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Knowledge Based Economy is Key Solution to Recession- Adegboye



Ayo Adegboye, Managing Director at Business Connexion Nigeria/West Africa

Ayo Adegboye, PhD, is the new Managing Director at Business Connexion Nigeria/West Africa.

A Fellow of Institute of Information Management Africa, seasoned professional with combined sixteen years wealth of first-hand experience that cut across both Public and Private Sectors in Telecoms, IT, Consumer Electronics and Marketing.

Adegboye is an alumni of famous Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) Sales Team; the pioneer Business Manager at Galaxy Backbone; under the Presidency also lead a change management at MTN Nigeria with BT Consultants before he proceeded to IBM, Samsung Electronics, South Korea and Schneider Electric West &East Africa as the Vice President, ITB for the region where he was responsible for Overseeing APC by Schneider Electric Go To Market Strategy, IT business and Operation across the region which include P&L.

Adegboye spoke to selected ICT journalists; peter oluka was there for Nigeria CommunicationsWeek. Excerpts.

Business Connexion
BCX is a 35-year old company with about 7000 staff strength. It is the foremost IT system integrator with operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Until recently, BCX was acquired by the biggest telecoms Company in Africa which is Telkom South Africa.
Today, we pride ourselves in providing customer solutions in the areas of specialize services, IT services, system integration and we partner with the best club of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, HP, Oracle, Dell, Schneider Electrics; just to name few.
Business Connexion is also one company that is in the forefront of internet of things. It is obvious that IT transverses all aspects of human life today.
Therefore, we are business enablers. Also, we are that company that has been able to offer one-in-all-solution to offices, including large, medium and small businesses. In many organizations today you still see a lot of architectural work, networking provided by BCX.

Plans to Lead BCX (Nigeria’s) Vision
I am excited about working for BCX with combined sixteen years working experience. As the leader of the new BCX drives in Nigeria, one principal vision for us is to come up with value differentiation programme.
We are not going to channel our efforts on the competition; rather our drives are geared towards superior customer satisfaction.
Hopefully, when the customers are happy, our competitors will come behind. We intend to remain the trusted advisers to our customers; offering them consultancies as well.
Going beyond that, we understand the terrain/environment in Nigeria today. We are lining up blue ocean strategy that will keep us distinct from others.

Recession: Need for Knowledge-Based Economy
Talking about what government should be doing to harness ICT potentials in pushing the country’s economy forward; well, those challenges have be there for years.
Considering the situation we have found ourselves, government needs to come up with strong policies that will create enabling environment.
However, in as much as government is diversifying to other sectors; it must take into cognizance that diversification to knowledge-based economy is key now. When you talk about knowledge based economy, it is about exporting knowledge.
A typical example of knowledge-based economy is India. There are a lot of software from India used across the world. They rake in billions of dollars yearly. Thus, the Nigerian government needs to channel its interest around IT.
In addition, encourage local content. BCX has taken an initiative by appointing a Nigerian to lead its business in the country. This is the kind of initiative that should be encouraged among other multinationals.
Most importantly, ICT policies should encourage local talents to building exportable knowledge so that in few years from now we can leverage that aspect of our resources.
The way policies around ICT are written, the government needs to encourage private-public partnership. Gone are the days’ policies are drafted without inputs from the private/technocrats.

Specific Policy Areas Government Must Consider
No doubt, government has done a lot in enacting policies surrounding IT Governance; I give the officials all deserved credit.
But there are still more areas to be covered like encouraging training. Today, processes around getting forex for ICT companies are not as smooth as should. How do you encourage foreign direct investment with such restrictions.
NITAD, NOTAP, NCC and other are doing very well, however, there are certain areas that shouldn’t be left unattended. I must reemphasis that private/technocrats should be involved in drafting policies that concern this sector. That will be a significant step in the right directions.

