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ICT Stakeholders List Ways to Creating Billion Dollar Firms in Nigeria

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In a bid aimed at supporting the government and leaders in technology in their efforts at driving the change needed to be seen in the Nigerian technology industry, various key Stakeholders in the nation’s ICT sector recently met in Abuja and identified interventions required to create billion dollar companies in Nigeria.

At the first Digital Africa Leadership Series, with the theme: “Generating Laws and Policies for Creating Local $Billion Tech Companies – How do we get there?,” which held on the 20th of April, 2017 at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Abuja, participants which included the Honourable Minister of Communications Technology, Barrister Adebayo Shittu; the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami; Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, members of the civil society organisations, entrepreneurs, government functionaries and CEOs of top ICT firms came up with far-reaching decisions.

In a communiqué at the end of the one-day event, participants noted that there is an established correlation between the number of $billion tech companies in a country and the size and level of development of their economy. Therefore, there is a need for the country to consciously think of the policies and legal framework needed to build the Nigerian Tech companies that would achieve multi $billion status. This also means that Nigerian companies should always see the whole world as its market.

Stakeholders at the event noted that Nigeria with a population of about 200million people is supposed to play a leading role in Africa, especially in the innovation and diffusion of ICTs. Whereas this is the case, other countries like Kenya and Rwanda seem to be bettering Nigeria’s efforts. It was, therefore, agreed that greater effort should be put in the country to ensure that she meticulously executes her National ICT policies or Road Map.

Participants agreed that the Minister and the leadership of other ICT agencies should inspire and drive a new vision for Nigeria’s ICT industry through their public engagement and use of the social media.

It noted that the country has developed several ICT strategy documents, roadmaps, national ICT blueprints and master-plans, and bemoaned the seeming confusion as to which is the driving document for the country. It therefore, called for a need for harmonisation and/or communication of the right document, as stakeholders desire to know which one of them is the driving plan for the industry.

The stakeholders noted the assurance of the Honourable Minister that the Federal Executive Council will soon approve the National ICT Roadmap document as well as the National e-Governance Masterplan document. Accordingly, they advised that when approved, the same documents should be widely circulated.

Stakeholders noted the existence of Local Content Office under the National Information Technology Development Agency and the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology and advocated for a target percentage of local ICT contracts to be awarded to Nigerian businesses, advising that where no Nigerian company is qualified, such Nigerian company should understudy the expatriate company in order to ensure transfer of knowledge within a specified period.

The Stakeholders further noted the inadequacy of the current intellectual property and copyright protection laws in Nigeria and advocated for the laws to be updated to provide sufficient protection for Nigerian businesses.

It was noted that the quality of ICT education from Primary, Secondary and especially the tertiary levels are weak when compared to what is obtainable from other parts of the world. It is, therefore, important for the government to create the enabling policies, laws and infrastructural environment needed to greatly enhance the quality of ICT education in Nigeria, adding that Government’s direct intervention to hasten the size and variety of capacity in ICT for the country is highly desirable.

Participants at the one-day forum noted that despite the two decades of efforts at enhancing relative ICT infrastructure in the country with regards to electricity, telecommunications network and computer hardware availability, the level, size, number and quality of infrastructure in the country are still insufficient, thereby impinging on the ability of the country to properly participate in the coming 4th Industrial Revolution. They, therefore, advised that the government must take urgent action to provide the country with a befitting infrastructure in readiness for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The forum also noted that many infrastructural projects in the country are poorly supervised and built with substandard materials. Therefore, Government should ensure that an effective quality system is introduced and that projects are undertaken to specification, cost and agreed timeline.

It further noted that there is a need to ensure that various ICT policies from the different ICT Regulatory Agencies in the country are appropriately communicated to all relevant stakeholders such as trade unions, individuals, organisations and sectoral regulators.

Stakeholders observed and noted that most organisations that are calling themselves Incubators are actually playing the role of Accelerators and that there is a dearth of knowledge in Incubation Hubs Management, and therefore, advised that the Government should create special facilities for training Nigerians on the development and running of Incubation Hubs.

With regards to investment in all sectors of ICT, it was noted that if the enabling environment is there as well as the right kind of incentives, not just local investors but even international investors and capital will move in. Similarly, it was noted that in order to enhance capacity for the industry, Government should encourage organisations that train people for various ICT skills with incentives such as Tax Breaks. This according to the forum, will encourage numerous organisations to train graduates bearing in mind that they will only be able to keep a few while the rest will go into the industry to enhance capacity.

