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ITU Connect2Recover to Boost Africa’s Post-COVID Connectivity



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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has launched the Connect2Recover Initiative, which will initially focus on Africa, helping the continent accelerate digital transformation post-COVID-19.

The ITU says Africa is the least connected continent, and is expected to be hit hardest by COVID-19 in socio-economic terms. It adds that Connect2Recover reinforces long-standing efforts to accelerate digital transformation on the continent and help achieve long-term development goals.

At the launch of the initiative last week, the world telecommunications body noted that out of the 25 least connected countries in the world, 21 are in Africa, with nearly 300 million Africans living more than 50km from a fibre or cable broadband connection.

“Access to high-speed Internet thus remains out of reach for many Africans, hindering their ability to fully harness the potential of digital transformation,” says the ITU.

It notes that Connect2Recover seeks to expand access to affordable and reliable connectivity, which is an essential aspect of countries’ COVID-19 recovery strategies.

ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao explains: “The ITU, and the wider international community, is transitioning from aiding countries with their immediate response to COVID-19, to helping countries prepare for and adjust to a ‘new normal’.

“As the United Nations is calling on its member states to ‘build back better’, Connect2Recover represents the ITU’s contribution by facilitating socio-economic recovery through the use of digital infrastructure, services and applications, thanks to the generous support of the Japanese government and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Connect2Recover is backed by the ministry of internal affairs and communications of Japan and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre of Saudi Arabia.

In a statement, the ITU says COVID-19 has highlighted that digital infrastructure is not just a convenience but an essential requirement for fully-fledged participation in society and the economy.

“Broadband connectivity has proved vital in helping countries’ businesses and citizens adapt and respond to the pandemic, enabling them to access the latest health information and continue working, learning and socialising remotely.”

How it works

The Connect2Recover initiative will consist of three key elements.

First, the initiative will develop a methodology for identifying gaps and bottlenecks in the use of digital networks and technologies at country level; to respond to and mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as preparedness for any similar emergencies in the future; and to enable recovery and readiness for the ‘new normal’.

According to the ITU, on the basis of this methodology, Connect2Recover will also assist countries in assessing their needs, gaps and bottlenecks, and develop strategies to ensure the digital infrastructure and ecosystems adequately support recovery efforts and the ‘new normal’.

“These strategies will be designed in line with global best practices, as well as with other relevant policy tools developed by ITU and other relevant organisations.”

Lastly, the ITU says, Connect2Recover will conceptualise and implement pilot projects to test specific technological solutions in line with national country strategies and policies.

“The project will also undertake deep-dive studies in specific areas of digital policy as prioritised by the selected countries, such as digital finance, e-education, e-health, e-government, or teleworking.”

Minoru Terada, state minister for internal affairs and communications of Japan, comments on the initiative: “Digital technology is playing a vital role to respond to and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Under these circumstances, our project aims at improving the connectivity through the development of resilient broadband networks to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among African countries.”

“COVID-19 has demonstrated the vital importance of meaningful connectivity and it has also served as a wake-up call to the global community to renew efforts to connect the 3.6 billion people still offline,” says Doreen Bogdan-Martin, director of the ITU telecommunication development bureau.

“Connect2Recover represents a first step in our journey to recovery and preparedness. I applaud the commitment of Japan and Saudi Arabia, and I invite all stakeholders to join this initiative to help advance real and rapid progress for all.”

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TETFund Seeks Increased Annual Research Funding of $1bn



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The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Thursday, urged the federal to increase its yearly funding for Research and Development (R&D) to $1 billion. This was as it hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent increase of the research grant from N5 billion to N7.5 billion.

Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, executive secretary of TETFund, speaking at the inauguration of TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee in Abuja, said massive investment in research would bring about the much-needed development in the country.

Bogoro also said it was time for the promulgation of a law that will bring into full place what he referred to as the “National R&D Foundation (NRDF)” to deepen research in the country.

Hear him:”To galvanize our vision towards making R&D the ace and game changer in our national development agenda, the need for an appropriate law to support the establishment of a National R&D Foundation (NRDF) cannot be overstated.

“We need a robust institutional framework and arrangement for the NRDF. I am recommending a minimum annual budgetary threshold of 1billion dollars as the funding portfolio for this Foundation.

“When we consider the inevitable benefits of R&D and the inevitable benefits of R&D and the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria, this amount begins to look like a drop of water in the ocean-population of 200 million people in 2020 and projected to become double in 10 years for now.”

Prof. Bogoro, who said the TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee is expected to come up with its own recommendation on the required amount that is suitable for efficient research activities in the country, called for a robust collaboration between researchers and the private sector to bring about all-round development in the country.

“It is envisaged that the private sector of the economy should pick the gauntlet to steamroll the lofty initiative by taking ownership of it,” he said.

Prof. Bogoro lauded the recent performance of Nigerian universities in the world’s ranking, saying TETFund intervention projects have continued to encourage such feats.

On his side, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while inaugurating the committee, called on members to put their best to the work he described as ‘national assignment.’

Represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, Adamu said that continued investment in research would herald a rebirth of Nigeria.

“Nigeria voted us into power predicated on our being able to transform our national aspirations and make them a national achievement.

