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Nigeria Eager to Embark on Smart City Project- Shittu



Mr. Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications

Although, there is never a time to be fully ready for a smart city project, however it remains critical process in the wheel of city urbanization and renewal, said Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications.

According to Shittu, Nigeria is ready and eager to embark on that process. He made the remark during a presentation on the Proposed “Smart Cities Nigeria Summit”, scheduled to hold 8th -9th of August, 2017 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

Having said that, Shittu reminded the Local Organising Committee that (LOC) that it is a common knowledge that more than fifty four percent of the world’s population live in urban cities.

He said that continued urbanization will add more people to the urban population and invariably more challenges on government to make our cities more efficient, safer and conducive for our citizens.

“Our world is becoming more globalised, interconnected and intelligent. The systems and technologies that underpin so much of how the world works are smarter. We live in a time of unprecedented advances in every sector of human endeavour. In the ICT industry of developed economies alone, we are seeing the coming of age of a whole new generation of intelligent systems and technologies: more powerful and accessible than ever before.

“Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of our country. We are wrestling with both an infrastructure gap, after years of underinvestment, and an innovation gap from poor innovation performance in the business sector over the years. Improving both is essential to improve our fundamental economic prospects. By linking infrastructure and innovation, we increase the potential to help close both our infrastructure gap and our innovation gap”.

On the Nigerian Smart City Initiative, the Minister said, is not a silver bullet or a magic wand from government designed to make all cities and government operation ‘smart’ with one shot. “Rather, it is a conscious effort by government, working with the private sector and all other stakeholders to forge a public private partnership to develop scalable, replicable, interoperable and measurable solutions that will make our cities and citizens smarter.

“It starts by doing simple things, the smart way. One step at a time. That is why we are willing to work and partner with everybody in the IT space towards this unique and sustainable project.

IT companies will have the chance to team up with cities and infrastructure companies to help advance smart city/smart infrastructure technologies and systems in Nigeria. It is an opportunity to demonstrate and scale up Nigeria IT innovations and to show how IT can be linked with physical infrastructure to deliver business and public benefits”.

He said that the two day multi-stakeholders international summit will, among others, take a critical look at the level of preparedness, unique challenges, and emerging solutions necessary for a sustainable smart city initiative for the country.

Additionally, the summit will offer huge business opportunities for providers of smart city technologies to exhibit and pitch their solutions and products to Federal, States and Local Governments top officials, and private real estate developers who are all expected to attend the summit.

“The ‘Smart Cities Summit Nigeria initiative is not intended to be a one-off summit.  More elaborate technical stakeholders’ engagements will continue to take place with different sectors in the ICT ecosystem well after the summit. We will also continue to work with our partners to design and proffer practical steps and solutions that will assist the Federal Government in formulating a unified and robust National Policy that will have a corresponding implementable framework towards the Smart Cities Nigeria initiative.

“That is why we have taken care in constituting members of the Local Organizing Committee of the Smart Cities Summit Nigeria to reflect the different sectors of Smart Cities development whilst also leveraging on their areas of core competences.

“We know that going smart would not be easy. In fact, it is a huge challenge, given the lack of critical infrastructure in the country. Non-availability of constant power, for instance, is a major challenge for any smart city initiative for the country. Cheap, clean and dependable power supply is the bedrock of any smart city project. So also, is effective broadband penetration and affordable data service. The Nigerian ICT Road Map 2017-2020, the National Strategic Plan 2016-2024, the Broad Band Policy and the new Power Sector Reforms of this administration, are some of the ways Government intends to address these challenges.

“There is never a time to be fully ready for a smart city project. It is a process in the wheel of city urbanization and renewal. Nigeria is ready and eager to embark on that process. This does not mean building only new smart cities, it also means making our existing cities and villages more efficient and more effective, using the technology available at our disposal. Again, doing simple things the smart way, one step at a time!

“In order to encourage healthy competition among Cities and States, the Ministry, in collaboration with its Partners, will soon launch ‘The Smart City Challenge’. The idea is to encourage Local Governments, Cities, State Governments, and the built industry to take revolutionary steps to go to the level of digital technology. Details of the competition and the prize money will be worked out with our Partners and made available to the Press”, he said.