The Communiqué commended the Minister on the plan for the proposed transformation of NIPOST to amongst other things, provide electronic banking services, e-commerce services, banking and finance services, transportation and logistics services, property development services, etc. It noted with excitement that the NIPOST reform package will soon be launched and therefore, encouraged the Minister to see to the successful and timely implementation of same.

The forum noted that in order for the Government to catalyse the Nigerian ICT industry, and because of the general recession in the country, government should in addition to setting up the necessary enabling environment, provide funding for startup businesses, and provide the needed funding for entrepreneurs under an appropriate arrangement without having to be in business itself.

The stakeholders acknowledged with commendation, the fact that the Federal Government has decided to build a National ICT Park. They suggested that in addition to this, a minimum of 30 Techshops should be built across the country. The Techshops will provide implements or building materials, i.e. both process and product technologies with which to fabricate whatever innovative ideas Nigerians may have using all possible fabrication materials like iron, steel, wood, plastics, etc. In other words, the Techshops will provide centres with all the necessary building tools for the trialling and fabrication of different innovative ideas.

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ACT Foundation Partners Cancer Aware to Screen Over 300 Women

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By Peter Oluka
In line with our vision to mitigate against the spread of cancer in Nigeria, Nigerian’s grant-making non-profit organization, Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation has partnered with one of its grantees, Cancer Aware to sensitize residents of Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos on breast cancer.

The sensitization exercise which held recently enabled over 300 residents of the community to be educated on the symptoms of breast cancer as well as the opportunity to be screened by medical officers.

Commenting on the exercise, Ndifreke Okwuegbunam, head, Programs, ACT Foundation, highlighted on the importance of breast cancer screening for women. She said “Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers that affect women all over the world. We are aware of the invaluable role women play not only in our homes but in our society at large. And so today we have come to support our grantee, Cancer Aware to bring information about this deadly disease to the women of Mushin Community”.

Mrs. Okwuegbunam also noted that asides the health sector, ACT Foundation is also passionate about entrepreneurship, environment and leadership, as these key sectors will help provide a holistic approach in creating a better world for all.

Speaking at the event, Hon. Emmanuel Bamigboye, the executive chairman, Mushin Local Government Area (LGA), expressed his appreciation to ACT Foundation and Cancer Aware for supporting the government in safeguarding the health of people in Mushin LGA. He called on all women to avail themselves of the opportunity to get screened and protect themselves.

Also speaking about the initiative, Tolu Falowo, executive director, Cancer Aware, expressed her gratitude to ACT Foundation for supporting this laudable project of sensitizing as well as screening residents of Mushin community on breast cancer. She also thanked the Mushin Local Government for the support they provided in making the day a reality.

She said “Cancer Aware is committed to fighting against the spread of breast cancer in Nigeria, this we do through sensitization and screenings because we understand the importance of early detection. We cannot do this alone and so we are calling on the government as well as corporations and well-meaning Nigerians to join us to eradicate the prevalence of breast cancer in Nigerian women.

The sensitization exercise which gathered over 300 women entailed checking of vital signs education on breast cancer, symptoms, care and screening by trained personnel. Attendants also used the opportunity to asked trained medical personnel questions about this menace that is eating deeply into our society.

Cancer Aware is one of the 22 Non-Profit Organisations that benefitted from the 2017 ACT Foundation grant.

Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation is a grant making non-profit established to support local, national and regional non-profits working to address challenges and associated vulnerabilities in the African continent.

(L-r): Olumide Emeralds, monitoring and evaluation officer; Alexandra Bazuaye, communication officer, both from ACT Foundation, and Project Team Lead, Cancer Aware at the breast cancer sensitization exercise in Mushin recently.

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John Momoh To Deliver Keynote at 2nd Fate Alumni Conference

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By Peter Oluka
Fate Foundation; the premier not-for-profit organization promoting business and entrepreneurial development in Nigeria, said it has perfected all arrangement for the second Annual Alumni Conference holding in Lagos next week.

The Annual Alumni Conference (AAC) is a platform for Fate Alumni and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise entrepreneurs to learn from entrepreneurial leaders and influencers sharing knowledge about key topical areas to grow and thrive as entrepreneurs while also giving them an opportunity to network and connect with one another.

John Momoh, the founder and executive chairman, Channels Television Networks, is confirmed to deliver the Keynote address on the theme: Unlocking the Growth potential of MSMEs through Partnerships and Innovation, to build on the success of the inaugural edition and foster a sense of community and tradition.

