The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard has sounded a warning to the Federal Government of Nigeria about endorsing unreliable telecommunications companies, as Nigeria prepares for the 5G technology auction next week. The 5G technology will subsequently be deployed early in 2022.
According to the Ambassador, giving untrusted telecoms suppliers the space to participate in or take control of any part of a 5G network would result in unwanted risks and even threats to important aspects like national security, respect for human rights and critical infrastructure.
Leonard said this at the 2021 International Legislative Stakeholders’ Conference on Digital Technology and Cybersecurity, which was organised by the Senate Committee on ICT and Cybercrime, in partnership with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Speaking at the conference which was themed “The Digital Theatre and the future of Nigeria”, she emphasised the need for governments, telecom users and the network users to give maximum priority to security when deploying their 5G networks.
According to her, a vital aspect of safeguarding the security of digital technologies is making sure that countries and their citizens can trust both the equipment and software which they are using. She said it was particularly true, as the 5G technology has been guaranteed to not bring in risks that threaten national security, human rights or even personal privacy.
Leonard also said that national measures must be established to lessen significant security risks from high risk suppliers, irrespective of national origin by prohibiting the suppliers from providing equipment, software and services to 5G network infrastructure.
Leonard then went ahead to say that the United States of America is demonstrating a commitment to promoting a vibrant digital economy across the world, which will also enable every single citizen to reap the benefits of the new 5G technology and the promise of its security, as well as other wireless networks that may come up in future generations.
FG Launches National Policy on 5G, Assures Protection of Data
In a bid to improve Nigeria’s digital economy, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, inaugurated the national policy on Fifth Generation Networks (5G).
Investors King recalls that the 5G network was earlier approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on September 8, 2021.
The 5G technology was put in place to promote transparency which will help tackle insecurity and create more job opportunities.
President Buhari stated that the benefits of the 5G networks would be fully harnessed to improve the national economy, security and the general welfare of the citizens.
He explained that the issues surrounding the 5G network have been extensively discussed including health safety which has made the federal government come up with a suitable policy.
Speaking on the treasures to be mined in the 5G technology, Buhari mentioned that the network will aid the growth of all sectors, adding that it is faster than the previous technologies available.
In his words, “The 5G technologies can support virtually every sector of the economy, including enhanced connectivity, improved healthcare, support for education while fostering smart cities, and boosting agriculture, among other advantages.
”5G technology is significantly faster than earlier digital technologies and it provides near real-time communication. This can play a key role in boosting our efforts towards enhancing security across the nation.
”It will enable our security institutions to effectively deploy robotics, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality to address any security challenges that we face.”
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, during the launch opined that the 5G technology will greatly help in curbing insecurity in the nation.
Enumerating the goals of the 5G network national policy, the minister said it will secure the ecosystem and ensure protection of data with international standards.
He added that the 5G network will open up opportunities to explore broad information to solve security issues in the country.
“The 5G Network will enhance transparency and economic development as its potential for job creation is unprecedented.
“It is viable platform for security institutions to leverage on, in tackling the security challenges that have bedevilled the country, by harnessing the potential of digital technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Robotics etc. which explore real-time information for maximum efficiency,” he said.
The federal government affirmed that it would continually make the country friendly for investors to successfully build their businesses.
15-Month-Old P2P Credit Fintech, P2vest Celebrates 100,000 Users
P2vest, a peer-to-peer lending platform by P2vest Technology Limited, has commemorated gaining 100,000 users on its platform since its launch in 2020.
With a mission to transform the way people access credit and lend money by bringing borrowers and lenders together, the platform states that it allows for quick loan disbursement and a flexible payback plan, safer than offers received from loan sharks.
Cash-strapped borrowers for a while now in Nigeria, have been at the mercy of lenders who use unscrupulous means to recover loans. These lenders who conduct their businesses unprofessionally go as far as marring the integrity and characters of the borrowers and their innocent guarantors.
Promising to provide a better approach to lending and borrowing within peers through the utilization of artificial intelligence, the Founder and CEO of P2vest Technology, Mr Austin Abolusoro says that, ”Our goal at P2vest is to build a platform that delivers on ease of access to credit while also building a credit history. Our approach is different, we are using Artificial Intelligence to ensure credit-worthy Nigerians have access to quick loans.”
According to Abolusoro, the 15-month old financial technology company bridged the gap of loan access by connecting authorised lenders with borrowers, while helping them take control of their debt, grow their businesses, and invest for the future.
“Since we launched (in 2020), we have provided access to quick loans to over 105,000 Nigerians. This is a big achievement for us as we have availed people the chance to access loans for their different needs like setting up of businesses, house renovations, Car loans, paying rent, school loan, medical bills on the platform faster and without delay. While also creating an opportunity for people to borrow more as long as they continue to pay back,” he said.
Speaking on its mode of operation, the company states that it uses the Sharing Economy Technology. The sharing economy technology is a new model of consumption, sharing, collaboration between individuals of goods, services, resources, with or without monetary exchanges via dedicated platforms.
The adoption of the sharing economy technology and its model has allowed the fintech credit world to develop over the years. Its growth now creates room for P2P economy to thrive as they cut out the role of third parties.
On the P2vest platform, users are encouraged to grow their money by “becoming a lender on our easy-to-use platform. Give out loans tailored to you and your income, and earn attractive returns.” Borrowers on the other hand are to provide their accurate info, including bank details, where payments of loan, when due are automatically withdrawn from the accounts.
Angel Investors Plans to List Africa-Focused SPAC Targeting Tech Startup
Angel Investors, Vishal Agarwal an investment banker, and Raj Kulasingam, a corporate lawyer have stated plans to list Africa-focused SPAC targeting only tech startups in the continent.
A report from Bloomberg said the two early-stage investors have been funding African startups since 2017, invested in over 50 startups, and so far made fivefold returns on their investment. They were also part of Acuity Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund with stakes in Flutterwave Inc. and Paystack before the firms attained unicorn status.
Vishal and Raj saw the successful investment strategy of Swvl Inc. a Dubai-based ridesharing company merging with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, a blank-check company. The two investors believed that listing an African-focused SPAC will provide funds for startups needing capital to expand operations in the continent.
Vishal affirmed that investors have developed a keen interest in Africa, he said, “as there is more interest in Africa, we want to give founders a route to market. A SPAC gives acceleration to our founders and is overall a good thing for the ecosystem.”
The growing interest in African startups has been asserted by Briter Bridges in the 2021 African Investment Report, which released data showing that African startups secured $4.69 billion in estimated funding in 2021, where the tech companies dominated the space by gulping $2.9 billion or 62 percent of the total funding.
However, data from SPAC research revealed that less than 1 percent of the 600 New York-listed SPACs are African-focused.
The biggest investment success recorded by Vishal and raj was with Kuda Bank, the African challenger bank, where they invested $600,000 and exited with 14.5 fold gain or $8.7 million in 20 months. Kuda Bank, a unicorn startup is valued at $500 million and has so far raised $91.6 million in funding.
Vishal said, “when we do dealmaking, we are influenced not only by being able to get in at the right price, but being able to come out, We are very conscious about that, and it’s not always straightforward to come out.”
Dario Giuliani, director of Briter Bridges said, “2021 was a year of recognition, where the newly-available resources and the increasing number of international investors shifting mandates to include Africa met hundreds of promising entrepreneurs to support”.
Vishal and Raj just like every investor identified a growing economy in Africa and the increasing tech-savvy youth population, but also the lack of financial infrastructure. The duo plans to fill this gap by investing in about 20 African startups this year.
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