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Zinox Secures $25m to Roll Out Digital Hubs

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Leo Stan Ekeh

Zinox Secures $25m to Roll Out Digital Hubs

Zinox Technologies, a foremost Information and Communications Technology (ICT) company has secured a whopping $25 million counterpart funding with which it seeks to roll out a trio of digital hubs in Nigeria that will create jobs for over 500 Nigerians.

According to the technology company, construction work has commenced in one of the digital hubs in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, and the fund will help speed up work and ensure that the project is completed in good time.

The hubs, among other things, will create employment and empower thousands of digitally-minded Nigerian youths in search of the right platforms to develop their skills.

Chairman of Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh made the disclosure when the acting Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, led a team of the agency on official working visit to the Zinox headquarters in Gbagada, Lagos recently.

According to Ekeh, the other digital hub located in Abuja, which is nearing completion, would become active by early 2017.

“With the current improvements raising hopes of stability in public power supply by early 2017, the company plans to install the digital plants and commence production shortly,” Ekeh added.

“Our investment in digital hubs will provide jobs for 500 Nigerians, with more expected to benefit from other investments set to commence once the economy stabilises,” he said.

Ekeh said the Nigerian economy is in dire need of an alternative to crude oil, a role, which he said the ICT sector could effortlessly play in boosting the nations dwindling earnings. In the view of the Zinox boss, Nigeria has millions of young Nigerians of digital mindset with the potential to become dollar billionaires.

Referencing the case of Nigerian start-up and pioneer composite e-commerce outfit Yudala, which received little funding from investors and within one year is a leading e-commerce brand in Nigeria employing over 400 graduates, Ekeh disclosed that their strength is not cash but knowledge of the business backed with strong front and back-end technologies. Ekeh affirmed that thousands of such brilliant Nigerians exist in the country, even as he urged the government to partner technologically-minded companies in unearthing such raw digital diamonds in the country.

I had a similar experience when Zinox acquired an Ibadan-based software company Xputer. The young chaps behind Xputer were so talented and had huge capacity to develop amazing content but no individual, corporate or government saw any potential in them. Some of the apps developed by these young Nigerians are being used today by e-commerce companies in Nigeria which they would have paid millions of dollars for, had it been developed by foreign companies Ekeh said.

Responding, Olatunji affirmed the commitment of the agency in partnering with Zinox Technologies in the task of empowering the youth through the provision of requisite capacity-building programmes and initiatives.

Olatunji who expressed delight with the infrastructure and facilities on display at the Zinox headquarters during the tour of the company premises, disclosed that NITDA is keen to empower tech start-ups as a means of promoting opportunities in non-oil sectors, noting that a partnership with Zinox Technologies will go a long way in helping to achieve the aim.

“We cannot talk about the ICT sector in Nigeria and indeed in Africa without mentioning Zinox. Zinox has been in the forefront of the digital revolution on the continent and has continued to play a major role. You have shown extreme world class capacity and passion as a leader in the sector and this is why we have come on this visit to restate our commitment towards working with Zinox to achieve our objectives of empowering tech start-ups and boosting the revenue profile of the ICT sector,” Olatunji said.

With the digital hubs, we are looking to generate creative employment for our youth while creating the much-needed enabling environment and platform for more of these youths to develop their capacities and unleash their creative abilities. This is part of our contribution towards reducing the scourge of unemployment and boosting the revenue-earning streams of the government, Ekeh said.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Telecoms ‘Will be The Fastest Growing African Business Sector’

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The telecoms sector will be the fastest-growing industry in Africa over the next five years as internet connectivity improves, new research with business leaders for blockchain-based mobile network operator World Mobile shows.

When asked to pick the three sectors that they believe will see the strongest growth over the next five years, three out of four (75%) senior executives selected telecoms in the study.

It was comfortably ahead of the healthcare sector which emerged as the second choice selected by 61% of survey respondents as one of three industries that will see the strongest growth ahead of tourism at 44%

Senior executives at companies with combined annual revenues of more than $6.75 billion based in Tanzania, Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa were interviewed for the study.

Improvement in internet connectivity was identified as central to growth in the economy and across all sectors. Around two-thirds (66%) say it is important while 20% believe it is very important. The table below shows which sectors senior business executives believe will be the fastest-growing over the next five years.

SECTOR HOW MANY EXECUTIVES BELIEVE IT WILL BE ONE OF THE TOP THREE FASTEST GROWING SECTORS IN AFRICA OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
Telecoms 75%
Healthcare 61%
Tourism 44%
Financial services 36%
Retail 36%
Manufacturing 22%
Education 22%

World Mobile is helping to revolutionise internet connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa and is already working with the government in Zanzibar where it is launching a unique hybrid mobile network delivering connectivity supported by low altitude platform balloons.

Its blockchain-based network vastly reduces capital expenditure and cuts costs compared to traditional telecom operators. World Mobile is in discussions to expand in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other territories underserviced by traditional mobile operators.

Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile said: “The expansion of telecoms across the African continent is central to driving economic growth and senior business executives clearly agree as they rank it well ahead of other major sectors of the economy.”

