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Youth IT Empowerment: Key to Vision 2020– Shobajo

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Kayode Shobajo, Chief Technopreneur/CEO, HiiT, synonymous with youth IT empowerment. He has undying passion for quality ICT education. Shobajo is a consummate technoprenuer, with panache and zeal to deliver world class and affordable training solutions particularly to youths in this technology-driven economy. Shobajo retired as a senior military officer in the Nigerian Air Force, over a decade ago, to start HiiT. He spoke with Emeka Okafor.

 

Quality IT Training/Education in Nigeria

HiiT began operations twelve years ago with a mission to eradicate IT illiteracy by offering world class and affordable training/education in a customer-centric manner. Today, we are still in the pursuit of our mission. Since 1996, we have graduated twenty thousand students in our Kano and Lagos centres. It may interest you to know that HiiT has recorded matchless milestones. In 2007, it produced the first and only Java Master in Nigeria. In terms of quality training we have the facilities and the human capital. We have equally upgraded our IT Proficiency curriculum, amongst others, by fusing a marriage between International Computer Driving License (ICDL) and Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) syllabi. This enables Nigerians to kill two birds with one stone. So, for us at HiiT, rendering world-class affordable services is our brand essence.

Cost of ICT Training/Education

HiiT is 100 percent Nigerian brand, so, we are stakeholders in the future of our country. In the last twelve years we have consistently delivered world-class affordable ICT training in all our centres. Empowering Nigerian youth goes beyond profit maximization. It is a call to serve, so that our nation can be liberated from both economic and digital poverty. In my perspective, I believe there should be a lot of platforms to train the youth in ICT apart from the typical Introduction to computers being taught in higher institutions. Our higher institutions are trying but ICT requires expertise and proficiency with management acumen for execution and sustained quality service delivery. We at HiiT see our role as that of intervention because ICT youth empowerment is the focal point of our development efforts. Our nation must challenge the youth with appropriate and adequate IT facilities and re-orientate them to reawake the e-spirit needed to produce IT proficient graduates, across board, as well as knowledgeable technopreneurs. This is why HiiT shall continue to render world-class affordable services to our target market.

HiiT ICT Empowerment Galleria in Tertiary Institutions

In line with our strategic growth agenda, HiiT is investing at least N2 billion within the next one year, in at least six tertiary institutions that meet our requirements. This is only the first phase of our intervention. We aim to eventually partner with all willing universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and others. We also appeal to their visitors to help facilitate this intervention for them with good speed. Our ICT Empowerment methodology is not only revolutionary but sustainable. It is also a home-grown solution based on eight years of research. This intervention is designed to first, train all tertiary institution students to become IT proficient in the use of market-relevant computer applications taking into consideration our peculiarities in Nigeria. And second, to empower all computer science students and other students with flair for IT, with current solution development platforms and appropriate certification curricula under same roof with their academics. What is more, all these will cost the students very little. This will certainly augment government efforts in realizing its ICT empowerment component of Vision 2020.

National IT Policy Review

As you also know, a purposeful and well articulated National IT policy document will form a good foundation for the Nation to leverage IT towards achieving the Government’s Vision 20: 2020. This is what most countries in our similar circumstances have done successfully. India and Malaysia are ready examples. In my opinion, the President’s 7-point agenda should be upgraded to an 8-point agenda; with the eighth point being IT. The National IT Policy Review efforts currently in progress under auspices of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), I wish, will be able to articulate something convincing enough to government in this respect. As an experienced and seasoned technopreneur, I have no doubt at all that this is our optimal path towards the actualization of Vision 20:2020

NACOSS and HiiT

As you know, NACOSS stands for National Association of Computer Science Students. It has a local chapter in most tertiary institutions that offer computer science a course, HiiT and I have been supporting NACOSS both morally and financially for many years now. Our reasons for doing this are many. First, and as I have said earlier, our principal brand essence is IT Youth empowerment. Second, we are consciously investing in building a pool of competent IT talents/workforce of the future by discovering and nurturing them from this formative stage. You should also be aware that we are an IT solution company as well. We are a bit silent in this aspect for now because the existing pool of talents to utilize in this respect in our economy is still very shallow. So you can see the synergy. At HiiT, we are building a world-class and sustainable strategic IT concern, not a petty contracting one. That is why we have to deepen our roots for our superstructure to stand firmly in the future. In today’s e-economy, competition is global; therefore, human capital development is more critical to the survival of the private sector than the public sector. We are therefore not expecting government to do too much for us, hence our strategic relationship with NACOSS, in particular and tertiary students, in general. I am happy to report that the students themselves are not only happy but excited with both the relationship and our IT empowerment intervention concept. They have so far recognized our good efforts and contributions by NACOSS bestowing on HiiT Distinguished National Award of Excellence, on one hand, and making my good self a National Patron of NACOSS, on the other hand.