Plans for Customers in Present Economic Realities
Still on the recession, Business Connexion is truly African; we are not naïve of the environment we operate in. Recession is something we know that denies you some privileges. So, BCX has taken a lead by mulling initiatives on how to help the customers.
We realized that it is a tough business environment; hence we are ready to help customers save capex, and building resilient business.
We are in the business of taking away the burden of capex by building infrastructure/services so they can pay over time. That way it becomes win-win for all parties.
And because we understand the challenges companies are facing today, our models are designed to empower businesses. Power, for instance, has been a perennial issue in Nigeria. Therefore, the cloud infrastructure was designed around taking care of that gap.

IoT as Evolution Strategy
Yes, I did mention in the beginning that we are pushing the internet of things (IoTs) drive in this ecosystem.
It is still part of our evolution strategies. When I mention customers, they cut across enterprises: large and small.
We are making huge investments on cloud technology. What that translates to is that a typical SME does not need to invest a lot in infrastructure, software or hardware.
Again, it is our business model to take everything to the cloud. In a layman’s term, when you take a business to the cloud, there is going to be economy of scale. So, we are undertaking a pre-investment on behalf of several SMEs.
To a large extent, we are here to support SMEs and large enterprises; providing solutions for them to manage their operations more efficiently. There are several segments of SMEs that we want to cover; so we are doing a survey that will help us understand them more for better services and products.

IoT, Cloud Computing and Skill Sets
I will start with the internet adoption. The talk about millennia started around 1996. From my experience as then public sector officer with Galaxy backbone, when the usage of technology was introduced in offices there was slow adoption.
But as government has taken up the challenge, today, we talk about e-governance, so, the civil servants are adapting to it. Likewise, in IoT and Cloud computing, there are going to be processes of adoption.
Once that is done it becomes seamless. An average person with a phone knows how to send message via Facebook. You are not trained on how to use Facebook; IoT will become a way of life.
That does not mean we are creating enabling environment for SMEs to leverage IoT or cloud, we want them to access the suites or several applications with ease.

Set Targets for BCX
I actually have my priorities for short, medium and long terms. One of the things I want to be remembered for is actually to bring Business Connexion to top position among IT companies in West Africa.
Again, I will lead the journey into the cloud for BCX, because that is the new phase of business. I want to have a proper handshake with both private and public sectors.
I have had the opportunity to work as a public servant, so brining these experiences together will enable me lead the course, especially in driving SMEs going into the cloud. BCX will unveil a lot of cutting-edge technologies.
I have mentioned that we investing millions of dollars on cloud technologies in the country and you will soon see the impact in this environment.


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Group Calls for Collaborations to Decongest Prisons



A group has called for more support from well-meaning Nigerians to help decongest the prisons.

The group, Justice Development and Peace Centre made the call recently when it visited the Kirikiri medium prisons to secure the release of some inmates.

Speaking after the release of the prisoners who were convicted for wandering and street trading, Mr. Onyema Onyenankeya the Festac Deanery Coordinator of the group, said, “The release of these 8 prisoners today is part of the centre’s efforts at decongesting our prisons. We would have loved to release more of them but we do not have the capacity to do that.”

“We try as much as possible to make sure they go back to their respective homes and then we empower them when we have any of our empowerment programmes. All these require funding”, he said.

“We were told that some people still come on their own to also help release some prisoners. This is what we’re talking about. The person there doesn’t have to be your relative or someone you know before you help such person(s) regain their freedom”.

Onyema added that with the state of the prison facilities and the fact that a facility built to cater for 1,700 inmates now has over 3,600 is cause for worry.

“As at when we visited the prisons, we were told that there were 3,603 inmates out of which 3,080 were awaiting trial and 523 already convicted. We do not know those we secured their release, they’re not related to any one of us but we believe that in doing this we’re helping them secure a better future because they have committed lesser crimes, though it is crime against the state,” he said.

