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…That Nigerian Start-ups May Survive



Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, presenter of Tech Trends on Channels Television

Start-ups in Nigeria have always been viewed as veritable vehicles for kick-starting and sustaining technological advancement in the country.

How has these start-ups fared in Nigeria in terms of being empowered to achieve this? I recently had a robust discussion with Mohammed Mega, the Founder of start-ups in Nigeria.

Mohammed is a foremost tech start-up motivator in Nigeria.

On why he it is so difficult to be a start-up in Nigeria, Mega is of the opinion that the government is not encouraging start-ups enough in Nigeria because so many of them struggle in the system.

This is due, for instance, to lack of government patronage of these start-ups for local content that can assist them to grow. He opined that many start-ups, such as Vougepay, decided to look for support outside the country when support is not coming from within, hence, this high level of struggle to survive by start-ups in Nigeria. Jega is, however, optimistic that, if the government creates the enabling environment, start-ups in Nigeria will thrive.

Responding to a question on what constitutes enabling environment for start-ups to survive, Mega stated that these includes encouraging solutions, ideas and innovations that are coming up.

In our Clime, however, he noted that our young start-ups bring forth solutions, ideas and innovations but they are not encouraged as they are always looking for capital to drive their start-ups.

Government, he said, needs to go out there and identify these talents that are scattered all over the country and support them, domesticate their solutions, link them with the ecosystem that can assist them and turn their start-ups to global solutions. For Mega, looking inwards is the at for the government to go in order to achieve local content input.

On where he is going with ‘Start-up Arewa’, Jega stated that his goal is to identify talents, build capacity and mentor them from the ideas stage through to start-up and incubation stages as well as assist them to become blue chips.

He stated that Start-Up Arewa is in partnership with sine Hubs in Abuja and across the Northern part of Nigeria to serve as breeding grounds for these identified start-ups. The outfit, Jega further said, is interested in seeing that these start-ups acquire the technological depths to become developers, programmers as well as come up with ideas.

This is because, if properly managed, these young start-ups can come up with solutions to solve our day to day problems.

To stem the challenges of not making profit by most start-ups, Jega said Start-Up Arewa is in collaboration with stakeholders that are already successful within the ecosystem that can support these start-ups and show them the way to go.

He stated further that hardcore developers were also brought in from Lagos to teach these start-ups on the right tools to use so they can be sustainable.

Regarding the current high rate of unemployment in the country today, Jega is of the view that technology can play a prominent role in stemming and reversing the scourge because, every young person is passionate about technology and people cannot do without technology today.

Government, he said, should use this knowledge to help the youths by teaching them how to develop apps, write programs, etc., so that they can deliver the ideas and solutions to solve our everyday problems.

On what support pillars he would like to see for the tech ecosystem to be sustainable and to help it grow beyond our wildest imagination, Jega posits that it still boils down to the government taking the initiative by looking inwards to help develop the tech ecosystem to grow, especially at the grassroots level.

The government, he also said, should look out for local stakeholders and plug in to their platforms and networks to solve our everyday problems. This way, he said, the government will be patronizing local content. On a final note, he is of the opinion that government should assist start-ups in raising capital through institutions such as the NIPC and the Bank of Industry, so that they can have funding for developing prototypes that can solve problems.

CFA is the Founder, & Co-producer/Presenter,Tech Trends on Channels Television


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YouTube Go launches in Nigeria




YouTube has announced that the YouTube Go app previewed at the recent Google for Nigeria event is now available for initial public download in Nigeria.

YouTube has been reimagined to meet the needs of the next generation of users in YouTube Go, which is available for initial download in the Google Play Store. YouTube plans to continue to learn from our users to improve the app over time.

Speaking on the announcement, Johanna Wright, VP Product Management at YouTube, said: “YouTube Go has been designed to take into account the challenges faced by YouTube users in countries like Nigeria, such as data cost and connectivity. With YouTube Go, we are making it possible for everyone in Nigeria to be able to discover videos that they love, regardless of their network status or data consumption preferences.”

With more Nigerians coming online every year, and most of them only using their mobiles for internet access, we are working hard to make products that are tailored to Nigerians’ specific needs.

“You can save videos for offline watching, and can choose what resolution video to save – basic quality or standard quality – giving you better control over how you use your precious data.”, he added.

Built from the ground up to meet the needs of the growing online youth population, YouTube Go offers easy video downloading, phone-number sign-in, effortless searching, and more effective ways to control data use.

YouTube Go also features a home screen that shows both personalized recommendations as well as trending and popular videos nearby, allowing users to see the latest content that the people around are watching, upfront.

