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Lack of Basic Amenities, Unclear Growth Policy Force Twitter to Ghana, Builds Headquarters in Ghana

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Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder on Monday announced Ghana has been chosen as African Headquarters over Nigeria despite the tech giant having the largest African users and revenue from Nigeria.

The announcement was made by both Dorsey and Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana.

The choice of Ghana as HQ for Twitter’s Africa operations is excellent news. Government and Ghanaians welcome very much this announcement and the confidence reposed in our country,” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.

President Akufo-Addo, who held a virtual meeting with Jack last week, said  “As I indicated to Jack in our virtual meeting on 7th April 2021, this is the start of a beautiful partnership between Twitter and Ghana, which is critical for the development of Ghana’s hugely important tech sector. These are exciting times to be in and to do business in Ghana.”

It was shocking that in spite of Dorsey visiting Nigeria, investing and supporting several startups like Mark Zuckerberg has been doing since he first visited Africa’s largest economy, there were several issues like unclear policy path, basic amenities, unnecessary bottleneck because of bribery, etc that were more imperative to Twitter future in Africa than what Nigeria is presently offering despite its potential.

While it was obvious that Nigeria remains a target given its huge potentials, Twitter preferred to operate from outside with manageable proximity unlike if it was in South Africa like Facebook.

According to Twitter, in a statement released on Monday, the decision was based on Ghana’s openness towards the internet and handling of AfCFTA released matters.

As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa,” the statement read.

As a Nigerian, this is not good given that we have a huge unemployment rate at 33.33 percent, a weak GDP growth rate at 0.11 percent, a rising inflation rate at over 17 percent, weak revenue generation and low foreign reserves. This would have been an opportunity to boost each of those metrics and also sell the nation as a true tech hub to other establishments.

In recent months, several of Nigeria’s startups have raised huge capital with the latest coming from Appzone that raised $10 million after Paystack was acquired for over $200 million. Kuda Bank, Bankly, etc have gone on to raised mouthwatering amounts to further deepen their presence across Africa but lack of infrastructure, stable policy and genuine internet openness continue to impede Nigeria’s true potential as leading Africa’s tech nation.

Twitter immediately commenced recruitment in Ghana on Monday in an effort to hit the ground running.

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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YouTube To Generate Over $280 Million From US Premium Subscribers In 2021

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YouTube Premium is starting to generate sustainable revenues from its paid ad-free subscription services. It took more than six years since relaunch to see significant growth. 

A recent report projects that with an estimated 23.6 million unique users by the end of 2021, revenues are expected to climb to $282.96 million in the US alone, representing an impressive +18% Year-Over-Year (YoY) growth.

Premium subscriptions are projected to top 25 million unique users by the end of next year, exceeding $300 million in revenues. By the end of 2024, totalling $334.52 million with nearly 28 million sign-ups. The projected revenues are expected to keep a steady growth after 2023.

Video streaming services are gaining popularity, growth accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic

In addition to promising growth in the US, YouTube Premium services reached 50 million subscribers globally since September, beating an important milestone. YouTube Premium’s recent success can be attributed to both Covid-related, as well as non-Covid-related factors.

The global video streaming market is expected to expand at a 21% growth rate between 2021 and 2028 – highly driven by the increase in smartphone and internet usage. Live-streaming, music streaming, the adoption of cloud-based solutions could all be contributing factors.

The HelpCenter app’s co-founder Ernestas Petkevicius commented on the continuous growth of YouTube Premium:

“YouTube is playing in its own category. I do not see any competition for user-generated content which is now the main driver of tutoring, know-how, and news/comments. YouTube has lots of quality content and an army of creators who rely on the platform as their main source of income. Music services and ad-free mode are only an extra catalyst for revenue growth. YouTube has no competitors when it comes to these services, therefore, the revenue numbers potentially could be much bigger.”

In terms of market shares, 39% of the video streaming market is found to be driven by the US and Canada, which would explain the US-driven revenue growth of 18% Year-over-Year (YoY). What is more, subscription-model accounted for 43% revenue share of the total video streaming services in 2020.

Music streaming is another possible factor for revenue growth from premium sign-ups. Music streaming market in isolation is expected to reach a good 9.8% growth between 2021 and 2027.

And even though video streaming was popular prior to the pandemic, the extreme acceleration in growth has been due to the COVID-19 crisis. As many countries declared nationwide lockdowns, people stayed home more, thus increasing the use of digital services like social media, as well as online video streaming. Consumer engagement on social media video sharing platforms like YouTube grew significantly.

Whether this growth is driven by the all-encompassing features (ad-free videos, YouTube TV, music streaming for $11.99), changes in the consumer behavior, or technological advancements, revenues from YouTube Premium subscriptions in the US are expected to keep growing at a steady rate.

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Facebook, Big Cabal Media, and Comic Republic Launch #NoFalseNewsZone Campaign to Minimise the Spread of False News in Nigeria

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Facebook,  Big Cabal Media, and Comic Republic, has announced the launch of #NoFalseNewsZone, an educational campaign focused on helping people identify false news and educate them on the actions to take to help minimise its spread in Nigeria.

