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Osinbajo, Sanwo-Olu Laud Airtel On Smartcash PSB Launch

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The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has commended Airtel on the launch of its SmartCash Payment Service Bank (PSB) targeted at closing the financial inclusion gap in the rural areas.
Osinbajo  made  the commendation  during the launch of Airtel SmartCash PSB at Victoria Island, Lagos recently.
The Vice President, who was represented by the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Investments,Maryam Uwais, said the launch of the SmartCash PSB, a subsidiary of Airtel Africa, could not have come at a better time.
He said Nigeria’s fintech industry had continued to visibly demonstrate progress, innovation and creativity of outstanding minds, rapidly becoming a model for other nations.
“I am delighted to join the telco in the celebration of a collective aim to take advantage of the fast evolving developments in financial technology space towards catalysing empowerment and economic growth”, he said.
Osinbajo continued that the innovation would ensure that no Nigerian was left behind, particularly those in underserved areas.
“I am here to applaud a commendable leap, which is aimed at exploring vast opportunities and possibilities in the digital age for the benefit of the majority of our fellow citizens.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria has also remained committed to ensuring that all citizens have access to the financial services and credit facilities, across every nook and crannies of the country,” he said.
Similarly, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who also commended the telco, said the SmartCash PSB would further deepen efforts in financial inclusion.
Sanwo-Olu , who was also represented by the the State’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr Rabiu Olowo, said the PSB license, which was approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was targeted solely for those in remote areas, the underbanked and many Nigerians who reside in Lagos.
“I am sure that we would not be surprised that countless Nigerians do not have a bank account because they believe that banks are too far or for the rich and educated.
“Some others believe that the little they make is not sufficient enough to save in the bank. I, therefore, commend the CBN for coming up with this initiative that is providing a platform that caters to the financial needs of the underserved and underbanked population in Nigeria,”  he  said.

Noting that the structure that had been put in place by Airtel was one that was simple, cost effective and would absolutely be impactful in bridging financial divide, the gtovernor said he had no doubt that Airtel would live up to the expectations of regulators and ordinary Nigerians who would see the innovation as a life changing one.

The Managing Director of Airtel Africa, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, said the innovation of the Airtel SmartCash was their contribution to reduce the financial gap in the country.

“The aim of the innovation is also to bring millions of people in the rural and urban area into the financial community by transforming their lives.

“The SmartCash is cost effective and your money is safe with us, there would be no issue of hackers.

“The launch of the innovation is a confirmation of our commitment to touching lives,” he said.

Ogunsanya said the telco also planned to bring out 55 per cent of underbanked people into the financial system.

He said the telco would work with the CBN to ensure that no Nigerian was left out of the financial system.

Also, the Managing Director of Airtel SmartCash PSB, Mr Muyiwa Ebitanmi, said that their goal was to deepen financial inclusion by removing barriers and improving accessibility in the rural areas in Nigeria.

“Today is indeed a special day that will mark the transformation of financial services,” he said.

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NITDA  Opens Portal For 1m App Developers Training

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As part of efforts to make Nigeria the hub of digital talents in Africa and the world at large, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), under the supervision of Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, has urged Nigerians to apply for its much-awaited training programme on software development, NITDA Developers Group, NDG.
The Tide’s source had reported that NITDA had announced plans to train one million software developers in various areas of application development.
A statement by the Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, NITDA, Mrs Hadiza Umar, at the weekend,  said the project, which would be undertaken through NITDA’s subsidiary, National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), in Wuye District, Abuja, is in partnership with relevant stakeholders in the ecosystem.
According to the statement, Nigerian youths residing or having accommodation in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, including National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, Secondary School Students, and undergraduates who are on holiday are eligible to apply.
It noted that interested applicants should please visit: https://bit.ly/3zUuBY1 to get their slot or contact info@nitda.gov.ng;
The statement reads: “The programme is in line with National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) of the Federal Government, and NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2024) pillar of Emerging Technologies.
“Trainees will go through a series of coaching, and lectures to develop programming skills in Python for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Robotics and Data Science.
“The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE, has directed NCAIR to run the programme under 24/7 operation schedule within the Centre, including an internship programme that will provide intensive training to Nigerian youths with the goal of producing software developers.
“NDG Training is divided in to two batches (A&B). Batch A will run from Monday to Wednesday, Batch B will run from Thursday to Saturday, and Sunday will be independent study day, and Certificates will be issued to the students/trainees at the conclusion of the programme.
“Classes will be held six (6) days a week in 3 clusters (24 students each), with 12-hour sessions for independent study and working on exercises and projects between 8pm and 8am daily.”

