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Lagos in Partnership With Facebook Plans Biggest Technology Cluster in West Africa

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The Lagos State Government says it has concluded plans with Facebook and Google to construct the biggest technology cluster in West Africa.

This was disclosed on by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during a tour of the two major innovation and technology hubs in the state, according to a statement.

Sanwo-Olu said, “Technology is the new oil and the basic element for the Fourth Industrial Revolution globally. As a state with a massive population of young people, we need to play a major role in the development of technology, which is an enabler to leapfrog into rapid socio-economic growth.

We take technology as an important deliverable in our government’s development agenda. For us to make a lasting impact in the tech industry, we said to ourselves that we needed to build the infrastructure to support the sector.”

According to him, the state is building a tech campus on a 22,000-square-meters land in Yaba, and is working with global brands in the tech space, such as Facebook and Google, to deliver the technology hub.

The governor said the cluster in Yaba would be a technology free zone that would aid the growth of funding and financing for the local tech industry and fintech space.

He added that the ecosystem would also offer free labs for startups to take their innovations from ideation to the next level.

He said the move was part of the state government’s efforts to increase its level of funding in the provision of technology infrastructure in the state, adding that the state had started a metropolitan fibre optic development plan.

Sanwo-Olu said, “We’ve started with phase one. We are running 3,000km of fibre. Lagos is certainly not up to 3,000km in size. What this means is that it will meander through all roads.

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Vivo Launches New Smartphone

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Vivo has launched the V21/V21e smartphone to make professional smartphone imagery accessible to all users.

The innovation is the latest in Vivo’s longstanding V-series of smartphones, “which has a long history of providing consumers with fashion-forward, camera-focused devices at competitive prices,” a statement explained.

It noted that the V21e features a 44MP AF Front Camera which combines AI Night Portrait for a rich photography and videography experience and the V21 boasts of a unique Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) on the front and rear cameras all designed in a bid to enhance everyday life for users.

Also, the new Vivo V21e brings together Vivo’s best-in-class front-camera hardware, combined with cutting-edge software and autofocus features for clearer images, better night shots and more stabilised videos in 4K quality.

“The powerful 44MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture allows for greater light exposure even in environments where lighting is limited. Through the hardware and software integration, the Super Night Selfie features multi-level exposure and multiple high-quality image frames, enhancing the brightness and details of night scenes, as well as ensuring better clarity of portraits.

“Together with the AI Night Portrait, which combines a multi-frame noise reduction algorithm and AI high-definition technology, it is easy for users to capture great night photos.

“At the same time, the impressive 64MP rear camera provides outstanding image quality, brought to life with the support of a set of secondary cameras to respectively handle macro photography, along with wide-angle and more complex shots.

“Both front and rear cameras can capture 4K quality images and videos, while the Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) builds in greater stabilisation through software algorithms without the need for additional hardware, saving space and thus reducing the size of the phone,” it added.

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Five Largest Internet Companies Hit 1.7 Million Employees, a 60% Increase in a Year

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The digital transformation fuelled by the COVID-19 has speeded up the growth of the world’s largest internet companies. Today, these tech giants employ more people than ever and generate revenue counted in tens and hundreds of billions of dollars.

According to data presented by BuyShares, Amazon, Alibaba, Alphabet, Facebook, and eBay, as the world’s largest internet companies by the total workforce, hit more than 1.7 million employees, a massive 60% increase in a year.

Amazon Created 500,000 New Jobs Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Amazon has consistently topped the ranking as an online company with the biggest workforce, but the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gap as eCommerce has boomed since then. While many companies were forced to cut jobs in face of the pandemic, the tech giant went on an unprecedented hiring spree in 2020. According to the company’s data, the eCommerce behemoth created 500,000 new jobs last year, adding to its already sizeable workforce.

With roughly 1.3 million employees across the globe, Amazon is only the second US company to employ more than a million people. The US retail giant Walmart currently employs 2.2 million people around the world.

With such a staggering workforce and millions of customers worldwide, Amazon undoubtedly is a money machine. Last year, the company’s revenue surged by 37% YoY to $386bn, and according to the report by CNBC, the online retailer generates more than $800,000 every minute.

Alibaba’s Workforce Surged by 113% in a Year

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, ranked as the second-largest online company by the number of employees. In 2020, the tech giant reported over 135,000 full-time employees, 16,400 more than a year before.

However, China’s biggest eCommerce company, Alibaba Group, witnessed even more impressive workforce growth. Alibaba emerged as one of the country’s biggest corporate winners of the COVID-19 crisis. The multinational tech giant gained the opportunity to expand its business significantly in 2020, as demand for its services and online marketplace traffic surged amid the lockdowns.

The company’s earnings report for the fiscal year 2021 revealed the eCommerce giant had more than 251,000 full-time employees in March, an impressive 113% increase in a year.

Statistics also showed the number of active consumers across Alibaba’s online shopping properties jumped by 11% YoY to 811 million in the first quarter of 2021, while the company’s annual revenues grew by 40% YoY to over 717 million yuan.

Facebook, ranked as the fourth-largest internet company based on the number of employees. The social media giant created 13,600 new jobs last year, with the total number of employees rising to 58,600.

As the fifth-largest company on this list, PayPal increased its workforce by 14% in this period and hit 26,500 employees globally.

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Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya Lead in E-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa

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A new research conducted by Visa has shown that Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya are the largest e-commerce contributors in Africa in the last three years.

In the report titled ‘Visa Research Reveals SA, Nigeria and Kenya Are Top Drivers of E-commerce Volumes in SSA’, said Ghana was also showing signs of growth after replacing Kenya in the top three contributors in 2020.

The report noted that while Sub-Saharan Africa might be one of the smallest regions of e-commerce globally, it showed consistent growth potential.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the region’s new e-commerce users grew by 5 percent when compared to the active base in the preceding year.

The report said, “The most important e-commerce enablers – the ability to access financial services, digital payment channels and digital infrastructure – are starting to take hold across SSA.

“Although cash may remain the dominant payment instrument in the region for now, there are signs that this will eventually change.

“In Nigeria, for example, cash is still particularly prevalent, while in Kenya mobile money is most popular and many South Africans choose cards as their main payment methods.”

The COVID-19 pandemic had pushed consumers towards digital payments in the key e-commerce markets for SSA, it stated.

Lineshree Moodley, the Head of Visa Consulting and Analytics in Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “The three leading markets in SSA are starting to mature, providing the region with an established foundation and, when twinned with the growing penetration of e-commerce, it offers players in the payment space an opportunity they can capitalise on while helping to further accelerate the expansion of e-commerce in the region.”

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