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Why Nigeria must invest in digital technology – El Rufai

Nigeria needs to look for a way to move from the agrarian and industrial into the services sector, and ICT is a way to do that.

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El-Rufai: How Vodafone recorded its ‘biggest’ investment mistake in Nigeria, FG concludes plan to borrow N2 trillion from Pension Fund, Infrastructure: Tapping into pensions funds - a step in the right direction? 

If Nigeria is to join the richer countries of the world, she must invest aggressively in technology, improve local production, and cut cost of governance.

These were some of the opinions presented by experts during a virtual colloquium tagged Government Unusual: Innovative Economic Solutions to Unlock Mass Prosperity held on Saturday afternoon.

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While making a presentation at the Rauf Aregbesola colloquium, Governor Nasir El Rufai noted that investment in digital technology must become a priority if Africa hoped to join the league of developed countries. He said,

Investing aggressively in digital technology is the only way Africa can preserve its growth and continue to lift people out of poverty. We must invest in the digital because henceforth, every sector of governance and living will depend on the digital.

READ ALSO: FG sets committee to support tech start-ups with affordable internet access amid lockdown

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He added that one of the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic was the need for Nigeria to embrace technological advancement so that Nigerians could benefit from the numerous opportunities that came with it; and pointed at the recent decision to crash right of way charges as the first way to go.

In agreement with his position, CEO Lotus Capital, Mrs Hajara Adeola, added that investment in technology was the best way to get Nigerian youths to take advantage of global opportunities without migrating to other countries.

Nigeria needs to look for a way to move from the agrarian and industrial into the services sector, and ICT is a way to do that. Our youths are innovative and capable, so if we can train our youths in technology, then we can get homegrown solutions to some of our issues without them having to migrate” she said during the panel discussion.

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Infrastructure for business

Unless infrastructural developments are shaped and directed towards business developments, the country will continue to invest in infrastructure which have no benefits.

“You don’t shape infrastructure as how you think it makes sense. you do it in a way that follows the money because ultimately that is where prosperity comes for everybody,” Chairman of Citibank Nigeria limited, Yemi Cardoso said.

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The global terrain continues to change and Nigeria must develop a framework to align its growth strategy with the changes, identifying and eliminating bottlenecks as we go forward.

The colloquium, which was held online (via zoom), had over 700 participants across several countries, and was also streamed live on Youtube.

Panelists at the colloquium were Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor, Kaduna State; Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, Governor, Kebbi State; Mrs. Hajara Adeola, CEO, Lotus Capital Limited; Mr. Bismarck Rewane, CEO, Financial Derivatives; Dr. Joe Abah, Country Director, Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI); Dr. Yemi Cardoso, Chairman, Citibank Nigeria, and Boason Omofaye, the Moderator.

Dr Yemi Kale, Statistician General of the federation and CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) was also present.

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Patricia

Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career. As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

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3 startups to get N3 million grant each in the COVID-19 virtual hackathon 

The hackathon hopes to identify accessible and cost-effective E-Learning solutions for public schools.

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3 startups to get N3 million grant each in the COVID-19 virtual hackathon 

The Nigerian Communications Commission has announced that 3 finalist startups will get a grant of N3 million each at the end of the COVID-19 virtual hackathon 

These three startups will be selected from submitted entries that meet all the criteria and provide adaptable digital solutions for addressing the present and future impacts of pandemic and epidemic diseases 

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The solutions must be novel, clearly explained, with proof of concept  

NCC announced this through a statement published on its Twitter handle.  

The grant, it said, will enable the three startups with the most promising digital solutions to produce a prototype within 2 months of receipt.  

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READ ALSO: Commissioner urges youths to explore World Bank’s $200 million grant 

According to the statement, submitted entries are expected to provide solutions in sectors such as health, digital communications, education, transportation.  

For those in health, the solutions should find a way to empower frontline healthcare workers or prevent, trace, and contain the spread in Nigeria.  

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Solutions in digital communications are expected to aid the sustenance of economic activities and people-to-people communication while encouraging social distancing without compromising productivity. 

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The hackathon also hopes to identify accessible and cost-effective E-Learning solutions for public schools, as well as improved safety measures in public transportation in Nigeria.  

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Interested tech hubs, startups and innovative digital SMEs can still submit entries on or before July 17, 2020.  

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Hushpuppi extradited to the United States

Hushpuppi and Woodberry were arrested along with ten other African suspects in an operation tagged “Fox Hunt 2”.

