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  •  Thousands of African girls will receive coding training another step towards a connected Africa
    Thousands of African girls will receive coding training: another step towards a connected Africa
     Thousands of African girls will receive coding training another step towards a connected Africa
    Thousands of African girls will receive coding training: another step towards a connected Africa
    Africa1 week ago

    Thousands of African girls will receive coding training: another step towards a connected Africa

    The Connected Africa Girls Coding Camp returns this year for its fifth edition, commissioned by ECA in association with the Government of the Republic of Namibia, UN Namibia, UN WOMEN and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

    The hybrid training is aimed at young African women and girls between the ages of 12 and 25, with 100 from Namibia physically attending, while more than 2,000 are expected to join virtually from across the African continent.

    Given the growing global influence of technology in driving sustainable growth and development, strengthening the ICT sector is socially and economically relevant for Africa.

    According to the 2021 ITU report, gender remains a disparity factor globally, with 62% of men using the internet compared to 57% of women.

    In Africa, where we see the largest digital gender gap in the world, only 24% of women use the internet compared to 35% of men.

    Thus, the participation of African women continues to indicate significant gaps within science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) disciplines.

    This limited access creates barriers for young women and girls to reap the benefits of the Internet and increase their academic and professional participation, especially in technology-based fields.

    The African Connected Girls initiative strives to bridge this digital divide by empowering young African women and girls with the foundational skills needed to find long-term success in education, employment and entrepreneurship, while creating an enabling environment.

    conducive to collaborative efforts.

    Namibia's Connected African Girls Coding Camp will feature four main workshops on animation, web and game development, IoT and robotics, and 3D printing.

    Graphic Design is included as a common online course with Artificial Intelligence, Design Thinking, and Computational Thinking.

    This camp will also feature master classes on gender-based violence, the UN SDGs and Agenda 2063, including personal development skills.

    On the last day of the camp, an innovation fair will be organized that will allow the girls to showcase their projects developed during the coding camp by focusing on solution-oriented ideas in response to the socio-economic challenges of the continent.

    In the last four editions of the coding camp, participants have developed 198 innovative projects, of which 40 were recognized for their contributions to the community.

    The registration page can be accessed through the following link.

    The deadline to register is August 15, 2022 at 17:59 EAT.

    https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_l88gKa6dRtSqudhRN4O_cg

  •  Nigerian organisation wins UNFPA award
    Nigerian organisation wins UNFPA award
     Nigerian organisation wins UNFPA award
    Nigerian organisation wins UNFPA award
    Foreign2 weeks ago

    Nigerian organisation wins UNFPA award

    A Nigerian-based organisation, Hillspring Diagnostics, has won the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) global innovation award for one of the 10 projects that will advance the empowerment of women and girls worldwide.

    The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria reports that UNFPA announced the 10 winners to its first ever Joint Innovation Challenge on Thursday.

    Joint Innovation Challenge is a cutting-edge competition to provide funding for social enterprises with innovative solutions that advance the empowerment of women and girls worldwide.

    Speaking on the award at a news conference in New York, UN spokesman, Mr Stéphane Dujarric, said 10 organisations that won the award are headed by women.

    Dujarric said Hillspring Diagnostics from Nigeria came up with a revolutionary method for detecting ectopic pregnancy, a condition which can have dangerous consequences including death of the mother and baby if not diagnosed and treated in time.

    According to him, organisations headed by women from other nine countries of Costa Rica, Armenia, Mongolia, Uganda, Turkey, Colombia, Bangladesh, Rwanda, and Cameroon were honoured.

    Dujarric said the winners pitched a range of innovations – from a portable diagnostic system for pre-eclampsia to a board game that shares information on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

    “The 10 winners each received 60,000 dollars which will allow these organisations to move from pilot stage to scale,’’ he said.

    The challenge was financed by UNFPA’s Equaliser Accelerator Fund, and implemented in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the International Trade Centre.

    Entrants were given the incentive of a cash prize which would allow them to expand their ideas from the test stage, to full production, for the potential benefit of millions around the world.

    The challenge received further funding from the Governments of Luxembourg, Finland, and Denmark.

    Launched in 2021, UNFPA’s Fund provides equity-free investments in social enterprises that are led or co-led by women, and can show evidence of the impact they will have.

    Reacting to the award, Dr Natalia Kanem, UNFPA’s Executive Director said, in relation to the competition, “creative thinking and innovative solutions are key to accelerate progress for women and girls around the world.

