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Nigerian Startup Gets into MIT Solve

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Publiseer, Nigeria’s popular digital content distribution platform, gets into MIT Solve Global Challenges, a business incubator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that advances solutions from tech entrepreneurs to address pressing global issues by connecting innovators with resources such as expertise, human capital, technology, and funding.

 

Since August 2017, Publiseer has been addressing the issue of digital content distribution and monetization in Africa, giving independent African writers and musicians from low-income communities the opportunity to earn a living from their craft.

 

In the first-quarter of 2018, the Nigerian startup reported a profit of over $10,000 without any venture investment.

 

Solve, every year, aims to find potential teams around the world who can have success in Economic Prosperity, Health, Learning, and Sustainability. Solve then enables these teams to connect with its global community of private, public, and nonprofit leaders to form partnerships.

 

Last year, almost 1,000 people across 103 countries submitted solutions to Solve’s four challenges. Solve’s open challenges include ‘Work of the Future’, ‘Frontlines of Health’, ‘Coastal Communities’, and ‘teachers * Educators’.  Solve has many key advisors, including Laurene Powell Jobs, Colin M. Angle, and Ursula M. Burns.

 

Publiseer is a popular digital publishing platform in Nigeria, which helps African writers and musicians from low-income communities in Africa, to distribute and monetize their creative works across over 400 digital stores in 100 countries.

 

The mission of the Nigerian startup is to promote the creativity of the African people to the rest of the world through books (written words) and spoken words (spoken words).

 

Founded by Nigerian computer programmers and serial Internet entrepreneurs, Publiseer has distributed and monetized over 600 creative works.

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Nigeria Gets Chowberry App to Reduces Food Waste

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Oscar Ekponimo, a Nigerian software developer

Chowberry, an App has been launched through which Nigerians can identify food that is close to its expiration date at nearby grocery stores.

 

They can purchase this food for a reduced price and distribute it to people who might otherwise not get enough to eat.

 

Chowberry is also aimed at combating hunger and food waste in Nigeria.

 

The app was invented by Oscar Ekponimo, a Nigerian software developer who partnered with the programme Project FoodAccess to connect impoverished Nigerians and non-governmental organizations with cheap food.

 

Chowberry works through several steps. The first step involves local grocery stores. As the store’s food products near their expiration dates, the stores begins reducing the food prices each day. The app alerts Nigerians and food organizations about the lowered food prices.

 

Project FoodAccess specifically matches the food with families they register need it the most. These include families with young mothers and female breadwinners.

 

Chowberry helps to alleviate the problem of hunger, which affects Africa as a whole and Nigeria in particular.

 

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 223 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were hungry or malnourished from 2014 to 2016. Nigeria itself has been declared unable to feed its entire population by the World Food Programme.

 

Ekponimo himself has a personal experience with hunger. After his father had a stroke and could not work, his family could not afford to feed themselves. Chowberry has given Ekponimo the opportunity to help others going through similar situations.

 

The app has had a significant impact within different areas in Nigeria. The three-month trial run has fed 200 families and 150 orphans. Many Nigerians have requested that the program expand to more communities.

 

Chowberry also has assisted the 20 participating grocery stores. Food that would have been thrown out before now gets sold to families in need at a profit to the store. The helpful software has gained international recognition as well, winning the Rolex Award of Enterprise in 2016.

 

Ekponimo hopes that he can expand Chowberry to feed the hungry in other African countries. With continued innovation from people like Ekponimo, technology like Chowberry could be used to help put an end to hunger in Africa and around the globe.

 

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IGF Seeks Women Participation in Internet Governance for Development

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Mrs Mary Uduma, the Chairperson, Internet Governance Forum (IGF) says active participation of women in the internet process is key to the development of any nation.

Uduma made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the first Women Internet Governance Forum in Nigeria organised by the Centre for Information and Technology Development (CITAD).

