African leaders have com
mended the role of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in keeping the dreams and potentials of the African continent alive.
South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, gave the commendation during the African leaders 33rd NEPAD, Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) meeting in Johannesburg shortly before the start of the African Union (AU) Summit.
Zuma said the continent was now reaping the benefits of responsible macro-economic management and deepening integration into the world economy.
He noted that an investment in infrastructure programmes, regional integration and intra-African trade was Africa’s solution for sustainable growth and development.
AU Chairperson and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe applauded NEPAD’s breakthroughs in project conceptualisation and implementation on the continent.
He said NEPAD had provided critical synergies between and among African institutions, thereby enhancing the much-needed continental integration.
Mugabe urged NEPAD to play a leading role in capacitating Regional Economic Communities to fast-track Africa’s quest for industrialisation and value addition of its vast mineral resources.
He said “surely, the African people cannot continue to be hewers of wood and drawers of water, while others delight in their resources, in our resources.’’
Macky Sall, the Chair of the NEPAD HSGOC and President of Senegal, also underscored the achievements made by NEPAD in advancing regional integration through infrastructure and capacity development projects.
He stressed the need to tackle illicit financial flows from Africa and to enhance the capacities of African member countries to negotiate mining and oil contracts for the social benefit of African people.
Sall also commended the NEPAD Spanish Fund for African Women’s Empowerment, in line with the 2015 summit theme.
The NEPAD Agency Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, reported back on concrete results made for the period January to June 2015.
He said the agency had achieved greater results and each had quantifiable impacts that were geared toward the industrialisation of the continent.
Mayaki highlighted some of the key achievements to include the establishment of an Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance aimed at reaching out to 25 million farmers by 2025.
Also the launch of a Continental Business Network for Infrastructure financing in Africa, and providing access to clean water and sanitation to 9,656 women in Benin and Togo.
The 20- member NEPAD HSGOC met ahead of the 25th AU Assembly, to provide leadership to the NEPAD process as well as to set policies, priorities and the programmes of action.
Group Makes Case For Technology, Entrepreneurial Skills Dev
As part of efforts to redirect the minds of youths towards positive thinking and creativity, a youth body, the Community Reformed Youths Initiative (CRYI), says it is ready to win the youths back via technology and entrepreneurial skills that will sharpen the minds of young people.
The National Coordinator of the group, Engr Gogo Wenike-Briggs, said this during an interview with newsmen in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Wenike-Briggs, however, said that such venture can only be achieved through a public private partnership arrangement.
According to him, his association which has manufacturing and production of goods and services as its focal points, will not rest on its oars until the whole youths are technologically up-to-date.
“The main aim of Community Of Reformed Youths Initiative is to help educate the government to create avenues for new industries through public private partnerships, encourage and support manufacturing and production organisations to have a welcome environment, acceptable and easy paying tax process”, he said.
He said that his group would move for policies that will encourage entrepreneurial drive and technology in communities so as to train, empower and improve professional competence among the youths.
“Our target is to have leaders and professionals in the youth sector to successfully work through formal and non-formal education on improving the entrepreneurial, employability and transversal skills of young people they work with within their organisations and communities”, he explained.
Wenike-Briggs insisted that the only way to combat youth unemployment and promote active participation in democratic life in Rivers State and the country at large is by creating employment for the youths through technology.
“To increase participants’ knowledge and skills in several communities on using new technologies and methods as tools to boost young people’s entrepreneurial, practical and transversal skills can ultimately lead to employment or starting their own business”, he said.
He hinted of the group’s plan to introduce at least 10 international cooperatives and 50 local cooperatives within five to 10 years, while creating workable environments that will boost the businesses of both indigenes and non- indigenes.
By: King Onunwor
Airtel Ranks Nigeria’s Best In Broad Band Coverage Speed
A newly published report has ranked Airtel Nigeria, a leading mobile telecommunications company, as Nigeria’s best in broadband coverage speed, following a nationwide broadband assessment by Umlaut.
Airtel confirmed this development in a statement it issued in Lagos.
