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Tuesday 15th June, 2021

TechExtra

NITDA, Cloudflex, Rackcentre Throw Weight Behind NITRA Technology Forum 2021

The forum will discuss the Future of Cloud Hosting Service In Nigeria

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Stakeholders in the Cloud Hosting service have started to line up in support of the NITRA Technology Forum 2021, which holds on May 27, in Lagos, Nigeria.

The NITRA Technology Forum 2021 is organized and hosted by the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA).

The NITRA Technology Forum 2021 has received backing from the nation’s information technology regulator, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); Cloud services operator, Cloudflex and premier data centre operator, Rackcentre.

NITRA Technology Forum 2021, which will be chaired by the Chief Executive Officer, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), Mr. Muhammed Rudman, has its theme as: ‘Achieving 30% Growth In Local Cloud Hosting By 2024,’ and will x-ray growth potentials, challenges and benefits of hosting Cloud services and data centres locally.

It will also look at policies and regulation around the sub-sector.

Chike Onwuegbuchi, NITRA Chairman, while commending the partners for their support of the event and passion for the growth of technology in Nigeria, noted that over the years, the country has been grappling with the need to secure its data and further boost local content in all sectors of the economy.

While key stakeholders are concerned about how the sector is faring in this area, and how it can achieve local hosting of Nigeria’s sensitive data, Onwuegbuchi insists that growth in every facet of the nation’s economy should be inside-out.

“Specifically, the Forum will offer Cloud service companies, data infrastructure companies and other stakeholders, opportunities to reach out to their target market with solutions that address their challenges and needs,” he assured.

NITDA was created in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and coordinate general IT development in the country.

National Information Technology Development Act (2007) mandates the Agency to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria.

Its role, therefore, is to develop, regulate and advise on Information technology in the country through regulatory standards, guidelines and policies. Additionally, NITDA is the clearinghouse for all IT projects and infrastructural development in the country.

Rack Centre is a carrier-neutral Tier III Constructed Facility Certified data centre that focuses solely on providing best in class data centre colocation services and unrestricted interconnect between carriers and customers.

This gives customers a technically superior, physically more secure and lower-cost environment for their information systems.

Rack Centre’s carrier neutrality allows customers to manage traffic to get better value, lower latency and higher resilience and creates an open market for partnerships between customers, networks, cloud and content providers, the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria and managed service providers.

Rack Centre clients include 40 telecommunication carriers, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), global Tier 1 networks and pan Africa international carriers, including direct connection to all 5 undersea cables serving the South Atlantic Coast of Africa and every country on the Atlantic coast of Africa.

CloudFlex Computing Limited on its part is Nigeria’s leading Enterprise local cloud service provider. It is acclaimed to be the first choice of Cloud Solutions and managed data services for local and Global businesses with great ambitions.

The company offers Information Technology as a service. The services range from Cloud services, Co-location, Managed solutions, Backup services, Disaster Recovery, among others; and support for diverse infrastructure need by providing Industry-specific Solutions.

The company is based on the principle of developing and delivering top of line Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions to meet the need of its existing and prospective clients.

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Innovation

2021 ATU Africa Innovation Challenge Launched, As Africa ICT Innovators Poised To Benefit

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Young Innovators......Photo Credit: Africabusinesscommunities.com

The second edition of the ATU Africa Innovation Challenge was Tuesday launched by the African Telecommunications Union (ATU).

ATU made the announcement in Nairobi-Kenya, in a virtual ceremony hosted with competition partner-the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), according to a report by Kachwanya.

Secretary-General of the ATU, Mr John Omo, while announcing the initiative, said: “This initiative will be instrumental in supporting institutional solutions that will boost innovation in Africa and address some of the challenges facing the African community.”

The ATU Africa Innovation Challenge is a programme that seeks to provide both short and long-term solutions and opportunities to the African Youth.

This year’s competition, themed, “Best ecosystem practices in Africa enabling youth ICT innovation,” will run from 15th June to 28th September 2021.

The competition, sponsored by Huawei Technologies Limited (title sponsor) and Intel Corporation, is open to all ecosystem stakeholders such as regulatory authorities, entrepreneurial support organizations, incubators, accelerators, or institutions such as colleges or universities from Africa.

African organisations and institutions that have created an enabling environment for youth ICT innovations to thrive are eligible to participate.

The winning entity will be awarded USD 10, 000 aside from their practice gaining recognition as the best ecosystem practice in Africa enabling youth ICT innovation.