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Hushpuppi extradited to the United States

Alleged Nigerian fraudsters, Raymond Igbalode Abbas (Hushpuppi) and Olalekan Jacon Ponle (Woodberry) have been extradited to the United States, according to a statement by the Dubai police.

In an announcement on Thursday afternoon, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Wray praised the “exceptional effort exerted by the United Arab Emirates”, in fighting transnational organized cybercrime including the arrest of Hushpuppi and Woodberry taken down in the operation Fox Hunt 2.

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Director Wray also praised Dubai’s police for their cooperation in extraditing the “unwanted criminals”, who committed money-laundering and multiple cybercrimes to the United States”.

Hushpuppi and Woodberry were arrested along with ten other African suspects in the special operation “ Fox Hunt 2”.

READ MORE:  U.S. publishes names of 6 Nigerians charged with internet fraud against Americans

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The suspects are accused of committing crimes outside the UAE, including money-laundering, hacking, criminal impersonation, cyber fraud, banking fraud and identity theft.

The Dubai CID, Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf said incriminating documents were found of planned frauds worth a total of $435 Million.

Also seized in the arrest were $40.9 million in cash, 12 luxury cars valued at $6.8 million, 21 Computer Devices, 47 Smartphones, 15 memory sticks and five hard disks containing “119,580 fraud files as well as addresses of 1,926,400 victims.”

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Facebook bans racist ads, in response to ad boycotts by big brands

Nearly 100 brands resolved to pull their ads in support of the #StopHateForProfit movement.

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COVID 19: Facebook provides free Ads to help WHO combat Misinformation, Facebook to change Libra unveiling plans, Facebook launches new messaging app, 'Tuned', just for couples, Facebook bans racist ads, in response to ad boycotts by big brands

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has announced a change in the company’s policies to now prohibit hate speech and racist content in its advertisement.

Speaking over the weekend, Zuckerberg explained that the new policy will ban advertisements “that claim people from a specific race, ethnicity, nationality, caste, gender, sexual orientation or immigration origin are a threat to the physical safety or health of anyone else”

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Also, Facebook will do more to protect immigrants, migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers from ads that suggest they are inferior to other groups of people or from ads that express contempt, dismissal or disgust directed at them.

In a Bloomberg interview, the CEO had noted that the company will ensure that Facebook remains a place where everyone can use their voice to discuss important issues, but that any attempt to incite violence, suppress voting, or discriminate a group of people, will be checked.

Why the policy change?

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This change in policy comes after a weeklong tussle with advertisers with nearly 100 brands resolving to pull their ads from Facebook for the month of July or longer, as part of the #StopHateForProfit movement.

READ MORE: Facebook takes on Zoom with its new video chat feature

The movement is being backed by organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Sleeping Giants, Color of Change, Free Press and Common Sense.

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Although Zuckerberg made no mention of these boycotts, it would appear that this is a move to pacify advertisers, and prevent competitor platforms like Pinterest, Amazon and —- from swooping in to take advantage of the situation.

That movement protests “Facebook’s repeated failure to meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on its platforms.”

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The brands boycotting the platform includes big spenders like Unilever, Coca-cola and Verizon, as well as some other smaller companies like Patagonia, REI, Lending Club and The North Face, according to a running list from Sleeping Giants.

It is not certain how much impact this would have on the company’s finances, given that Facebook has over 8 million advertisers on its platform, the bigger brands may soon influence more companies to join the movement.

The companies had explained during the week that Facebook was not the target of the movement but to drive home a message on the moderation of bigoted and prejudiced contents.

There is yet no hint as to whether the brands are pleased with Facebook’s new move, but it is clear that if the boycotts continue, the brands will likely shift their ad spending to other companies.

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While announcing its decision to stop ads on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the U.S. for the rest of the year, Luis Di Como, EVP of Global Media, said in a statement;

“We are actively engaging with all digital platforms to make meaningful change and impact trust and transparency,” the statement said. “We have made substantial progress, and we acknowledge the efforts of our partners, but there is much more to be done, especially in the areas of divisiveness and hate speech during this polarized election period in the U.S.”

He added that the company will explore other media options for its ads in the U.S. in a bid to discourage “divisiveness and hate speech during this polarized election period in the U.S.”

According to marketing analytics firm Pathmatics, Unilever has spent more than $11.8 million in the U.S. this year on Facebook ads alone .

Coca-Cola CEO and Chairman, James Quincey, said in his statement that the company was not joining the official boycott like other big brands, but was only pausing ads on all social media platforms globally for the month of July.

“We will take this time to reassess our advertising policies to determine whether revisions are needed. We also expect greater accountability and transparency from our social media partners” he said.

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