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Webb Fontaine Awarded 10-year Contract to Upgrade, Expand & Develop Niger’s Trade and Customs Capabilities

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Webb Fontaine - Investors King

Webb Fontaine, a leading provider of solutions for Trade facilitation powered by artificial intelligence and the latest generation of advanced IT systems, has been chosen to spearhead the ongoing evolution and development of Niger’s Trade and Customs environment.

As part of a 10-year contract awarded by the Government of Niger, Webb Fontaine will play a key role in the implementation and long-term management of the new Niger National Single Window project (NNSW), including the roll out of a state-of-the-art Port Community System created specifically for the landlocked West African nation.

Central to Niger’s plans to expand and significantly advance its Trade and Customs sector, the NNSW has been developed by Webb Fontaine as an integrated and collaborative platform that engages with the full spectrum of Trade, transport and logistics operations, including banks and Other Government Agencies (OGAs). As a case in point, Webb Fontaine will digitize the approval of licenses and permits for imported/exported regulated products and will install a complete electronic payment platform for trade documents.

The NNSW will optimise the processing of import, transit and export information, reduce time delays as well as costs and increase certainty and predictability of operations for Niger’s Trade community. The NNSW will be a major component in the digitisation of the country’s Trade and Customs administration and will help to lay the foundations for greatly improved capacities of agents and entities operating within the sector as it increases in size, scope and importance.

Webb Fontaine will introduce and implement a turn-key solution that includes all hardware, software, services and support required to meet the business requirements as defined under its contract with the government of Niger. The company’s international team of Trade and Customs experts will be deployed on the ground to install all the necessary infrastructure and systems as well as actively train the current local workforce and newly recruited staff brought in to support the progress of the project.

The NNSW portal will provide both international operators and entities based within Niger’s Trade community with an optimised, efficient, secure and paperless environment for the seamless and rapid processing of Trade and Customs regulations and procedures.

Kader Amadou, General Director of Financial Operations and Reforms, Ministry of Finance stated: “The Highest Authorities in Niger have placed the National Single Window among the flagship reforms. The Ministry of Finance urges all economic operators and public entities to support the Chamber of Commerce and Webb Fontaine in making the Niger National Single Window initiative one of the region’s most successful and innovative foreign Trade projects.”

Alioune Ciss, Webb Fontaine’s CEO, said: “The agreement between Webb Fontaine and the Government of Niger is a huge step towards the full digitisation of the country’s Trade and Customs environment. The NNSW and the fully connected and integrated Port Community System will effectively introduce new efficiencies across the entire Trade landscape. We are honoured to be chosen as the key technology partner for this exciting project and look forward to being a big player in the successful growth of Niger’s Trade and Customs sector for many years to come.”

Ousmane Mahamane, General Secretary, The Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Niger said: “The collaborative partnership that has been recently signed with Webb Fontaine represents an ambitious, progressive and fundamental step forward for the Government of Niger and the country’s entire Trade and Customs industry. The benefits that are expected from the implementation of this project are numerous for both the public and private sectors, with many of the key actors involved in the import-export chain expected to reap the rewards on a national and international level.”

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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Telecommunications

Nokia Launches Next-generation AirScale 5G Portfolio Powered by ReefShark Technology

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Nokia today announced the global launch of its latest range of industry-leading AirScale 5G products covering baseband, remote radio heads, and massive MIMO active antennas with digital beamforming. The innovative solutions are powered by the latest generation of Nokia’s ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC) chipsets and deliver the highest capacity and network performance while enabling efficient deployments and operation. The rollout of the new products is already underway.

Nokia introduces its new generation of ReefShark-powered AirScale massive MIMO antennas with both 32TRX and 64TRX products, as well as 8T8R remote radio head solutions. The 32TRX is the industry’s lightest, at 17kg, simplifying and speeding up site deployments. Notably, this low weight is achieved at the same time as supporting high radio frequency bandwidth (200 MHz occupied bandwidth and 400 MHz instantaneous bandwidth) and delivering high radio frequency power output, without compromise. Both the new 32TRX and the new 64TRX massive MIMO antennas support both fragmented spectrum and network sharing cases.

Nokia also introduces its new SoC-based baseband plug-in cards to boost the capacity of the AirScale System Module. The new ReefShark-powered plug-in cards deliver up to eight times more throughput and serve up to eight times more cells compared to previous generations. They are easily installed and simplify the upgrade and extended operation of all AirScale deployments. Nokia’s baseband module can support 90,000 connected users simultaneously and has 84 Gbps throughput. The highly efficient ReefShark powered plug-in cards also reduce power consumption by up to 75 percent. Nokia’s modular AirScale baseband enables mobile operators to scale capacity flexibly and efficiently and as their 5G business evolves.

Nokia Single RAN software now includes 5G, accelerating 5G rollouts and cutting overall radio access network TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), by unlocking network efficiencies with common transport, common operability, common software delivery, and increased hardware sharing. The combination of Nokia’s Single RAN software and the new baseband plug-in cards offer multi-mode (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) and multi-band and supports the latest fronthaul interfaces (eCPRI) on a single baseband platform, simplifying the network and lowering costs.

