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UK Pledges Commitment to Support Inclusion of Women into Digital Space in Nigeria

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Jonny Baxter, British Deputy High Commissioner in Nigeria has pledged the commitment of United Kingdom to close the digital divide in the country. He said UK has been a leading partner in working with the Nigerian people to close the digital gender divide in Nigeria.

Speaking at an Award Ceremony for DigiHubs (DigiGirls Partners) held in Lagos, Baxter said: “we have championed inclusion for women and girls into the digital economy through projects such as Digi girls. This is because we know that the data says that inclusion leads to an increase in economic power.

“We know that women and girls are disproportionately impacted by climate change, natural disasters and conflict because they exacerbate existing inequality and barriers in accessing services and support.

“Yet women are critical front-line responders when crisis hits and are crucial voices in decision making processes – if given the space to be heard”.

He noted that, the participation of civil society groups, including women’s organisations, makes a peace agreement of 64% less likely to fail, and “we know that the benefit of reducing conflict in other countries is felt in many other countries of the world.

“Gender inequality is particularly entrenched for women and girls who face multiple discrimination because of their age, religion, disability, sexuality, race or other difference,” he added.

Mr. Baxter while reflecting on the Digital Access Programme in Nigeria, expressed the UK’s committment to being a global science and technology partner, working with others to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, including on digital skills.

He said the UK firmly believes in the future growth story of Nigeria’s digital sector. “To continue to drive this growth, Nigeria needs a combination of increased access to safe, affordable, faster and better-quality internet, an encouraging regulatory environment, a skilled talent pool, and access to investment and partnership opportunities.

“Our in-country digital strategy focuses on working with both the government and private sector to improve infrastructure, build cyber resilience, reduce barriers to digital innovation, drive the upskilling of a digital workforce and improve policy and regulatory frameworks.

“Through the Digital Access Programme, we work with the Federal Government, State governments and policy makers as well as the Private Sector on removing systemic barriers to connectivity expansion”.

One of such programmes is the Digi-girls programme where last year on International Women Day, the UK launched a 10-year Women and girls’ strategy which showcases its commitment to tackling gender inequality across the globe.

“The first two cohorts of the Digi-girls programme saw the training and upskilling of 6,800 women and girls. While that might look like a large number it was only 6.3% of the people that applied for the opportunity to be trained for free.

“For us, it felt like we needed to do more. We thought about how we could make this project reach more people and have a wider impact yet still be sustainable.  We then decided to experiment with using local technology hubs to deliver upskilling to women and girls. This would strengthen the hubs as well as provide a physical space where women and girls could learn undisturbed.

“Our experiment paid off and in this present phase of the project Cybersafe was able to train 59,900 women and girls. We did this with support of 200 volunteer Alumni DigiGirls called DigiChampions and a partnership with 60 hubs across 22 states in Nigeria.

“We believe that this programme has helped in addressing the digital inequality in Nigeria – and we will continue to support programmes like this,” he stated.

Mrs. Confidence Staveley, founder and executive director of CyberSafe Foundation said that Education is the key to getting more women into tech and a door to innovation. “Inclusion of women will not happen by chance, it will take intentional, tailored and targeted investment in women to accelerate progress that we so desperately need”.

Among DigiHubs that won award at the event include; Guru Innovation Hub, Cross River that won Impact Amplifier Award, Inclusive Excellence Champion Award was won by NHub Incubator, Plateau.

Community Engagement and Outreach Award went to Dignity International Consults, Imo State.

Others are Outstanding Community Impact Award (A.K.A Grassroot Empowerer Award) won by Jbest ICT, Kaduna; and  Mission Champion Award (A.K.A Overall Best Hub) won by Development Hub, Borno.


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E-Business

FG Unveils Roadmap for Africa’s Digital Trade Revolution Under AfCFTA

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The Federal Government on Friday unveiled a comprehensive strategy to lead Africa’s digital trade revolution within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The strategy is part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to harness trade as a catalyst for economic growth and continental cohesion in line with AfCFTA objectives.

To this effect, Vice President Kashim Shettima said Nigeria is in a unique position to spearhead the continent’s technological transformation.

He made the observation while delivering the keynote address during a Stakeholders Summit with the theme, “Digital Trade in Africa: The Renewed Hope Strategy,” held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“We are in a vantage position because we are the continent’s largest ICT hub, and as such, we must lead the way to the future of this peculiar wave of the Industrial Revolution.

“Our collaboration must prioritize comparisons of our policy initiatives to those of developed economies and fine-tune them to sustain our place and fast-track our growth,” the Vice President stated.

Senator Shettima outlined key components of the roadmap to include implementation of AfCFTA’s Digital Trade Protocol and the development of expansive technical talent hubs.

The plan, according to him, also focuses “on enhancing digital infrastructure investments, promoting disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship, and ensuring the alignment of multiple government agencies to support digital trade initiatives.”

The VP stressed the need for strong synergy between the public and private sectors in implementing the AfCFTA’s Digital Trade Protocol, just as he assured that the federal government remains committed to investing in digital infrastructure and human capital development to drive the process.