    ” According to her, the 2022 challenge is awarding 10 women-helmed organisations from five different regions globally.

    Initially, a panel of experts received 300 submissions from 61 countries.

    After 20 finalists pitched their innovative ideas to the panel, the eventual 10 winners then signed nine-month contracts with UNFPA and will be receiving an equity-free investment of 60,000 dollars.

    The funding will allow winning organisations to transition away from the pilot stage, and begin manufacturing at scale.

    UNFPA and its partners will also support the social enterprises with targeted mentorship, training opportunities, interactive workshops, and unique access to the global UN network.

    The winning ideas varied in function, but were united in ingenuity, said the agency.

    Other winners from Africa are the Global Pre-Eclampsia Initiative from, Uganda; Urukundo Initiative, Rwanda and Women in Entrepreneurship and Technology (WETECH), Cameroon.

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    NewsSourceCredit: NAN

  •  The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and Vodafone Urge Action to Connect 3 4BN People with Smartphones by 2030
    The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and Vodafone Urge Action to Connect 3.4BN People with Smartphones by 2030
     The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and Vodafone Urge Action to Connect 3 4BN People with Smartphones by 2030
    The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and Vodafone Urge Action to Connect 3.4BN People with Smartphones by 2030
    AMA11 months ago

    The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and Vodafone Urge Action to Connect 3.4BN People with Smartphones by 2030

    ·    First multi-stakeholder initiative to address global mobile internet access gap has been launched by Vodafone Group and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as co-chairs via a dedicated Working Group under the auspices of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. 

    ·    Of the 3.7 billion people not connected to the internet, 3.4 billion live within range of mobile networks but are currently not accessing the internet, partly due to a lack of smartphone ownership1. 

    ·    Accelerated use of digital public services during the pandemic, mobile money, and the need for digital skills for jobs has made mobile internet access through a smartphone more important than ever. 

    UNGA, New York, September 20, 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- A major new initiative has been launched by Vodafone Group Plc and ITU, the United Nations’ specialised agency for information and communication technologies, to address the global digital divide, with the aim that an additional 3.4 billion people could have the ability to access and use the internet through a smartphone by 2030. 

    With mobile broadband (4G) networks now covering 82% of the population of Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), the mobile usage gap is 6x larger than the mobile coverage gap.2 

    In line with the Broadband Commission Global Targets 2025 on affordability and connectivity, the new Working Group will identify policy, commercial and circular-economy interventions to increase smartphone access. 

    Co-chaired by Vodafone Group CEO, Nick Read, and ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, the Group’s launch partners also include: the Alliance for Affordable Internet; GSMA; the government of Ghana; Safaricom; Smart Africa; Vodacom Group; and the World Wide Web Foundation. 

    Mobile accounts for 86% of connections to the internet in LMICs3, emphasising the importance of mobile in addressing this issue. Yet billions of people continue to use ‘dumb’ feature phones, without an internet connection, and the 2G market continues to grow. That means the digital divide is widening as the global pandemic has accelerated the emergence of digital societies and smartphones are increasingly an essential gateway to access public services – including education and medical support – financial services, jobs and to run businesses.4 

    Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone Group, said: “Vodafone is honoured to be part of this monumental global initiative with the UN, to improve the lives of billions of people through smartphone access. As our societies become more digital, everyone should have the ability to find jobs, be able to get public services, financial services and critical information that are increasingly only available through the internet. This is such a complex challenge that no network operator, device manufacturer, financial services provider or national government can solve on their own – but working together we can break through the barriers.”

    Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group said: “We are aware of the many different socio-economic complexities and dynamics which continue to prevent universal digital access in modern society, which should be a right and not a privilege. The pledge by the United Nations, Vodafone Group Plc and the ITU to increase smartphone access for 3.4 billion people around the world is timely and important. As Vodacom works to connect the next 100 million African people through its Africa.Connected campaign, we look forward to supporting Vodafone’s ambition to ensure that no one is excluded from the global digital economy, and may enjoy access to education, jobs, public and financial services.”

    Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of the ITU, said: “Achieving the Broadband Commission Global Targets requires a multi-stakeholder approach. I am pleased to co-chair this newly established Working Group, which will also help address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that we put smart devices in the hands of those who are left behind.”

    Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology, said: “The UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation aims to achieve universal connectivity by 2030. Smartphone access is a key element of this in low- and middle-income countries where mobile is the principal route to the internet. As such, this working group can have an important role in ensuring that the shift to digital technology is beneficial and makes our societies more equal and not less.” 

