Lagos to benefit from £38m UK mobile development programme

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Lagos State is to benefit from the United Kingdom (UK) thirty-eight million pounds extended programme on mobile for development in Nigeria.

Lagos is being considered for the grant due to its status as Nigeria’s commercial hub and Africa’s sixth largest economy.

This was disclosed by Harriett Baldwin, UK’s minister of state for Africa at Foreign Commonwealth Office, during a visit to the Lagos State deputy governor, Obafemi Hamzat, on Tuesday.

According to Baldwin, the mobile for development programme is to enable a lot of people access financial services through their mobile phones and buy things like solar system for their homes and businesses.

She added that owing to the significant impact of the programme on the people, the UK government is extending it to further affect the lives of over 27 million people around the world, including many in Lagos.

In addition, she said, the programme would enable women in the market to use the financial services in investing in solar fridges, solar freezers and something that will really help them in their homes in areas where they don’t have access to reliable electricity.

It will also help everyone with the ambition to ensure that they are able buy health insurance and mobile financial services is the future, emphasizing that Lagos is very often at the cutting edge of some of this investment in technology which is why the UK government is basing our science and technology centre in Lagos.

Describing Lagos as amazing and vibrant city, Baldwin noted that the UK government is willing to learn from some of the state’s innovation and share some of theirs.

Hamzat on his part assured the UK team that the state government would collaborate with them in any area that will be of benefit to the people of … Read More...

Oil majors are betting big on blockchain technology

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Oil giants BP, Shell, Norwegian-owned Equinox (then Statoil), set the digital ecosystem abuzz when they announced plans to develop a blockchain-based digital platform for energy commodities trading in 2017. But now Shell is taking it a notch higher with another investment in the technology first made popular by bitcoin.

 

The world’s fifth largest oil and gas company valued at $262 billion, is investing an undisclosed amount in LO3, a New York startup, using a modified version of the ethereum blockchain to make it easier for individuals to buy and sell locally produced energy using the existing network of power cables.

While the bitcoin blockchain allows users track the flow of value without using banks to audit the system, analysts say LO3’s platform, called Exergy, is designed to track the flow of energy as it is added to a shared, local energy network, giving users absolute certainty on its source and operation.

If the project succeeds, this start-up could disrupt traditional electricity transmission and distribution utilities. In Nigeria, this would be the equivalent of a sub-franchised DisCo alerting you on the power source, available output and units produced and sent out, when and where the grid is challenged, all in real-time.

 

 

Such information will let industries plan heavy production around peak hours, settle bills with ease and let households better manage their energy use and remove the pain of visiting the local utility to resolve technical issues.

 

In oil trading, blockchain can be used as a shared database that updates itself in real-time and can process and settle transactions in minutes using computer algorithms, with no need for third-party verification. Experts say the benefits are enormous including cutting the cost of oil trading.

 

“Ideally, it would help to eliminate any confusion over … Read More...

Google kicks off certification, training for digital marketers

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Google has introduced a certification training road show for digital marketing agencies based in West Africa. The training kicked off in Lagos last week, at an event organizers say was attended by some 400 digital marketers.

The participants ranged from digital planners, strategists and account managers and each was equipped with the tools needed to develop their expertise and capabilities on the Google Ads Platform, according to a press statement. Subsequent Google certification training sessions for digital marketers are scheduled in Accra, Ghana, on 18 July, as well as in Abuja, Nigeria, at a date soon to be confirmed.

The bootcamp for digital marketers aims to equip participants with the fundamentals of performance and brand marketing, using the Google Ads platform to drive better performance and results for their clients’ portfolios. Topics covered include, “Shaping a Search Strategy for your advertiser: Mobile”, “Measurement principles”, “Shaping a video strategy for your advertiser: Video Formats”, and “Shaping a Search Strategy for your advertiser: Creative Excellence”, among others.

