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Huawei Launches $1.5B Fund to Help Build Africa’s Smart City Ecosystem

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Huawei has confirmed the introduction of a US$1.5 billion global financing program, with capital from IOT/ smart solutions focused funding company Smart City Solutions, to fuel the development of smart city infrastructure – with specific attention to increasing activity in Africa.

Lauren Fan, president of the public sector at Huawei, announced the safe city funding programme in Shenzhen, China and said it was established to help governments and smart city builders construct IOT, Command & Control for critical communications and Intelligent Video Surveillance.

Huawei executives believe safe city programmes are now a top priority for city authorities, including those based across Africa, but budget constraints remains a challenge and impacts on efforts to intensify safe city initiatives.

With the fund in place, it is envisaged that the conventional siloed approach to projects, where finance analyses budget and it takes time and further resources to move from one phase to another, all stakeholders determine the entire spectrum of the project simultaneously and link deliverables with finance options immediately.

Edwin Diender, VP – Government & Public Utility Sector, Huawei Enterprise Business Group said budget availability is one issue, but there are others including the impact of a largely traditional approach to digital projects and capital investment, and the growing need for flexibility.

“‘What can we do and when can we start’ is usually the beginning of a discussion (with government) … but the end of the discussion will be ‘what will be the budget?’ or ‘where are the budget constraints?’ or ‘we do not have any budget’. Especially if you look at how smart cities and digital transformation is being formalised and established, it is still very much in the old fashioned way.”

Diender explains that this way is based on projects with a clear beginning and ending, and clear outline.

In other words, there is a request for proposal, there is a public tender, there is a range of technical requirements that vendor/ responder must comply with and there is constraint in terms of what budget available.

“That would mean if you want to move forward to something that was very high up, either you would have to find a technology partner that, for the same budget, has a whole bunch of more functionality and features…. or if you want to be more cost effective, you could say that for the amount of functions and for the number of features that you are actually looking for, you can do that for less than your budget.”

These are really the only two options and both represent a challenge because they require effective savings, a review of dispositional income, taxes etc.

“On top of that there are other elements or other possibilities where you can move forward when you come to things like a loan, or lease / financial services – but also that would be limited to the parts that are described within a very closed inwards looking item or issue or component, like a public tender or a request for proposal… because again that is very siloed, it’s very ‘on its own’ – what it’s not doing by itself (because that is not what the principle is about) it doesn’t look at ‘what is this project for’ , is this a first step in a number of projects alongside each other or the one after each other that indeed is going to help pull the nation higher up a value chain, yes or no,” Diender continues.

This is why Huawei has taken a step away from political processes and a siloed approach on the road to digital transformation.

When it comes to budget plans, governments have to make provision for upgrades, migrations or acquisitions such as additional technology – and the global financing program represents an effective vehicle to help manage these processes.

Diender did acknowledge that some people may describe the announcement as merely a strategic means by which Huawei can secure projects/jobs going forward.

“It’s a fair statement, but it’s not necessarily the case that it will only run where a government does not have a budget. If a government has a budget, there are a number of ways how they can use the budget…”

And that includes investing in a PPI-driven ecosystem where there is value-add through collaboration and engagement to smart city development and digital transformation.

Diender says the PPI-model is certainly one engagement option and one that is highly successful. “Because it’s not a government-driven item alone, it is also not a private sector driven item alone… when you talk about smart cities, when they are working together as one, of course create a nation, because that is what cities by nature already do. ”

 

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Nigeria, Korea Strengthen Relations to Advance Science & Technology

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The Peoples Republic of Korea yesterday reiterated its commitment to strengthening collaboration with Nigeria in advancing science and technology.

The Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Jon Choi, said this when he visited the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, in Abuja.

Choi said that the essence of sustaining the long existing cooperation between the two countries was to achieve common growth and development in science and technology.

He noted that science and technology is a critical sector in the development of a nation, adding that strengthening the cooperation would enable the two countries to maximise the potential in the sector.

“We, in Korea, are passionate about the people of Nigeria and eager to further our relationship in the area of science and technology.

“We have common interest in developing relations in science and technology because it is a key sector that drives the development of a country.

“In modern world, science and technology is a key index showing the level of development of a country.

“So, we must explore ways to collaborate in pushing ahead science and technology.”

The ambassador emphasized that Korea was able to advance development in spite of sanctions because the country placed priority in developing science and technology.

In his response, Onu said that Nigeria was committed to using science, technology and innovation to utilize more efficiently the enormous resources in the country.

According to the Minister, science, technology and innovations are central to the development of Nigeria.

“And this ministry occupies a central place in re-directing our economy from commodity-based to one based on knowledge.