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Malami, Onu, Others May Make Buhari’s New Cabinet



President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice Osibanjo

The faces of those likely to make up President Muhammadu Buhari’s new cabinet are beginning to emerge with Boss Mustapha, secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), tipped to retain his seat.


An investigative report by the SaharaReporters also tipped Abubakar Malami, minister of Justice and attorney general of the Federation (AGF), and Hadi Sirika, minister of State Aviation to hold portfolios in the incoming cbinet.


President Muhammadu Buhari had, after securing his reelection, declared publicly that “only people of proven integrity will make the next cabinet”.


Accordingly, the President’s inner clique, Abba Kyari, Mohammed Babagana Monguno, Mamman Daura, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai and Babagana Kingibe, are said to have taken a firm stand, to ensure that many members of the present cabinet are weeded out.


For the SGF, the clique refers to him as a level-headed and a tall, standing stabilizer, especially within Adamawa politics. Other reasons include the expectation that he would play a significant role in the legal battle by Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to challenge the outcome of the presidential election, especially as the SGF has been a long-standing associate of Atiku.


However, Mustapha may face stiff opposition from the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, for his role in scuttling the chances of her younger brother, Mahmood Halilu Ahmed, during the APC governorship nomination.


For daring to oppose her in that humiliating manner, SaharaReporters gathered that Aisha Buhari has also shopped for Mustapha’s replacement. Mohammed Buba Marwa, who hails from the same Adamawa State as Mustapha, is being positioned from Mrs. Buhari’s camp to take over the SGF job in the new cabinet.


However, Aisha’s move may be contained by the cabal, since, over time, Buhari has been swayed against her where conflicts of interest arose.


Mrs. Buhari has had cause to repeatedly cry out and openly allege that her husband’s government is ‘cabal-driven’, an allegation the President has openly denied.


But much of the drama that would characterise Buhari’s second term may be staged in the South-West, as sources are predicting that Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), may eventually pull out of the party.


This is because the cabal is weaving a strategic plan to checkmate his overbearing influence within APC politics. Part of the plan is to inject a new breed of politicians from the South-West against Tinubu’s interest.


Akinwumi Ambode, outgoing Governor of Lagos State, may top the array of those disgruntled by Tinubu’s control style. If the plan succeeds, all presidential appointees from the South-West may be selected from Tinubu’s bitter rivals. This way, he (Tinubu) would have been cut to size ahead of 2023.


As to why the cabal would turn its back on Tinubu, the answer lies in Buhari’s ready-made 12 million votes in the north, at least, going by the permutation of the cabal. The position of the cabal is that owing to the North’s capacity to produce over 12 million votes, which was the case in the February 23 presidential election, rotational presidency is no longer tenable.


It is, therefore, most likely that the cabal is zeroing in on either Mallam Nuhu Ribadu or Nasir el-Rufai to succeed Buhari in 2023.


For the rest of the south, the cabal has no soft spot for anybody, except that Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, and few others are still considered dependable allies.


Somehow, as the theatre of activities would be unveiled with Buhari’s inauguration on May 29, Boss Mustapha is believed by the cabal to possess certain indispensable qualities for the battle ahead.


But as to whether things will work out eventually as planned, only time shall tell.

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The Tony Elumelu Foundation to Announce Selected Entrepreneurs for 2019 Programme



Tony Elumelu

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), the leading African philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs, will announce the selected applicants for the 2019 cohort of the Foundation’s flagship Entrepreneurship Programme on March 22, 2019.


The event, which marks the 5th round of the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Programme, will take place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.


Every year, the Tony Elumelu Foundation opens its application portal to African entrepreneurs, with businesses of less than three years old.


Through its $100million Entrepreneurship Programme, the Foundation empowers 1,000 entrepreneurs annually, who receive $5,000 in non-refundable seed capital, access to mentors, a 12-week training programme and opportunities to promote their businesses to a global audience.


All applicants receive access to TEFConnect, Africa’s digital entrepreneurial hub, which provides access to networks, training, further capital sources and business opportunities.


As a means of cascading its proven entrepreneurial tool kit to the huge numbers of applicants, the Foundation launched in 2018, TEFConnect, the digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs. The platform, which has currently over 400,000 users, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to network, receive training and forge business partnerships to scale their businesses beyond physical borders.


