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NCS Strengthens Symbiotic Ties with MTN, MainOne, Sidmach

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Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) recently visited three key players in Nigeria’s technology space – MTN Nigeria, MainOne Cable Company and Sidmach group, in furtherance of its policy of strategic partnership and stakeholder engagement

The NCS delegations were led Professor Sola Aderounmu, NCS’ Deputy President, who represented, Professor David O. Adewumi, the President.

At MTN Nigeria, the team was warmly received by Mr. Akinwale Goodluck, Corporate Services Executive, representing the CEO, Mr. Michael Ikpoki. Nigeria’s premier IT professional association and advocacy group commended MTN for its role inspearheading of the mobile revolution in Nigeria, while appreciating MTN’s position as the biggest mobile operator in the region.

Adewumi stated, “The GSM revolution in which MTN played and still plays a major role has created jobs in significant numbers as well as a value chain of suppliers, while providing the backbone for other major areas of the Nigerian economy”.

At MainOne, according to Jide Awe, chairman, Publicity and Events Committee, Nigeria Computer Society, the team was received by Ms. Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne and other top management officials. 

NCS congratulated the MainOne for building and owning the first wholly African privately funded license submarine cable along the West African coastline.

NCS President also saluted MainOne on its ongoing investment and commitment to setting up one of Africa’s largest data centres.

Professor Adewumi further thanked the MainOne CEO for her presence at the last NCS conference at Iloko Ijesa, Osun State, support of the conference and the strong presence of MainOne staff at the conference.

At Sidmach Group, Mr. Hassan Alao, CEO and other top management staff welcomed the NCS delegation. NCS congratulated Sidmach on its unique achievements in the development and deployment of wholly indigenous enterprise IT solutions, most especially in the educational sector.

NCS identified with the innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives of Sidmach. The President noted that the visit of the NCS team was also an opportunity to thank Sidmach for its commitment to NCS through the organization’s consistent support over time for NCS events and activities. 

During each visit, Professor David Adewumi emphasized that the visit was to identify with the progressive and inspiring impact of the particular organizations and to explore ways in which the organizations could work with NCS to accelerate the pace of IT development in Nigeria. He stressed the urgent need to support advocacy in the sector.

According to Adewumi, “Despite the progress made, the sector still faces major challenges of “right of way” barriers, low broadband penetration rate, multiple taxation, ongoing power supply and security issues, inadequate local capacity and low awareness of innovation opportunities. The need to accelerate the pace of ICT development in Nigeria and ensure long term sustainability is both massive and glaring”.

He therefore proposed strategic partnerships in programs and projects relating to research and development, Cybersecurity, IT enabled employment generation, promotion of Excellence and Professionalism in Industry and the Profession, and IT Policy Formulation that are of immense benefit to the country.

The need for the organizations to play key roles in the upcoming National Information Technology Merit Awards (NITMA) was highlighted.

Akinwale Goodluck of MTN noted that the visit was quite timely as MTN is no longer just a GSM Company but is now a full-fledged ICT Company that is one of the biggest in Sub-Saharan Africa. And according to him MTN works with Nigerian IT providers and is very passionate about local content.

He also highlighted the fact that had been a significant drop in the number of foreign personnel employed by MTN Nigeria. According to him MTN is ready to collaborate with NCS but will get back on specifics, especially with regard to the NITMA program and the NCS Scholarship Fund.

In responding, Funke Opeke appreciated the visit and commended NCS for its laudable advocacy efforts. She mentioned the need to address the challenges faced in the industry, especially those militating against widespread and improved broadband availability.

Noting that MainOne had been active in most NCS events during the tenure of the last executive, she assured the NCS delegation that MainOne would build on the existing relationship through the mentioned strategic partnership opportunities specifically showing interest in NITMA and the proposed 2014 NCS Conference sub-theme on Broadband. She also requested for more details of the IT Park and Centre of Excellence projects.

 Michael Olajide of Sidmach appreciated the presence of NCS in their organisation, which was the first time the NCS Council was visiting Sidmach.

He informed delegates that though Sidmach had made its mark in software in education through solutions provided to JAMB, WAEC, NECO, NERDC, it was diversifying into providing solutions in agriculture and insurance as well as into the provision of telecom infrastructure services.

The Sidmach group agreed to deepen its engagement with NCS through strategic partnering.

NCS is the nation’s foremost network of Information Technology (IT) practitioners comprising IT professionals, Interest Groups and Stakeholders.

The visits were strategically undertaken to signify intent on the part of NCS to ensure industry collaboration and Professionalism are placed high on the agenda of the entire IT community.

Members of the NCS delegations on the visits include: Mr. Jide Awe, Chairman, NCS Publicity and Events Committee, Mr. Moses Braimah, Chairman, Conference Committee, Dr. Adesina Sodiya, Chairman, Education and Manpower Development Committee, Sir. Obi Okonkwo, Ex-Officio (South East), Dr. Martins Akinseye, Secretary, NCS Lagos Chapter, Dr. Gani Adegboyega, NCS Lagos Chapter, Mr. Chinedu Onuoha, Executive Secretary, Mr. Iyiola Ayoola, Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Taiwo Oyesanwo, Ass. Manager, Corporate Affairs and Mrs. Ijeoma Nwanaju, Ass. Manager, Corporate Affairs.


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AfriLabs, Korea-Africa Foundation in Strategic Partnership to Boost African Innovation

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African hubs network AfriLabs has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Korea-Africa Foundation for a strategic partnership aimed at driving innovation and economic growth across the continent.

