Technology for Social Change and Development Initiative (Tech4Dev) and the Policy Innovation Center (PIC) of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) recently joined forces to conduct a groundbreaking workshop in Edo State, focusing on fostering inclusive digital transformation within the region.
Held between June 21st-22nd and July 4th-5th, 2023, the workshop aimed to unlock the potential of digital technologies in driving economic growth and ensuring accessibility for all citizens.
Supported by the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian government has been actively working towards utilizing digital technologies to facilitate inclusive digital access and fuel economic growth.
In line with this, Tech4Dev, in collaboration with NESG/PIC and the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), facilitated a consultative working group to develop an inclusive digital economy plan and strategy for Edo State, integrating key elements of the NDEPS.
A major highlight of the workshop was the technical session dedicated to the formulation of an e-government implementation action plan. This plan seeks to expedite the implementation and adoption of e-government initiatives, further streamlining governmental processes and services.
Immanuel Umukoro, senior research and policy manager at Tech4Dev, announced that Edo State would receive technical support to create an action plan for the adoption of a digital jobs playbook, aimed at boosting digital job opportunities within the region. Additionally, an action plan will be developed to facilitate the internalization of the ‘Right of Way’ reforms.
The stakeholder workshop witnessed the participation of representatives from the public sector, private sector, and civil society organizations, all working collaboratively to co-create a robust digital economy implementation action plan.
Abieyuwa Igbinomwanhia-Naps, the permanent secretary of the Edo State Ministry of digital economy, science, and technology, highlighted the importance of these co-creation sessions in ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive approach to the development of strategic documents. She emphasized that these efforts will foster ownership and create an enabling environment for innovation in Edo State.
Osasuyi Dirisu, director of the Policy Innovation Center at NESG, stressed the significance of public awareness and advocacy in driving the adoption of digital economy initiatives and programs.
He pledged to effectively disseminate the strategic documents and action plans to ensure their successful implementation and attainment of the digital access program’s objectives.
Nigerian Autotech Startup, Fixit45, Secures $1.9 Million for East Africa Expansion
Nigerian autotech startup Fixit45 has successfully secured $1.9 million in equity and working capital to fuel its ambitious expansion plans into East Africa.
The funding round, spearheaded by Launch Africa Ventures, witnessed significant participation from notable investors, including Soumobroto Ganguly and Dave Delucia, alongside a diverse group of angel investors.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, Fixit45 underscored the significance of this capital infusion as a substantial stride towards broadening its footprint and influence within Africa’s thriving automotive aftermarket industry.
The company revealed that these funds have been earmarked to fuel its strategic expansion initiatives, with a particular emphasis on fortifying its automotive repair business.
Fixit45 also shared its unwavering commitment to enhancing its spare parts distribution capabilities through its online-to-offline platform, xparts.africa. With a keen eye on the East African market, Fixit45 has set its sights on Kenya and Uganda.
Co-founded by visionaries Chioma Ahueze-Okochukwu, Goodluck Ikporo, and Pankaj Bohhra, Fixit45 offers a unique platform that empowers car owners to seamlessly connect and engage with a vast network of aftermarket stakeholders.
This extensive network encompasses automobile service providers, specialized technical teams, spare parts suppliers, and end-consumers.
Pankaj Bohhra, one of the co-founders of Fixit45, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This funding represents a pivotal moment for Fixit45. We are profoundly grateful to our investors for their faith in our vision and our unwavering commitment to revolutionizing the African automotive aftermarket sector. With this capital infusion, we are well-positioned to advance towards our expansion objectives.”
Fixit45’s strategic move into East Africa holds the promise of ushering in transformative developments in the automotive industry across the region.
As the company intensifies its efforts, the future of automotive repair and spare parts distribution in East Africa appears poised for a remarkable evolution. Stay tuned for more exciting updates as Fixit45 continues to make waves in the autotech sector.
Payday’s $3 Million Seed Round: From Hope to Headaches
Six months after securing $3 million in a seed round led by Moniepoint, Nigerian fintech startup Payday finds itself embroiled in controversy and uncertain about its future.
Founder and CEO, Favour Ori, confirmed that the company is actively engaged in discussions with potential buyers.
In March, reports surfaced that Moniepoint was in talks to acquire Payday, with an expected deal closure within three months. However, the deal fell through, reportedly due to Moniepoint’s board’s lack of enthusiasm. Despite this setback, negotiations to sell the company continue.
Payday faced a wave of negative publicity in August after suspending access to customer accounts following fraudulent activities that resulted in customer losses. The company was accused of misappropriating customer funds before acknowledging the account restrictions.
Internal issues further marred the company’s reputation, especially after Payday implemented contentious salary reductions for some Nigerian staff in July and failed to issue promised stock options to affected employees.
This led to dissatisfaction and several employee departures.
Payday’s COO, Ogechi Obike, also departed, citing goal misalignment and clashes with Favour Ori.
Accusations arose that Favour marginalized Obike in crucial meetings and decision-making processes.
Favour Ori’s management style came under scrutiny, with allegations of impulsiveness and a lack of transparency.
Employees claimed that he hired top talent but stifled their input, resulting in customer disruptions, including difficulties creating virtual cards and accessing accounts.
Amid these controversies, Favour Ori has reduced his involvement in the company, focusing on external work with GitHub while the co-founder, Elijah Kingson, is employed at Revolut.
Payday’s future remains uncertain, with the potential sale of the company and the need to regain customer trust and employee satisfaction hanging in the balance.
The company faces the challenge of restoring its reputation and stability while navigating a tumultuous period in its young history.
Meta Announces Upcoming Business Verification and Innovative Features for WhatsApp
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, on Tuesday announced plans to commence verification of businesses on WhatsApp.
Nikila Srinivasan, Meta’s Vice President of Business Messaging, shared the exciting news.
Meta’s aim is to bolster user trust through platform-granted verifications, signify the legitimacy of businesses and assure users of their authenticity.
To attain this coveted Meta verification, businesses must substantiate their credibility to Meta, reaping rewards such as a verified badge, enhanced account support, and safeguarding against impersonation.
Srinivasan further elaborated on the forthcoming features, stating, “For businesses interested in signing up, Meta Verified will offer additional premium features. These include the ability to create a customized WhatsApp page that can be easily discovered through web searches, as well as multi-device support, enabling multiple employees to efficiently respond to customer inquiries. We plan to initiate testing of Meta Verified with small businesses using the WhatsApp Business app before extending it to businesses on the WhatsApp Business Platform in the near future.”
In addition to the verification system, Meta also unveiled another exciting feature called “Flows.” This innovation will empower businesses to provide a comprehensive range of services without requiring users to leave the chat.
Srinivasan explained, “With Flows, businesses will have the capability to offer rich menus and customizable forms to cater to diverse user needs. We aim to make Flows available to businesses worldwide through the WhatsApp Business Platform in the coming weeks.”
This strategic move by Meta not only bolsters the credibility of businesses on WhatsApp but also introduces user-friendly features that are expected to enhance the overall user experience.
As Meta continues to invest in evolving its platforms, business owners and users alike can look forward to an increasingly innovative and secure WhatsApp environment.
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