The Syndicate Sessions will feature distinguished speakers such as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, House of Tara, Tara Durotoye, Partner, Risk Consulting Practice, KPMG, Tomi Adepoju, Founder, Chicken Republic, DejiAkinyanju, Chief Executive Officer, Mall for Africa, Tope Folayan, Co-Founder & Director, AACE Foods, NdidiNwuneli, and Principal Consultant, ADSRAT Branding Management Consortium, Charles O’Tudor. Others eminent speakers include Founder and Chief Responsible Officer, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Adenike Ogunlesi,Chief Executive Officer, Food Chain Limited, FoluAfricanfarmerMogaji, and Chief Executive Officer, Brandzone Consulting LLC, ChizorMalize and Lead Consultant, Thistle Praxis, Ini Abimbola.

Speaking on the Alumni Conference, Executive Director, Fate Foundation, Adenike Adeyemi, said, “Following the success of the maiden edition of the conference last year, we secured a larger space this edition so even more entrepreneurs can benefit from our line-up of experienced entrepreneurial leaders and industry experts who will be speaking at the conference.

“This year’s syndicate sessions will focus on Access to Markets; Brand Management; Agribusiness and Sustainability. New to the conference this year is the Consulting Bar; an extension of the monthly Fate Consulting Clinic, where our alumni business men and women can have one-on-one access to expert advisory support for a period of 30 minutes each”.

She added that, “Given the success of our free monthly Consulting Clinic sessions, we have invited specific institutions that provide and/or are relevant to MSMEs advisory in the following need areas: Legal; Tax; Finance; Human Resources (HR); Digital Marketing Strategy; Communications; Sustainability; Financial Software and Credit Rating”.

Fate Foundation was instituted in 2000 by Founder & Pioneer Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fola Adeola,with a mission to foster wealth creation by promoting business and entrepreneurial development among Nigerians.

Since its inception, Fate Foundation has graduated over 5,200 entrepreneurs from its Aspiring, Emerging and Special Entrepreneurs’ Programmes and trained over 40,000 Nigerians in its short entrepreneurship Certificate courses.

Fate Foundation has also enabled over 72,000 Nigerian youths on the path to entrepreneurship. About 65% of its Alumni are actively running their businesses and most are beneficiaries of Fate’s Business and Alumni Support Services.

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EU–Nigeria Forum to Explore Investment Opportunities in ICT, Agribusiness

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(L-r): Ibi Ikpoki, economic officer, EU Delegate; Filippo Amato, trade counselor and head of Trade and Economic section, EU Delegate to Nigeria & ECOWAS; Juan Juse Otamendi, economic and commercial counselor, Embassy of Spain at the EU Nigeria Business Forum pre-event press briefing in Lagos.

The European Union-Nigeria Business Forum will expose attendees to investment opportunities in the information and communication technology (ICT) and agricultural sectors in Nigeria.

During a press conference in Lagos to announce the forthcoming 6th edition of its Forum, scheduled to hold from 5th – 6th of October 2017 at Eko Hotel and Suites, the Group revealed the theme as “Youth as an Engine of Broad-Based Economic Transformation”.

Under the theme, the Forum will beam light on possibilities in the fields, essentially, the role of youths in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Agribusiness, which are key sectors to support the growth and diversification of the Nigeria economy.

The Forum will also have specific sessions designed to address agribusiness and developing value chains as well as gender equality and economic empowerment of women as a key factor to sustainable development.

The forum will be a platform for business leaders and policy makers from the European Union (EU) and Nigeria to explore business openings and how to increase investment , with a view to create more jobs, Particularly in the ICT sector and agriculture.

This 6th EU-Nigeria Business Forum aims to identify the key role of youth in Digital Economy and the potentials of ICT in cross cutting themes with experiences shared from the EU.

To strengthen EU and Nigeria’s business relations through identification of opportunities in the agribusiness space in creating jobs, boosting exports and addressing local food security problems.

This year’s Forum is also aimed to identify the opportunities in addressing local infrastructure challenges and establishing an EU-Nigeria dialogue.

The EU-Nigeria Business Forum will also establish a more enabling environment for the fulfillment of women’s right and to achieve real and tangible improvements in gender equality.

They also seek to identify aspirations of young people, youth organizations and networks in view of the upcoming Africa-EU summit.

Filippo Amato, head of trade and economic section, European Union delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that “EU-Nigeria trade remains strong, standing at 19.9 billion Euros in 2016, In spite of the significant effect of recession on Nigeria’s trade.

“EU remains the top destination for oil and non-oil exports from Nigeria”, Amato said. European Union-Nigeria Business Forum believes that the success of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) launched by Nigeria in February 2017 depends on active private sector participation, and calls for effective confidence building to attract investors.

They also opined that creating jobs that will stimulate the economy and providing sustainable employment, particularly for young people, is crucial both for the present and future of Nigeria.

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