In the five years since the Foundation launched its Entrepreneurship Programme, it has empowered 4,000 African entrepreneurs directly and an additional 470 entrepreneurs supported by the Foundation’s partners.


The Foundation recently appointed Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu as CEO effective from April 1. Mrs. Ugochukwu succeeds Parminder Vir, OBE, who will continue to lend her experience and expertise as a member of the Foundation’s Advisory Board.


Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, incoming CEO,  emphasised the importance of partnership in reaching additional entrepreneurs beyond the Foundation’s annual commitment of 1,000 entrepreneurs.


“Each year we see a significant uplift in applicants. Our execution partner, Accenture Development Partnerships, are currently reviewing and finalising the applications. Over 215,000 African entrepreneurs applied from across 54 African countries, up from 151,000 applications last year, with an increase in female representation from 62,000 in 2018 to 90,000 in 2019. These rising figures demonstrate the burning desire of the African entrepreneur to develop our continent, and we must urgently convert this passion into viable businesses to develop our continent.


Our Programme has developed a robust mechanism for directing capital effectively and efficiently, to those who can deploy it in local communities with the greatest impact. We are looking forward to working with partners to collaborate with us, to scale the platform and process we have created. Empowering African entrepreneurs must be a shared responsibility to create economic prosperity for all”, she said.


Speaking on the Entrepreneurship Programme, Osato Noah, West Africa Lead, Accenture Development Partnerships, said:


“We have worked with the Tony Elumelu Foundation since the inception of the Entrepreneurship Programme. In 2015, the first round of the Programme saw us review 20,000 applications for the Foundation and this year we reviewed over 215,000 applications. The sheer diversity and speed at which applications have scaled in the last four years have been incredible. We commend the Tony Elumelu Foundation for their commitment to the transparency of the programme, and Accenture is proud to partner in the delivery of this Pan-African project.”


The Selection Announcement will also feature a Nigerian TEF Alumni Meet up, as well as an interactive dialogue with TEF Founder, Tony O. Elumelu, CON.



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Itanna to Invest $30,000 in Each Start-up in 2019 Accelerator Programme



Itanna, the venture platform launched by Honeywell Group in 2018, has announced the commencement of the 2019 edition of its Accelerator Programme and is calling for applications from tech-enabled startups. The 2019 edition will be the second programme for Itanna.

Itanna launched in 2018 with four (4) cohort companies. The four cohort companies were chosen after a selection process that commenced with over 200 applications. This year, Itanna is also looking forward to receiving hundreds of applications from tech-enabled start-ups across Africa.

The 2018 cohort companies were (Accounteer,  KoloPay, Tradebuza and PowerCube) with 3 companies (Accounteer, Tradebuza and PowerCube), receiving $25,000 in investment from Itanna.

All companies also received training and mentorship in the form of UI/UX Sessions, legal and HR workshops, classes on technology, business and marketing, reviews of revenue/pricing model and operational metrics, mentorship sessions and guest lectures from some of Africa’s most renowned entrepreneurs and business icons. The 2018 edition ended with a demo day, which provided opportunities for the cohort companies to present their businesses to investors.

Applications for the 2019 accelerator programme are open from 18 March 2019 to 19 April 2019. Itanna will be increasing the number of cohort companies for the 2019 programme to 10 and the investment amount to $30,000.

The programme will run from June 2019 to September 2019 and will also culminate in a demo day where the cohort will pitch their start-ups to investors.

Speaking on the 2019 edition, Tomi Otudeko, Director, Itanna, who is also Head, Innovation and Sustainability at Honeywell Group, said the latest edition of the accelerator programme is yet another opportunity for Itanna to identify, select and invest in more developed tech start-ups looking for growth capital.

“Itanna will support investee companies to scale up their startups by leveraging Honeywell Group’s extensive network, industry expertise and, most importantly, access to capital,” she further said.

Also speaking, Tony Idugboe, Vice President and Head, Investments at Itanna said he was looking forward to another successful edition of the accelerator programme.

“We are more than ready to receive and review applications from start-ups across Africa and we are even more excited by the opportunity to work with another set of innovative, passionate and committed young tech entrepreneurs in the 2019 accelerator programme,” he concluded.


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