“I want to thank our sponsors especially the headline sponsor, Huawei, for once again demonstrating their commitment to promote innovation and the wider ecosystem in Africa,” said John Omo.

Honourable Dr. Peya Mushelenga, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Namibia, who was the chief guest for the event, applauded the two organizations for the initiative and acknowledged the significance of public-private partnerships in promoting development.

“The collaboration between ATU, Huawei, and other partners is a tool delivered to our hands. Let us use it to generate sustained economic growth in Africa,” he said.

“ITU is proud and pleased to partner with ATU for this particular Challenge as it aligns with our vision for inclusion of youth in digital transformation.

“Youth innovators are centrally placed to ensure the sustainability of innovation in Africa, and they need an enabling environment that fosters and nurtures innovation for them to thrive,” said Mr. Stephen Bereaux from ITU, a specialized United Nations agency responsible for all matters related to information and communication technologies.

The inaugural ATU Africa Innovation Challenge that took place in 2020 recognized and awarded 11 finalists across Africa who had developed mobile applications helpful in benefiting Africa’s fight against COVID-19 and its effects.

Egypt’s Mai Nagy topped the competition, followed by Mr. Abdinoor Yerrow from Kenya and Ms. Bequerelle Matemtsap Mbou from Cameroon. Other countries that made it to the top 11 were Zimbabwe, Senegal, Lesotho, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Benin, and Tanzania.

Reflecting on the first Innovation Challenge and the anticipated benefits of the second innovation Challenge, the title sponsor for the Challenge for two years in a row, Mr Samuel Chen, Vice President for Huawei Southern Africa Region, highlighted the strong partnership with ATU.

He noted that “Huawei is committed to developing innovations that bring the benefits of technology to all alongside supporting and enabling innovation and digital ecosystem development in Africa by Africans through training and partnerships alongside infrastructure and digital services.”

Participants will be required to submit (via the ATU website, www.atuuat.africa) a unique practice that has created an enabling environment for youth ICT innovation to thrive together with success stories of two innovators that are beneficiaries of the practice.

The practice must be an original idea/concept developed by the ecosystem stakeholder and must have been successfully implemented (and running) for a minimum of one year. It can be in the form of a policy, an initiative, or a programme.

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Innovation

54gene Wins World Economic Forum ‘Technology Pioneer’ Award

The World Economic Forum announced its selection of the 100 most promising Technology Pioneers of 2021 – companies that are shaping industries from healthcare to retail and many more.

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54gene, the health technology company deriving insights from the world’s most diverse populations to solve some of healthcare’s biggest challenges, was selected among hundreds of candidates as one of the World Economic Forum’s “Technology Pioneers.”

Founded in 2019, the company generates genetic insights from research cohorts in the world’s most diverse populations to improve the development, availability and efficacy of therapeutics and diagnostics that will prove beneficial to all populations.

The World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers are early to growth-stage companies from around the world that are involved in the use of new technologies and innovation that are poised to have a significant impact on business and society.

With their selection as a Technology Pioneer, CEO of 54gene, Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong will be invited to participate in the World Economic Forum activities, events and discussions throughout the year. 54gene will also contribute to Forum initiatives over the next two years, working with global leaders to help address key industry and societal issues.

“We’re excited to welcome 54gene to our 2021 cohort of Technology Pioneers,” says Susan Nesbitt, Head of the Global Innovators Community, World Economic Forum.

“54gene and its fellow pioneers are developing technologies that can help society solve some of its most pressing issues. We look forward to their contribution to the World Economic Forum in its commitment to improving the state of the world.”

“It is truly an honour to be recognised as a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum,” said 54gene’s Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong.

“This is testament to the outstanding collective output of the 54gene team to address global health disparities and to imagine a world where precision medicine applies equally to all irrespective of one’s geographical location or economic status. There’s a long journey ahead and we look forward to continuing to collaborate and innovate with other mission-driven organizations all over the world.

For the first time in the community’s history, over 30% of the cohort is led by women. The firms also come from regions all around the world, extending their community far beyond Silicon Valley. This year’s cohort includes start-ups from 26 economies, with UAE, El Salvador, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe represented for the first time.

The diversity of these companies extends to their innovations as well. 2021 Tech Pioneer firms are shaping the future by advancing technologies such as AI, IoT, robotics, blockchain, biotechnology and many more. The full list of Technology Pioneers can be found here.