“This collaboration is very critical because we want to fight and defeat extreme poverty in Nigeria.

“We want to use science, technology and innovations to create jobs and in turn our Gross domestic Product will continue to grow,” Onu said.

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HMD Global Partners with Techpoint Inspired 2018

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As part of efforts to encourage technological innovation and motivate tech startups in Nigeria, HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, have thrown their weight behind the 2018 annual Techpoint Inspired conference; billed for 29th of May, 2018 at Pistis Conference Centre, Lekki/Epe Expressway, Lagos.

Themed, “The Future is now” this year’s event which provides a unique platform for business opportunities and relationship building, is set to assemble industry leaders, founders of tech enabled businesses, startups, tech lovers, and other stakeholders, to explore tech trends that will shape the country’s future.

Olumide Balogun, Head of Marketing at HMD Global West Africa, posits that Nigeria is quick to embrace evolving technology, with the Techpoint Inspired 2018 being able to gather over 5,000 tech enthusiasts a clear evidence of this fact.

“Technology is an enabler that has become the bedrock of the economy and lifestyle across the world, Nigeria being no exception. At HMD Global, we are convinced that technology can enhance the lives of billions of people around the world, which is why we are delighted to be part of a movement such as Techpoint Inspired.

Moves like this will help open new frontiers of innovations to move Nigeria into a new level of technology quest,” Balogun says.

The 2018 edition of the Techpoint Inspired conference will feature various presentations and panel sessions, on which Balogun will be speaking alongside, Gbenga Adegbiji, General Manager, MDX-I, MainOne; Amina Sambo-Magaji, National Coordinator, OIIE; Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative; and Adedeji Olowe, Co-Founder, Open Banking, on “Solving Infrastructure Challenges for Innovation in Nigeria”. The panel discussion will examine the country’s infrastructural gap, how consumers are affected by the challenges and how they can be solved.

The event will feature other discussions such as: The future of work in Nigeria; The consumer, the bank and Fintech; Policy Framework towards sustainable local technology; as well as presentations made by leaders in the industry.

According to the CEO and Founder of Techpint.ng, Adewale Yusuf, the theme of this year’s Techpoint conference, stems out of the fact that we are entering an era where technology would be the backbone of our society. His words, “The future is here. We are on a mission to understand why new technologies such as Blockchain, IoT, Robotics, etc, would matter in the future.”

While expressing gratitude to the sponsors of this year’s event, Yusuf assured that Techpoint will continue to drive its agenda of connecting people to the transformative power of technology, especially as it affects everyday living.

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Mydrim Art Gallery Announces Master’s Exhibition to Celebrate 25th Anniversary

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One of Nigeria’s oldest galleries, Mydrim Gallery has announced that it will host a Masters’ art exhibition.

The Exhibition, which is set to take place on the 3rd to 4th of June at the Desiderata in Banana Island, marks Mydrim Gallery’s 25th anniversary.

From its creation, the objective of the gallery was to rectify the way that the art profession was regarded at that time.

Art was not considered a noble profession and society did not accord much importance to the artists or their works.

Mydrim over the years has persistently worked to correct that anomaly and create a platform for educating Nigerians about the importance and value of art.

Speaking at the press conference was the gallery’s founder Mrs Sinmidele Adesanya, who explained the importance of an exhibition such as this by relating to the Nigerian proverb that says “A river that does not know its source will soon run dry.

“This exhibition will exhibit twelve Masters such that art lovers, artists and art students know the “source” of contemporary art today.

These are some of the artists who steered the course and remained committed and focused to developing the visual arts in Nigeria in the face of monumental challenges.

To become a Master takes a lifetime of practice and perfecting as well as having influence in the form of mentoring and teaching.

Not only that but these artists also create emblems of Nigerian society at large and add depths to the culture. These artists have the clout that is not born in a day.

Young artists today need to know the history of those who paved the way for them. The masters in this exhibition have not only created an extensive body of work but they have also changed the ideology of what it is to be an artist, and African at that.

They have brought world renown to Nigerian art and have broken away from Western training in artistic techniques; namely, to exemplify, Bruce Onobrakpeya and Yusuf Grillo brought reform to early Nigerian art in their school days by forming the Zaria Art Society which rebelled against Western techniques.

All of the Masters in this exhibition have dedicated their lives to serving the arts and have extensively studied, researched and honed their talent.

Most of these artists are matured in age so Mydrim wishes to celebrate them in their lifetime. Mydrim is the perfect gallery to commemorate these greats since Mydrim has been a part of all of their journeys in some shape or form. We owe it to them to give them the accolades they deserve.

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