With worldwide digital ad spend predicted to reach more than $375bn by 2021, digital marketers are positioned at the core of any business that needs to stand out from the clutter in a fast-moving digital world.

“Digital marketers need to be equipped to develop cutting-edge strategies to take their client’s businesses to the next level in this post-digital era,” says Tolulope Akinyele, Google Partners Lead, Nigeria.

“Eligible agencies will receive Google Ads certification, as well as access to our agency growth programmes,” Akinyele adds, noting that in addition to training on the Google Ads solution and platform, digital marketers and agencies will obtain Google certification and access to the Google agency community. For agencies, she says, “certification means they can demonstrate that Google recognises them as experts. The training part-qualifies them … Read More...

Mobile transfer volume soars by 126% in H1 2019 on low cost, convenience, others

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The volume of mobile money transfer through mobile devices in Nigeria grew significantly in the first half (HI) of 2019 (January – June), buoyed by digitisation of bank products, increased mobile penetration, cost, convenience, efficiency and speed, economic experts say.

Analysis of data sourced from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) shows that volume of mobile transfers spiked 125.7 percent to N7.9 million in H1 2019 from N3.5 million in the same period of 2018. Value of transactions jumped 62.9 percent from N140.4 billion in H1 2018 to N228.8 billion in H1 2019.

Gbolahan Ologunro, an equity research analyst at Lagos-based CSL Stockbrokers, says the increase in the volume of mobile transactions shows how consumers are beginning to see the value of using electronic channels in carrying out their transactions, and the advancement in technology as against traditional banking services.

“Financial players in the banking industry have been able to invest a sizable amount in technology infrastructure in electronic channels, which has made it less expensive, convenient, efficient and fast over the traditional method of going to the bank to carryout transactions,” Ologunro also states.

In 2012, the Federal Government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), introduced the cashless policy meant to curb excesses in the handling of cash and to reduce the volume of cash in circulation. Most importantly, the policy was introduced to drive development and moderniSation of payment systems capable of placing Nigeria among the top 20 economies by the year 2020.

“I think convenience is a huge driver, while the rest are mobile telecommunications improvement and the ability of the banks to digitalise their products and services. So, if it is digitalise but not convenient, people may not use it,” Ibrahim Tajudeen, head of research at Chapel Hill Denham, notes.… Read More...

Why Nigerians’ data plans are vanishing quickly

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Ayomide Oyetola a mother of two starred at the SMS alert on her phone for the third time and could not believe the message she was reading. The 2 Gigabyte (GB) data plan she bought three days ago from her bank’s mobile application for N2000 ($5.53) was now remaining 200 megabyte (MB). She had upgraded her plan after repeatedly seeing her 1.5GB vanish in two days.

“I don’t know what is eating my data?” Oyetola who earns a monthly salary of N80, 000 as an executive secretary complained to her colleague at work the next day.

For two days, 7 to 8 July, 2019, thousands of Nigerians took to twitter to express their anger at the rate their data were vanishing. A hashtag #ReviewYourDataRates that started with a tweet from Henry Shield, head of Mission, Leadership and Accountability Initiative calling Twitter influencers to a “national agitation” gained momentum and became a trending topic.

As it turns out, many more Nigerians are in Oyetola’s shoes.

“I spend no less than N5000 f or data with @MTNNG for less than 2 weeks at times.” said Ijeoma Odimegwu from her handle @ijeoma_odimegwu, “@Gloworld network is absolutely terrible in my area. @AirtelNigeria rates are as high as MTN.”

Another user identified as Omotore tweeting the handle @mamakun said “I am almost spending N2500 per week for data on @AirtelNigeria. I am not a heavy browser. @MTNNG is even worse; IGB in less than 24 hours and my phone was not in use.”

Hundreds of others had similar complaints. Usually, when a subscriber buys a monthly subscription it is in hopes that it would last for the duration of the month. But this is never the case for various reasons that have more to do with the … Read More...