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eCommerce: Call To Rescue SMEs’ Data Genocide

Gains from eCommerce can write the cheque to significantly assist in reviving our dying SMEs and reduce youth employment in Nigeria.

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Dr. B. B. USMAN

Many billions of data sets are entangled and suffocated in SMEs’ business value chain. This scenario is creating an enormous problem in leveraging eCommerce for economic development, provision of jobs and creation of wealth.

Post COVID-19 pandemic issues have disclosed that ‘unless we consciously promote and empower eCommerce in Nigeria, the consequences may result to the annihilation of SMEs’! Indeed, without a well-structured and resilient SME segment, there may be no viable trade and commerce platform for constructive intervention to attain our sustainable development goals.

Gains from eCommerce can write the cheque to significantly assist in reviving our dying SMEs and reduce youth employment in Nigeria.

This is possible if we can intelligently provide the framework to secure and analyse related data sets that gets missing in action by policymakers each day. The phenomenal data genocide observed in our trade-ecosystem, if rescued, can create millions of jobs; as well as value chains of wealth for the country.

It will also renew lost hope for the disillusioned youths, their families and indeed contribute positively to the GDP. This calls for a proactive National eCommerce policy and devoted strategies to energize indigenous business empires.

Unarguably, the biggest problem we face in Nigeria/Africa is leveraging evidence-based data for accelerated development and economic advancement. For want of an equitable expression, with respect to eCommerce analytics; it appears we are annihilating data required for the growth and security of life. In other words, our concern should now be focused on exploring if we are not facing eCommerce data genocide in Africa?

It is significant to note that data genocide contributes to catastrophic eCommerce poverty in Nigeria/Africa. This is against the background of the energy status in the production and development processes of the wealth creation value-chain. For example, reliable data informs that the total energy consumption required for the advancement of education, shelter, trade and security in Africa is equal to the total power generation and consumption volume in the Republic of Spain!

Therefore, this is the right time to empower mega eCommerce companies in Nigeria.

To achieve this, the smart economic approach is to urgently start trade recovery investment to rescue millions of small-scale SMEs currently on life support and dying out there. In the United States, for example, over 480,000 small-scale enterprises have gone under! SMEs represent the economic backbone of mega enterprises and sustainable mechanism for effective governance and national security-of-things.

Reliable estimates indicate that if an eCommerce outfit such as Konga in the Zinox Group and others are empowered to create a physical market distribution presence in the 36 States; the stimulant intervention will energise the creation of 20,000 new small-scale enterprises with capabilities to create over five million jobs and related activities in the trade, commerce and logistics industries. In a span of 24 calendar months; eCommerce enabled solar energy to millions of homes will produce three million employment avenues for Nigeria.

Post-pandemic reality has now cleared the air that the world can now anticipate a 276.9% increase in worldwide eCommerce sales over the most-recently tracked period (cumulative data).  However, many business owners and investors are vigorously scratching their heads and strategizing on how to participate and scale into that magic number adding up to $4.7 trillion; where e-Commerce has a sizeable chunk in the market playbook. How can Nigeria’s e-Commerce domain benefit from the emerging market?

Today, the term going global has become almost meaningless. The irony is that all nations, business and everything in-between is dreaming of going global. Whereas this is an illusion because the world is intertwined and already gone global. The new challenge is that some geographical spheres are dreaming of rebuilding traditional trade fences – domestically!

Nevertheless, the Harvard Business Review recently informed that: “Business leaders are scrambling to adjust to a world few imagined possible just a year ago. The myth of a borderless world has come crashing down. Traditional pillars of open markets — the United States and the UK — are wobbling, and China is positioning itself as globalization’s staunchest defender.”

Currently, the majority of the world’s entrepreneurs/CEOs recognize that Big-Data holds the key to discovering and recovering the abundant wealth in Africa. But without evidence-based predictive analysis, the eCommerce benefits will perhaps remain a pipe dream. Now, how can we propel African eCommerce to the next level and at the same time limiting the risks?

Historically, Africa had been a mega trading continent. And to date, Africa remains a trading destination continent – reminding us about Mansa Musa of the old Mali Empire and the gold riches.

The recorded fame of Musa I. (c. 1280 – c. 1337), or Mansa Musa, apart from his kingship background, was entirely due to his ingenuity in trade and commerce. Little wonder he has been described as the wealthiest individual in all human history. But today the continent has been inundated with several challenges – limiting her trade development potential and innovation.

Visibly noticed as central to Africa’s development challenges are technology and related trade and commerce infrastructure. The good news today is, the same technology phenomena infested by digital transformation is igniting Africa with the eCommerce revolution.

