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NITDA Trains 335 Lagos Kids in Emerging Technologies

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has empowered 335 kids in Lagos with skill in emerging technologies such as Robotics, Artificial intelligence, Coding, virtual Reality among other at the STEM Bootcamp for Kids (SB4KIDS).

Mallam Kashifu Inuwa, the Director General, NITDA in his goodwill message said that SB4KIDS is aimed at bridging the gap that currently exists in the educational sector.

He said that this Stem Bootcamp for Kids triggers NITDA’s interest and resonates deeply with the ongoing efforts toward implementing the National Digital economy policy for digital Nigeria.

Inuwa who was represented by Mrs Jumoke Alaka, Manager, South West Zonal office, NITDA, said that NITDA mandate is to create a framework for the planning, research, development, and standardization application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices in Nigeria.

According to him, “NITDA remains committed to supporting campaigns to diversify the country’s economy from a resource-based to a knowledge-based one through Information Technology (IT).

“We are indeed proud to be part of this event. It is my pleasure to introduce to you National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), the arm of NITDA meant to drive R&D and innovation in the areas of emerging technologies.

“NCAIR is one of NITDA’s special purpose vehicles created to promote research and development on emerging technologies and their practical application in areas of Nigeria’s national interest,’’ he said.

He added that kids across spectrums of the society were trained on Coding, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Drone.As well as Digital Communications, Embedded Systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality, and 3D requisite skill-set for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The DG said that as an NCAIR’s catch-them-young initiative, the SB4KIDS is a Bootcamp to inspire young Nigerians in STEM.

He said that through the SB4Kids, NCAIR engages youngsters between the age of 8 and 16 years in an immersive and well-articulated Bootcamp.

According to him, “the bootcamp is meant to coach and inspire youngsters to imbibe STEM passion and create an early interest in digital and emerging technologies, that would hopefully shape the children future careers in these fields”.

He said that, NITDA SB4Kids is a yearly initiative conducted during the summer school holidays. And has trained over 200 participants which will broaden the minds of children in critical thinking and high sense of curiosity in science and digital technology.

He said that the early involvement of in technology and innovation would accelerate the development of the IT sector and create future leaders who will transform the Nigerian technology space and boost Nigerian Digital Economy.

Mr Mayowa Ajiboye, Partner, TEF Community Innovation Hub appreciated NITDA for bringing the training to Alimosho Local Government Area , a suburb of Lagos state where there are kids underserved in technology.

“NITDA through its subsidiary NCAIR thought it wise that during summer holidays children should kept busy by teaching them current technologies that are relevant in the 4th industrial revolution and the idea is to bring children together to teach them Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

“Locating this programme in Alimosho was significant in reaching children of less privilege in the society.

“The number that was totally trained were 335 children which was more than the number that was planned for. When we saw the number we decided not to drive them but to manage to accommodate every kid that shown interest.

“Because of the huge impact we saw that we extended the programme by one week to complement effort of the government. In spite of the fact that schools in Lagos State have resumed kids still continued to attend the training which shows that the programme has made its objective,” Ajibola said.

A total of 6 Laptops were given out. 3 laptops for the first 3 junior category and 3 for the first 3 senior category. All of them were also giving Arduino tool kits.

 


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PalmPay Named Among Top 250 Fintech Companies in the World by CNBC and Statista

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Africa-focused fintech platform, PalmPay, has been included in the 2024 edition of CNBC and Statista’s prestigious list of the “Top 250 Fintech Companies in the World.” This recognition underscores PalmPay’s rapid growth and significant contributions to advancing financial inclusion.

The CNBC/Statista list honours fintech pioneers significantly transforming the financial services industry through technology. More than 2000 companies were evaluated globally based on general and sector-specific KPIs to determine the final selection.

In 2024, some of the most influential fintechs in the world were included in the list, including Alipay, Nubank, Monzo, and Revolut. Six other African firms made the list: Flutterwave (Nigeria/US) – Payments; Kuda (Nigeria/UK) – Neobanking; MTN (South Africa) – Payments; Piggyvest (Nigeria) – Financial planning; and Yoco (South Africa) – Payments.

PalmPay has developed an integrated platform that caters to consumers and businesses in the African market. The startup, which has been operating since 2019, pioneered a unique model in Nigeria that provides financial services such as money transfers, bill payment, credit services and savings via a one-stop-shop fintech ‘superapp’ and mobile money agents.

This dual approach of easy-to-use digital banking, combined with offline touchpoints for those without smartphones, has contributed to driving financial inclusion in a market where more than 40% of adults remain unbanked.

