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Stanbic IBTC Partners Google On Digital Inclusion

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Stanbic IBTC Bank says
it is collaborating with Google to train youths and Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) operators in Nigeria on digital skills.
This is contained in a statement issued by the bank recently and made available to the newsmen in Lagos.
The bank said that the collaboration would facilitate capacity-building for SMEs in the country, adding that beneficiaries would be trained on skills and value of digital marketing.
It said that the training would also help entrepreneurs to strengthen their businesses and support digital education initiatives geared toward job creation.
“By organising the capacity building sessions in different parts of the country, the partners hope to build critical mass of businesses through increased adoption of digital technology and enhance their contributions to economic development,’’ it said.
The bank added that the programme scheduled to kick-off in Lagos and Kaduna on July 19, would also hold in seven other states across the country.
It said that the initiative aimed to digitally empower no fewer than 1,000 SMEs operators in one year.
The statement quoted Mr Obinna Ukachukwu, Head, SME Banking, Stanbic IBTC, as saying that digital technology on empowering youth and stimulating growth of SMEs was imperative for diversification.
Ukachukwu said that the bank had embarked on several capacity-building initiatives in various sectors of the economy, including transport and logistics, trade and finance “to support individuals and businesses’’.
He pointed out that SME was pivotal to economic growth of any nation, and that Nigeria should not be an exception.
He stated that the bank’s collaboration with Google would expose the youth and SME operators to modern and innovative marketing, financial and management skills, using digital technology.
This, according to him, will help them to achieve successes in their endeavours.
“We are quite pleased to partner with Google on this strategic initiative.
“Our ultimate goal is to cause, in the long- term, an exponential growth in the digital technology space, knowing that this is the path to the future, with the youth and SMEs as the main anchors,” he stated.
Mrs Bunmi Banjo, Head of Digital Education, Google Africa, according to the statement, said that the company was happy to collaborate with Stanbic IBTC to provide free digital training to local entrepreneurs.
“With over 97 million online subscribers, Nigeria continues to be one of the highest online populations in the world, and this presents big opportunities for the small and medium business sector.
“We believe that when these SMEs have the right digital skills, they can better leverage the Internet to grow their businesses, create more jobs and boost economic growth in Nigeria,’’ Banjo said.

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Group Makes Case For Technology, Entrepreneurial Skills Dev

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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

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Airtel Ranks Nigeria’s Best In Broad Band Coverage Speed

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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.

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Twitter Writes FG Over Suspension, Seeks Dialogue

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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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