“To a great extent, growth in telecoms spurs growth in other sectors as societies become more digital and technology focused and that applies very much to financial services, healthcare, retail and education.”

“Not all parts of Africa however have strong internet connectivity and we want to help by providing a service which is affordable and reliable and look forward to working with governments across the continent.”

World Mobile’s balloons will be the first to officially launch in Africa for commercial use, offering a more cost-effective way to provide digital connection to people and is the first step in its mission to help bring nearly four billion people online before 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank’s SDGs.

The World Mobile approach is more sustainable, in environmental, social and governance terms. Environmental impacts are mitigated using solar-powered nodes, second-life batteries, and energy-efficient technology. World Mobile creates a positive societal impact through the application of its circular economy model – a “sharing economy” where locals share in the ownership and rewards of the network.

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Financial Inclusion: ZirooPay Targets Deeper Mobile POS Penetration in Nigeria

Nigeria’s retail Point-of-Sale solution provider, ZirooPay has embarked on an aggressive drive to deepen the penetration of its unique mobile POS assets.

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Omoniyi Olawale

In a bid to boost market share while driving financial inclusion by penetrating the underbanked market through its proprietary mobile POS technology, Nigeria’s retail Point-of-Sale solution provider, ZirooPay has embarked on an aggressive drive to deepen the penetration of its unique mobile POS assets.

Over the next months, ZirooPay hopes to grow its network of mobile POS around Nigeria by adding no fewer than 20,000 mobile POS, on the heels of a successful funding round, which has positioned it to tap into the growing opportunities in Africa’s retail sector.

Recall that ZirooPay is reputed for a patent of a unique and efficient mobile POS technology that enables small businesses to process card payments in real-time, even when there is no internet/data connection, strategically positioning it to drive financial inclusion in a country that has achieved only 63 per cent financial inclusion and 33.6 per cent of broadband penetration.

ZirooPay’s payments solution is fast, simple and reliable, delivering a 95 per cent transaction success rate for POS transactions compared to the industry’s average of 25 – 50 per cent.  The solution leverages its unique and patented internet-free technology, to enable SMEs (across the retail, agency banking, hospitality and services sectors) to process in-person payments, track their sales, and manage their businesses from their mobile devices.

Beyond payments, ZirooPay also provides merchants with automated sales history, sales analytics, and inventory tracking to help them monitor and manage their businesses more efficiently. ZirooPay’s superior transaction success rate and the integrated nature of its service stand it out from the competition.

The payment provider, which started operations in Nigeria in 2019, has organically grown to 15,000 merchants processing over $500m in 10m transactions and looks to replicate this success across Africa.

Speaking recently, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO of ZirooPay, Omoniyi Olawale said this is part of several initiatives aimed at empowering more SMEs to take effective control of their businesses, adding that the firm is committed to deepening access to ZirooPay’s invaluable payment services for all sizes of retail business both in rural and urban centres in Africa.

He explained that innovative payment solutions such as ZirooPay will remain an imperative as wholesale and retail sectors continue to dominate Africa’s contribution to its GDP, even as population growth and rapid urbanisation continue to drive consumption across the continent.

He said, “ZirooPay has set out to build an operating system for retail in Africa by providing solutions that not only drive financial inclusion but also support the payment infrastructure needed for retail to thrive on the continent. Lack of reliable payment technology for the continent remains one of the major challenges that has hindered trade tremendously and ZirooPay Mobile POS solution will address this challenge.”

According to Omoniyi, while it is still early days for payments in Africa, ZirooPay understands the peculiarities of the continent’s infrastructure challenges and would continue to advance similar innovative solutions that will address the payment challenge on the continent on a sustainable basis.

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Nigeria Approves Microsoft Agreement, Others to Accelerate 5G Deployment

In a move to accelerate the deployment of 5G services, the Federal Government has approved Enterprise Licensing Agreement for Microsoft products and clearing up of the C-band spectrum.

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In a move to accelerate the deployment of 5G services, the Federal Government has approved Enterprise Licensing Agreement for Microsoft products and clearing up of the C-band spectrum.

The approval was after Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy presented three memos to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on June 29, 2022.

Femi Adeluyi, the Technical Assistant (Research and Development) to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, disclosed in a statement issued after the approval.

The Government-wide Enterprise Licensing Agreement for Microsoft products will help reduce the cost of information technology projects, while the C-band migration is expected to aid the deployment of the 5G network.

Explaining the benefits of the agreements, Adeluyi said “The Agreement will give the government access to discounted prices and other cost benefits, as well as reduce project duplication across Federal Public Institutions (FPIs).

“It will also guarantee proper technical support for Microsoft products and services, thereby ensuring protection against cybersecurity threats, which will guarantee availability and reliability of government IT services.

“The Enterprise Licensing Agreement will provide a projected savings of a minimum of 35% of Governments current investment in Microsoft Products and Services.

“This will not only substantially reduce the cost of license procurement for FPIs, it will reduce and simplify licensing complexity, facilitate accounting and cash flow predictability and monitor utilisation and impact of Government investment.”

The statement added that the Federal Executive Council has directed all Federal Public Institutions to start taking advantage of the agreement by using Microsoft licenses and services.

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