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Nigeria’s .ng Suffers Patronage

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Nigeria Internet Users
  • Nigeria’s .ng Suffers Patronage, as Firms, Others Adopt Foreign Domain Names

Although there appears to be a gradual upward swing in the adoption of Nigeria’s domain name, the .ng, the traffic is still very low compared to the use of other foreign domain names like the .com; .org; .net, and a host of others even within the country. Domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the World Wide Web (WWW) or Internet space.

The continuous patronage of foreign domain names by individuals and businesses in the country has negatively impact the uptake of .ng, resulting in capital flight from the economy. For this reason, countries around the world strive to promote their respective domain system in order to retain substantial part of the Internet expenditure in-country.

Nigeria has close to 100 million Internet users, however, the .ng, Web Technology Surveys revealed, falls within top-level domains that are used by less than 0.1 per cent of the global websites. Companies, including 80 per cent of the about 20 million small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, and individuals still prefer to host their websites on foreign domain platforms. That is, most of the domain names in the country are either foreign or local ones hosted abroad. This has contributed significantly to capital flight from the country yearly.

Although, the Nigeria Internet Registration Agency (NiRA), said it is still working on quantifying the amount the country loses yearly to patronage of foreign domain names, but the country might be losing as much as N900 million yearly.The .ng, like others is a Country’s Code Top Level Domain Name (ccTLD), which is allocated to a specific country in terms of the DNS tree, by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and is open to having sub-domains below it.

Nigeria’s .ng is administered by the NiRA and funded by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). The Internet value chain, according to the Global System for Mobile (GSM) Telecommunications Association, has trebled from $1.2 trillion in 2008 to almost $3.5 trillion in 2015, at a compound yearly growth of 16 per cent and projected to hit $5.8 trillion by 2020.

In contrast to Nigeria’s 0.1 per cent usage, the Web Technology Surveys showed that the .com has the highest users with 48.4 per cent of all the global websites, followed at long distance by .ru with 5.1 per cent; .org has 4.7 per cent; and .net 4.6 per cent.jp enjoys 2.4 percent penetration; .uk 2.0 per cent; info 0.9 per cent; .biz 0.4 per cent and South Africa’s .za 0.5 per cent. The President of NiRA, Reverend Sunday Folayan, noted that “It is not necessary that the .ng domain is used exclusively in Nigeria, it can be used outside the country.”

Folayan said the .ng has impacted the economy positively because innovative companies are now using the domain name without any ambiguity.“I am always excited when I visit sites like guardian.ng as other industries like hotel.ng, travels.ng, tours.ng for your businesses. When domain names are properly used in Nigeria, it will boost the economy of the country.

“.ng has existed since 1995, NiRA came in 2005, a span of 10 years. .ng has existed for almost 22 years. There was probably about 100 domain names registered at the end of 1995, but by the close of 2005, a 10 year period, a number of domain names did not exceed 2,000. However, as at December 2016, over 75,000 .ng have been registered and active. NiRA has experienced a cumulative 75 per cent growth year on year as the figure almost doubles the previous year. We hope to sustain the growth. It may look small but, it has been a significant growth based on previous, the 75 per cent is significant and should be noted as improvement.

Folayan further noted that although highly competitive but “domain names are not directly related to population, but the activities. So, there is a tendency to look at 170 million Nigerians and expect 170 million domains but this is not true. Nigerians are on the Internet, but we are a net consumer of information on the Internet. We are not producing as much information as we should be producing on the Internet and without producing information, you can’t have website and content, without website and content, you can’t have domain names.

“Domain names are an accurate reflection of our production of information not our Internet consumption of information. So, if you look at Nigerians with mobile phones, buying SIM is growing significantly because they are going online to consume information, but when you look at the growth of information production, you will see that domain name production far exceeds this growth for Nigeria.”

Reports have it that in 2014, the number of active domains reached 271 million globally. The United States generated $600 million yearly from its domain name, which is part of the potential of the Internet.

According to Google’s yearly income statement, it generated $23.6 billion in 2009, which translated to $1.9 billion dollars a month.Similarly, the .com, .uk, .us, and many other domain names in the western world have made huge profits from their domain names; while some have been sold as high as $13 million.

A former President of NIRA, Mrs. Mary Uduma, in a report said Nigeria’s Internet economy and e-commerce have not started “our Domain Name System (DNS) industry is till at the lowest ebb.”

