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Nigeria’s Ministry of Communications Secures N1 Billion for Three Million Technical Talent Program

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Dr. Bosun Tijani, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, has announced the acquisition of N1 billion in funding for the implementation of the Three Million Technical Talent program.

During a council meeting with directors of the Information Communication and Technology department in all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in Abuja, Dr. Tijani emphasized the ministry’s commitment to building Nigeria’s technical talent base, strengthening the nation’s digital economy.

The minister highlighted the critical role of technology in the country’s economic growth and development.

He emphasized that effective collaboration, the creation of an enabling environment, and a workforce of public servants prepared to embrace change are essential to achieving the best results.

Dr. Tijani stated, “The best way to address societal problems is to bring people together to discuss and find solutions. Our meeting must be critical and effective in resolving issues to produce tangible outcomes. This will attract stakeholders and private investors who will provide the necessary resources.”

He emphasized the ministry’s commitment to its mission of training three million individuals, even in the absence of a dedicated budget.

The support of various organizations and companies has made it possible to secure N1 billion for the project, demonstrating the increasing interest and investment in Nigeria’s digital talent and technology initiatives.

Dr. Tijani urged the council to play its part in realizing the administration’s digitization objectives.

He called for the transformation of the civil service to maximize the utilization of limited resources, eliminating outdated practices, such as paper-based documentation, to usher in a new era of efficiency and digital innovation.

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Telecommunications

MTN Group Ltd. Reports 90% Plunge in Profit Amid Nigeria’s Currency Woes

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MTN

MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest wireless service provider, has announced a 90% decline in its full-year profit following the plunge in Nigerian Naira.

The company revealed that its earnings per share for the year ending December fell to a range of 1.07 rand to 3.21 rand (approximately 6 to 17 US cents), a significant drop from 10.71 rand recorded in 2022.

The Nigerian naira, which experienced a 49% depreciation in 2023 and an additional 44% decline this year, has emerged as a significant factor impacting MTN’s financial performance.

As one of the world’s worst-performing currencies against the dollar, the naira’s instability has created a volatile economic environment, prompting concerns among international businesses operating in Nigeria.

The currency crisis, stemming from a shortage of dollars and exacerbated by policy missteps and corruption, has led to an exodus of multinational corporations seeking to repatriate earnings from Africa’s largest economy.

Nigeria, with its burgeoning young population and growing tech sector, has struggled to address economic dysfunction despite its vast natural resources.

MTN Group Ltd., which boasts approximately 77 million customers in Nigeria, historically derives a substantial portion of its earnings from the country.

However, the company’s shares plummeted by as much as 7.2% in early trading following the profit announcement, reflecting investor concerns over the challenging operating environment.

Despite the bleak financial report, MTN highlighted positive metrics such as a 45% increase in data traffic and a 49% surge in mobile money transaction volumes.

However, the company refrained from providing guidance on its earnings margins, further adding to uncertainties surrounding its future financial performance.

Analysts underscored the importance of regulatory stability and economic reforms in Nigeria to restore investor confidence and mitigate the impact of currency fluctuations on companies like MTN.

As businesses navigate the economic landscape, the resilience of Nigeria’s currency and regulatory framework remains a critical concern for investors and industry stakeholders alike.

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Impact Amplifier, Google Launch African Online Safety Platform

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Impact Amplifier, with the financial support of Google.org, today launched its African Online Safety Platform (AOSP).

The Africa Online Safety Platform is an Africa-wide project and part of Impact Amplifier’s broader intention to address African Online Safety at a systemic level.

The African internet safety ecosystem is hindered by several issues, key among them is the lack of a central repository of all the online safety research that has been conducted on a broad spectrum of issues in Africa; lack of a central repository for education material for the plethora of online safety challenges relevant for African users; the absence of legal and social media platform support systems that are less complex and time consuming; and underfunding of the needed interventions.

The AOSP has been built to address all these challenges. The platform provides a rich repository of research, education content, funding opportunities and ways to seek help if an online crime has occurred.

The site is intended to address the complexity of understanding what online safety issues are affecting different parts of Africa, how to keep everyone and particularly young people safe online, how to teach online safety formally in schools and at home, funding opportunities for safety innovators, and how to get help if a crime or other violation has occurred.

The event also included a panel discussion with several of Impact Amplifier’s grantees which are part of its ecosystem solution.  These panellists reflected online safety innovators from South Africa and Kenya who discussed some of the complexities and solutions to staying safe online in Africa.

The panellists from South Africa were Craig Rosewarne, Managing Director Wolfpack Information Risk and Camaren Peter, Director/Executive Lead, Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change (CABC). Those from Kenya were Dennis Ratemo, Programme Manager, Terre des Hommes and Martha Sunda, Executive Director, Childline Kenya. Their discussions underscored the importance of solutions that were suited to local contexts in Africa.

Google SA Country Director, Dr Alistair Mokoena said: “We first partnered with Impact Amplifier in 2020, when we announced the initial fund. We have now launched version 2.0 to show that we remain committed to providing sustained and dedicated support to the online safety ecosystem in Africa, in order to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected from online harms and reap the benefits of the internet. We encourage the relevant parties to use this amazing new education and research resource and to apply to the fund.”

Speaking at the event, Impact Amplifier Director, Tanner Methvin said: “With over 570 million people having access to the internet in Africa, reflecting just under 47 per cent of the continent’s population, online safety concerns deserve utmost attention.”

The new platform, Methvin added, “offers innovative approaches to addressing the complex safety issues the internet presents. These range from unique ways of combating mis and disinformation, tracking of cyber criminals, supporting journalists targeted with hate speech and bullying, integrating online safety training into school curriculums, and much more,” he concluded.

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Nigeria Sees 707% Surge in 5G Subscriptions Since May 2023

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5G subscriptions in Africa’s largest economy Nigeria jumped in the last seven months as more Nigerians continue to embrace 5G connection.

According to recent data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), 5G subscriptions grew by 707% since May 2023 to 2.14 million in November of the same year.

This surge in 5G subscriptions reflects a growing appetite for advanced connectivity solutions among Nigerian consumers and businesses alike.

The advent of 5G technology promises unprecedented speed, reliability, and network capacity, laying the groundwork for revolutionary innovations across various sectors of the economy.

While 5G subscriptions have experienced exponential growth, the dominance of second-generation networks (2G) still persists in Nigeria’s mobile network landscape.

Despite the surge in 5G, 2G remains the primary mode of connectivity, controlling a significant portion of the market with 59.32% of total mobile subscriptions.

The rise of 5G subscriptions underscores the country’s commitment to embracing cutting-edge technology and fostering digital inclusion nationwide.

The deployment of 5G networks across Nigeria signifies a pivotal step towards unlocking new opportunities for economic growth, innovation, and social development.

In response to the burgeoning demand for 5G connectivity, major telecommunications providers in Nigeria, including MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, and Mafab Communications, have rolled out their own 5G networks.

These initiatives reflect a concerted effort to expand network coverage and enhance connectivity infrastructure across the country.

As Nigeria continues on its path towards digital transformation, the surge in 5G subscriptions signals a promising future characterized by enhanced connectivity, innovation, and socioeconomic progress.

The rapid adoption of 5G technology is poised to drive Nigeria’s digital agenda forward, positioning the country at the forefront of the global telecommunications landscape.

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