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Google Trains One Million Africans in Digital Skills

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A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in Zurich
  • Google Trains One Million Africans in Digital Skills

Google has announced that it has reached the one million milestone in its digital skills programme for Africa. Google had last April said that it would train as many as one million Africans on digital skills within a year. The company has kept to its promise.

“We have reached our target early, and we have committed ourselves to train even more Africans in digital skills in the coming year,” Google said on Tuesday.

In addition, Google is extending its commitment to the digital skills programme by assisting local communities further in several ways. First, Google will provide offline versions of its online training materials to reach individuals and businesses in low access areas where it is unable to hold physical training sessions. Second, Google will provide offline versions of the content in languages like Hausa, Swahili and IsiZulu.

The digital skills programme offers 89 courses through the online https://digitalskills.withgoogle.com/ portal, and Google works with 14 training partners covering more than 20 countries to offer face to face training. The programme will also be addressing needs for small business owners, who are looking to better understand how to take advantage of the web across Africa. Google will add web-focused skills training for SMEs across Africa as part of this initiative.

Speaking on the development, Google Nigeria Country Manager, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, said: “The Web is a driver of economic growth, and is transforming society as a whole. People must be equipped, through training and reskilling to make use of the tools, and take advantage of it for entrepreneurship, employment and e-inclusion.”

According to her, their goal with this and previous web training initiatives is to enable more people across the continent better understand how to leverage the web tools for growth, to give them access to better employment and/or the skills to start their own businesses.

“A digitally skilled Africa is good for everyone – for our economy, for entrepreneurs and individuals. And yes, good for internet companies like Google,” she said.

Growth Engine and Brand Lead, sub-Saharan Africa, Bunmi Banjo, said: “Having one million digitally skilled young people in Africa is good for everyone. If young people have the right skills, they will build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent.”

“As we expand this initiative to reach more local areas across the continent, we hope to see more impact in everyday lives of Africans,” Banjo added.

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.

Social Media

WeChat Brand Worth $68B, More than Three Major Chinese Banks

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WeChat

As the leading social networking app in China and the fifth most widely used globally, WeChat saw impressive growth amid the COVID-19 pandemic, both in revenue and the number of users. The brand value of Tencent Holding’s mobile messaging app also surged in the last year, launching WeChat among the strongest brands globally.

According to data presented by StockApps.com, WeChat brand value hit almost $68bn in 2021, more than three major Chinese banks.

The World’s Strongest Brand

WeChat or also called China’s “app for everything,” offers services from messaging and banking to taxi services and online shopping. During the pandemic, the app also helped keep track of those traveling or in quarantine, providing access to real-time data on COVID-19, online consultations, and self-diagnosis services powered by artificial intelligence to more than 300 million users.

This diversity of services offered to its users, especially amid the pandemic, helped the WeChat brand value surge by 25% YoY, revealed the 2021 Brand Finance’s Global 500 survey. With a valuation of $67.8bn, WeChat jumped nine spots on the ranking to enter the top 10 for the first time, behind giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, Walmart, or Facebook.

Also, the popular app ranked higher than the three major banks in China. In comparison, China Construction Bank hit a $59.6bn brand value this year, $8.3bn less than WeChat. Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China also ranked below the popular messaging app, with $53.1bn and $48.6bn value, respectively.

The Brand Finance survey also revealed WeChat overtook Ferrari to become the world’s strongest brand with a top score of 95.4 out of 100 and an AAA+ brand strength rating. The relative strength of brands is measured through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity and business performance.

Statistics show the Chinese mobile app is one of merely 11 brands in the ranking to have been awarded the elite AAA+ brand strength rating.

More than Hit 1.2 Billion Active Monthly Users

WeChat has lots of popular messaging app features, including Moments. A majority of WeChat users access WeChat Moments every time they open the app. Voice and text messaging, group messaging, payment and games are other examples of WeChat services.

Tencent’s 2020 financial results revealed the number of WeChat active accounts has been multiplying over the past years.

Between 2011 and 2015, the number of monthly active accounts surged from 2.8 million to nearly 700 million. In the first quarter of 2018, WeChat`s user base hit the one-billion benchmark, and the number just kept rising.

Statistics show the popular social networking app had over 1.2 billion monthly active users in the last quarter of 2020, ranking as the fifth most widely used social networking app globally.

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Migration to IPv6 Will Enhance Digital Economy, Says Pantami

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digital economy

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has stressed the need for Nigerians to migrate from the use of Internet Protocol version four (IPv4) address system to Internet Protocol version six (IPv6), in order to diversify Nigeria’s economy and prepare it for a digital economy transformation.

