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Lessons from Africast Launch Nigeria on the Path to Digitisation

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The 2008 Africast Conference and Exhibitions could not have come at a better time, now that the wind of digitisation is blowing across the globe, which has seen countries bracing up for the great revolution.

John Odey, minister of information and communications in his welcome address said: "This edition of Africast is expected to surpass the frontiers of discussions at previous conferences by mapping out strategies to manage the upcoming digitisation in the world of broadcasting."

He said that Africast since 1996, has been a rendezvous for the best minds in broadcasting to discuss how best to raise and maintain the standards in Africa, adding that the efforts of these experts have been balanced by the resourcefulness of the hardware manufacturers who have used the arena to showcase their latest achievements in broadcast technology.

Odey said that the seriousness attached to the transition agenda by the federal government is informed by the relevance of the media – electronic and print – to the success of any democracy, even as he recalled that the president formally approved the commencement of the digitisation process in Nigeria since last December.

He informed that he had just inaugurated a committee that would work out the modalities for the transition and provide the necessary advice to guide government and the NBC through a successful transition in Nigeria.

In his keynote address, Joseph Nkuna, councilor, independent communications authority of South Africa (Icasa) said digital migration provides an opportunity to address a range of social and economic challenges but that Africa presently lags behind in that space.

His paper titled: Digital Migration in Africa – Lessons from Current Issues and Regulatory Framework in South Africa basically focused on the dynamics of digitisation, particularly from the legislative viewpoint.

He said: "Government’s policy statement should be expressed in the review of existing legislation which is based on the analogue environment; otherwise it will be difficult for the regulator to implement a policy that is not in line with the law. Since legislation is legally binding, it is important that relevant policy issues are later captured in the law for easy planning, monitoring, enforcement and review purposes."

Relating the South African experience, Nkuna said: "Due to time, government policy did not result in a legislative amendment, living the regulator to implement policy within the constraints of current legislation. This made it difficult to introduce a new licensing framework, drawing on the EU and other relevant experiences."

"In September 2008, Icasa published the draft digital migration framework regulations for public consultation, addressing the adoption of various standards: RRC-06 (DVB-T, DVB-S, DVB-H, DAB-T, MPEG 4); Multiplex allocation – Multiplex 1 for public television and Multiplex 2 for commercial television services, both free to air and subscription free to air services; and each multiplex is expected to carry 10 channels, with limited data (EPG/EPI)."

He informed that a frequency plan, focused on the two national multiplexes for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and two metropolitan multiplexes for DVB-H, has been released for consultation with the industry and the general public in South Africa; Mobile television framework has been subjected to a separate process through an invitation to apply (ITA) for the spectrum to provide services based on the DVB-H standard and technical standards pertaining to set-top-boxes/decoders are also dealt with specifically in a separate regulatory process.

On set-top boxes, the councillor said the S.A government is in favour of an advanced box (including Conditional Access and Interactive Services), which will be subsidised, targeting about 4.5 million indigent households out of 8.5m households, but that some industry players prefer a basic box currently estimated at around R700 (about $100) to the advanced one which is more expensive. Even so, broadcasters have agreed to fund a limited number of set-top boxes to be distributed free to a few members of the public.

It is estimated that the subsidy exercise would cost the South Africa government R2.5 billion.

Nkuna stated that digital migration will certainly impact on local content regulation, including quotas to be met by public and commercial television and that the S.A authorities have decided to reschedule the review of current quotas to be undertaken in the middle of the dual illumination period even as they have committed to investing in the production of digital content in the area of public television.

He conclude his speech by calling on all regional blocs in Africa, to pave the way forward while also encouraging countries to collaborate where necessary in order to achieve digitisation objectives .


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CSCS Sensitizes Financial Market Stakeholders on Cyber-Security

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Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, Nigeria’s capital market infrastructure, sustains cyber-security advocacy as it sensitizes financial market participants on rising rate of cybercrime.

In a webinar organized by CSCS, financial market stakeholders, including bankers and capital market operators dialogued on innovative measures for preventing cybercrimes, dire need for increased campaign and exigency of collaborative investments to reign the rising rate of cybercrime.

The online event themed “Cyber Security and Information During the Pandemic” was lauded for its timeliness, as COVID-19 pandemic and attendant remote connections may have increased cyber-security risks in many organizations, particularly as the crime rate surges globally, with rising exposure of financial services institutions in Nigeria and the broader African continent.

The event which was widely attended with participants from the banking sector, capital market and public service, had Mr. Tobe Nnadozie (Divisional Head, Technology and Innovations, CSCS Plc), Mr. Bharat Soni (Chief Information Security Officer, GTBank Plc) and Mr. Ikechukwu Ugoji (Chief Information Security Officer, Interswitch Limited) as panelists.

Speaking on the event, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri, the Chief Executive Officer, CSCS Plc, noted that “cybersecurity is a collective effort and everyone must play their role to preserve the integrity and sanctity of the financial market.

The pandemic and its attendant remote connections occasioned by business continuity and work-from-home protocols have increased exposures to cyber-security risks and some businesses may have suffered colossal losses due to cyberattacks since the pandemic.

More than ever, cyberattacks are like a double whammy at this challenging time when businesses are re-strategizing to adapt to the new normal and ensure sustainability.”

Mr. Femi Onifade, the Chief Strategy Officer, CSCS Plc reiterated the CEO’s perspective, noting that “a breach on any market participant’s network may inadvertently expose the entire system, thus reinforcing why we must collaborate to prevent any vulnerabilities in the financial system and why all participants and stakeholders must take active and effective measures in ensuring and sustaining cyber-resilience.”

While speaking at the event, Mr. Bharat Soni said, “new work culture has expanded remote activities and cloud capabilities to an unprecedented level, thereby making businesses more vulnerable to cyber-attacks such as online scams and phishing, disruptive malware, malicious domains amongst others.