    The Honourable Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ghana, said: “While Ghana and other countries have made great strides in the development of mobile infrastructure and the usage of digital services such as mobile money, it is noticeable that 45% of people in West Africa are covered by mobile broadband networks but do not use the internet. Addressing the mobile internet usage gap is vital for the long-term economic development of my country and many others across the world and will require new partnerships and focused action from a range of organisations.”

    The Broadband Commission Working Group will produce a report and set of concrete recommendations including: 

    ·    original analysis and data on the smartphone access gap;

    ·    quantification of the social and economic impact of providing everyone with smartphone access by 2030, including assessment of moving users from 2G feature phones to 4G smartphones; and 

    ·    analysis of initiatives or pilots designed to increase smartphone access. Vodafone Group has committed to launch two pilot projects on device affordability as part of this process. 

    “This partnership is key to expand access to the internet,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. “I am confident that the outcome report will provide guidance to all our stakeholders as we prepare for the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference in 2022 to build a world where no one is left off-line.” 

    To coincide with the creation of the new Working Group, Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom have also published the second ‘Africa.Connected’ report today on accelerating 4G for sub-Saharan Africa. The report, by independent consultancy Caribou Digital, suggests a multi-stakeholder approach with four key steps to enhancing digital inclusion across African nations, where the mobile usage gap is the largest in the world: 

    1.   Making 4G devices more accessible – Nearly 2.5 billion people live in countries where the cost of the cheapest available smartphone is unaffordable. Expanding device financing schemes for those with poor or no credit history; reducing the amount of tax on 4G smartphone imports and increasing local manufacturing of devices within Africa are suggested as ways to address this issue. 

    2.   Invest in the demand for 4G services – 375 million young Africans are expected to enter the labour market by 2030 and will need the skills to excel in a digital economy. The report suggests increasing financing and support for digital start-ups and that device manufacturers could create more inclusive products. 

    3.   Providing targeted financing for underserved demographics – Programmes need to take account of, and target, the large gender gap and rural-urban gap that exist in respect of device ownership in sub-Saharan Africa. 

    4.   Re-farming 2G spectrum – Repurposing mobile spectrum currently used for 2G devices would enable more people to use 4G.

  •  NEC backs digital switch over
    NEC backs digital switch over
     NEC backs digital switch over
    NEC backs digital switch over
    General news1 year ago

    NEC backs digital switch over

    By Chijioke OKoronkwo

    The National Economic Council (NEC) has declared its support for Nigeria’s effort at digital switch over.

    Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State disclosed this after a virtual NEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

    Ganduje said that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made a presentation to NEC on the Digital Switch Over(DSO) update on free TV.

    “Council was called to note that as instructed by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Nigeria must switch off analog and go digital.

    “The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the DSO Ministerial Taskforce are tasked with ensuring that Nigeria digitalises and developing public information and awareness campaign to inform citizens about DSO/Free TV.

    “For the regulator, that is on revenue generation–potential of N20 billion annually;  funds will enable the NBC to support and upgrade DSO initiatives and fund local producers.’’

    On progress so far made, he said that there were 200 plus registered retailers.

    He listed the launch states as Lagos, Kano and Rivers.

    “ Lagos State overview– over 30 non terrestrial channels will be available.

    “Kano State overview– over 20 non terrestrial channels will be available; Rivers overview–over 30 non terrestrial channels will be available.’’

    The governor said that set top boxes distribution strategy was also discussed.

    He said that about 60 per cent of the boxes would be distributed to state government employees either via sales or through their respective cooperatives with 12 to 18 months repayment option.

    “30 per cent of the total boxes will be directly distributed to the mass market via the traditional and retail channel of free TV show room in the higher point of sales outlets.

    “Key benefits: 60 free to view channels, this will increase free TV products and competitiveness in the market when compared with the likes of Startimes and GoTV.

    “The increase in the channel capacity will also open up more opportunities for the content creators attracting additional investment into the industry; it makes easier for the new entrants in the media industry.

    “Finally, the council welcomed the report and supports the digital switch over,’’ he said. (NAN)

    (NAN)

  •  Misinformation of 5G Technology may derail implementation says Danbatta
    Misinformation of 5G Technology may derail implementation says Danbatta
     Misinformation of 5G Technology may derail implementation says Danbatta
    Misinformation of 5G Technology may derail implementation says Danbatta
    Science & Technology2 years ago

    Misinformation of 5G Technology may derail implementation says Danbatta

    The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, says that the present misinformation and misrepresentation of 5G technology has the potential to derail its implementation in the country.

