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Online Courses, Means of Developing Digital Expertise in Africa

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“The World is flat” is the title of the bestselling book by Thomas Friedman, the influential American author and Journalist, where he argued that several developments in the 21st century such as outsourcing, the personal computer, the Internet, the standardization of commercial technology globally and international trade have led to a shift in economic competitiveness across the world.

This shift has created a level playing ground and new opportunities for millions of people in developing countries who hitherto were economically and socially disenfranchised. Empowered by these new opportunities, many of the world’s poorest nations have over the space of a decade developed highly skilled workers who have not only put pressure on workers in developed nations but are also displacing them in some instances.

Several corporations in the European Union and the United States now outsource services such as call centre operation and computer coding to markets in Asia.

One of these levellers of development, the Internet, has transformed the way educational content is delivered worldwide.

The rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) allows millions of people to attain professional and university level training affordably and at their own pace. This has undoubtedly revolutionized education in the past decade.

MOOCs platforms such as Edx and Coursera, backed by leading international universities, provide easy access to training in highly sought skills such as Data Science and computer programming.

Africa’s severe developmental challenges have often meant that development workers and partners working on Digital inclusion on the continent have often focused more on providing the basics such as greater Internet access and computer appreciation to the mass of underserved youth on the continent.

However, in the past five years, several tech clusters have emerged across Africa, a testament to the maturing expertise of a young people in Africa in the higher end tech skills.

As the success stories of these tech start-ups spread, including how they have successfully secured international investment funding, they can inspire a whole new generation of Africans to change the digital landscape in Africa.

Thousands of youths across Africa, using these success stories, can thus envision a viable future in technology.

And given the challenges inherent in many education systems in Africa, MOOCs provide an avenue where Africa’s budding technologists can learn with the best students and teachers in the world, demolishing the developmental barriers common to the continent. Raising awareness of the many opportunities that abound in MOOCs is key to this objective.

In this regard, Paradigm Initiative has been in the forefront of spreading awareness of the big opportunities available in MOOCs and other digital tools. Through our digital inclusion program called ‘LIFE’, an acronym for ‘Life Skills. ICTs. Financial Readiness. Entrepreneurship’, we are working across underserved communities and schools in Nigeria to improve the livelihoods of youths through ICTs.

For youth in Africa to derive the best benefits from the opportunities inherent in MOOCs however, African governments must resist the temptation to shut down the Internet as they have repeatedly done in the past 2 years.

Our Digital Rights in Africa Report 2016 documented 11 cases of Internet shutdowns in Africa in 2016. In 2017, there have been 7 cases of Internet shutdowns in Africa – In Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal, Morocco, Mali, South Sudan and Togo.

The Internet shutdown in Togo happened on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, in response to political protests in the country. Asdemonstrated by the story of Nji Collins Gbah, the 17-year-old Google coding champion from Cameroon who might have missed the opportunity to enter the competition had the Internet shutdown of January 17, 2017, in Cameroon arrived a day earlier (January 16, the deadline for the competition), numerous opportunities for self-development for youth are lost through Internet disruptions.

For Africa to reach its full potential, developmental tools like the Internet must be kept on and its use encouraged, particularly by young people.

 

 

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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E-Business

Cybersecurity Firm unveils Certification for Cloud Environment

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Petrovice Nigeria has introduced Certified PCI Cloud Security Assessor (CPCI CSA) a certification programme for cybersecurity in the cloud.

This is based on meeting PCI DSS when using a cloud service provider recommendation by Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC ).

As a follow up to the recommendation, petrovice has signed a MoU with Digital Bridge Institute for training to achieve the certification for corporates and individuals.

Certified PCI Cloud Security Assessor is for a vendor, cloud customer and cloud auditor to assess the over- all level of security offered by cloud provider and build the necessary assessment processes for engaging with cloud provider in other to comply with PCI security standards and legislation.

Adesanya Ahmed, chief executive officer, Petrovice resources, said that the product serves as a Cyber security framework for cloud, as well as a standard to secure financial transaction in the cloud.

“Awareness has been made through a data classification workshop organize by Office for Nigerian Content Development in ICT in collaboration with Microsoft on September, 2016. Certified PCI Cloud Security Assessor, is the only qualify certification you can use to assess PCI DSS when using a cloud service provider,” he said.

It would be recalled that Petrovice resources solution for last mile connectivity and cybersecurity recently secured patent license from the Federal ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment through the Registrar Trademarks, Patents and Designs.

The Patent involves the processes of using TV white space (available frequency within UHF and VHF) for last mile connectivity with the use of 802.11af WI-FI ( establishing connectivity through machine to machine integrated 802.11af in auto mobile, POS machine, medical equipment, and surveillance camera regardless of their location), inclusive with the processes of implementing a mobile device management (MDM) solution to address variety of security threat by mobile devices, apps, and Oss that make up today’s increase diverse corporate computing environment to protect organization from today’s and future cyber security and threat. Please check the below architectural design.