Hence, the use of strong authentication for accessing networks would no longer be an option but a necessity.” He concluded that “Awareness of the new realities of safe cyber practices need to be communicated to employees, partners and customers so that they can remain aware of the evolving cyber threat and how to best protect themselves and their organizations”.

In the same vein, Mr. Ikechukwu Ugoji said, “over 90% of cyber breaches are facilitated by phishing email or social engineering attack and that every employee is a first-line of defence against incoming threats and employees must be made to understand their vital roles and responsibility in protecting the organization.”

On his part, Mr. Tobe Nnadozie, posited that “the pattern of spend on cybersecurity shows clearly that organizations are making relevant investments to protect their systems and broader market, albeit sadly, lack of vigilance is the leading cause of breaches”.


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Muoghalu, Kukah Headline ARCAN Lectures

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Association of Retired Career Ambassadors of Nigeria (ARCAN) has lined up a two-week long, five-lecture series to commemorate the 60th Independence Anniversary of Nigeria.

Muoghalu, Kukah Headline ARCAN Lectures

Ambassador Joe Keshi

The lecture series scheduled to commence from Tuesday September, 22 through to Tuesday, October 6 2020 is themed Nigeria @ 60- The Journey So Far.

Dr. Kingsley Muoghalu, former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and a presidential candidate during the 2019 presidential election is expected to kick off the lecture series on Tuesday. He speaks on the topic: Nationhood, Development and Democracy in Nigeria.

Other speakers include the highly revered Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah who would be speaking on Thursday, September 24 on the topic: 60 years of Nigeria’s Journey to Democracy: Hopes and Impediments.

Dr Vanessa Iwowo, an award-winning management scholar takes the stage on Monday 28 September, 2020 and she would dwell on the topic: [email protected]: Leadership, Democracy and the Politics of Identity.

Tuesday, 29th September, 2020  would be the turn of political activist and scholar Dr. Usman Bugaje to explore the topic: 60 years of Nation-Building: The Management of Our Diversity, Resources and Nation-Building.

Erudite scholar and specialist in International Relations, Prof W. Alade Fawole, is billed to speak on Tuesday 6th October, 2020 on the topic: Nigeria in International Affairs: Prognosis for the next Sixty Years.

The host, Ambassador Joe Keshi, said remarks would be made by an array of eminent Nigerians including ARCAN President, Amb J.K Shinkaiye, ARCAN’s Doyen , Amb Ignatius C. Olisemeka and other eminent Nigerians and diplomats.

According to Keshi, “the series will review the state of our nation in the last 60 years and how the lofty dreams of our founding fathers of building a just and equitable nation where no man is oppressed can be truly attained.

“Additionally, it will review the impact of domestic policies on our foreign policy pursuits and engagement, and above all, offer a futuristic vision of what our foreign policy priorities in the next 60 years should be like,” he said.


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Ene-Obong, CEO of 54gene Selected as Endeavor Entrepreneur

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Endeavor has welcomed a new entrepreneur into its global network; Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong of 54gene, was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur on September 17, 2020.

54gene is a health technology company whose mission is to advance precision medicine capabilities in Africa through research, advanced molecular diagnostics and clinical programs. 54gene joins 10 other Endeavor Entrepreneur-led companies in Nigeria, and over 1,300 in Endeavor’s 37 markets across Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe and North America.

Endeavor is a mission-driven organisation that is leading the global movement for high-impact entrepreneurs and their companies. Endeavor Nigeria selects, mentors and accelerates the best high-impact entrepreneurs in the region, supporting them to scale their companies and drive economic growth.

As well as 54gene, this year, Endeavor has welcomed the founders of Daystar Power, Migo and Kobo360 into its local and global network.

Africa is home to the most genetically diverse population in the world. However, less than 3% of the continent’s genomic data is available for research purposes making it a potentially rich source of new genetic information used for medical discoveries.

54gene is solving this challenge and equalising the access to precision medicine through the advancement of the state of healthcare in Nigeria and on the continent. This is being achieved through local clinical research programs and advanced molecular diagnostics.

“54gene is a critical part of the continent’s push to equalize access to precision medicine for millions of Africans. The rapid pace at which the company has scaled over the past year is testament to Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong’s leadership, his drive and talented team.

He is an inspiration to other high-impact entrepreneurs in Nigeria and we are thrilled to welcome him into the Endeavor network.” Says Eloho Omame, Managing Director & CEO of Endeavor in Nigeria.

Since launching in 2019, 54gene has scaled its operations in generating novel insights in human genetics research that will lead to high impact health discoveries. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, 54gene raised funds to increase the country’s testing capacity and launched mobile laboratories across 5 Nigerian states.

The company has raised $21 million in investment and also launched the African Centre for Translational Genomics (ACTG) to fund the study of Non-Communicable Diseases in 100,000 Nigerians.

In September of this year, the company announced a partnership with Illumina to establish a world class genomics facility in Lagos, Nigeria, which will help expand its sequencing-based research and molecular diagnostics offering.

Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, CEO and Founder of 54gene, says, “It is an absolute honour to be selected as an Endeavor entrepreneur. We started 54gene to significantly improve the inclusion of African populations in global genomics research and I am glad to see our work is being recognised.

“Our mission is to continue driving innovation and change in research and I look forward to the opportunities that arise as a result of being supported by the global Endeavor network in expanding 54gene’s impact globally.”

Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong was successfully selected as part of a cohort of 9 entrepreneurs from 6 markets. With the recent addition of 54gene, Endeavor Nigeria now supports 17 entrepreneurs who lead 11 scale-up stage companies in Nigeria, spanning lifesciences, fintech, renewable energy, entertainment, logistics and retail.


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