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Adesina Seeks Democratization of Technology in Africa

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African Development Bank President Adesina, has urged Africans to embrace technology, and governments to urgently move away from “investing in the jobs of the past, but rather in the jobs of the future. A future that is just around the corner.”

Adesina was addressing a debate entitled: The New Tech Era: Job-killer or Job-creator? organised by Africa Report and Jeune Afrique as part of the 2019 Mo Ibrahim Governance Week. The debate took place in the Sofitel Hotel in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

“The people who control data, will control Africa. Coding must be compulsory, at all levels. The currency of the future is going to be coding,” Adesina said. “Information technology must not be the exclusive privilege of the elite, we must democratize technology,” he added.

Panelists included Pascal Lamy, board Director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and past Director-General of the World Trade Organization; Eric Kacou, an Ivorian businessman and co-founder of ESP Solutions; Chioma Agwuegbo, a Nigerian tech specialist and Zyad Liman, publishing director of Afrique Magazine.

In his welcome remarks, Mo Ibrahim urged the panelists to think about ways to address the “tsunami of young people entering the job market.”

In response to that call to action, Kacou insisted on the need for “a change in mindset to move from BBC or Born Before Computers to rethinking education to teach people how to learn and help them solve problems.”

Panellists acknowledged the critical role the tech industry can play in Africa’s economic transformation through the continent’s digitization. However, they agreed on the urgent need to upgrade the skills of the past, to do it fast, and move away from the social fear of technology.

Research has shown that if governments harness the full economic potential of just the internet, Africa could add $300 billion to its GDP by 2025. Also, 70% of all jobs will have an ICT component by 2020.

Opportunities to transform Africa through technology are endless.  In agriculture, drones can monitor crops, Artificial Intelligence can speed varietal selection, and the Internet of the Things can control smart irrigation systems. Block chains can also aid food traceability.

“We must grab the opportunities…We must democratize technology. Africa should prepare itself. Digital technologies, including Artificial intelligence, big data analytics, blockchains, 3D printing, are already upon us,” Adesina concluded.

The three-hour interactive session ended with members of the audience calling for accelerated policy reforms and creating an enabling environment for innovative technology to thrive. The issue of data protection, identity protection and fake news and how to turn population into assets, topped discussions.

The African Development Bank has already made big strides in building skills in technology and innovation with its Job for Youth programme. In all, 234,000 new coders and 130 Coding Centres of Excellence are being created for Africa to participate in the supply side of the digital economy.

The programme is not restricted to coding. The Bank is working with partners in the private sector, such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, to build technical literacy and arm people at all educational levels with the skills they will need going forward.

To ensure there is a general reskilling of Africans, the Bank has invested EURO 70 million in a technology park in Senegal, to create a regional cluster of tech businesses in francophone Africa.  The tech park is expected to contribute to the diversification of Senegal’s economy, creating 35,000 direct and 105,000 indirect jobs.

Additionally, the Bank has invested in several funds such as the TLcom TIDE Fund, Partech and African Technology Ventures to overcome the challenge of access to finance for tech entrepreneurs.

The Bank has also provided a US$30 million loan to the Rwandan Government to contribute to the innovation economy through the Rwanda Innovation Fund, focused on funding Tech-Enabled SME’s and to develop Rwanda’s entrepreneurial/innovation ecosystem capacity.

The Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend kicked off in Abidjan on Friday. Adesina is joining Africa’s most influential leaders and thinkers for this event, which celebrates the continent’s leadership, debates issues of critical importance to Africa, and charts the way forward for the region.

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Buhari Taps Sunday Dare, NCC EC as Minister

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President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Mr Sunday Dare, executive commissioner (Stakeholder Management) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as the ministerial nominee from Oyo State.

 

Dare, a quintessential public servant was nominated alongside 42 others.

 

Until his appointment at NCC, he was the Convener of the Social Media Clinic (SMC), a Media/Information Technology (New Media) initiative committed to educating private citizens on IT development and also in the use of telecommunication as an information tool and creating awareness on how to responsibly use the platform provided by advancements in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

 

He combined this role with being the chief of staff / special adviser (Media) to Ahmed Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State Governor.