Nokia’s AirScale baseband architecture is designed to be future-proof and support the increasing demands for wireless traffic. By keeping the L1 and L2 (Layer 1 and Layer 2) computing separate from L3 (Layer 3) and Transport baseband plug-in units, capacity can be added when and where it is needed in the network. Network modernization can be simply achieved either by software upgrade or by adding new plug-in units into the existing baseband.

Nokia’s ReefShark chipsets will also play a critical role in future Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities. Nokia has already introduced AI/ML features in areas such as predictive load balancing, anomaly detection, and intelligent traffic steering. All Nokia ReefShark platforms are AI/ML ready and Nokia is carrying out proof of concepts with customers this year in innovative areas such as Massive MIMO beam pattern optimization, energy-saving, advanced traffic steering, advanced packet scheduling, and alarm pattern discovery.

Patrick Filkins, Senior Research Analyst, IoT and Mobile Network Infrastructure, IDC, commented: “5G networks are absolutely critical for improving network capacity and performance, particularly when higher bandwidth is in demand. Nokia’s new portfolio addresses these concerns by enabling mobile operators to flexibly scale capacity while helping to smoothly transition to 5G from existing technologies easily and cost-effectively. The integration of Nokia’s ReefShark SoCs across both radio and baseband boosts performance and capacity and the new massive MIMO antennas set a new benchmark for low weight without compromising on performance. These solutions will help mobile operators to address the increasingly dynamic mobile services space that urgently requires more capacity.”

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks, Nokia, said: “Our new generation of ReefShark-powered AirScale radio and baseband products is evidence of the successful transformation of our business and ability to deliver market-leading products to our global customers. Nokia’s new portfolio enables communication service providers to offer both consumer and enterprise customers with cutting-edge 5G experiences with premium speeds, capacity, and connectivity underpinned by seamless, simple, and efficient ‘plug-in’ deployment. Our new AirScale products are O-RAN ready. They consume less energy and highlight our commitment to climate change. We’re excited to see our customers deploying these products and see the transformative impact of 5G technology.”

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Fintech

Visa To Acquire Swedish Open Banking Firm Tink For €1.8B

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Visa Inc

Card giant firm, Visa is set to acquire Tink, the Swedish open banking platform, in a deal worth €1.8 billion (roughly $2.15 billion).

The news comes less than six months after the termination of Visa’s planned $5.3 billion acquisition of Plaid, the San Francisco-based fintech firm – a deal that had encountered significant opposition from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Like Plaid, Tink’s platform allows customers to connect with more than 3,400 banks and financial institutions to access aggregated financial data, helping them to build innovative personal finance tools.

“Visa is committed to doing all we can to foster innovation and empower consumers in support of Europe’s open banking goals,” said Al Kelly, CEO and chairman of Visa. “By bringing together Visa’s network of networks and Tink’s open banking capabilities we will deliver increased value to European consumers and businesses with tools to make their financial lives more simple, reliable and secure.”

As part of the Visa deal, Tink will retain its brand and current management team, as well as its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.

Tink last raised money in December 2020, when it secured €85 million (roughly $101.5 million) in a round led by Dawn Capital and Eurazeo Growth.

The €1.8 billion transactions, which includes cash and retention incentives, are subject to approval from regulators. Visa will fund the transaction in cash.

Tink’s business model is in part enabled by the EU’s Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which was put into effect in January 2018. The legislation requires banks to give third parties access to the customer data they store, with the aim of driving competition and innovation in financial services.

But the PSD2 framework also paved the way for new payment functionality that allows consumers to make payments directly from their bank accounts without having to rely on intermediaries, like card networks.

In recent months, account-to-account payments have garnered a lot of attention from crypto startups, which see it as a potentially cheaper and easier method of funding wallets.

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Telecommunications

Global Credit Ratings (GCR) Assigned MTN Nigeria Highest Possible Credit Ratings

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Karl O Toriola - Investorsking.com

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has been assigned the highest credit ratings of AAA by Global Credit Ratings (GCR).

GCR affirmed MTN Nigeria’s national scale short-term rating of A1+, with a stable outlook.

Also, GCR upgraded the national scale long-term rating of the recently concluded N110 billion Series 1 Senior Unsecured Bond to AAA with a stable outlook.

These represent the highest possible long-term and short-term ratings on GCR’s national rating scale, and MTN Nigeria is the first mobile network operator in Africa to be accorded such ratings by GCR.

According to GCR, “the ratings accorded to MTN Nigeria reflect its very strong competitive position as the leading provider of telecommunications services in Nigeria, as well as its strong earnings and cash flow which has supported a robust financial profile.”

Commenting on the rating, Karl Toriola, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, said, “We are delighted with the outcome of the GCR rating. This demonstrates the resilience of our business and positions MTN Nigeria as the benchmark of reference for the information and communications technology sector for long-dated, fixed-term instruments. As we continue to invest in our network and strengthen our risk management processes, we remain focused on sustaining and accelerating growth in line with our Ambition 2025 strategy“.

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