Nigeria Internet Group (NIG)

As you are also aware, NIG is an NGO that was founded/supported by some public sector institutions/agencies and the likes of Engr Olawale Ige (Former Minister of Communications), Engr. Iromantu (Former CEO, NCC) Mr. Jim Ovia (MD/CEO), Zenith Bank, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem (Incumbent President, ATCON), Engr Lanre Ajayi (Incumbent President of NIG) and Engr Ernest Ndukwe (Executive Vice Chairman/CEO, NCC) and others in the mid 1990s. The aim was to use the platform as an advocacy organ to encourage the military government of that era to see the imperative of the Internet as a tool for economic development and also, to make internet access available around the country. In 2008, internet access, to a large extent, is available nationwide. We may argue about affordability to most Nigerians at the moment, but access is no longer a serious issue. To this extent, NIG can be said to have achieved its goal of widespread internet access. What is therefore next for NIG, as the incumbent Vice President, it’s my pleasure to let you know that our focus now has shifted to content on the internet by Nigerians in Nigeria. Our current theme is Internet for Jobs, I4J, for short. Our vision in this respect is to use the internet as a platform for creating a critical mass of job opportunities for Nigerians and making Nigeria a positive contributor to the emergent knowledge economy, and to be a preferred destination for the global Internet related services including outsourcing Web Application Development, e-Commerce and Software development. We have organized two public seminars on this theme in the last one year; more activities in this respect should be expected soon. My parting words: its time for Nigerians to start uploading contents of global commerce seriously not just to continue to download alone because the future of the global economy will be determined by content competitiveness, as most other factors would soon become constant.


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NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

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Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.

NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution

The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.

Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.

The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.

They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception

“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said

The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.

It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.

Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.

“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.

“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.

 

 


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Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria

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Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.

Tizeti Selects Nokia to Provide LTE Fixed Wireless Access Solution for High-Speed internet Services in Nigeria

Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.

Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.

Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.

Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.

The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.

Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”

Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.

The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.

On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”

 

 


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Risk Assets Push Higher on Vaccine Hopes; Eyes on the Fed

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By Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM,

After two consecutive weeks of back-to-back declines, global stocks kicked off Monday with solid gains amid a surge in M&A activity and positive signs towards vaccine developments. Currency markets were little changed ahead of a busy week of monetary policy announcements, while Oil and Gold ticked slightly higher.

The two big deals announced over the weekend were Softbank’s plan to sell chipmaker ARM to Nvidia for more than $40 billion and Gilead Sciences to acquire Immunomedics for a price tag of $21 billion. Meanwhile, on the vaccine front, AstraZeneca resumed its phase-3 trial on Covid-19 after being suspended last week following a neurological illness developed in one participant, and Pfizer announced that its vaccine could be distributed before year-end if found safe and effective.

 

Central Banks will take centre stage this week with the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan all due to announce policy decisions. Out of the three meetings, the Fed is likely to be the most watched following its historic shift towards average inflation targeting. The big question remains how will the FOMC put this policy into action?

 

From what we know now, the Fed is set up to keep interest rates near zero for a long time, possibly for several years. Given the new framework, any spike in inflation won’t translate into immediate rate hikes as the Fed wants to compensate for the lost years when they have failed to hit the target. The dot plot will be the key guide for investors and traders alike. If inflation projections remain at 2% or below for the foreseeable future, this will solidify market expectations for a low rate environment for many years to come. That said, Jay Powell would still have to explain in more detail how the new framework will be translated into policy action.

 

In June’s economic projections, the Fed anticipated unemployment would be at 9.3% by year-end, but, in August, unemployment was well below that forecast at 8.4%. Many other economic data surprised to the upside during the June – August period in a clear sign that most economists were overly pessimistic towards the strength of the recovery. However, there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty given the latest surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide and the US, especially as we get closer into the winter season. A second wave will undoubtedly put the recovery at risk in the final quarter of the year and it will be interesting to see the Fed’s view on that issue.

 

As for the market selloff over the past two weeks, the Fed isn’t likely to show any signs of concern. In fact, policymakers should be satisfied with the pullback as the risk of a bubble in several assets has been growing due to the Fed’s extremely accommodative policies. Unless we see another 10 -15% drop, do not expect the Fed to intervene.


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