 

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in International Studies from Ahmadu Bello University in 1991.

 

He then proceeded to obtain a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the University of Jos.

 

He was a Freedom Forum Fellow and Visiting Scholar, School of Journalism – New York University (NYU) in 1998. He later proceeded to Harvard University under the prestigious Harvard Nieman Journalism Fellowship between 2000 and 2001 where he studied Media and Public Policy.

 

In 2011 he won the Reuters Foundation Journalism Research Fellowship, University of Oxford, UK where he researched “New Media and Citizen Journalism in Africa – A Case Study: Using New Media Tools and Citizen Journalism to Investigate Corruption in Nigeria.”

 

Dare has decades of multimedia journalism experience spanning about 25 years (1991 and 2016) when he was nominated as Executive Commissioner.

 

He was the Chief, Hausa Service, African Division, Voice of America (VOA) in Washington, DC from 2001 to 2009, where, apart from directing the production of radio and online broadcast news and programs daily, he designed and implemented the adoption of new IT and Telecoms tools for international radio news-gathering and information dissemination to boost audience size and expand reach.

 

He supervised the work of eleven (11) International Radio Broadcast Journalists based in Washington DC alongside 24 reporters/stringers based in West Africa for VOA.

 

He was a founding member of the Nigerian weekly magazines The News and Tempo in the heady days of the military, where he served as Editor, Tempo magazine and pioneer Online Editor/General.

 

He had been reporter/columnist with several international publications such as The Nation magazine in New York and a production editor/writer with the European funded Fourth Estate magazine during the struggle against military dictatorship in Nigeria.

 

In 2009, he became Senior Special Assistant (Media) / Chief of Staff to the Minister of Information and Communications during which he guided decisions on all media and communications related matters, government information dissemination and media policies under the purview of the Ministry.

 

He was at this time assigned to oversee aspects of the operations of the NCC and brief the Minister of Information and Communications on issues, challenges and opportunities in Nigeria’s emerging telecommunications market.

 

He also participated in strategic meetings between the office of the Minister, Information and Communications and the NCC leadership at that time, including being a member of the Minister’s advisory team on the sale of the 2.3GHz spectrum frequency.

 

Dare is a recipient of many awards and has been recognized internationally, including being identified as one of the 50 Leading Nigerians in North America 2010 in commemoration of Nigeria’s 50th Anniversary.

 

He also won the Voice of America Meritorious Honor Award 2009 in recognition of his skillful leadership and outstanding performance; and he also bagged a Committee to Protect Journalists Citation in 2000 by the New York based organization in acknowledgement of his courage as a journalist.

 

His published works include; Making A Killing – The Business of War (Public Integrity Books, Washington DC – March 2003), which won the Sigma Delta Chi International investigative award; Guerrilla Journalism: Dispatches From The Underground (Xlibris Corporation, USA. – March 2007); We Are All Journalists – Africa In The Age Of Social Media (Oxford University Press, UK – 2011) the product of Mr. Dare’s research at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University; and Datelines – A Journalists’ Narrative (May 2016). Ongoing works include; Butting Heads – Traditional Media Versus Social Media – Who Blinks First and Marriage that Works – The Convergence of Telecoms & ICT.

 

He is a member and associate of several professional bodies including the US based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) the Investigative Workshop, American University and a former Knight Fellow, International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), Washington DC.

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Tragedy Averted as Air Peace Crash Lands in Lagos

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Air Peace flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos experienced a hard landing which caused a tyre burst and damage to the aircraft’s nose wheel at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Ikeja Lagos.

 

The aircraft with 133 passengers and six crew members after making emergency landing reportedly veered off the runway on 18R.

 

However, passengers on board the flight were safely disembarked while authorities at the airport were swiftly mobilized to the scene.

 

The incident blamed on “sudden weather change” happened around 11:30 am, causing flight disruptions as the aircraft, a Boeing 737-300 with 5N- BQO, has not been evacuated from the runway as of the time of filing this report.