According to her, Nigerians, especially the private sector operators, needed to connect to the .ng domain to stem capital flight to other countries, whose domain names Nigerians patronise and pay huge sums for.

“Let me give you statistics; if there are 1,000 registered domain names in Nigeria, only 10 will be on .ng, 990 will be on .com and if they all pay N1,000 that is N1 million. While N990, 000 will go abroad, only N10,000 will be in Nigeria; so, we are losing money because people are not taking the .ng as their domain name,” she explained.

To drive traffic to the domain name, the Chief Executive Officer, MainOne Cables, Ms. Funke Opeke, said there is need to see more Nigerians come online, get the services more reliable and improve the local content development.

Opeke submitted that it is necessary to get services, especially government, banking and other major arms of the economy online. “I think the journey has started, we must continue with it.”

To the Chief Executive Officer, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Muhammed Rudman, so many companies, including banks, airlines trading in Nigeria still make use of foreign domain names; resulting in serious capital flight from Nigeria.

“Everyday people in Nigeria are registering .com instead of .ng,” he lamented, adding that the low adoption, could possibly be that the platform is secure, noting that security is not about the domain but the website.According to him, what will channel traffic to .ng remains more enlightenment and awareness of its importance to the economy.

Ayo Odusolu, the Business Development Manager, Skye9, a Nigerian entertainment SME on the .com platform, said, although the firm is proudly Nigerian, it will expand on the .ng platform in the future, adding that for early market penetration, the .com is more like it.

Another SME on .com, whose CEO spoke anonymously, said: “the .com is more recognised globally. How many people use .ng? I think it’s a class thin! Moreover, most people still don’t know much about the Nigerian domain name. I think the handlers need to do more in terms of awareness.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Lack of Digital Infrastructure and Mobile Services Affecting Remittance Risks Leaving Millions of Rural Families in Poverty – IFAD

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International Day of Family Remittance- Investors King

Despite a massive increase in migrants sending money home via digital transfers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of their rural family members struggle to access mobile banking services which could help lift them out of poverty.

The President of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has called for urgent investments in digital infrastructure and mobile services in developing countries to ensure rural families are not left behind.

“Migrants have shown their continued commitment to their families and communities during the pandemic with more remittances transfers made digitally than ever before,” said Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD, speaking on the International Day of Family Remittances. “Unfortunately, families in rural and remote areas – where remittances are a true lifeline – the battle to access cash outlets or even more convenient alternatives such as mobile money accounts. Governments and the private sector need to urgently invest in rural digital infrastructure to address this.”

Mobile remittances increased by 65 percent last year, rising to US$12.7 billion. This change was driven by a switch from cash due to lockdowns that limited informal channels and social distancing rules for senders and recipients alike. In spite of the global economic recession due to the pandemic, migrants continued to send money home to their families, with remittances in 2020 reaching $540 billion – a drop of only 1.6 percent compared to the previous year.

However, in many countries, people living in remote rural areas have sparse local access to banking services or limited mobile connectivity. In addition, there is limited availability of agents offering mobile money services such as payouts in cash. Often mobile money service providers are only located in urban centers. This means millions of poor, rural people have to travel long distances to towns or cities, often at significant cost, to receive the cash sent digitally by their migrant family members.

Digital transfers are cheaper than traditional cash transfers, and mobile banking services also provide the opportunity for migrants and their families in their countries of origin to access useful and affordable financial products to better manage their finances, including savings, loans and insurance.

Across the globe, 200 million migrants regularly send money to their 800 million relatives. This plays a crucial role in their lives and livelihoods. Almost half of these families live in rural areas of developing countries, where poverty and hunger are highest. Families use the funds sent by migrant workers to cover basic household needs such as food, housing, school and medical bills, as well as to start small businesses. These resources can often transform both families and local communities.

“While the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital transfers and mobile money accounts, it also highlighted pervasive gender inequality,” said Pedro de Vasconcelos, the head of IFAD’s Financing Facility for Remittances. “Research shows that women are 33 percent less likely than men to have a mobile money account. We must focus on closing the gap by addressing the barriers that prevent women from accessing and using mobile financial services.”

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MainOne, West Africa’s Leading Carrier-neutral Data Center Provider to Unveil Data Center in Appolonia City, Accra

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MainOne - Investors King

MainOne, the leading provider of connectivity, cloud and data center solutions in West Africa is set to launch the  Appolonia Data Center of its subsidiary, MDXi.

