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Digital Gender Gap Persists as 830m Youths go Online



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  • Digital Gender Gap Persists as 830m Youths go Online

Despite the increasing pervasiveness of the Internet infrastructure across the globe, the gap between men and women online has continued to get wider.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) claimed that the proportion of men using the Internet is higher than the proportion of women using the Internet in two-thirds of countries worldwide.

ITU posited that there is a strong link between gender parity in the enrolment ratio in tertiary education and gender parity in Internet use.

It revealed that the only region where a higher percentage of women than men are using the Internet is the Americas, where countries also score highly on gender parity in tertiary education. According to the United Nations body, the proportion of women using the Internet increased by 12 per cent to usage by men globally.

While the gender gap has narrowed in most regions since 2013, it has widened in Africa. In Africa, ITU claimed that the proportion of women using the Internet is 25 per cent lower than the men’s.

To bridge the online gender gap, ITU has appealed to countries and organisations to encourage more girls and young women to consider careers in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, especially in Africa, stressing females are critical to the sustainability of ICT.

Furthermore, the ITU has disclosed that in 104 countries, more than 80 per cent of the youth population are online. It stressed that in developed countries, 94 per cent of young people aged 15-24 use the Internet compared with 67 per cent in developing countries, and only 30 per cent in LDCs.

The United Nations’ body said out of the 830 million young people who are online, 320 million (39 per cent) are in China and India. Nearly nine out of 10 young individuals not using the Internet live in Africa, or Asia and the Pacific.

ITU said the proportion of young people aged 15-24 using the Internet (71 per cent) is significantly higher than that of the total population using the Internet (48 per cent).

“Young people represent almost one-fourth of the total number of individuals using the Internet worldwide. In LDCs, 35 per cent of the individuals using the Internet are young people aged 15-24, compared with 13 per cent in developed countries and 23 per cent globally,” it stated.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market.

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Smile Launched 4G Enabled Dual-Sim Smartphone




Smile Launches 4G  Enabled Dual-Sim Smartphone

Smile Communications introduced its first dual-SIM and Voice over 4G LTE-enable Smartphone that gives fast and easy access to 4G network.

The SmileVoLTE dual-SIM and 4G LTE enabled smartphone was Google approved and manufactured in partnership with Mediatek. It has been pre-loaded with applications like the SmileVoice App, WhatsApp, Twitter, Skype, Instagram, YouTube, Music and FM radios and includes features for security like fingerprint and face recognition.

The smartphone has 16GB ROM, 2GB RAM, 1.3 Ghz Dual core, 5.45” HD touchscreen, 2950mAH battery, 5MP front camera and 8MP back camera.

The SmileVoLTE smartphone is bundled with 30 days Always-ON internet access, unlimited on-net calls, unlimited on-net SMS, 100 local call minutes, and 50 local SMSs.

The Chief Marketing Officer of Smile Nigeria, Abdul Hafeez while speaking on the product, said that Smile was glad to make another impressive device in the rapid growing Nigerian market.

We are making available to customers one of the best VoLTE Smartphones in the market with 4G LTE capabilities and Always-On internet access for non-stop 30-day internet connection. The market is moving much faster in the broadband direction and we want Nigerians to enjoy the best that broadband can offer hence the introduction of this new SmileVoLTE Smartphone,” he said.

He also added that “with the launch of the SmileVoLTE smartphone our customers are assured of a quality product that will beat the existing benchmark in the Nigerian market.

Hafeez assured customers that the new SmileVoLTE Smartphone would be very beneficial to them in many ways.

The new SmileVoLTE smartphone can be purchased in Smile shops in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Benin City, Kaduna, Onitsha and Asaba.

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MTN Moves to Sell Jumia Stake Despite Jumia Stock Rising 300%




MTN Plans to Sell Jumia Stake

MTN Group is presently perfecting plans to sell part or its entire stake estimated at $243 million (R4.1bn) in Jumia Technologies despite Jumia shares rising by over 300 percent in the last three months.

According to the people familiar with the deal, MTN is selling its interest in Jumia to pay off its debts and expand into new markets.

It would be recalled that when Investors King first reported MTN’s plan to sell its 19 percent stake in Jumia in May 2019 shortly after Jumia listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the 19 percent was valued at $655 million.

However, fraud attacks from Citron Research, a controversial American Research firm, plunged Jumia value to as low as $2.33 per share, down from about $40 per share it traded in April 2019.

Jumia has now gained about 300 percent in the last three months due to speculations that the e-commerce company would have recorded substantial sales during COVID-19 lockdown like its global counterparts.

The parties involved in the sale have not made a final decision, according to a Bloomberg report that quoted people familiar with the deal.

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NCC Removes USSD Pricing Cap, Says MNOs, Banks Should Negotiate



USSD pricing

NCC Says MNOs, Banks Should Negotiate USSD Rate

The Nigerian Communications Commission on Wednesday said it has removed the pricing limit set for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) service.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, said the commission has amended its directive of July 2019 by removing the price limit placed on USSD to allow MNOs and financial institutions negotiate appropriate pricing structure for the service.

According to him, each USSD session of 20 seconds cost N1.63 per session on the MNO network.

He, therefore, said the cost should form the basis for negotiation between the two parties –MNO and other related USSD service providers.

This was coming after a dispute between MNOs and financial institutions in 2019, with MTN and other MNOs saying they will be charging USSD users directly instead of the free service previously offered to financial institutions providing USSD services.

In the amended determination of August 1, 2020, the NCC said if both parties failed to reach an agreement it would once again step in to determine the right rate for both parties.

However, telecommunications regulators have said the refusal to agree on a succinct rate that works for both parties or negotiate in good faith world result in discontinuation of service provision. Meaning, codes for USSD transactions may be withdrawn or the regulating body will impose sanctions on the entire service.

Telecommunication companies have blamed banks for profiting from their service yet refused to pay for the same service that has helped them expand their operations and reach to the unbanked.

In November 2019, Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), said telecommunications companies incurred expenses daily for providing banks USSD services.

He said, “The USSD is a service we are providing for the banks and there is a cost incurred by telecom operators for providing those services.

“The bank has given an erroneous impression to the public that it is a sunk cost and it is not because for the service to be allowed, the cell site must be powered, there must be transmission link available and our systems must interconnect with the systems of the banks. It is a recurring cost other than the initial capital.

Banks, on the other hand, have said an agreement was reached with telecommunications companies on USSD service.

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