. That allows the sales team to better evaluate which leads are worth pursuing. In turn, that should allow them to make more sales at a more meaningful level.

3. Improved customer experience

Customer experience (CX), rather than product or price differences, has been the major differentiator for businesses for some time now. Customers are willing to spend more, are more likely to stay loyal, and recommend a business to friends and family if they have a good experience with it.

Businesses, therefore, need to pull out more stops than ever to ensure that their customer experience really stands out. Here again, AI can be helpful. Take sentiment analysis, for example. AI can help identify the most disgruntled customers, allowing customer success teams to focus on their needs and turn their experience of the business around.

4. Better targeted marketing

The most effective marketing today is highly personalised and targeted. AI can make it significantly easier to achieve the level of targeted personalisation necessary for marketing success today. Once integrated with a company’s data, an AI marketing tool can create and hone personalised marketing content based on each individual customer’s CRM data.

5. Enhanced employee productivity

There is a strong correlation between employee productivity and revenue. Employee productivity is in turn driven by positive employee experiences. The more productive your employees are, the higher your revenues and profit margins will be. AI can help improve both productivity and the overall employee experience by automating repetitive tasks, allowing employees to focus on the kind of meaningful work that drives increased revenues.

Embrace AI, but use the right providers

While AI can add immense value when it comes to driving revenue within organisations, it’s also critical that businesses know what they’re getting into when embracing AI. That means doing comprehensive background research and ensuring that they choose tools that meet their needs and adhere to privacy best practices.


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NBC Grants C54News Nod to Operate in Nigeria

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National Broadcast Commission (NBC) has granted approval to Future One Africa Television (FOA TV), a pan-African television station, to begin operations.

NBC Grants C54News Nod to Operate in Nigeria

This followed a significant investment of $7 million by Idris-Etanami Abiodun Usman, network’s CEO, to establish a state-of-the-art broadcasting facility.

With NBC’s approval, C54News is now cleared to launch its innovative programming, showcasing the diversity and richness of African cultures, talents, and experiences.

The network promises to deliver high-quality content, including news, documentaries, entertainment shows, and more, catering to a diverse audience across the continent.

FOA TV’s cutting-edge technology and creative approach aim to redefine the television landscape in Africa, providing a platform for African voices, stories, and perspectives to shine.

The network has assembled a team of experienced professionals, including renowned journalists, producers, and presenters, to drive its vision forward.

As C54News prepares to take over the airwaves, audiences can expect a fresh and exciting broadcasting experience that reflects the complexity and beauty of Africa.


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