It is evident that this revolution is happening at the speed of thought while Africa’s data rate of response to digital commerce is better described as unacceptable snail speed that leads to nothingness. Ironically, the continent still harbours a major chunk of global wealth. The resilience to conquer those challenges lies in the capability and mastery of eCommerce delivery and services. What constitutes the beneficial substances of re-imagining the Nigerian trade and commerce model?

Numbers speak. According to WTO,Africa is undergoing a remarkable energy transformation. But African governments and their international partners must accelerate that transformation if we are to achieve our collective ambitions. Access to clean modern energy, especially in Africa, where 620 million people have no electricity, is critical to the success of global efforts to tackle poverty.’’

One critical factor stands out, and that is, digital infrastructure to promote e-Commerce and energize multi-sectoral market segments.

The telecoms infrastructure support to eCommerce logistics and service delivery remains a strategic imperative. The INFRACO initiative targeted at the telecoms section holds a great promise if the investment assurances are strategically put into action as a post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery plan. This is critical, especially if channelled in partnership with experienced and trustworthy development groups.

Again, a good example of such dynamic groups in Nigeria is the Zinox Group where Konga qualifies and fulfils the expectations of showcasing reasonable equity to eliminate financing gaps. This can be achieved by concentrating such investment into digital innovation solutions. In the long term, as demonstrated by InfraCo Africa, Infraco model investment championed by proactive Government financing reduces identifiable risks and costs of implementation. Not only that, it goes a long way to ensure project reliability and standards that fulfils the expectations of sustainable development Goals (SDGs).

Looking at 2050, what will become of our post-COVID-19 economic outlook, without a dynamic and health eCommerce ecosystem? A very lucid question indeed! Will the digital evolution validate the known adage that; “when the poor have nothing more to eat, they will consume the rich?” This is the time to act. We must not allow the looming digital tsunami to consume our trade and commerce missions. There will be great consequences if that is allowed to happen. We must avoid travelling back in time from the digital divide to the invisible traps of emerging digital poverty!

Let there be action. The nation is at war with the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccines are knocking at the door. Now, the central concern is how to empower the youth to engage and own the emerging digital knowledge ecosystem. This can be done by instituting a special national cluster for Nigeria’s Digital Transformation Innovation Readiness for Nigeria.

The first line of action is creating and reconstructing a digital transformation movement mindset and political will to defeat consumerism, corruption and enthrone bold philosophies of prioritizing merit for advancement in science and technology-enabled manufacturing. Nigeria must lead this complex mission in the combat of global digital knowledge acquisition to drive trade and commerce and succeed.

eCommerce has the magic to facilitate the sustainable development of Africa’s youth employment and digital wealth creation. This agenda includes re-imagining national economic development and corporate governance pathways; while fast-tracking government mandatory responsibilities through proactive intervention strategies. It also includes the conscious responsibility to analyse our environment, communication and digital divide challenges in Africa and prepare for the world of AI, which includes raising a future digital army for national and continental security.

Refocusing our development from figurative oil-based data to digital commerce transformation information system is the panacea for migrating the nation from an economy that generates an internal revenue of $9 billion as against $39billion import to register $trillion trade export numbers as a meticulous enterprise out of Africa.

Moving forward, there should be no further excuses for Africa with its large population and market to continue failing digital exams repetitively; sitting in the same class of knowledge advancement! The new and profound dream must commence now. Our entrepreneurial-mind treasure is capable and must advance our success agenda from the euphoria of self-celebration to being celebrated by the world.

 

 

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Vehicular Traffic: FAAN Advises Passengers To Get To Airports Early

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) wishes to advise passengers and airport users, particularly those at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to get to the airport early so as to complete their check-in procedures in good time and avoid the unpleasant experiences associated with missing their flights.

FAAN said Friday morning in a statement signed by Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs that this advice has become necessary, as passengers are likely to go through a little delay at the entrance to the terminals, due to built-up vehicular traffic occasioned by an increase in passenger traffic being witnessed presently.

“The Authority will like to assure passengers and other airport users that all hands are on deck to ensure swift facilitation and reduce the congestion to the barest minimum,” Yakubu said in the statement.

 

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Africa Data Centres Confirms Building 10MW Data Centre In Lagos

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Even as South Africa is home to the largest concentration of data centres on the African continent, Nigeria has been described as a key African market, with the appeal of West Africa growing, and new developments planned for both Senegal and Nigeria.