The solution will enable a very high bandwidth for triple-play video streaming without buffering, allow for a longer-distance Internet connection with no line-of-sight challenges and enhance mobile hospitals regardless of the patients’ locations. Further, this invention will also enhance automobile advancement for mobile Wi-Fi and maintenance.

“It will also improve the scope of surveillance by security personnel regardless of the distance, and it will resolve intermittent Internet service, which has been the major obstacle to mobile-computing penetration and cloud computing for rural areas and developing countries with last-mile challenges.” he said.

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Black Friday: Jumia Food Shuts Down Music Concert with Eating Competition

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By peter oluka

In what appears to be the first time an e-commerce company in Africa will organise a music concert to usher in the Black Friday festival, Jumia Group Nigeria (all the companies within the ecosystem) surpassed its customers’ expectations this year by organising a music concert in honour of the Black Friday festival which started on the 13th of November and is expected to run through 13th of December.

The highlight of the concert which held last weekend was the eating competition organised by Nigeria’s No.1 food ordering platform, Jumia Food.

While there were many side attractions such as the adrenalin pumping  performances by the likes of Wande Coal, Falz, Skales, Niniola, Sound Sultan, Mayorkun and others, the eating competition brought frenzy to the crowd, and left them spellbound.

A total of 6 young teenagers (3 males and 3 females) volunteered to participate in what seemed easy at first glance, but only 2 of them could finish the task effortlessly.

Imagine the rigour and torture of having to consume within 10 minutes several plates of foods/snacks without using your hands! It was similar to a tug of war but this time around, using your mouth to pick every piece of food on the plates – and oh, without drinking water.

The anticipation from the crowd was much; the cheer was deafening and each contestant had a pool of supporters drumming up support for the win. The grand prize was a N10,000 food voucher.

Speaking at the event on the company’s participation at the concert, Olamide Bada, managing director of Jumia Food said the platform provided a good opportunity to interact with its teeming customers.

“For us, it’s about interacting with our customers and showing them how to use our platform to order for food. As a company, we have created this platform to ease the stress of ordering food from your favourite restaurants within minutes,” Bada said.

At the end of the competition, 2 contestants (both males) tied in for the win and emerged as the winners of the competition. They were instantly rewarded with their N10,000 food vouchers.

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E-Business

Eliminate Wasting Time and Act in Real Time

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Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited

A sudden technical problem in an organisation, especially during business hours, can cause havoc for an IT department as it is not usually prepared for it, nor does it immediately know what the exact cause of the disruption may be.

 

This is according to Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited, an authorised distributor of NETSCOUT solutions throughout Africa.

 

Jacobsz said, “There is no value, in such a crisis, in having the IT department internally trying to apportion blame between the network engineer versus the network technician or service provider. Instead, the IT department should have a system in place that avoids such ‘finger pointing’ and enables seamless and continuous operation, as well as effective preparation in the case of a crisis.”

 

Visibility for network engineers

Jacobsz said that network engineers need to be aware of as many touch points to the data as possible, especially with applications that are hosted in the Cloud.

Data sources throughout the network need to be leveraged to provide an overall picture of how services and applications are performing. NetFlow, SNMP, stream to disk packet capture, automated data mining and application performance alerting need to be used system wide to stay on top of performance and security threats, while providing IT professionals with actionable data in the event of a problem.

There are simply too many changing technologies for the network engineer to keep up with at an expert level. In view of this, the network engineer needs to rely on automated analysis tools to provide direction on problem alerting, isolation, and root cause resolution.

 

In order to validate, troubleshoot, and restore these systems, network engineers require visibility to take the right action in the right place, which ultimately saves the company money and prevents downtime.

 

Monitoring and analysis by network operators/ technicians

Before a new system goes live, it should be monitored and analysed by network operators using management and monitoring systems and tools.

There are major benefits to implementing these management systems – first, technicians will be able to keep step with a highly dynamic network environment, which places greater demands on their role.

These demands include application problem resolution and analysis of network components, which cannot be accessed in the Cloud.

In today’s critical network environments, technicians cannot continue to lean on legacy systems that only display up/ down status and ping response times. This data cannot facilitate finding the root cause of slow application response and often does not allow the problem to be isolated and resolved.

 

Preparation by service providers

This is a key to success, in addition to constant skill updates and the ability to be flexible and adaptable. Service providers need to establish and execute on some critical best practices to keep ahead of the complexity and to provide the highest level of service and support to their clients.

Key areas to focus on for best practice execution include:

  • Pre-deployment assessment;
  • Installation and test; and
  • Documentation and reporting.

Service provider field teams can improve project scoping and estimates, reduce call-backs and issues, and ensure satisfaction that results in prompt payment, additional service opportunities and referral business, by focusing on these three areas.

 

“It is important that IT divisions within the region’s enterprises are as efficient as possible in order for them to not only compete on a global scale, but to also, ultimately, have a bigger impact on the local economy. We are proud to have this kind of real-time service assurance and cybersecurity solution available to the African market, “ concluded Jacobsz.

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