In 2023, PalmPay announced a major milestone of reaching 30 million registered users on its smartphone apps and 1.1 million businesses in its network of mobile money agents and retail merchants. A third of PalmPay customers report that the platform was their first-ever financial account.

PalmPay has quickly grown to become a market leader in Nigeria thanks to its user-friendly interface, reliable transactions, and focus on driving market share through fee-free transfers and promotions. PalmPay processes 15 million transactions on its consumer app daily and maintains a 99.5% transaction success rate.

To achieve this scale in a market where 10% transaction failure rates were common, the company built out its payment infrastructure, channel integrations and transaction routing systems. In addition to its consumer wallet, PalmPay offers services to businesses that leverage the PalmPay platform via its suite of POS machines, APIs and checkout solutions.

“It’s an honour for PalmPay to be recognised by CNBC and Statista as one of the World’s Top Fintech Companies,” said Sofia Zab, Global CMO, “This recognition validates our unique approach to financial services and our commitment to driving financial inclusion. We are actively expanding PalmPay’s reach and offerings, ensuring more people have access to essential financial services and promoting economic development in emerging markets”

PalmPay operates in several key markets across Africa, including Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania, with plans to expand further in the region and other emerging markets. The company has global HQs in China and London.


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WiDEF Launches Round of Technical Assistance to help Close the Gender Digital Divide

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The Women in the Digital Economy Fund (WiDEF) announced today the launch of its second competitive round, this time inviting applications from large private sector enterprises seeking technical support to scale proven solutions to significantly close the gender digital divide.

Announced by the White House in March 2023, WiDEF is a joint effort between USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate progress on closing the gender digital divide, managed by CARE, Global Digital Inclusion Partnership and the GSMA Foundation.

This round of support takes the form of tailored technical assistance to scale products, services or approaches that can significantly increase women’s access to and usage of the internet. It follows WiDEF’s     first round of funding and support that closed on May 6th 2024 for local organisations.

The technical assistance on offer aims to help to unlock opportunities to significantly close the gender digital divide, rather than supporting an enterprise’s ongoing “business as usual” activities. Examples of the kind of technical support private sector enterprises might apply for might include:

–  Research into the principal barriers and needs of underserved segments of women to inform actions to better support them to access and use digital technology and the internet

–  Evaluation of existing products and services for women to inform their evolution and wider usage

–   Testing specific approaches and services to ensure they best meet the needs of underserved women

–  Product adaptation and iteration, including the analysis of service usage data, user feedback and further design research

Business modelling and support for scaling products and services

“From our experience, we have seen how the right technical assistance can truly help companies unlock impact at scale.

“Through this new round, we believe we can deepen the private sector’s contribution to the closing of the gender divide across low- and middle-income countries, in line with the GSMA Foundation’s unwavering commitment to addressing this challenge,” said Max Cuvellier Giacomelli, Head of Mobile for Development, GSMA.

WiDEF will provide successful applicants in countries where USAID operates with tailored technical assistance for up to two years valued in the range of $50,000 to $150,000 USD. This support will be provided by the WiDEF Consortium and third-party suppliers engaged by WiDEF.

WiDEF aims to support commercially sustainable, scalable and evidence-based solutions to help close the gender digital divide. Successful applicants will need to articulate how their solution – and the technical assistance they draw on – will address at least two of the following core priority areas for WiDEF:

Improved access to affordable devices and online experiences

Increased availability of relevant products and tools

Elevation of digital literacy and skills

Enhancement of safety and security

Additionally, all applications will need to generate insights and data that expand the collection and use of gender-disaggregated research and analysis.

Full eligibility criteria and the application process can be found here. Applications are due by September 12, 2024.

 


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Reps to Donate 50% of Salaries to Fight Hunger

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House of Representatives at a plenary session on Thursday pledged to give up 50 per cent of their salaries for six months to address the hunger across the country.

During the session presided over by Speaker Tajudeen Abbas, Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu amended the motion, urging his colleagues to sacrifice 50% of their salaries. He made this plea when it was his turn to speak, seeking their support for this gesture.

“This government is doing its best but one year is not enough to address the challenges of this country. I want to plead with our colleagues to sacrifice 50 per cent for a period of six months.

“Our salary is N600,000 a month. I want to plead that we let go of 50 per cent of our salary for a period of six months,” Kalu said.

With each member paying N300,000 into a common purse, the legislative chamber will be contributing N108m monthly to the Federal Government and N648m for six months.


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