    Danbatta, represented by Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs of NCC, said this at the opening of a two-day capacity building for members of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA), Abuja Chapter, on Tuesday in Abuja.

    The programme organised by the NCC, was with the theme: “Capacity Building for Telecom Sector Reporters”.

    The executive vice chairman noted that a lot of falsehoods and misinformation had been peddled both on the social media and traditional media outlets, with regard to the health and safety implications of deploying the 5G technology in Nigeria.

    He decried a situation where many Nigerians including citizens from other climes, believed that the introduction of the new technology was responsible for the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Danbatta noted that the misconception of the technology was even made worse because many journalists and telecoms consumers lacked sufficient information about the 5G technology.

    “The misinformation/misrepresentation of 5G technology has the potential of derailing the launch/implementation of this new technology in our clime.

    “Many Nigerians including citizens in more civilised countries were hooked on the notion that the introduction of 5G technology was the reason behind the spread of the novel COVID-19 Pandemic.

    “This misconception was even made worse because those saddled with the responsibility of informing, educating and enlightening the average Nigerian telecom consumers were also bereft of the knowledge of this new technology and hitched a ride on the band wagon of doubters.

    Danbatta however, underscored the indispensability of 5G technology, adding that its impact would be much greater than the current 4G network.

    While listing out the benefits of the new technology, he quoted a recent report by Qualcomm, which predicted that 5G would affect the global economy and drive its growth exponentially.

    According to him, 5G’s full economic effect will likely be realized across the globe by 2035, supporting a wide range of industries and potentially enabling up to $13.2 trillion worth of goods and services.

    “This impact will be much greater than the current 4G network.

    “5G, when fully deployed, will provide increased speed and bandwidth as well as provide deeper coverage to reach people in rural or challenging locations.

    “In addition, 5G will provide strong security for the various sectors of government and private organizations.

    “Due to its sheer scale and scope, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) predicts 5G will accelerate the achievements of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) from affordable and clean energy to zero hunger,” he said.

    The executive vice chairman said that the NCC would ensure that the information reached an average Nigerian timely and accurately.

    He also said that the Commission would maintain the training periodically for stakeholders in the media and to support capacity building and other initiatives, which fosterEd closer interaction and build stronger relationship with NITRA.

    “This is the reason why training such as this is necessary for members of NITRA who have continued to cover the ICT industry in Nigeria.

    “We will ensure that the NCC maintains this training periodically for our crucial stakeholders in the media to ensure that the information that reaches the average Nigerian is accurate and timely.

    “It is our duty and responsibility to ensure that whatever we want to introduce to the Nigerian telecoms space is well understood by Nigerians and all those who make use of our telecoms services.

    ‘The onus is on all of us here today to make sure that we take this training seriously and take advantage of it to expand on our horizons.

    “This is very necessary so that when we report events or activities relating to the industry, we are able to translate them into a language that the common man will readily understand.


    Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu
    Source: NAN

  •  World Standards Day SON calls for standard compliance to promote healthy environment
    World Standards Day:  SON calls for standard compliance to promote healthy environment
     World Standards Day SON calls for standard compliance to promote healthy environment
    World Standards Day:  SON calls for standard compliance to promote healthy environment
    Economy2 years ago

    World Standards Day:  SON calls for standard compliance to promote healthy environment

    The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has called on Nigerians to uphold  standards in their undertakings to promote  healthy environment.

    The Director-General of SON, Malam Farouk Salim, made the call in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday while commemorating the 2020 World Standards Day.

    The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Day is celebrated annually on Oct. 14 to raise awareness among regulators, industry and consumers to the importance of standardisation to the global economy.

    The theme for the 2020 World Standards Day titled “Protecting the planet with standards.”

    Salim said that standards covered all aspects of human activities including energy savings, water and air quality, standardised protocols and methods of measurement.

    According to him, the nation’s rapid population growth and broad urbanisation call for the responsible use of limited resources.

    “Nigerians should join the quality vanguard and continue to support SON in its quest to improve the lives of Nigerians through standards and quality assurance activities as well as protecting the environment for sustainability.

    “This can be achieved through reduction in throwaway, reuse and recycle, and landfill of spaces as well as spreading information on the importance and value of our natural resources.

