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Wakanow Set to Launch Commercial Operation in UK

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  • Wakanow Set to Launch Commercial Operation in UK

One of Nigeria’s online travel companies, Wakanow has announced plans to formally launch commercial operations in the UK as part of its efforts for global expansion and in a bid to consolidate its foray into Europe.

The announcement is coming barely months after it launched DestinationsAfrica, a global booking platform that aggregates the best of African packaged holidays from over 23 African countries.

Wakanow, which already operates commercial offices in Nigeria and Ghana as well as service outlets in Dubai and the UK said it will launch its office in the UK, showcasing a cutting-edge booking portal that will offer flights and hotel bookings and Transfers/Protocol services, for intra-Europe travel as well as for outbound travel into Africa.

The company said the UK booking portal will ride on the crest of its well-tested innovative technologies and service excellence to extend the traditional African warm welcome to millions of travelers looking for efficient and well-priced travel packages into and around Africa and Europe.

Founder and Group Managing Director of Wakanow, Mr. Obinna Ekezie, said the new addition to the fast-growing travel brand would allow the company to serve the European markets and demonstrate its capacity to compete favorably on the global stage.

He explained that currently, a good number of bookings on the Wakanow Nigeria booking portal, were coming from the UK and other countries outside of Nigeria and it was therefore a natural progression for Wakanow to cater for this market.

In his words, “We are very delighted about the forthcoming launch of Wakanow UK, and this excitement stems from our conviction that this addition has the capacity to offer something different to the European market when it comes to travelling into Africa. Our protocol services into Africa is built on very strong relationships and will ensure our prospective customers get the most hitch-free and hassle-free movement in and out of the continent. Wakanow has horned her skills in African travel over the last 8 years and will bring that to bear in not only offering best priced deals but making sure that her interactions with these travelers will deliver a more positive narrative for African businesses.”

He further stated that, “Not only are we going to replicate the same excellent customer service for which the Wakanow brand is known for, but we are also going to take the lead in expanding the frontiers of travel and driving significant traffic to Africa through our broad mix of custom-fit and themed vacation offerings available on our DestinationsAfrica platform. We will leverage our vast knowledge of the African space and her wealth of untapped destinations to create exclusive travel products that offer fresh and incredible experiences for our customers.”

He added, “The Wakanow UK launch will herald the opening of several other Wakanow offices across Africa, with Wakanow Kenya and Wakanow SouthAfrica already under way. Riding on the back of advanced technology, Wakanow will “switch on” her online booking portals in 6 other African countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Tanzania. Other countries include Dubai and the US. Wakanow is a rising star on the African Tourism scene and Nigeria’s number one travel booking company.

“Wakanow has won many awards including the TonyElumelu’s fastest rising company awards, a host of Industry led Awards and more recently, the CNBC Business Leader of the Year award which went to the Founder and Managing Director, Mr. Obinna Ekezie. Wakanow has strong affiliations with hundreds of Hotels and Airlines globally and has facilitated over 800,000 travel bookings since inception in 2008. Leveraging heavily on technology and accelerated customer service models, Wakanow is rapidly changing the face of travel in Africa.”

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.

Telecommunications

Truecaller Hits 43 million African Users, Releases a Business Solution

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Truecaller, a caller ID service and phone search engine, has launched an identification solution to help companies prove their legitimacy while calling customers, thus increasing safety and reducing fraud.

Truecaller helps users to see who is calling and automatically screens out spam calls and SMSes.

Truecaller Business Identity, a modern enterprise solution, allows companies to verify their identities using a green checked business badge that accurately displays the company’s profile name, photo, and logo.

“Fraud continues to be a major problem across Africa, and as a company, Truecaller wanted to provide solutions on a business as well as a personal level,” said Zakaria Hersi, Director of Business Development in Africa. “Trust is at the core of everything we do, and because we spend so much of our time on our phones, we need to make sure that our contact takes place in a secure atmosphere, which was also part of the strategy behind our harassment campaign in March this year.”

The new solution increases trust and productivity in business-to-business contact by providing customers with the assurance that the caller is a Truecaller-verified business.

A checked business on Truecaller gets a verified tick mark icon and can lock their brand name and profile picture in addition to the green Caller ID and green Verified Business badge.