“It is in recognition of this direction that the Executive Secretary, TETFund, presented his vision of a research-driven nation and how to finance that ambition through the Board of Trustees (BOT).

“To a large extent, Nigeria’s future depends on you. You have been summoned to a national service that is not available to the rest of the 200 million population. It is a national calling that requires almost all of you,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Hon. Aminu Suleiman said the work of the committee would open the windows of opportunities to tackle various developmental challenges confronting the country.

Suleiman, represented by Hon. Ikenna Elezieanya, lamented the way Nigeria has shown less concern to research, saying that many developed countries invested in research and development and thus helped to improve on their economy.

He said, “Research is the gateway of innovation. It is said that while countries like the USA, Korea, and the like have been investing in research and development, we seem to show less concern.”

He encouraged beneficiaries to take good advantage of the initiative to solve problems for the betterment of the country.

Responding, the Chairman of the over 160-member TETFund’s R & D Committee, Prof. Njidda M. Gadzama, said the epoch-making event will transform the socio-economic sector by ensuring the robust promotion of cutting-edge innovations.

“We promise to carry out our assignment with commitment and diligence and this will result in the R & D Culture and R&D Foundation to drive industrialization of the country,” he said.

The standing committee whose membership is drawn from the academic, industry, and private sector, has the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Mansur Ahmed, as one of the three Vice Presidents.

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UNWTO, Google Host First Tourism Acceleration Program in Sub-Saharan Africa



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The COVID-19 crisis has disproportionately affected tourism, a sector that accounts for millions of jobs around the globe.


While no one can say with certainty when the sector will recover, people are starting to dream of getaways again – whether closer to home or to remote destinations.


As more and more people go online to search where and when they can travel, accelerating the digitisation of the tourism sector will be key to helping it adapt and recover.


This is why the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Google have partnered to create and host an online Acceleration Program for UNWTO Member States’ tourism ministers, top travel associations and tourism boards to further develop innovation and digital transformation skills.


Today, ahead of World Tourism Day, the organisations hosted the first UNWTO & Google Tourism Acceleration Program focused on insights from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.


Tourism is the backbone of many economies around the world. As data from UNWTO shows, tourism represents 9% of global trade for Africa and 1 in 10 jobs directly and indirectly. Moreover, the sector drives inclusive growth, as women make up 54% of the workforce.


Natalia Bayona, UNWTO director of Innovation, Digital Transformation and Investments, said “UNWTO is committed to helping Africa grow back stronger,”


“With the right policies, training and management in place, innovation and technology have the potential to foster new and better jobs and business opportunities for tourism in Africa while improving the overall wellbeing and prosperity of the region”.


Africa is home to 30% of the world’s population, adding hundreds of millions of new online users every year.


Google Search is one of the places Africans go when researching and booking travel.


Doron Avni, Google’s Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Emerging Markets, said “We’re here to help the tourism sector recover from this unprecedented crisis and emerge stronger.


“Our travel data insights and tools can help tourism authorities identify and understand the barriers and drivers to visit travel destinations for better tourism planning.”


Below are some of the Nigeria travel data insights shared with participants in today’s session:


Since Nigeria announced its intention to reopen its borders to international travel on August 29th, search interest for travel has grown.

This slowdown presents an opportunity to rethink tourism, innovate and further develop the digital transformation of the sector so it can build the foundations for future sustainable growth.


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MultiChoice in collaboration with Celestial Tiger Entertainment Launches KIX on DStv



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Celestial Tiger Entertainment (CTE), the operator of the largest bouquet of pan-Asian channels dedicated to Asian entertainment, and MultiChoice Group, Africa’s leading entertainment company, has launched action movie channel KIX, on DStv.

KIX will launch on Premium, Compact Plus and Compact packages in Nigeria from 1st October 2020 at 6:00 pm WAT.

The launch of KIX marks CTE’s first foray into Africa.

Ofanny Choi, president of Celestial Tiger Entertainment, said, “We are very excited to be launching KIX on DStv in Africa with MultiChoice.

“Asian action entertainment has always resonated well with the audience worldwide, and we are proud to work with MultiChoice to bring this popular genre to viewers in Africa.

“With KIX’s proven success in Asia, we are confident we can deliver the best of action movies to our African audience.”

John Ugbe, Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, said, “We at MultiChoice are delighted to announce the launch of this brand-new channel KIX, a channel that will expand our viewers content slate, giving them more variety and entertainment.

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and new collaborations such as this, help us expand their viewing experience”.

Action fans can enjoy a high-octane blend of martial arts, action and thriller movies from the East and West on KIX, all presented in English.

Apart from the latest star-studded blockbuster premieres, KIX will also showcase never-seen-before movies from the various action genres, including kung fu classics from the legendary Shaw Brothers library, action comedies, adventure and fantasy action franchises, and action thrillers.

While fans of Asian action movies will see the legendary Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen and Bruce Lee in action, KIX also aims to present and delight viewers with movies featuring all other Asian action stars.

With all genres of action movies spanning from the 1960s to the present day, KIX is a one-stop-shop for all action movies entertainment throughout the years, with something for everyone. Viewers can now watch KIX and its catch-up programming anytime, anywhere, on DStv and DStv App!



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