    “Experts in international standardisation around the world have advocated substantial reduction in human impact and protection of the planet, seeking political will, concrete action and the right tools among which are international standards.

    “This advocacy is predicated on the human and large scale industrial activities which modern civilisation have added to earth’s natural greenhouse gases which negatively impact our climate and with it,’’ he said.

    The director-general said that SON as a representative of the international standardisation bodies in Nigeria was propagating global standards through adoption and modification for local use.

    He expressed SON’s commitment to manpower training through seminars, workshops, consumer enlightenment activities and certification of products, processes and systems using international standards.

    He suggested volunteering for clean ups in communities, more efficient use of water to avoid waste and use of energy efficient appliances as important conservation ideas that should be upheld by Nigerians.

    Salim also called for planting of trees to provide food and oxygen as well as use of non-toxic chemicals at homes and in offices.

    The 2020 World Standards Day also appreciated the efforts of the thousands of experts who develop voluntary standards within standards development organisations.

    They include the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

    JOSH/


    Edited By: Deji Abdulwahab/Grace Yussuf
    Source: NAN

     

  •  Ericsson and UNICEF unveil mapping school internet connectivity plan for Africa
    Ericsson and UNICEF unveil mapping school internet connectivity plan for Africa
     Ericsson and UNICEF unveil mapping school internet connectivity plan for Africa
    Ericsson and UNICEF unveil mapping school internet connectivity plan for Africa
    Foreign2 years ago

    Ericsson and UNICEF unveil mapping school internet connectivity plan for Africa

    Ericsson and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have agreed to a global partnership that will provide internet connectivity mapping to educational institutions in African countries.Mr Sean Cryan, the Country Manager of Ericsson: the Swedish multinational networking and Communications Company in Nigeria, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria .He said that the goal of the project with the theme: “Mapping school internet connectivity’’ would help to bridge the digital divide by providing internet access for the next generation.“We are planning to share the list of the first 10 countries in the fourth quarter of this year, while the remaining countries will be communicated in 2021,’’ he said.He added that the project would start before the end of 2023, adding that the initial take-off would also depend on where their teams would be allowed to travel and operate safely.According to him, digital transformation, undoubtedly, impacts various sectors and organisations by helping them leverage on beneficial opportunities that come with new technologies.“Mapping the internet connectivity landscape in schools and their surrounding communities will be of great importance, given its vital role.“Connectivity mapping is a primary source for providing children with the necessary means and capabilities to exploit the opportunities provided by the advantages of digital learning,” he said.He said that the partnership falls within the framework of the “Giga” initiative that was launched in 2019 by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in cooperation with UNICEF.Cryan added that it had the primary goal of connecting all schools on the planet to the internet.The country manager also highlighted the benefits of mapping to governments and the private sector.He said that it would help them design and deploy digital interventions to support uninterrupted learning for children and young people.He stressed the notion that some internet users employed the use of the facility from their homes while many others use it at school.“The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that over 53 per cent of the world’s population used the internet in 2019, up from under 17 per cent in 2005.“Although, we have broad statistics on internet usage, mapping will help us to understand how access by schools fits into that and where the gaps are.“Ericsson’s vision calls for us to connect the unconnected because we believe that access to communication is a basic human need.“We also believe that people in the rural parts of Africa will benefit greatly from mobile connectivity, which greatly increases access to information and services that support health, education and small businesses.’’According to Cryan, digital connectivity is one of the ‘Global Breakthroughs’ which the Giga project is looking to address.“The partnership between UNICEF and Ericsson will take the first vital step in mapping and understanding the connecting gap,” he said.Cryan also speaking on the scope of the project, said that Ericsson had committed resources for data engineering and data science capacity to accelerate the mapping.He said that the company would specifically assist with the collection, validation, analysis, monitoring and visual representation of real-time school connectivity data.“Ericsson is the first private sector partner to join this initiative and does so as a Global UNICEF Partner for School Connectivity Mapping.“Collected data will enable governments and the private sector to design and deploy digital solutions that enable learning for children and young people.“Additionally, Ericsson will engage its extensive customer base in the Giga initiative to further advance this mission,” he said.The Country Manager said that the total value of the partnership between  Ericsson and UNICEF  would be determined overtime, adding that they were yet to arrive at the  amount of time and resources needed to support the project.He also said that both organisations were still working together to assess the locations where the programme would likely have the greatest impact.He said that this would afford them the opportunity of taking the advantage of the information, choice and opportunities that it would bring.The country manager also added that Ericsson had been working on how to provide communication services and solutions to challenges facing ICT users since its inception.He said that this had been across network segments so as to make the operations of telecom service providers more efficient and bolster their digital transformation.According to Ericsson Mobility Report, mobile broadband subscription penetration in the Sub-Saharan Africa region is approximately 30 percent and is forecasted to reach around 50 percent by the end of 2025.Also, a Mobile Economy 2018 report by Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) noted that the 49 percent mobile subscription of Nigeria’s 196 million people is expected to reach 55 per cent by 2025.Cryan also spoke on the strategic importance of Nigeria to the projects.He said that with Nigeria currently holding one of the highest numbers of mobile subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa, superior network performance is imperative.According to him, Ericsson is committed to partnering local service providers in meeting the growing demands of subscribers for an enriched broadband experience.Cryan also said that the importance of establishing a high quality mobile broadband service in Nigeria cannot be overestimated.“It opens up opportunities for people to improve their productivity locally and fuels new businesses which feed into boosting the economic growth of the country.“In collaboration with Ericsson, local service providers have rolled out an LTE network that has had a significant impact on the user experience in Nigeria.“Download and upload speeds in the completed areas are exceptional and customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.“Nigerians can now experience a truly world-class data service with faster web browsing and downloads,” he said.Furthermore, the Country Manager said that for the company to deliver sustainable impact, it had begun to collaborate with various partners to facilitate societal impact and provide equal opportunities.Edited By: Peter Dada Source: NAN