The new facility which is located 20 kilometers from the center of Accra, Ghana will expand MainOne’s already robust infrastructure and service profile in West Africa. It was built to cater to the increasing demand for colocation and interconnection services by multinationals and businesses seeking shared services for their ICT resources in a world-class facility.

Speaking on the upcoming launch, Gbenga Adegbiji, Chief Operating Officer, MDXi stated that “Appolonia Data Center is a state of the art facility that is being built to the highest standards required for todays digital infrastructure and consistent with the MainOne brand. With the assurance of high quality of service designed to meet business requirements for digital colocation and cloud infrastructure, the Appolonia (Accra) Data Centre will provide a highly secured,resilient and scalable solution for our customers’’. Adegbiji further said “the operations of the Uptime Tier III certified Appolonia data center will be based on the global MDXI Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) which have been proven with 100% facility uptime of the Lekki Data Centre since its launch in 2015.”

Set for launch in June 2021, the 100-rack Appolonia Data Center offers customers the opportunity to host infrastructure in a facility guaranteed to provide high levels of availability and rich connectivity with a global network of customers, partners and suppliers thus ensuring 24×7 online delivery of services to businesses.

“We established this Data Center in Ghana to bring the highly sought services which MainOne is known for closer to institutions in the country,” Emmanuel Kwarteng, Country Manager, MainOne Ghana noted. “We are confident that the Data Center will not only deliver state-of-the-art services, but also create jobs and ultimately contribute to the economic growth of Ghana.” All data center staff are directly employed by the company and are trained on the latest technology deployed to keep the data center running smoothly. There are staff dedicated to monitoring all critical systems in the data center to ensure that proactive actions are taken to guarantee availability on 24X7X365 basis.

The Appolonia Data Center has also been fitted with high-definition CCTV motion detection cameras, laser-based perimeter intrusion detection systems, and three levels of security barriers before access to computer rooms. Access to the data center is restricted to pre-authorized individuals with identification only and there is an access management system to record access history for audit purposes.

A dedicated service delivery team assists customers with onboarding and ongoing service management. Remote Hands and Eyes Support services are available for customers to troubleshoot or perform various maintenance activities to ensure their equipment operates as expected while allowing our customers focus on their core business.

The Data Center will be unveiled in the coming weeks and open to multi sector businesses and industries across Ghana.

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Global VC Investments in Marketplaces Nearly Triple to Historical High of $28 Billion in Q1 2021

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Marketplace - Investors King

Marketplaces are continuing to benefit from shifts born out of the pandemic and show no signs of slowing down.

According to the research data analyzed and published by Definanzas, global VC investments into marketplaces hit a new all-time high in Q1 2021. It rose almost threefold from $9.9 billion in Q1 2020 to $28 billion in Q1 2021. It is also $4 billion higher than the previous record.

Based on a Be STF projection, global marketplace sales are set to grow at a 20% CAGR between 2020 and 2025. In that period, the figure will rise from $3.5 trillion to $8.8 trillion. Their share of online sales will also grow, going from 19% to 24%.

Marketplace Unicorns’ Valuation More than Doubles to $5 Trillion

Besides the massive increase in VC funding into marketplace, unicorn valuations in the space have also surged remarkably. From $2.2 trillion in January 2019, the figure soared by 70% to $5 trillion in Q1 2021.

81 new unicorns joined the ranks in 2020, bringing the total number to 370. Among them, the top 30 marketplace unicorns account for 79% of total valuation or $3.9 trillion. That marked a $1.6 trillion increase in valuation.

According to eMarketer, eCommerce accounted for a 7.4% share of total retail sales globally in 2015. The figure rose to 13.6% in 2019, posting a huge increase to 18% by 2020. It is set to rise further to19.5% in 2021 and 21.8% by 2024.

B2C sales accounted for 53% of total B2C online sales in 2020 or $2.45 trillion. It will grow at a 14% CAGR between 2020 and 2025 to $4.723 trillion, accounting for a 61% share of the total. On the other hand, B2B sales, which had a 7% share and a $1 trillion valuation in 2020, will grow at a 32% CAGR in the same period. The remarkable growth will drive its total valuation to $4 trillion and the segment’s share to 14%.

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