Technology Pioneers have been selected based on the community’s selection criteria, which includes innovation, impact and leadership as well as the company’s relevance with the World Economic Forum’s Platforms.

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Mba-Uzoukwu @NDSF2021, Says Software Nigeria Has Key To National Development

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Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON)

President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu has described the Internet as a leveller for education and prosperity in a digital economy, even as software Nigeria has the key and capacity to contribute to national development.

Mba-Uzoukwu disclosed this in his keynote address to the 2021 Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) held at the Golden Tulip Essential Hotel, International Airport Road, Lagos on Thursday, June 10.

The event was chaired by the President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Adesina Sodiya, who was represented by Dr. Olusoji Okunoye of the University of Lagos.

The theme of this year’s edition was ‘Digital Cooperation: Enhancing Multistakeholder Governance for Digital Economy.’

The ISPON president who dwelt on the “Role of Nigerian Software in Enhancing Governance in Digital Economy,” noted that there is nothing in human history as transformative as the Internet because it has largely changed everything.

He outlined some of these epochal changes to include the potential to level the playing field, namely education, healthcare, prosperity, lifestyle and well-being.

He also pointed out that humanity’s existence here was not a stand-alone, hence the imperative to recognize an ‘ecosystem’ in the technology space that is systemic in outlook.

Mba-Uzoukwu highlighted the point that in technology, the most intriguing ecosystem is the innovation ecosystem, a “human network that generates extraordinary creativity and output on a sustainable basis.”

Such an ecosystem, Mba-Uzoukwu said, performs best when it recognizes, synergizes and optimizes on the basis of a multi-stakeholder approach that accommodates the complexity of the ecosystem which creates dimensions of the impact that make governance an intentional mandate.

“Existence of telecommunication infrastructure, the first precondition to overcome the digital divide; current economic models for Internet access, place a disproportionate burden on developing countries, Challenges to financing access to backbones, ‘Free-rides’ of Over-The-Top services and challenges of balancing their contributions to telecom sectors of developing countries based on issues of taxation,” he said.

For instance, he said, global regulation of intellectual property rights paved the way for developing countries to access knowledge and information online, which led to the enthronement of “Truly, ‘Education For All’ for the first time in human history,” which avails developing countries to catch up, and this is the single most important factor.

This factor, he also said, encouraged ISPON to dare to dream again, which underscored the group’s answer in envisioning the growth of Software Nigeria into a world-class industry, and a key contributor to national development.

To realise this, the ISPON President revealed, they planned to sensitize the community about the local software industry; provide fora to share software development initiatives; aggressively support the expansion of Nigeria’s human capital, foster co-operation with Nigeria IT in the diaspora; cooperate with other countries to boost global exposure and competitiveness.

At the policy level, Mba-Uzoukwu said that the government, industry and academia, must continue to drive the evolution of policy across multiple dimensions including national security, intellectual property and privacy rights, education, information access and data sovereignty.

Education, for instance, he said, must be harnessed with the national aspirations to the potentials of technology for powering the pragmatic development of world-class, innovation cum oriented and entrepreneurial workforce, emphasising that employment and entrepreneurship must deploy technology in support of the genuine aspirations of Nigerian youth.

“Beginning with the National Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS), we will create and expose opportunities for jobs and wealth creation through personal enterprise,” he declared.

The ISPON President further said that by nurturing innovation as a national capability, “we must be the advocates and platform for unleashing creativity and ingenuity of our people, particularly the youth and women whose access to opportunity is hindered.”

Mba-Uzoukwu underscored the fact that to achieve the World Summit on the Information Society, there is a need for a common vision, desire and commitment to building a people-centric, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information.

He cautioned that the implication of non-alignment to the above common vision, the concepts of social justice, merit and asynchronous development will not be part of its main drivers.

He noted that with the rapid diffusion of technology, “we must encourage a bridge-building, inclusive and partnering approach to community that embraces and empowers the youth, women and leverages on the experience of the elders.”

NDSF2021 witnessed other speakers including the Managing Director of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSAT), Dr. Abimbola Alale who was represented by the Acting Manager Marketing, Mrs Ibiye Ukoko, Mr. Aderemi Adejumo of CloudFlex, Mr. Mohammed Rudman represented by Mr. Jacob Dagunduro, Executive Director, Operations at DigitalSENSE Africa Mrs. Nkem Nweke, and Mr. Francis Uzor or Wisdom Computer Technologies, among others.

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