  •  NCC deepening protection of telecommunications consumers
    NCC deepening protection of telecommunications consumers
     NCC deepening protection of telecommunications consumers
    NCC deepening protection of telecommunications consumers
    Features2 years ago

    NCC deepening protection of telecommunications consumers

    The Nigerian Communication Commission Corporate Headquarters

     

     

      

    News Analysis by ObikeUkoh, News Agency of Nigeria

     

    Since the establishment of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), it has been consistent in deepening and protecting the rights of consumers.

     

    Indeed, one of the core mandates of the NCC is to protect the rights of telecom consumers in Nigeria.

     

    The protection of the rights is enshrined in Chapter VII of the NCC Act (NCA 2003), that gave legality to the Consumer Affairs Bureau, a key department of the NCC.

     

    At an interactive session recently in Abuja, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, enumerated the efforts of the commission in the protection of the rights of telecom consumers.

     

    Danbatta who was appointed NCC Executive Vice Chairman in November 2015 , and reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2020 and confirmed by the Senate on July 21, 2020, reiterated the commitment of NCC to protect Nigeria’s telecom consumers.

     

    “The consumer is king; hence our consumer-centric regulatory initiatives to ensure consumer protection; information and education have continued to top our agenda.

     

    “To further empower consumers, in 2016 we introduced the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code, which gave consumers the power to opt-in or out of unsolicited messages on their respective networks.’’

     

    The executive vice chairman said that it was because of the importance attached to consumer protection that the NCC declared 2017 as “ The Year of the Consumer,’’ and set out with various projects to bring telecom consumers closer to the commission and their various network operators.

     

    “The commission also upgraded the NCC-Free number 522 as secondary complaints mechanism to further empower and resolve consumer complaints.

     

    “We also issued directives on data roll-over and another on forceful subscription of data services and value-added services (VAS).

    “The two directives have ensured effective protection of telecom consumers, Danbatta said.

     

    He recalled that in 2019, the commission revised the NCC Consumer Complaints and Services Legal Agreement (s) with the operators in order to ensure prompt response to consumer complaints, and also reviewed the Consumer Code of Practice Regulations at a Public Inquiry.

     

    “We initiated the Mobile Services Management Systems, in collaboration with other agencies aimed at protecting consumers from the negative effect of substandard devices on the networks and the health of telecom consumers.

     

    “The Mobile Services Management Systems project, when fully implemented, will help in combating the proliferation of fake, counterfeit and cloned communication devices in the telecommunications industry.

     

    “Similarly, we have developed regulations on E-Waste,’’ Danbatta added.

     

    According to him, the regulations will ensure that we are also able to rid our environment of indiscriminate disposal of malfunctioning and disused gadgets, which are capable of posing health risks to consumers.

     

    “I also need to mention our commitment in protecting the lives and property of telecom consumers by getting rid of improperly registered Subscriber  Identification Module (SIM) cards. We conduct periodic audit of the networks to ensure the MNOs do not harbour improperly registered SIM cards on their networks any further,’’ he emphasised.