The Minister who spoke as a special guest of honour at a recent webinar on the state of IPv6 deployment in Nigeria, organised by the IPv6 Council Nigeria, in collaboration with the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said there was need for migration from IPv4 to IPv6, saying IPv4 was fast depleting in numbers, while the population of internet users in Nigeria is on the rise.

Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are assigned numbers on the internet, which are part of the underlying infrastructure of the internet. The former IP version four, which Nigerians are connected to, is fast depleting and the world is fast migrating to a newer version known as version six (IPv6).

The Minister who was represented by the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammed Abubakar, said the conference on IPv6 came at a right time, when the federal government was focusing on economic diversification to drive the country’s national digital economy policy for a digital Nigeria and the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020-2025).

“IPv6 is an important ingredient of our National Digital Economy Policy and the Nigerian National Broadband Plan.

“The current Internet Protocol that Nigeria has, which is driving the use of internet, is the IPv4, which has a combined capacity of about four billion addresses, and it is already reaching its capacity limit, which calls for the need to migrate to IPv6, with larger capacities.

“The increase in the adoption rate of IPv6 will require the creation of policies and regulatory instrument that will encourage and drive its adoption.

“So the federal government is putting regulatory instrument in place in line with the developmental regulation pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy. This will serve as a guide for both the public and private sectors to drive adoption of IPv6,” Pantami said.

One of the keynote speakers, CEO, MainOne Broadband Company, Ms. Funke Opeke, said Nigeria’s presence on the internet had been low even in the days of IPv4, adding that it calls for growth and increased access to the internet, being a critical foundation of Nigeria’s broadband plan.

“One of the key ways to achieve Nigeria’s broadband target is to leverage IPv6. It is not possible to connect Nigeria ‘s large population of over 206 million people without IPv6 adoption. With IPv6, we can connect people, networks and devices.,” Opeke said.

President of ATCON, Ikechukwu Nnamani, in his welcome speech, said with the projection that by 2030, more than125 billion devices would be connected using Internet of Things (IoTs), which would put about 15 connected devices into the hands of each consumer, all the devices would therefore need a unique IP address to function efficiently.

“The world has run out of IPV4, the initial IP addressing system. AFRINIC the only regional body in Africa that still has some IPV4 for allocation, recently indicated it has less than 1.8 million IPV4 available. The migration to IPV6 is therefore not optional at this point.

“ATCON being a very proactive Association saw the need to train network engineers in Nigeria in order to be able to migrate from IPV4 to IPV6 several years ago and this led ATCON hosting international training on IPv6 with the support of some of its members. This training was done in conjunction with AFRINIC,” Nnamani said.

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Fintech

Specta Records N100bn Consumer Lending Milestone

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Online instant lending platform, Specta and PaywithSpecta, a digital credit solution introduced by Sterling Bank has disclosed that it has disbursed over N100 billion in digital loans and about N5 billion digital credits, respectively.

Both solutions make loans and digital credits available in less than five minutes to banked Nigerians, irrespective of their bank, without paperwork and collateral.

But above all, they are also the best in the segment for providing the best lending rates and interest free funding up to 90 days for online and offline purchases.

Divisional Head, Retail and Consumer Banking at Sterling Bank, Mr. Shina Atilola, in a statement made available to the press explained: “Specta has disbursed about N100 billion in digital loans in three years. It is an important milestone worth celebrating by a platform that revolutionised and opened digital lending space in Nigeria.

“PaywithSpecta, the digital credit solution extension of Specta has also exceeded expectations. In a few months, it has provided over N5 billion in digital credits to Nigerians.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of deploying innovative solutions that meet the needs of everyday Nigerians and small businesses. Our profound gratitude to our esteemed retail customers and business owners for their loyalty that has made Specta and PaywithSpecta the country’s undisputed market leaders in digital lending and credit solution segments.”

Specta, an instant lending platform that offers up to five million naira consumer loans in five minutes, was unveiled in 2018 by Sterling Bank Plc.

The lending platform uses proprietary data and analytics to process and disburse consumer loans to borrowers who belong to pre-approved communities in less than five minutes without paperwork and collateral.

The types of loans offered include personal, payday, wedding finance, rent, education, and medical finance loans, among others, to salary earners and business owners.

Following the success of Specta, Sterling Bank recently creed another variant of it known as PaywithSpecta to enable customers to pay for goods in instalments. At the same time, Merchants are credited instantly, thereby helping businesses to increase sales.

PaywithSpecta offers digital credit limits to customers to purchase items in-store at Merchant locations or Merchant online platforms. It also allows Merchants to access credit for their business activities.

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