Umlaut is an international company full-service cross-industry, end-to-end that offers advisory and fulfilment services to clients globally.
Chief Executive Officer, Umlaut Telecommunications, Hakan Ekmen, said that based on their assessment, Airtel achieved the best-rated broadband coverage and user download speed among other mobile network operators in the country.
“In our nationwide assessment, 82.8 per cent of the urban built-up areas and 83.9 per cent of the population areas were tested.
“An extensive analysis revealed that 263,000 users contributed 707.4-million samples in 24 weeks from October 2020 until early April 2021.
“We concluded that Airtel Nigeria is Best in the Tests, achieving the highest Umlaut score with 697 points”, Ekmen said
“Airtel scored the highest with 697 points, while MTN emerged second with 663 points, 9mobile with 591 and Glo with 486 points.
“The tests were carried out with Umlaut’s crowdsourcing methodology, which was used to evaluate the mobile networks in Nigeria”, he added.
Ekmen noted that umlaut’s sophisticated methodology enabled the results to be compared across network operators globally, adding that the transparency it provided not only boosted network quality and performance, but also improved experience for every customer.
He commended Airtel for emerging the best-rated, citing this remarkable feat as a positive step towards attaining digital equality in Africa.
However, Ekmen added that while the results in Nigeria were quite impressive, there was still room for improvement in global comparison.
The competition in Nigeria’s telecoms landscape was working favourably for consumers in the country, he noted.
Twitter Writes FG Over Suspension, Seeks Dialogue
The Federal Government yesterday confirmed that Twitter has formally written to seek for dialogue on issues leading to the indefinite suspension of its operations in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, confirmed this when he featured on “Politics Nationwide,’’ a Radio Nigeria call-in programme in Abuja.
“I can confirm that Twitter has written the Federal Government that they are ready to talk.
“As we have always maintained, the door is not locked and we are open minded but Twitter must work toward it,” he said.
The minister reiterated the government’s position that it would not tolerate any platform that would be used to destabilise the country.
Mohammed said among other conditions for Twitter to resume operation in Nigeria, there must be an agreement as to what contents it could post.
He said Twitter and other platforms must also register as a Nigerian company, obtain license from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and be guided by the rules of the licensing as well as pay taxes.
According to the minister, regulation of social media platforms is becoming a global practice.
He said most countries were just waking up to the fact that the platforms were becoming more powerful than even government and needed to be regulated.
“Singapore, Algeria, Pakistan, Turkey regulate the social media, Australia has done so.
“ Even EU that does not have particular laws on social media has made recommendations in a white paper,” he said.
The minister said that the UK initiated a new law which would make social media companies to be fined up to 18 million pounds (about N10.8 billion) if they failed to stamp out online abuses.
He said Google was fined 220 million Euros (about N110 billion) on June 7 by French Competition Regulator for abusing its dominance in the online advertising market in France.
Similarly, the minister said the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan had approved a new set of rules to regulate social media.
In the rules, according to the minister, companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even TikTok were to register and open offices in Pakistan.
He said in compliance with the new online broadcasting rule of Turkey, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video had obtained licences from that country’s broadcasting authority.
Mohammed noted that regulation of the social media was not synonymous with stifling press freedom.
“We must not confuse press freedom with irresponsibility.
“How can you stay in your country and allow your own platform to be used to propagate war in another country?
“The suspension of Twitter is to ensure that no particular platform is used to cause war in Nigeria.
“Secondly, to ensure that whoever is making money in Nigeria must be made to pay tax.
“Our appeal to Nigerians is that they should understand where we are coming from.
“We have no intention to stifle people’s freedom or to cut off the source of livelihood of anybody.
“There must be a country devoid of war before we can talk of freedom and a source of living,’’ he said.
The Federal Government had on June 4 suspended indefinitely the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria.
Mohammed, who announced the suspension, cited the persistent use of the platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
He said the Federal Government had also directed the NBC to immediately commence the process of licensing all Over the Top (OTT) and social media operations in the country.
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