In dismay he noted that even as some prisoners were being released, more were being brought in. “This shows there’s a serious problem that we need to deal with. We must have to continuously decongest these prisons and provide better lives for our teeming youth”.

He however asked that the government do well to upgrade its prison facilities, while also admonishing the released prisoners to desist from all forms of crimes and to at all-times obey the laws of the state.

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 CSO Sends FoI Request To NCC



Following the alleged plans to block online news sites, the Paradigm Initiative has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Nigerian Communications Commission asking the Commission to provide it with information on the matter.

The request was filed by the digital rights advocacy organisation on Friday at the Abuja headquarters of the Commission, giving the Commission seven (7) days as stipulated by the Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act 2011, to release information on the alleged attempts to block domain names of online newspapers.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian Tribune exclusively reported on Sunday, October 5 2017 “that the government, through the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), has engaged the services of a firm in Lagos to block the domain names of “several identified websites threatening national security.”

The newspaper further alleged that Commission wrote a memo to the firm, directing it “to immediately take steps to restrict access within the Nigerian cyberspace in respect of 21 (twenty one) additional websites by blocking the domain names. (The list of websites is attached).”

According to Adeboye Adegoke, Paradigm Initiative’s Program Manager, “the phrase “additional websites” in the memo indicates that there are other websites already marked for illegal censorship through an equally illegal blockage of their domain names. If this is true, then this would be a clear indication of this government’s anti-free speech agenda”

“It has been six days since Tribune published its story and NCC has not come out to deny the story. This is why we have filed this FoI request. NCC cannot wish this report away; the commission has to come out and address Nigerians on the issue”

In the FoI request, Paradigm Initiative asks NCC to provide it with answers to the following questions: Is the Nigeria Communications Commission or at of its agents in the process of taking steps or block or restrict the domain names of certain websites? If yes, what websites would be affected? What criteria were employed in selecting these websites? Under what legal provision is this being carried out?

According to Tope Ogundipe, Paradigm Initiative’s Director of Programs, “it goes without saying that blocking the domain names of newspapers is a brazen violation of the right to Freedom of Expression as guaranteed not only by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but also by international instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory.”

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Web4Africa Celebrating 15 Years of Operations In Africa



By peter oluka

Web4Africa, the Pan African Web Hosting Company, has reached a milestone this October, celebrating 15 crystal years of business.

The company, offering web services physically from Nigeria, has grown from the dreams of the founders, serving 40,000+ clients across over 120 countries.

Today, the giant strides of Web4Africa is felt across the region with the peculiar nature of customer-centric services to hundreds of domain types as well as hosting solutions from four datacentres across Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Established in 2002, Web4Africa is one out of the only two ICANN Accredited Domain Name Registrars in Nigeria and boasts of young- professional team (average age of 28) who are skilled and motivated deliver a happy experience to the clients.

“It gives me great pleasure in joining Web4Africa employees, clients and host of business partners South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana; in fact, across the Continent, in celebrating the company’s 15th anniversary. We have come a long way since commencing operations in 2002 and are very excited about our future as the company continues to thrive in these difficult economic times,” said Oluniyi Ajao, the President and CEO, when discussing the celebration.

Web4Africa’s ability to engineer solutions based on customer’s specific needs has helped the company to continually grow over the past 15 years. For instance, the Company is among the few that accepts Bitcoin, Perfect Money, Skrill, Payza, and more for Domain Registration, Web Hosting, VPS Hosting, Dedicated Servers.

“Our strongest area has always been the mass market. It so happens that to cover that large number of people, our price has to be reasonable. We make our pricing to be within reasonable range to attract the right people”, Mr. Ajao said, while speaking on 25% discount offering to customers as part of packages to mark anniversary.

Clients’ fondness for Web4Africa’s is not far-fetched, but due to its affordability and cost-effective carrier-neutral environment; local cloud hosting (in Nigeria), offers promise for future growth and 100% uptime.

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