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Practice Makes Perfect Programmers, Not Just Reading Books- Johnson

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Yetunde Johnson, founder, Lighthouse Hub

Young computer science graduates and undergraduates respectively need the opportunity to practise what they have learnt from books, to be more productive and relevant in today’s programming ecosystem, said Yetunde Johnson, the founder of Lighthouse Hub.

Johnson who doubles as the Managing Director of Slingshot Technologies Limited told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek at the Hub located in Obalende, Lagos State, Nigeria must support initiatives that would enable young IT graduates to have hands-on experience, which will make them more employable too.

According to her, the current ICT curriculum in Nigeria needs critical review to meet the standards of contemporary industrial IT requirements, citing Google requirements for Internship, as showing a wide margin from the curriculum used in Nigeria.

“You can’t use the programming language, for instance, that we used to learn many years ago to teach present day undergraduates.

“Also, though the curriculum may be in dire need of review, what happens to present day graduates and those yet to graduate who are following the current curriculum. We cannot just tell them what they have is of no use. How do we add value? It doesn’t make any sense, because if we start reviewing the curriculum today, it could take up to 10 years to get it done”, she said ,”We need to put something in place that will add value to their academic training  and enable them to become value adding potential employees”.

Johnson said that the Lighthouse Hub, established barely one and half years ago, is attempting to fill the gap by creating an internship curriculum that enables hands-on experience of working with current technology innovations, working within a corporate like environment and adding useful soft skills that are key to business, work and life.

She added they provide an environment to mentor, train and guide IT startups, professionals and entrepreneurs along a pathway to success, limiting their business risk, but encouraging innovation.

The Lighthouse Founder, however cautioned the youths against showing blind eyes to opportunities as they come by , because now a days there are many free opportunities to gain experience and be trained targetted at young people.

She added that IT graduates must understand, though having a degree is an advantage, however, the IT ecosystem is inclined to individuals that couple theory with  practical experience.

“We need to give credit to ourselves and accept the little things we make here. The Nigerian raw human resource is incredible when exposed to relevant and appropriate mentoring and training. I know a young man who makes shoes of extremely high quality. For him to make sales, he had to use a made in Italy stamp. Now, the shoes were made in Nigeria but Italy takes the credit.

“This is one reason we are partnering with a lot of organisations to do a lot of things that compliment the skills that young entrepreneurs leading startups and those seeking to be professionals in the IT arena, would need. One of the things we are planning is a six weeks intensive ‘You-Learn’ programme. If you are a programmer you can’t succeed by reading books alone. Our young people need the complimentary practical approach to doing things”, the Lighthouse founder said.

“The Hub,” said Irene Ademola, the business coordinator, “accommodates everybody no matter how large or small your business could be. We have The Hub, the Co-Working Area and the serviced offices. The intention was to use the hub to create a community of those who are just coming up or who are being mentored or interning with us and those who are already SMEs or established professionals.

“They will be given access to an environment that will encourage them to focus on the development of the appropriate skills and business development. . We made it flexible for networking beyond your own ‘kind’ of people- that is, those outside your immediate business circles, but those who could assist you to grow, climb the ladder or to attain success. This is the environment that the Lighthouse wants to create, one that allows the young and experienced to  meet, join hands and grow.

“Being a member of the hub guarantees you the platform to access the meeting rooms for an allocated period of time.

“It is our way of making life comfortable for small businesses. You can actually conduct your training/ seminars too. It is a small community with a great vision for businesses in the IT ecosystem”.  ‎

 

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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New Toll Gates to be Located at Old Spots – Fashola

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The Federal Government has announced that it has concluded plans to re-introduce tolls on major highways across the country.

 

Mr. Babatunde Fashola, minister of Power, Works and Housing, while appearing before the Senate Commitee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency on Thursday, said 38 points had been identified in the first phase of the re-introduction.

 

“Clearly, tolling is coming,” the minister told the lawmakers.

 

While saying that the new toll gates would be situated at the old spots, Fashola stated that tolls would be collected after the roads had been made motorable.

 

He said, “We are not going to ask road users to pay toll on a road that is not good. While the construction (of gates) is going on, we are working on the design. We want to standardise the design so that when we ask people to come and bid for the construction, we can control what they are going to construct. They are going to construct with the materials we have prescribed.

 

“We can also control the price so that nobody is bidding with disparage prices; there will be the floor and the ceiling. Your price will vary according to how many plazas you build and not because you claim to have used ‘foreign’ materials.

 

“The last part we are working on is the software that drives the management, audit and payment of toll. We want to use the development that has taken place between when the old toll plazas were dismantled and now. There were no GSM and payment platforms as of that time as we have cell phones and cards now. We want to make it very easy for people to go to kiosks and buy toll cards and pay tolls.

 

“It will also be easy to audit from any of our offices. We will be able to see what is going on, how many people passed, how many vehicles, and we can settle payments to operators in a very transparent and accountable way.”

 

Members of the committee decried that only N800m had been released to FERMA out of the N25bn voted to the agency in the 2017 budget.

 

They disclosed that there was a plan to move a motion next week to ask the government to release more funds for road maintenance as the Yuletide season was approaching.

 

Fashola however said releases to FERMA were suspended as the agency did not have a board for some time.

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AfDB Approves $15m Equity Investment in Africa Capital Works Fund

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a US$ 15m equity participation in Africa Capital Works Fund.

The investment will finance Sub Saharan Africa’s mid-market companies in strategically selected sectors that offer the potential to be transformed into local and regional industry champions, over a longer than usual ownership period.