     

    Danbatta announced that 19 Emergency Communications Centres (ECC) have been activated across the country.

     

    “ The 112 national emergency number allows Nigerians in distress to get help in emergencies.

     

    “The 112 number has become a major channel of communication during this COVID-19 period as over 1,200 COVID-19 related calls were made to the 112 national emergency toll free number between March and June 2020 from the various ECCs across the country.

     

    When Danbatta spoke at the 2017 Lagos International Trade Fair and Exhibition, he reiterated the commitment of the commission in its fight against the abuse of customers’ rights and privileges.

     

    He emphasised that consumers of telecommunications services deserved to get value for their money and be treated as very important stakeholders in the scheme of things as far as service delivery is concerned.

     

    Danbatta maintained that his administration is fighting to protect consumers from unfair practices through availability of information and education to make informed choices in the use of ICT services.

     

    “Our objective is to engage, empower, educate and inform the consumers about their rights and responsibilities, opportunities and solutions that are available in the industry.

     

    “The essence of this is to reassure the consumers that the issue of protecting them from unfair practices is no mere talk.

     

    “We have put the service providers on special notice about our current monitoring of user experience on issues of poor reception, wrong billings and deductions, automatic roll over among other issues, and if they fail to improve services to the detriment of the consumers, will face appropriate regulatory actions and sanctions,” he said.

     

    The performance of NCC has not gone unnoticed, as Yahaya Garba, Commissioner for Federal Capital Territory of the Public Complaints Commission (PCC), during a visit in July 2019 to NCC headquarters in Abuja, commended the commission for effective protection of telecom consumers’ rights.

     

    “For us at PCC, we would like to commend the NCC in recognition of its efforts in implementing the National Telecommunications Policy, regulating the telecom sector and protecting the rights of consumers and operating companies alike,” he said during the visit.

     

    Garba particularly stated that PCC initiated the visit to get familiarised with the NCC’s functions and operations with regards to telecom consumer protection, deepen areas of collaboration and solicit ICT capacity building for PCC staff by the telecom regulator.

    The NCC Executive Vice Chairman Danbatta, emerged the winner of the 2019 Zik Prize, in the professional leadership category.

     

    Prof. Pat Utomi, member, Advisory Board of the Award, via a webinar on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020,  said that Danbatta and Mr Kennedy Uzoka, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa (UBA) are the winners in that category.

     

    “Prof Umar Garba Danbatta is a square peg in a square hole. An academic professor, Danbatta has, through the NCC, led the charge to drive Nigeria’s industrial revolution and knowledge-based economy leveraging telecommunications,” he explained.

    According to Prof. Utomi, telecom contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria has grown by 70 per cent from 2015 to 2020, whilst broadband penetration has leaped from 8 per cent to 42 per cent, in the same period.

     

    “His leadership has enhanced transparency and innovation in the sector, such that recently, NCC was acknowledged by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as one of Africa’s foremost regulator,” he observed.

     

    In a letter of nomination in July 2020,  jointly signed by the Chairman of the Board, Sen. Jubril Aminu and Utomi, the NCC boss was described as “an outstanding public servant, whose initiatives and reforms had contributed to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) playing a leading role in the socio-economic development of Nigeria.”

     

    Zik Prize was set up in 1994 in honour of Nigeria’s first President, late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.

     

    Besides deepening the protection of consumers’ rights, the NCC has also deepened the purse of the nation.

     

    According to Danbatta, NCC remitted N362.34 billion into the Federal Government Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), from 2015 to date.

    Danbatta, who spoke at the interactive session, said that the revenue was realised through spectrum fees and operating surplus, which he noted helped to boost the revenue generation drive of the present administration.

    Danbatta also said that NCC had continued to collaborate with academics to support the development of the innovative services and life-changing solutions with the use of information and communications technologies to promote indigenous content.

    “ The commission has so far released N336.4 million as research grants to the academia and has endowed professional chairs in two Nigerian universities.

    “More importantly, we have empowered the Nigerian youth by promoting their ingenuity and innovation in the development of locally-relevant technology solutions.

    “ The latest of such was the 2020 NCC Virtual Hackathon, where we gave N9 million in grant to three top promising tech startups for solutions, aimed at addressing the impact of COVID-19 and diseases in thematic areas of health, community, productivity, economy and transportation.’’