AfriLabs is a network organisation that is committed to driving innovation and entrepreneurship on the continent by bringing together technology hubs, startups, investors, and other key stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Having recently announced the admission of 16 new hubs, AfriLabs now has a network of 478 hubs across 260 cities in 53 African nations.

The Korea-Africa Foundation, meanwhile, aims to serve as a platform for collaboration between the private and public sectors, and to strengthen exchange and cooperation with African countries.

The collaboration between the two aims to bridge the gap between Korean and African startups by leveraging each other’s expertise and resources. This will be achieved through the exchange of insights on youth development, the launch of joint research initiatives, and the fostering of a dynamic ecosystem that cultivates talent and entrepreneurial spirit in both regions.

“At AfriLabs, we are dedicated to unlocking Africa’s full potential and generating wealth through strategic alliances. This partnership with the Korea-Africa Foundation unlocks a treasure trove of opportunities for startups, granting them access to a global network, invaluable resources, and unparalleled industry knowledge.

“Together, we will empower the next generation of African innovators and entrepreneurs, paving the way for sustainable development and a thriving economy,” said Anna Ekeledo, executive director of AfriLabs.


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$750m World Bank Loan:  FG May Reintroduce Telcoms, Gambling Taxes

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Federal government may reintroduce the controversial telecom tax and other fiscal measures to fulfill one of the conditions for The World Bank’s fresh $750 million loan to Nigeria.

$750m World Bank Loan:  FG May Reintroduce Telcoms, Gambling Taxes

Experts have however strongly opposed new taxes, calling them harmful to the sector’s survival and the larger economy.

But The World Bank in programme appraisal document, dated May 17, 2024, on the loan disbursement to Nigeria, said that $750 million loan to Nigeria will support the federal government’s policy reforms.

A copy of the plan’s document posted on the World Bank website indicated that the government might reintroduce the excises on telecom services, and EMT levy on electronic money transfers through the Nigerian Banking System among other taxes.

Recall that on June 13, Wale Edun, minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, announced the approval of two financial support packages by the World Bank valued at $2.25 billion.

The loan consists of $1.5 billion for Nigeria’s reforms for economic stabilisation to enable transformation (RESET) development policy financing program (DPF) and $750 million for Nigeria’s accelerating resource mobilisation reforms (ARMOR) program-for-results (PforR).

In the programme appraisal document, the World Bank said the ARMOR programme contains revenue policy measures such as raising pro-health taxes on tobacco, and alcohol.

The Bretton Woods institution also said the programme contains the introduction of taxes on online betting and gambling, as well as new excise on telecommunication services.

Experts have however warned that these taxes would have severe consequences for investment and the operational viability of telecom companies.

According to them, higher taxes would hinder digitalization efforts, which are crucial for economic growth.

The proposed tax measures, according to the industry, are not only damaging to the telecom sector but also to the broader economy.

 

 


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EFCC, Flutterwave to Establish Cybercrime Centre for Security of Transactions

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Flutterwave, unicorn payments technology company have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to establish and a state-of-the-art Cybercrime Research Centre.

EFCC, Flutterwave to Establish Cybercrime Centre for Security of Transactions

Areas of focus of the centre include advanced fraud detection and prevention, policy development, as well as youth empowerment.

The fintech company with fortunes worth over $1bn headquartered in San Francisco with footprints in Nigeria and other African countries said the centre would also provide a “sustainable lifeline to youths across the country”.

To this effect, the Silicon Valley-based company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the anti-graft agency in Abuja.

Ola Olukoyede, chairman, EFCC; Olugbenga Agboola, founder, Flutterwave; Christopher Gray, director of Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI); and other senior officials from both the EFCC and the FBI witnessed the signing of the MoU

Specifically, the MoU was signed by Mohammadu Hammajoda, secretary, EFCC and Agboolaof Flutterwave.

Olukoyede said, “This partnership marks a significant leap forward in our efforts to combat financial crimes and ensure a secure financial landscape for Nigerians. The Cybercrime Research Centre will significantly enhance our capabilities to prevent, detect, and prosecute financial crimes.”

On his part, Agboola said, “This initiative underscores our commitment to creating a fraud-free financial ecosystem and leading the charge in safeguarding transactions across Africa.

“We applaud the EFCC’s relentless efforts to combat internet fraud and other illicit activities in the financial sector.”

The Cybercrime Research Centre, to be established at the new EFCC Academy in Abuja, would serve as a hub for advanced research, training, and capacity building in the fight against financial crimes.

Areas of focus of the centre include advanced fraud detection and prevention, collaborative research and policy development, youth empowerment and capacity building, technological advancement and resource enablement, among other key areas.

“Advanced Fraud Detection and Prevention: Developing and implementing cutting-edge technologies to detect and prevent financial fraud. The centre will offer comprehensive training for law enforcement and industry professionals to combat modern financial crimes effectively.

“Collaborative Research and Policy Development: Engaging in joint research initiatives and policy formulation to enhance the understanding and regulation of financial crime. The centre will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices between the public and private sectors.

“Youth Empowerment and Capacity Building: Providing high-end training and research opportunities for 500 youths, equipping them with the skills needed to navigate and excel in the digital economy.

“Technological Advancement and Resource Enablement: Creating a repository of advanced tools, technologies, and resources to support financial crime investigations, including protocols for addressing emerging threats such as cryptocurrency-related crimes,” the statement concluded.

Birthed in 2016 by Agboola, fondly referred to as GB, Flutterwave, with its corporate headquarters in San Francisco and operational head office in Lagos State, grew within a short time, penetrating the African market with customisable payments applications through its unique Application Programming Interface.

 

 


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