“At Facebook, we are committed to the wellbeing of the individuals and communities that use our platforms, and are invested in, and take responsibility in minimising the spread of false news,” Oluwasola Obagbemi, Facebook’s Corporate Communications Manager for Anglophone West Africa said, while commenting on the launch of the campaign. “We are super excited to be working with Big Cabal Media and Comic Republic to launch #NoFalseNewsZone in Nigeria,” Obagbemi added.

As part of the campaign, Big Cabal Media and Comic Republic have also joined the conversation to sensitize Nigerians on how to identify and report false news online beyond a conceptual level.

Speaking on the collaboration, Big Cabal Media CEO, Tomiwa Aladekomo said, “The world is increasingly relying on sourcing for information from digital news outlets and social media platforms. The consequences of false news are glaring and especially painful to those who fall victim. Big Cabal Media is passionate about connecting people to accurate news sources and is excited to work with Facebook on its #NoFalseNewsZone campaign.”

Comic Republic CEO, Jide Martin also said, “As more people spend time on their screens, consuming news and information on social media, service providers must become more socially responsible in order to combat misinformation on their platforms as effectively as possible. I am pleased to be working with Facebook, a company that has taken the bold step to use the longest and most relevant art form to tell the story of misinformation to drive the desired attitudinal change. Comic Republic has since used comics to shine the light on issues like social injustice, online security, and domestic violence. We are pleased to be collaborating on art for a good cause and we can’t wait to show you what we are working on.”

Facebook has also commenced the 2021 edition of its ‘safe online forum’ in Nigeria, bringing teachers, parents, and other important education stakeholders together to discuss ways of promoting and ensuring online safety and digital literacy for young people. Feedback received from the forum will be used to design future safety-related programs.

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Amicable Solution In Sight For Twitter Suspension – FG

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Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that issues surrounding the suspension of the operations of the micro-blogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria will be resolved soon.

The Federal Government had in June, suspended indefinitely, the operations of Twitter in Nigeria, citing persistent use of the platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.

Mohammed while fielding questions from State House correspondents on Wednesday after the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said, “I want to say that the end for an amicable solution is very much in sight; we quite appreciate the anxiety of Nigerians who have been worried that, two months after the suspension, we have not been able to finalise talks.

“But I just want to assure you that we have made tremendous progress and when I say tremendous, I mean tremendous.

“We have engaged Twitter both in writing; we have engaged Twitter; we set up a technical committee to engage Twitter; they set up their own committee too.

“They have met virtually and they have exchanged correspondence about three times; and really, apart from dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘ts’ we are actually almost there, almost there.’’

He said that engagements with Twitter had been positive and devoid of any acrimony.

According to him, Twitter admitted that it had never received any kind of informed or detailed or professional communication from any country as they received in Nigeria.

The minister said that Twitter promised that it was going to look into the issues while Nigeria made very clear what it wanted from Twitter.

“Even though our report is not ready; even though we are expecting more clarifications around some conversations with Twitter; I think I can share with you that some of our conditions for Twitter operations to resume in Nigeria.

“And I’m glad that both the Minister of Works, who is a member of the Ministerial Team and Tolu, who is a member of the technical team are here.

“If I am wrong they will correct me; I know that one of clarification that we set is that Twitter must first, in line with the Companies and Allied Matters Act, establish legal presence in Nigeria, with the registration of Nigerian office with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

“We think this is only fair that if you want to do business in Nigeria, you must first register as a Nigerian company, and of course if you want to register, you must have an address. That is one of the conditions we gave Twitter; we also asked that Twitter shall be mandated to employ a designated country representative.

“As of today, we are not aware of any Twitter representative in Nigeria; we say that representative shall be a staff of Twitter, but must be one that has access to the global management of Twitter so that he can serve as a liaison between Nigeria and Twitter.’’

The minister said that the country representative should also have a physical office address in Nigeria with its head office in Abuja and could also have, offices outside the capital if he wanted.

He said that Twitter, in addition to registering in Nigeria, must also register with relevant regulatory authorities like National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

“Fourthly, we asked that Twitter would be mandated to retain a designated local agent to manage its engagement with the government on its operations in Nigeria.

“We also asked that Twitter should commit itself to work with the FIRS on its tax liability because we believe that if you make money in Nigeria, the law says that you must pay taxes according to Nigerian laws.

“Of course, we also asked that they should immediately also start paying VAT and other tax liabilities of any company resident in Nigeria.

“We propose to Twitter that we should agree on a Charter on Online Conduct for content management; this charter will guide both of us. We will agree on what content will be acceptable and which content will not be acceptable.’’

Mohammed said that the Ministerial Team was concerned about contents that would be liable to jeopardise Nigeria’s security, unity and sovereignty.

He said that the team also asked for an agreement on what amounted to prohibited publication and when such was cited and brought to the attention of Twitter, it would delete or remove such publication.

“We also proposed an ombudsman between both Twitter and Nigeria, and it is this ombudsman to whom we can report harmful accounts or suspected troll and then he will act accordingly.

“Finally, we asked that Twitter should immediately establish a local compliance and grievance redress mechanism to be domiciled in Nigeria and to be staffed by persons who understand local content and our culture,’’ he said.

According to him, Twitter has responded, but there are still areas that both parties have yet to agree on.

He said that he was hopeful that Twitter would comply with all the demands, adding that the platform was considering having an office in Nigeria by 2022.

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