    Danbatta, however, restated the commitment of the NCC to continue to protect consumers and ensure they have value for their money, and appealed to consumers to report any infraction by mobile network operators to NCC (NANFeatures)

    **If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  •  Ericsson UNICEF partner to map school internet connectivity in 35 countries
    Ericsson, UNICEF partner to map school internet connectivity in 35 countries
     Ericsson UNICEF partner to map school internet connectivity in 35 countries
    Ericsson, UNICEF partner to map school internet connectivity in 35 countries
    Science & Technology2 years ago

    Ericsson, UNICEF partner to map school internet connectivity in 35 countries

    Ericsson, a Swedish multinational networking and telecommunications company headquartered in Stockholm and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have announced a global partnership to help map school connectivity in 35 countries by the end of 2023.

    Ericsson in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday said that mapping the internet connectivity landscape for schools and their surrounding communities was a critical first step towards providing every child with access to digital learning opportunities under Giga initiative.

    The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the joint effort under Giga initiative was launched in 2019 and led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) aimed at connecting every school to the internet.

    Ericsson is the first private sector partner to make a multimillion-dollar commitment to the initiative and does so as a Global UNICEF Partner for School Connectivity Mapping.

    Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka, Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, UNICEF said in the statement that the deepening digital divide was one of the many inequalities that the COVID-19 pandemic had underscored.

    She said the recent UN report indicated that pandemic-related school closings had affected 94 per cent of the world’s student population and affected more than 99 per cent of students in low- and lower-middle-income countries.

    “School closures, coupled with limited or non-existent opportunities for remote learning, have upended children’s education worldwide.

    “Our partnership with Ericsson will bring us closer to giving every child and young person access to digital learning opportunities.”

    Petri-Gornitzka said the UNICEF partnership with Ericsson would bring the parties closer to every child and young person access to digital learning opportunities.

    “In addition to funding, Ericsson will commit resources for data engineering and data science capacity to accelerate school connectivity mapping.

    “Ericsson will also assist with the collection, validation, analysis, monitoring and visual representation of real-time school connectivity data.

    “The data generated through the mapping will enable governments and the private sector to design and deploy digital solutions that enable learning for children and young people,’’ she said.

    She noted that the world had been grappling with a digital divide for decades as an estimated 3.5 billion people have no access to a stable internet.

    “Our partnership with Ericsson will bring us closer to giving every child and young person access to digital learning opportunities.”

    “In addition to funding, Ericsson will commit resources for data engineering and data science capacity to accelerate school connectivity mapping.


    Edited By: Hawa Lawal/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

     

  •  WHO ITU unleash information technology to defeat COVID 19
    WHO, ITU unleash information technology to defeat COVID-19
     WHO ITU unleash information technology to defeat COVID 19
    WHO, ITU unleash information technology to defeat COVID-19
    Health2 years ago

    WHO, ITU unleash information technology to defeat COVID-19

    The World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) with support from UNICEF are set to work with telecommunication companies to provide vital information for people via their phones on COVID-19.

    WHO disclosed this in a statement issued from the headquarters in Geneva on Monday and posted on its website.

    The UN health agency said the three UN agencies had set to work with telecommunication companies to text people directly on their mobile phones with vital health messaging to help protect them from COVID-19.

    “These text messages will reach billions of people that aren’t able to connect to the internet for information.

    “Now more than ever, technology must ensure that everyone can access the information they need; the collaboration will start in the Asia Pacific region and then roll out globally.

    “The goal is to reach everyone with vital health messages, whatever their connectivity level.

    “An estimated 3.6 billion people remain offline, with most people who are unconnected living in low-income countries, where an average of just two out of every ten people are online.’’

    ITU and WHO call on all telecommunication companies worldwide to join this initiative to help unleash the power of communication technology to save lives from COVID-19.

    This initiative builds on current efforts to disseminate health messages through the joint WHO-ITU BeHealthy BeMobile initiative.

    Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is the first pandemic in human history where technology and social media are being used on a massive scale to keep people safe, productive and connected while being physically apart.

    Health workers are utilising telemedicine to diagnose patients and hospitals rely on being connected to coordinate and triage them.

    Resilient and trustworthy telecommunication networks and services are essential, as more countries, companies and individuals turn to digital technologies to respond to and cope with the impact of COVID-19.

    Building on their longstanding collaboration, ITU and WHO are committed to identifying and scaling best evidence-based digital health solutions and to leveraging frontier technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data to diagnose, contain and predict outbreaks better and faster.


    Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)