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Organisation Bemoans Technology Use For  Crime In Nigeria  

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The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has expressed concern over the  use of technology to increase activity of human trafficking in Nigeria.
The IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission, Prestage Murima, expressed the concern in a message to mark the 2022 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons (WDATIP).
Murima in a statement by IOM’s Senior Communications Assistant, Mrs Mariam Owoeye, said the theme for this year’s celebrations was “Prevent, Protect and Prosecute to Highlight the Need for Action and The Importance of Having an Integrated Approach in Addressing Trafficking”.
According to her, “the increasing use of technology has enabled human trafficking, with numerous tricks deployed and with greater speed, accuracy and anonymity to recruit, exploit and control victims.
“They also organise their transport and accommodation, advertise victims and reach out to potential clients, communicate among perpetrators and hide criminal proceeds.
“Traffickers use social media to identify, groom and recruit victims, including children.
“E-mails and messaging services are used for the moral coercion of the victims and online platforms allow traffickers to widely advertise services provided by victims”.
She said since technology was a tool that could both enable and impede human trafficking, “IOM interprets this theme in terms of how technology can be harnessed as a preventive tool and for facilitating protection”.
She explained that it will  take a comprehensive approach to address trafficking in persons, hence the organisation’s decision  to join the United Nations System to raise awareness under the global theme: “Use and Abuse of Technology”.
According to Murima, persons seeking better economic opportunities, asylum seekers and refugees fleeing crisis are vulnerable to the risk of trafficking with traffickers profiting from the desperation and separation of people, particularly women and children, from support systems and family members.
“However, in the use of technology also lies great opportunity. Future success in eradicating human trafficking will depend on how law enforcement, the criminal justice systems and protection actors can leverage technology in their responses, by aiding investigations to shed light on the modus operandi of trafficking networks, enhancing prosecutions through digital evidence to alleviate the situation of victims in criminal proceedings, and providing support services to survivors”, she said.
She continued that on  this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, that people should  have a heart for the victims of human trafficking and join the campaign against human trafficking.
Murima also noted that advocating for rights and protecting the physical, mental and social well-being of individuals and their communities, and promoting sustainability through institutional capacity development and partnerships were at the centre of the organisation’s counter-trafficking efforts.
“This  theme is at the centre of the institutional approach in combating trafficking and protecting the rights of migrants, through the ‘Theory of Change”, she said.
According to her, Nigeria is an important locus as a source, transit and destination country in the trafficking process.
Murima, however,  revealed that IOM operates from the outset that trafficking in persons needs to be approached within the overall context of managing migration for the benefit of all with interventions centered on the needs of the victims.
“Since 2017, IOM Nigeria has coordinated the return of over 27,000 Nigerian migrants from 82 countries.Out of this number, 3,599 are victims of trafficking, while 1,726 victims  of trafficking had received in-kind support to start businesses of their choice”, she added.
The WDATIP is a day set aside to raise awareness on the plight of victims of human trafficking and to promote and protect their rights.
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) is a crime and grave human rights violation of enormous scale, which is prevalent in situations of vulnerability.

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DG Pleads For Startup Growth Drive 

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The Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, has stressed the need for a union to drive the growth of the startup ecosystem in Nigeria.
Inuwa stated this via a statement by the Agency’s Spokesperson, Hadiza Umar, and made available to the The Tide’s source in Port Harcourt recently.
It was further learnt that the statement was made  during a dinner meeting with some key stakeholders of Lagos Ecosystem, including representatives from Microsoft, MasterCard, Norebase, among others.
Reiterating NITDA’s commitment to giving the ecosystem the needed support to boost the sector’s contribution to the economy and strengthen the value chain, he stressed the need to build trust between the government and the ecosystem.
He also emphasised the need for collaboration to drive innovation and overcome existing issues around investments, partnerships, commercialisation of innovations, enabling policies, and acquisition of relevant skills, as well as training.
The NITDA DG also explained  that the Start-up Bill would deal with the bottlenecks and fast-track the anticipated growth of the ecosystem.
He added that the Code of Practice for Interactive Platforms would engender appropriate monitoring to enforce compliance with established regulations guiding the sector.
“We need to decide what and what the right regulations are so that every startup and industry player would have a Code of Practice that works for everyone and is adhered to the latter. Also, I think we need to form a union for Startup Ecosystem”, he said.

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