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Roar Nigeria Hub Hosts Facebook Stakeholders Roundtable @ University of Nigeria

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The University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) went agog with activities as it recently, welcomed a team from the global giant Facebook.

The Public Policy Director for Facebook Africa, Ebele Okobi led the team who visited Roar Nigeria Hub for a stakeholder’s roundtable.

The visitors were first received by the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Benjamin Ozumba starting with a courtesy call at the Vice Chancellor’s conference room.

After a brief tour of the Lion Laptop Assembly Plant and the Lion Science Park they were welcomed at Roar Nigeria Hub for the planned stakeholder roundtable hosted by Charles Emembolu, Co-Founder and Director of Roar Nigeria.

The roundtable had the academia, private and government representatives drawn from across eight states of the South South and South East Nigeria including innovation hub, business leaders, academia, investors, technology community, members of the SSE Angel Network (SSEAN), and other national technology leaders were in attendance.

Discussions focused on policy issues, technology commercialization, knowledge transfer, academic research, mentorship opportunities and the engagement strategy for the technology giant.

Roar Nigeria is a private sector led incubator opened in 2016 as a collaboration with University of Nigeria and recently partnered Facebook under the NG Hub program to foster businesses that leverage deep technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Virtual Reality, Drones, etc).

Ebele Okobi, in her remarks, appreciated the university management for its effort in creating an enabling environment for innovation to thrive in the academia and explained the purpose of the visit. “We realize the critical role of policy in creating an environment that maximizes the potential for technology to drive forward economic, social and academic advancement”, she said.

She shared details of some of the partnerships Facebook had launched in Nigeria while stating that the visit was to explore better ways of partnering African institutions and organisations such as Roar Nigeria at the policy level.

The University of Nigeria boasts a lot of firsts in the technology and innovation space with the Lion Laptops being assembled locally at UNN; the Roar Nigeria Hub, West Africa’s first full-fledged university embedded business and technology incubator and very recently the Lion Science Park.

These novelty projects have been delivered under the remarkable leadership of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba and mostly working with a triple helix concept.

“I consider this engagement a milestone in our journey to bring academia to the forefront of technology and innovation advancement in Nigeria.

The significance of this roundtable has been the ability to have top level policy makers and influencers from institutions such as Facebook, State Governments, Regional Businesses, Student Leaders, Chambers of Commerce, Investors and Universities discussing research, technology, innovation, commercialization as tools for national development.

It helps us to reimagine Africa” Charles Emembolu who is also a director of the Lion Science Park said.

“In order to restore the dignity of man, we have to make the University of Nigeria the home of innovation in Africa.

That is a journey we (UNN) embarked upon in 2014 and I am happy that global brands such as Facebook are taking note of these efforts” says Prof Benjamin Ozumba who was happy with the visit of the Facebook policy leadership and other stakeholders at UNN.

The Lion Laptop assembly plant currently assembles affordable laptops and plans to increase local content to 35% starting from 2019. Also, the Lion Science Park (LSP), which inaugurated its board last month has attracted top companies to its stable.

Mirai Denchi, a Japanese company, Huawei Authorised Information Network Academy (HAINA) and a host of other local companies are in different phases of residency at the Park. LSP was recently registered by the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) which the global body for science parks.

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Copyright Commission Warns Schools against Pirated Books

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John Asein
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Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has vowed to prosecute institutions and schools that use pirated books.

 

It said it would work with the Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA) to explore ways of creating safe corridors for the distribution of legitimate books.

 

Mr John Asein, NCC director-general in a statement to mark the World Book and Copyright Day, held every April 23, said the fight against book piracy will be intensified.

 

According to him, the Commission would continue to develop policies and strategies to facilitate a culture of respect for authorship and copyright works.

 

“We will step up our enforcement and prosecutorial activities to stem the tide of copyright infringements both off and online.

 

“We will also reinvigorate our compliance checks in schools and other institutions of learning to sensitize them on the need to patronize only genuine copies of books through legitimate channels of distribution.

 

“Henceforth, proprietors, heads of schools and authorities in charge will be held vicariously responsible for any pirated books distributed to pupils and students through their schools.

 

“We shall also be taking appropriate steps under the law to sanction institutions found involved in mindless and unconscionable use and promotion of pirated books,” NCC said.

 

The Commission has embraced developments in the international copyright community to create a more inclusive culture of access to published works for blind and visually impaired persons.

 

It noted that Nigeria, in October 2017, ratified the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.

 

“We have also gone ahead to make provision for the domestication of the treaty in the new Copyright Bill which was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council.

 

“On a more practical note, the Commission, with help from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and its Accessible Book Consortium, is collaborating with the Nigeria Association of the Blind (NAB), the NPA, the Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria (REPRONIG), and other key stakeholders to provide more books in accessible formats for blind and visually impaired persons in Nigeria,” Asein said.

 

According to him, a pilot project on capacity building assistance, provision of accessible books and assistive technologies to students in that category is ongoing.

This, he said, is another demonstration of the Federal Government’s policy on inclusiveness, equal access and non-discrimination against persons living with disabilities.

 

He urged stakeholders in the creative industry to support the government’s efforts to revamp the sector and build a copyright system that will help to maximize its potentials to national economic development.

 

Theme of this year’s celebration is: “Discover the World through Reading”!

 

The statement added: “The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1995 declared April 23 as a special day to focus on the wonderful world of books and the enduring role of copyright in promoting and protecting the rights of authors and other stakeholders.

 

“The day is also an occasion to celebrate the contribution of books and authors to our global culture as well as highlight the connection between copyright, creativity and books to the propagation of our common values as humanity.