 

The 18R is the runway used by international flights while the other runway (18L) is only used for daytime operation at the domestic wing.

 

Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olajide, chief operating officer of Air Peace, who confirmed the incident said Captain Ajibola who commanded the flight and her crew handled the incident professionally.

 

According to the Airline, Capt. Ajibola noticed sudden weather changes when approaching Lagos and demanded to land on the International runway which is longer and wider than the domestic runway.

 

In a statement, Olajide said, “After landing safely and rolling to the runway exit, the nose gear developed a problem and partial collapse. The crew notified the airport authorities who quickly ensured the safe disembarkation of the passengers via the passenger door.

 

“We are committed to the safety of our passengers at all time. We will continue to operate in line with international practices and in accordance with regulatory guidelines. We are being assisted by the various authorities to determine to cause of the incident.”

 

Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) said it was notified of the incident and has commenced investigation.

 

Akin Olateru, AIB Commissioner/CEO, called for public support, adding, “We want the public to know that we would be amenable to receiving any video clip, relevant evidence, or information any members of the public may have of the accident; that can assist us with this investigation.”

 

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Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Yetunde Babaeko, TeeA and Others Celebrate Steve Babaeko’s ADWeek Recognition In Lagos

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Leading actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde, Media Entrepreneur, Fade Ogunro, Singer, Praiz, DJ Spinall, On-Air Personality, Gbemi Olateru Olagbegi, Media Personality ,Lamide Akintobi, Comedian and MC, Tee A and other friends, family and close associates of Steve Babaeko, the CEO/CCO of Nigeria’s leading advertising and media production company, X3M Ideas, gathered together on Sunday 21st July at The George Lagos Hotel, Ikoyi, to celebrate Steve Babaeko’s recent recognition by Adweek as one of the top 100 creatives in 2019.

Other guests included; Publisher YES Magazine, Azuh Arinze, CEO Red Media, Debola Williams, Publisher, Brand Crunch, Lekan Babatunde, Chief Strategy Officer, EbonyLife Films, Eunice Omole, CEO Plaqad, Gbenga Sogbaike, Creative Director, STB McCann Lagos, Samson Adeoye, Assistant General Manager, Operations, Channels Television, Kingsley Uranta, CEO ID Africa, Femi Falodun, CEO Smooth Promotions, Ayo Animashaun, Ace Producer & Director, Femi Odugbemi, Supervising Producer, CNN Africa, Stephanie Busari and CEO Daria Media Ltd, Kadaria Ahmed amongst others.

 

The annual honorary list was created by Adweek to celebrate trendsetters and innovators in creative industries across the globe whose ideas are advancing advertising worldwide.

Steve’s wife and ace photographer, Yetunde Babaeko, their three sons and other members of his family also graced the occasion to honour Steve for his distinctive contribution to the Nigerian advertising and creative industry.

 

Speaking at the event, Steve expressed his joy on the Adweek recognition and other accomplishments by him saying,

 

“I’m glad that Nigerian creatives and companies are rising up to change the African narrative and tell original stories.

 

“We are not erasing our history, we are simply redefining the future and this is birth from a place of passion, as well as hard work.

 

“I feel honoured to be celebrated today. We will keep pushing boundaries and changing the way Africa is perceived.

 

We will continue inspiring younger generations and challenge practicing creatives, because this is how we can move Africa forward.” 

Other international accomplishments by Steve Babaeko include being on the jury of the New York Advertising Festival in 2016, 2017 and 2018; serving as a judge at The Loerie Awards in 2017; and recently sitting on a panel at the Cannes Lion International Festival this June.

 

Steve Babaeko is the Vice President of the Association of Advertising Agencies in Nigeria (AAAN), and an associate member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).

 

His company, X3M Ideas, has also won numerous awards including the Marketing World Awards, Cristal Awards, and Lagos Advertising and Festival Awards.

Steve founded X3M Ideas, a digital advertising agency, in 2012 after an amazing advertising career that spanned over 15 years. The agency, today, is present in over four African countries, catering to some of Africa’s biggest brands like Globacom, Dangote and Multichoice.

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