It offers a ‘preview video’ function to make it easier to decide what to watch or download.

Before developing YouTube Go, the YouTube team spent thousands of hours gathering information, conducting interviews, doing testing, and refining the product. The result is YouTube Go, an entirely new YouTube app that is designed to be offline first.

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Improved Security Strategies Required for ePlatforms Uptakes- ITSSP




By peter oluka ‎

Nigeria requires adequate cyber security measures to sustain the growth of service deliveries through e-Platforms, said information security experts.

Professor Adesina Sodiya, president of ITSSP in a telephone interview with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek, described cybercrime as a growing global threat, but every country has learnt to defend its cyber space.

Prof. Sodiya said, ‎”Cybercrime is a global challenge; and the recent attacks in Nigeria have been affecting critical areas of our activities. That is why this group is concerned about the development of solutions to tackle the menace. We have to continue to discourse the way forward in terms of our national cyber development”‎

He said that, ‎as a country, professionals must be engaged to develop the cyber defence strategies. “Many countries have gone ahead with the development of defence mechanisms in the cyber space; Nigeria must not be left behind. We have not gotten there.‎

“Why do we need to be more serious about cyber space? There is a popular saying today that the next world war will happen at the cyber space.

“As at now, many countries are gathering information about other countries. They are peeping into other countries’ activities, which calls for us to develop our cyber security strategies to monitor inflow and outflow of data”.

Mr. ‎Aderogba Adeoye, former president of ITSSP also told Nigeria CommunicationsWeek that increase in these e-platforms calls for improved cyber security awareness.‎

“Everybody is talking about e-platforms. If we are to run the e-platforms, it entails a need to develop capacities for security. Your data or information can be wiped off in a twinkle of an eye. As far as the e-commerce platforms are concerned, the intention is to make profit.‎

“For us to continue reaping benefits in e-services applications the capacity development of the human capital must be taken very serious. This is what the conference tends to address.‎

“We are not relenting. ITSSP is an interest group of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS); it is important to us to advocate for focus on issues related to cyber security”, he said.‎‎

He added that recent advocacies have yielded results with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), for instance, introduced information security departments. “That is a right step in good direction. The other day we engaged the Ministry of Justice and the National Security Adviser (NSA) and they were convincing enough on how admitting electronic evidences are helpful in combating cybercrimes”. ‎

“In order to build capacity government has to enhance IT policing activities by ensuring that anybody executing government projects, in IT, are registered professionals. This is another way to elicit adherence to the rules of the business,” Adeoye added. ‎‎

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Stakeholders Frown at Nigeria’s Position on eReadiness Report




by Chike Onwuegbuchi

Information and communications technology stakeholders have frowned at the recent position of the Nigeria on eReadiness status where the country is placed 119 out of 139 countries.

eReadiness refers to a country’s capacity and state of preparedness to participate in the electronic world.

The state of maturity is commonly measured by the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and the ability of its government and citizens to utilize the positive impacts of ICT for sustainable development.

Chris Uwaje, director general, Delta State Innovation Hub, who disclosed the country’s position said: “In the e-readiness report just released early this week Nigeria is sitting at 119.”

He said; “eReadiness status is about the aggregate measure of how countries are faring using ICT or within the ICT landscape, it embodied economic, educational and social index, measured along the lines of sustainable development goals. Each country has an index that they need to pass, it just like exam. But the aggregate sum of our domain platform today is really unacceptable. It keeps us into that realm of super consumption country in ICT but less in innovative and creativity and that is wrong.”

He explained that the more we consume the more we cannot create employment. “The more we consume, the more we are funding capital flight, the more we consume the more our educational sector will be malnourished in terms of knowledge, and will not be attractive, that is why more Nigerians are now in Ghanaian universities and in Republic of Benin universities.

“For the country to move up it is about knowledge Olympiad. We need to refine our educational system, government need to invest more on knowledge parks, incubators, and fund incubators. We have to ensure that lectures and those who can replicate knowledge are given added resources and reward system that enables them. Because we need to create a digital army for this country, so that when financial sector, aviation, transport or any other sector is attack can we defend it?”

Amos Emmanuel, chief executive officer, Programos Software, said that Nigeria has a lot to do if she has to move up in the ladder of e-readiness.

“The game of e-readiness has changed; it is no longer like technological transfer from Europe or America the focus is now on innovation base on the environment. Nigeria needs to reformulate its digital policy,” he said.

He blamed the country’s socio-cultural environment as impediment to application of information and communications technology to every sector of the economy.

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