 

“For us at the NCC, it is an opportunity to again underscore the importance of creativity to our collective development aspirations as a nation, with particular emphasis on respect for copyright and the effective protection of the rights of our authors. “As we join the world to celebrate the book as an enduring legacy, it is saddening to note the decline in our reading culture. This has become a major national concern in Nigeria for its youth population.

 

“The essence of reading, particularly for leisure and personal enjoyment, cannot be over emphasized.

 

“Reading is to the mind what physical exercise is to the body; it is food for the soul, the chisel that helps shape who we become in today’s knowledge driven world.

 

“Books develop the personality and stimulate imagination, taking us to faraway lands that we may never visit physically. Reading unlocks the potentials in us and fires our creative talents to innovate and build our society.

 

“Incidentally, the book remains the most resilient and prevalent copyright work today. It has helped grow human civilization and over the centuries has contributed to the development of virtually all fields of human endeavour, including education, religion, research and entertainment.

 

“In today’s digital world, it is imperative that authors and publishers should make changes in their business and distribution model so as to make the book more attractive to younger readers on the new media and digital platforms.”

 

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Why We Listed on NYSE by Jumia

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Jumia Technologies has clarified its recent listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), while assuring its global customers, Nigerians inclusive of better services to come.

 

Ernest Eguasa, chief financial officer, Jumia Nigeria, said that its major drive in joining the New York Stock Exchange was also to showcase the digital innovation happening in Africa.

 

He explained that the company decided to settle for the NYSE because investors have a marketplace and tech focus in New York than in any other place.

 

He said: “We contemplated several venues, ultimately, we met a lot of investors and New York seemed the more natural place given the number of investors familiar with the business model.

 

“We made a logical choice as this is the largest stock exchange in the world; many technology companies are listed on the NYSE (Alibaba, Twitter, Snap.).

 

“The NYSE listing shows that innovation is happening in the African continent – it shows an innovative, dynamic and modern Africa.”

 

He further explained the Initial Public Offering (IPO), stating that the move was about creating more trust and raising the public profile to help with the business.

 

According to him, the company has been private for seven years, and “we see a lot of positive aspects to being public.”

 

“Raising the public profile is going to help us bring more sellers to Jumia. Many sellers or partners are yet to know about us, and once they do, we hope they will be keen to work with us.

 

“This IPO is all primary, and is about providing the resources to the company and not to selling shareholders.

“We also hope this will help us build even more trust with consumers, in particular, those who are still not comfortable with e-commerce, may now see us as an established company and, we hope this will help our growth and consumer adoption,” he added.

 

Also, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the listing will help us with talent recruitment, retention, as we aim to attract more attention from top talents,” Eguasa added.

 

The CFO also noted that although the two CEOs are French, Jumia’s management and staff in most countries are largely local, including country heads.

 

Speaking further, he said; “It is important to note that we directly employ more than 5,000 people in Africa and believe that our business has a significant indirect impact on job creation across the continent.

 

“Nigeria is our headquarters in Africa, and our incorporation in Germany, is a way to get foreign investors excited to send funds to Africa to boost our operations.”

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Freshworks Integrates with WhatsApp Business Solution

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Freshworks, a global leader in customer engagement software, has integrated its customer engagement suite with the WhatsApp Business solution to offer on-the-go conversational support via WhatsApp. Over 1.5 billion people from 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends, family and businesses, anytime and anywhere.

Freshworks now helps businesses efficiently manage and route user conversations happening on WhatsApp and other channels, via Omniroute™, Freshworks’ patent-pending technology within the Freshworks customer engagement suite.

Omniroute™ provides customer service agents with a unified view of customer inquiries regardless of channel and helps them respond to those inquiries more efficiently. What results is better customer service and more efficient support through WhatsApp and the rich variety of other seamlessly integrated channels in the Freshworks platform.

WhatsApp is a simple, reliable, and private way to talk to anyone in the world. The WhatsApp Business solution helps businesses and customers connect quickly and easily. With the Freshworks integration, users can now reach out to businesses with any query, directly on WhatsApp, so businesses can immediately respond and offer support.

Freshworks recently launched Proximity, a set of features for Freshchat, their modern messaging software to bring businesses closer to users. The integration with the WhatsApp Business solution further fulfills this promise while giving businesses the power to manage conversations at scale. Responses can be text, images, GIFs, attachments or even canned responses.

The Freshchat dashboard provides separate insights on WhatsApp conversations, like chat volume and productivity within the WhatsApp channel. The integration is already available in four continents leveraged by support and sales functions across verticals like e-commerce, media, travel, and finance.

“Users no longer have to jump through hoops to reach out to a business – all they have to do is flip out their mobile and engaging with their favorite brand is just a message away on WhatsApp,” says Girish Mathrubootham, CEO of Freshworks.

“Omnichannel customer engagement is becoming the imperative to providing great customer support. The integration with the enormously popular WhatsApp platform enables customers and prospects to get in touch with businesses instantly, offering support through this widely used medium of choice.”

Supr Daily, a direct to home dairy products delivery service in India, uses the Freshchat integration with the WhatsApp Business solution to broaden its customer support opportunities.

“Today’s customer wants a convenient way to reach out to brands. WhatsApp is a user-friendly way to communicate; as such, it’s also the easiest way for many of our customers to reach out to us.” says Tarkeshwar Singh, Senior Product Manager at Supr Daily.

“We actively promote WhatsApp as a medium to connect with us and we now see about half of our customers use it for support queries. The Freshworks integration made it possible for us to provide great quality and quick support to our customers, which is indispensable in our business.”

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