Launched by the independent alternative asset manager, Capitalworks Group, is a US$300m fund, targeting institutional and professional investors across the continent.  The Fund, led by Joint Managing Partners, Beth Mandel and Nana Sao, will invest in financial services, agriculture, healthcare and manufacturing by deploying longer termed equity.

The general shallowness of African capital markets and the high cost of debt finance mean that Private Equity plays a central role in helping to unlock and grow the potential of individual companies and ecosystems.

Furthermore, mid-sized African enterprises struggle to raise the long-term capital they need to grow through the multiple phases of value creation to achieve enterprise growth and jobs.

The AfDB recognizes the significant imbalance between the supply of and demand for long-term capital in the rapidly growing and developing Sub-Sahara Africa economies and the mid-market companies within them and share ACWs’ thesis that longer-term capital offers a better way to address this imbalance.

The investment in Africa capital Works offers significant potential for development impact and helps advance the strategic agenda of the Bank’s High 5 priorities   with regards to Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, Feed Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

More specifically, the investment will support; the promotion of financial inclusion through offering affordable and improved financial services for the unbanked; gender and social benefits arising from support to smallholder farmers; private sector development through improved access to finance for mid-cap businesses; as well as enhance regional trade by investing in regional companies thereby facilitating their growth across countries and regions.

Africa Capital Works strategy is well aligned with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022) as it contributes directly to achieving the Bank’s inclusive growth vision.  It promotes the Bank’s Private Sector Development Strategy (2013-2017) by developing growth oriented enterprises as well as the Bank’s Financial Sector Development Policy and Strategy (2014–2019) whose priority is to increase access to finance to the underserved and to deepen the financial market.

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Bharti Family Pledges 10% of Wealth To Philanthropy

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By peter oluka

The Bharti Family, which has built one of India’s leading business enterprises, today pledged a part of their personal wealth for philanthropic purposes.

The Family has decided to pledge 10% of their wealth, including 3% of their stake in group flagship Bharti Airtel, towards supporting the activities of Bharti Foundation, the Group’s philanthropic arm, one of the few professionally managed philanthropic bodies in India.

With this commitment, the Bharti Family envisions to significantly step up the scope and reach of Bharti Foundation’s activities, and further enable the Foundation to develop and execute innovative development models to support the aspirations of India’s underprivileged including students of Satya Bharti Schools.

Set up in the year 2000, Bharti Foundation has grown in scale and stature, and evolved well beyond customary cheque book philanthropy to design and implement innovative development models, particularly in the area of education.

Led by a full time CEO and COO, the Foundation’s team of over 200 highly motivated professionals and approx. 8000 teachers work across multiple programs in the areas of education of approx. 240,000 underprivileged children in rural India.

Bharti Foundation has also supported the creation of Bharti School of Telecommunication Technology & Management at IIT Delhi, Bharti Centre for Communication at IIT Mumbai and Bharti Institute of Public Policy at ISB Mohali.

The Foundation has also instituted a number of scholarship programs, the prominent being scholarship for Indian students studying at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Bharti Foundation is a leading contributor to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan that is addressing the sanitation needs of poor households in the country.

The Foundation has built approx. 18,000 toilets in Punjab’s Ludhiana making it an Open Defecation Free (ODF) district benefitting approx. 90,000 people.  Bharti Foundation has now undertaken another similar initiative to make Amritsar District in Punjab ODF with a target to build 50,000 toilets in collaboration with the Punjab Government.

With this, Bharti will become the first corporate to facilitate ODF status for two districts in the country.

Announcing the commitment, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises and Chairman, Bharti Foundation, said, “Today is a major milestone in the journey of the Bharti Family. Being first generation entrepreneurs, we feel absolutely privileged that this nation gave us the opportunity to imagine and build world-class businesses. Bharti’s DNA has always been about creating a deep positive impact on society through our businesses, and we are proud to have contributed to the India growth story.”

“Firm believers in Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of Trusteeship, we have always reckoned that ownership of business is a social responsibility, and wealth creation cannot be an end in itself. Even when we were small in size and relatively modest with our business goals, we always aspired to be part of the wider nation building process.”

“We feel grateful every day for our good fortune and feel the instinctive and overwhelming urge to give back to the society and create opportunities for others. Bharti Foundation has done some exceptional work for uplifting the underprivileged and it stands out as a shining example of how professionally managed development arms of businesses can build innovative and sustainable models that make real and measurable difference on ground. We hope in the years and decades to come, Bharti Foundation will be able to unlock its full potential as a change agent and enable millions of fellow Indians fulfill their dreams.”

Today, Bharti Foundation also announced its plans to set up Satya Bharti University for Science and Technology to complement its existing programs in the area of education. The University will have a strong focus on future technologies like AI, Robotics, AR/VR, IoT, in addition to offering degrees in Electrical & Electronics Engineering and Management. It will be a non-profit centre of excellence and will offer free education to a large number of deserving youth from economically weaker sections.  It will also promote and fund advanced research with global linkages. It intends to add leading global industry partners, i.e. Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft and SoftBank among others.

Making the announcement, Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice-Chairman, Bharti Enterprises and Co-Chairman, Bharti Foundation said, “Having built a successful model for primary and senior schooling under Satya Bharti Schools, Bharti Family plans to build Satya Bharti University – a world-class institution, to support the higher education aspirations of India’s youth. Our aspiration is to develop it into a centre of excellence not just in India but globally.”

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