Consumers would be able to tell which calls to trust as a result of this.

Importantly, users will continue to see the amount of spam marks as before, and they will have the option of labeling checked phone numbers as spam or blocking them entirely.

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Telecommunications

FG Lifts Ban on New SIM Cards’ Issuance

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The federal government yesterday reversed its policy banning the sale of new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, in agreement with industry stakeholders, also yesterday revised the National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration.

According to him, the activation of new SIM card, banned in December last year, will begin in April.

Pantami directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure the provisions of the National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration are strictly followed by all operators and subscribers.

He said the implementation of the policy and issuance of new SIMs and other suspended activities would resume on the same date, provided that verification had been completed and the guidelines fully adhered to.

According to a statement by the Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the Minister, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, an earlier policy was approved on February 4, 2020, while the revised policy was developed in early March 2021. The policy was further improved and endorsed for implementation by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 26, 2021.

According to the statement, the final amendments to the revised policy, based on the directives of Buhari to make the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) mandatory for all SIM registration, were completed on April 14, 2021.
The policy includes guidelines on new SIM acquisition and activation, SIM replacement, new SIM activation for corporates and Internet-of-Things/Machine-to-Machine (IoT/M2M), among others.

The statement said: “For the corporate registration, institutions will be required to appoint a telecoms master (at the minimum of an executive management level) to provide the operational primary NIN representation. The telecoms master will also be responsible to ensure that the users provide their NINs to serve as a secondary NIN.

“For IoT/M2M activations, SIM security protocols would be implemented on the SIM profile to ensure that SIMs can only be used for point-to-point data services specific to the URL they are working with. All other services will be barred.”
Pantami stated that progress had been made in the NIN registration process.

“Nonetheless, the federal government is committed to supporting all Nigerians and legal residents to obtain a NIN. The biometric verification process has been slower than anticipated, owing largely to the non-adherence of many previous SIM biometric capture processes to the NIMC standards.

“The revised policy will ensure that operators conform to the required standards for biometric capture. The guidelines in the policy have been painstakingly developed and while they are thorough, it should be noted that they have been developed that way in national interest since the SIM is essentially a national resource. Citizens and legal residents are encouraged to bear with the government as the process has been developed in the best interest of the country,” the statement added.

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E-commerce

Walmart eCommerce Sales to Grow by 21% in 2021 to $65 Billion, Nearly a Sixth of Amazon’s $367 Billion

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A massive boom in click-and-collect trends is expected to accelerate Walmart’s pandemic-driven momentum through 2021.

According to the research data analyzed and published by ComprarAcciones.comWalmart’s online sales will grow by 21.2% to $64.62 billion in 2021. Its share of US online sales will rise from 6.7% in 2020 to 7.1% in 2021.

Based on the latest NRF ranking, Walmart is the world’s biggest retailer, followed closely by Amazon. Its total sales for 2020 – both online and offline – amounted to $559 billion, more than $200 billion ahead of Amazon’s figure.

Click-and-Collect Purchases will Grow by 15% to $83 Billion in 2021

Walmart’s US online sales for 2021 will almost double eBay’s estimated $38.67 billion. They will also be higher than the combined total of $60.59 billion that Best Buy, Target and The Home Depot will generate.

However, the big box retailer will be far behind the top US online marketplace, Amazon. Amazon’s sales are projected to reach $367.19 billion, nearly six times the Walmart total. Its share of US online sales will increase from 39.8% to 40.4%. Third-party vendors on the platform will grow sales by 16.5% to $220.39 billion. That will be 60% of total sales.

Among the factors driving Walmart’s growth is its huge brick-and-mortar footprint which drives online sales via click-and-collect. It has more than 4,700 stores in the US and 90% of Americans live within a 10-mile radius of one of them.

The click-and-collect trend saw significant growth in 2020. According to an eMarketer report, US shoppers made purchases worth $72.46 billion using the method. Compared to the 2019 total of $35.02 billion, the figure marked a growth rate of 106.9% YoY. It accounted for 9.1% of all online purchases, up from 5.8% in 2020. The growth is expected to carry into 2021. Total sales are also set to rise by 15.2% to $83.47 billion.

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