Stephane Duproz, CEO of Africa Data Centres said of the West African region, “This region is hungry for digitisation and to pave the way for our hyperscale customers to deploy digitisation solutions to West Africa, Africa Data Centres’ construction of a 10-megawatt data centre in Lagos is well underway.”

The Lagos build marks a significant step forward in Africa Data Centres’ ambitious long-term strategy to digitise Africa.  The Nigerian data centre will form Africa Data Centres’ West African hub.

As interconnection remains a priority, the company will be adding it to its network of data centres, which at present includes Johannesburg, Nairobi, Cape Town, Harare, and Kigali.

“Our expansion into Nigeria marks one aspect of the company’s growth on the continent,” says Duproz. “In response to demand generated by hyper scalers, key cloud operators and multinational enterprises already making use of our data centres, we have purchased the Samrand facility in South Africa and our key build in Midrand is underway.

“These same clients, who have trusted us with their expansions into Kenya and other African territories, have expressed their interest in bringing digitisation at scale to West Africa. Our leadership and best practice in data centre operations have made us the obvious choice in their expansion strategies.”

The creation of a digital hub is the beginning of digital transformation capabilities for the region. Naturally, says Duproz, multinational enterprises will wish to be housed under the same roof as our hyperscaler customers due to the lower latency enjoyed.

As such, the combination of cloud providers and enterprises make these data centres marketplaces of the ecosystem – and, most importantly, he says, the base for the country’s digital and economic development.

Additionally, keeping African data on African soil is another key consideration driving the demand for local data centre facilities. “We are proud to be ensuring that African data stays in Africa,” he says.

Africa Data Centres has indicated that the Lagos build will spur the economy – creating job opportunities in various sectors.

“The stimulus effect to the economy of digitisation is well documented and Nigeria is ready for this technology boon,” says Duproz.

“Furthermore, our construction policy is to uplift the community as far as possible, employing local contractors and creating work opportunities within the communities we enter – so the job creation opportunities are realised at both grass-roots and high-tech levels.”

Having secured premium land in Lagos, Africa Data Centres has designed its latest data centre facility in line with environmental best practice, using grey, or non-potable water for cooling and utilising solar energy to offset its reliance on the grid.

“Digitising the continent at the cost of the environment is not a sacrifice Africa Data Centres is prepared to entertain. Our strategy encompasses empowering and uplifting the people, the environment and the economy,” he says.

In Senegal, the Morocco-based data centre company N+One, has said it is planning to build three data centres in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

Details of size and power density are not yet available, but it is understood that N+One has partnered with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Telecommunications, along with the General Delegation for Rapid Entrepreneurship of Women and Youth (DER/FJ) and the Digital Technologies Park of Senegal (PTN), as part of the country’s Digital Senegal plan.

The Senegal Digital Technology Park in Dakar was first announced in 2015.

Part-funded by the African Development Bank, the 25-hectare site aims to promote the country as a base for international technology companies.

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Network International Names Hany Fekry Regional President, Northern & Sub-Saharan Africa

Appointment of Regional Head will help drive greater digital payments adoption across Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa

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Hany Fekry, New Regional President, Northern & Sub-Saharan Africa, Network International

Network International, the leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East and Africa (MEA), has announced the appointment of Egyptian national Hany Fekry as Regional President – Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa.

In his new role, Fekry will be responsible for all aspects of Network’s acquiring and issuing business in Egypt and Nigeria, and for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to drive Network’s business growth and increase digital payments adoption in Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Fekry joined Network in 2016 as Managing Director for Egypt and Deputy Managing Director for Africa, leading the company’s business development activities across the Northern and Sub-Saharan region.

Previously, he served as the Chief Commercial Officer of Emerging Markets Payments (EMP) Africa, which was acquired by Network International in 2016.

Fekry’s more than 20-year career has included developing business in markets including Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nandan Mer, Group CEO of Network International, commented: “Building an effective payments infrastructure requires a thorough understanding of the needs of a local merchant and issuer clients to address their pain points and build locally relevant payments solutions.

“Since joining the team in 2016, Fekry’s deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges in digital payments adoption across Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa has been instrumental in helping Network deliver customised and relevant solutions.

“I am confident he is the right person to strengthen our offering to clients, in addition to driving greater inclusion and building a stronger payments infrastructure in these fast-growing markets.”

Hany Fekry, Regional President – Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, added: “This is an incredibly exciting time for Network, with tremendous opportunities to accelerate the positive trends in digital payments across the region and increase financial inclusions.

“I look forward to helping build a best-in-class payment ecosystem that will support local merchants and financial institutions, and positively impact the economies across the Northern and Sub-Saharan African markets.”

 

 

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