The programme is supported by Association for Progressive Communication (APC).

She said that inclusiveness of women and acquisition of the knowledge of the Internet was key to their development.

“And these are the things the forum wants the women to be part of in the internet governance process.’’

She said that to bridge the gap, the forum drew up women focus programmes to enable them express themselves, participate fully and voice up their opinions.

“The essence of this meeting is for capacity building and for bringing information to the women and showing them the areas they have right and authority to speak out.

“And for them to participate in the development process, the internet is the platform as this is the enabler for everybody to be inclusive.

“This programme is the first step of involving women in internet governance.

“We have brought women together, spoken to them, stimulated them and educated them to know they have a platform to voice out their minds,’’ she said.

Prof. Amina Kaidal, a board member of CITAD said that the focus for the programme was to bring women together to identify problems hindering them from the internet process.

Kaidal, who is also a lecturer at University of Maiduguri said that the forum would strategise on how to improve internet accessibility for women.

Maryam Haruna Programme Officer, Gender and Internet CITAD said the over the years the organisation had been struggling for gender inclusion in Nigeria, especially in the northern part.

Haruna said that CITAD discovered that women participation in IGF was very low and this was what prompted the organization to organize the forum to bring up issues concerning gender challenges in internet and online.

“The forum aimed at bridging gender gaps in accessing information and Internet policies, especially as it affects Nigerian women.

“So that is why we brought women from government, Civil Society Organisations (CSO), Academia, private sector to discuss the challenges and proffer solutions,’’ she said.

Ms Ene Ede, the Gender and Social Inclusion Adviser, Search for Common Ground, an NGO, a participant said that access to internet was like “having the world on your palm’’. “If the women have the world on their palms, it would be a better place as internet is virtually everything and huge platform of engagement.

“If women are left out of this engagement, the world will not be good for development to take place and for everybody to participate equally, women need to be in the cyberspace.

“Another participant, Miss Hassana Ibrahim of Women Will, an initiative of Google for Women said that the programme was apt as CITAD was trying to involve more women in decision-making of how the internet should be used.

“You notice that decision-making is about male and women are excluded so, bringing more women to participate in Internet is a very good idea,’’ she said.

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CSEAN Asks Buhari to Assent Electronic Transaction Bill

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Cyber Security Expert Association of Nigeria (CSEAN) has called on President, Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Electronic Transaction bill, which has been passed by the Senate in May last year.

 

The cyber security advocacy group, said that assenting to the bill becomes very crucial at the moment, when cyber criminals are becoming very daring, innovative and are seen destroying economies with just a click of the mouse.

 

The Electronic Transaction Bill is a bill that provides for the validity of contracts expressed in electronic forms, matters relating to evidence, security of online transactions, electronic signatures, disclosure of information, protection of personal data, and protecting the rights of consumers.

 

Mr. Remi Afon, president of CSEAN, explained that the bill, which has been sitting on the President’s desk for some time now, will protect Nigerians in their financial transactions when finally signed into law.

 

Apart from protecting the majority of Nigerians in their financial dealings, the bill will also protect the banks and their infrastructure, as they can leverage it to prosecute cases and make claims. He said the time has come when the government would show great seriousness in ensuring that Nigerians are protected in their financial transactions

 

He said: “As an advocacy group, we are calling on the President to assent to the Electronic Transaction Bill, as it will provide a legal and regulatory framework for conducting transactions using electronic or related media, and for the protection of the rights of consumers including the facilitation of electronic commerce in Nigeria.”

 

Wondering why a bill that seeks to protect the citizens against criminals is delayed, Afon argued that Nigeria is so lackadaisical when it comes to the issues of cyber security.

 

He added that Nigerians always wait for an incident to happen before they can take action.

 

“The government really needs to hold the bull by the horn. Everybody, including the banks is feeling the impact of cybercrime, but the government has not really taken steps to secure the country’s cyber space,” he said

 

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