He continued: “Our collaboration must prioritize comparisons of our policy initiatives to those of developed economies and fine-tune them to sustain our place and fast-track our growth. For a sector upon which all others rely to survive, digital technologies hold the nation together, and we cannot afford to slow down.

“Our programmes, from the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) to the ongoing intervention to train 3 million technical talents by the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, to the Outsource to Nigeria Initiative (OTNI), are lifelines in our digital economy.

“They offer us an avenue to not only maximize our potential but also commit to the adoption of the Digital Trade Protocol within AfCFTA,” VP Shettima further explained.

Earlier in his remarks, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijjani, said the Tinubu administration is investing significantly in every aspect of the digital trade protocol, with a view to harnessing opportunities in the country and continent at large.

He explained that through innovative policies and programmes such as the 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) programme, data protection policy and improved investments in digital infrastructure, the administration is equipping the country’s young population for the opportunities of the present and future.

Underscoring the significance of technology in trading across the continent, Dr Tijjani said opportunities that exist within the single market area are unprecedented and could best be harnessed through effective collaboration and networking facilitated by digital technology.

In his welcome address, the Special Assistant to the President on ICT Policy, Dr. Salihu Dasuki Nakande, thanked President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima for their commitment and dedication to the Renewed Hope Agenda, which he said has laid a solid foundation for the digital transformation journey in the country.

He said their continuous support has led to the discourse on digital transformation which will equally lead to a prosperous Nigeria.

Quoting the Vice President in his address at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, Dr. Nakande said, “Looking ahead, there is a need for speed and cohesion among African countries, the idea of AfCFTA must be revived and there is no hope in keeping waiting in this world, we must act swiftly and together ensure that the AfCFTA succeeds.


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Cybersecurity Firm Uncovers Scams Targeting Olympic Games Fans

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The first in-person Summer Olympics since the lifting of pandemic restrictions is set to begin on July 26, attracting millions of sports enthusiasts.

Kaspersky experts have noted a surge in scamming activity surrounding the event, with fraudsters targeting users’ money and data.

To understand how scammers are exploiting viewers’ interest, Kaspersky experts analysed Olympic-related phishing websites and identified the main schemes currently in use.

Fake Tickets

With the Olympic Committee warning of fake ticket offers and news of a UK swimmer’s family being scammed out of £2,500 while attempting to purchase tickets for the Paris Olympics, Kaspersky’s telemetry confirms that fraudsters are actively crafting phishing websites.

These sites offer tickets for Olympic competitions at exclusive prices or claim to have seats for sold-out events. This well-tested yet effective fraudulent scheme has resurfaced during many Olympic seasons, and Kaspersky’s experts expect such websites to proliferate during Paris 2024 events.

In this scenario, users fill out a data form and transfer both their personal information and money to scammers. As a result, they may receive invalid tickets or, more likely, nothing at all, leading to financial loss and their data being sold on Dark Web forums.

Fake Corporate Giveaways

Many organisations host giveaways for their employees, partners, and customers during major events. Recently, Kaspersky experts uncovered a fraudulent page impersonating a French bank, falsely promising a chance to win event tickets.

Employees are enticed to fill out a form with personal details, including their Internet account login credentials and passwords. This allows fraudsters to infiltrate victims’ corporate resources and potentially spread malicious content further.

Fake Merch Stores

Kaspersky experts have also discovered fraudulent online stores selling merchandise such as shirts, uniforms, accessories, and more. Needless to say, those who were enticed by these offers never received the items they ordered.

Special Cell Phone Plans

Fraudsters have set up phishing websites offering a free 48 GB data package for all networks. These sites entice users to provide personal information, such as phone numbers and payment details, under the guise of activating the data package.

Once submitted, this information is harvested for malicious purposes, leading to potential financial loss and privacy breaches.

“During major events like the Olympics, the sheer volume of offers can be overwhelming and deceptive,” says Anton Yatsenko, security expert at Kaspersky. “Scammers prey on the excitement and urgency people feel, making it crucial to approach every offer with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Take the time to verify the authenticity of offers and protect your personal information. Your vigilance can be the difference between enjoying the event and falling victim to a scam.”


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E-Business

Nigeria inflation rate hits 34.19%

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Nigeria’s annual inflation rate increased for the fifth consecutive month to 34.19 per cent as Nigerians battle with high living crisis.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), released on Monday, the June figure is 0.24 per cent higher than the 33.95 per cent recorded in May. The lowest figure in 2024 was 29.90 per cent, recorded in January.

On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.40 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in June 2023, which was 22.79 per cent.

“This shows that the headline inflation rate (year-on-year basis) increased in the month of June 2024 when compared to the same month in the preceding year (i.e. June 2023),” the NBS said.

NBS said on a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate in June 2024 was 2.31 per cent, which was 0.17 per cent higher than the rate recorded in May 2024 (2.14 per cent) meaning that in the month of June 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is higher than the rate of increase in the average price level in May 2024.

According to the NBS, the food inflation rate in June 2024 rose 40.87 per cent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.62 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in June 2023 (25.25 per cent).


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