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Monday 8th August, 2022

TechExtra

Pantami Reaffirms FG’s Commitment To Indigenous Telecom Content Promotion

—As Danbatta Lauds Efforts

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L-R: Mr. Adeleke Adewolu, Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC; Mr. Kashifu Abdullahi, DG, NITDA; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC/CEO, NCC; Mr. Olatunbosun Alake, Special Assistant, Innovation and Technology to Lagos State Governor; Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy; Hon. (Prince) Akeem Adeyemi, Chairman, House Committee on Telecommunications; Prof, Adeolu Akande, Chairman, NCC Board of Commissioners, during the maiden Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE) 2022 held in Lagos recently.

Prof. Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s determination to reverse the trend of importation of all types of telecommunications products, especially where production in Nigeria is possible. 

Pantami spoke at the first Nigerian Telecommunications Indigenous Content Expo (NTICE), 2022 held at the Landmark Centre in Lagos.

His speech got an immediate commendation from the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who told the audience that the Minister’s efforts and support have spurred the Commission to take certain steps that have yielded immediate results that were being showcased at the expo.

DigitalTimesNG understands that the expo was oragnised as part of the effort to vigorously pursue the objectives of the National Policy for the Promotion of Indigenous Content in the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector (NPPIC), through the National Office for Developing Indigenous Telecoms Sector (NODITS) domiciled in the NCC.

Pantami emphasised that Government had put efforts towards the protection of the telecom industry, which contributes impressively to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), by insisting on the drastic reduction in the reliance on foreign products, and consequently, warned against the importation of such products like Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards that can be produced in Nigeria.

He also took a swipe at the recent efforts to impose a five per cent excise duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria, arguing that the Ministry, which oversees the industry, was not consulted and that the timing of such duty in a period of hardship as is being witnessed in Nigeria today is antithetical to the growth of the industry.

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“I was not consulted before the decision on five per cent excise duty was reached, and it was unfair to impose such a tax on an industry that was already burdened with other taxes and already contributing about 17 per cent to the country’s revenue,” he said.

Pantami told his audience, including the Chairman of the House Committee on Telecommunications, Hon. Akeem Adeniyi Adeyemi, that his position was already shared by the National Assembly which was also not consulted on the issue before it was announced.

“We must do what we need to do to protect the industry.  Beyond making our opinions known, we will take legitimate and legal steps to stop any plan against the interest of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry,” he said.

Speaking further on the efforts of the Commission to pursue indigenous content in the industry, EVC of NCC, Prof. Danbatta, said the objective of the NPPIC is to transform the enormous strides achieved by the telecom industry in the last two decades into long-term indigenous economic development outcomes for Nigerian companies and citizenry.

Danbatta said the Commission has taken various steps to ensure that the process of implementing NPPIC is painstakingly pursued through capacity strengthening, institutional building and strategic policy tools, which will further promote domestic and economic linkages, job creation and the participation of local Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the telecom value chain via the supply of goods and services to the sector.

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TechExtra

CloudFare DDoS Report Shows Q2 of 2022 Witnessed Largest DDoS Attacks Ever

Highlights of the report showed that the war on the ground between Russia and Ukraine continues to be accompanied by attacks targeting the spread of information.

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Photo Credit: Kaspersky

A recent CloudFare DDoS report for 2022, has shown that Q2 of 2022 Q2 witnessed some of the largest attacks the world has ever seen including 26 million requests per second HTTPS DDoS attacks.

These attacks were automatically detected and mitigated by CloudFare, in addition to attacks against Ukraine and Russia continuing, whilst a new Ransom DDoS attack campaign emerged.

Highlights of the report showed that the war on the ground between Russia and Ukraine continues to be accompanied by attacks targeting the spread of information.

Broadcast Media companies in Ukraine were the most targeted in Q2 by DDoS attacks.

On the other hand, in Russia, Online Media dropped as the most attacked industry, replaced by Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) companies.

Almost 45% of all application-layer DDoS attacks targeted the BFSI sector. Cryptocurrency companies in Russia were the second most attacked.

In terms of Ransom attacks, June 2022, saw a peak to the highest of the year Overall in Q2, the per cent of Ransom DDoS attacks increased by 11% QoQ.

In 2022 Q2, application-layer DDoS attacks increased by 72% YoY. Organizations in the US were the most targeted, followed by Cyprus, Hong Kong, and China. Interestingly attacks on organizations in Cyprus increased by 166% QoQ.

The Aviation & Aerospace industry was the most targeted in Q2, followed by the Internet industry, Banking, Financial Services and Insurance, and Gaming / Gambling in fourth place.

In 2022 Q2, network-layer DDoS attacks increased by 109% YoY. Attacks of 100 Gbps and larger increased by 8% QoQ, and attacks lasting more than 3 hours increased by 12% QoQ.

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The top attacked industries were Telecommunications, Gaming / Gambling and the Information Technology and Services industry.

Commenting on the report, Bashar Bashaireh, Managing Director, Middle East & Turkey, Cloudflare says, “Cloudflare’s mission is to help build a better Internet. A better Internet is one that is more secure, faster, and reliable for everyone even in the face of DDoS attacks.

“As part of our mission, since 2017, we’ve been providing unmetered and unlimited DDoS protection for free to all of our customers. Over the years, it has become increasingly easier for attackers to launch DDoS attacks.

“But as easy as it has become, we want to make sure that it is even easier and free for organizations of all sizes to protect themselves against DDoS attacks of all types.”

 

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TechExtra

Startup Ecosystem: NITDA DG Engages Key Stakeholders In Lagos

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Mr. Kashifu Inuwa, NITDA DG (sitting third from right) flanked by others at the meeting

Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, has reiterated the Agency’s commitment to giving the startup ecosystem the needed support to boost the sector’s contribution to the economy and strengthen the value chain.

Inuwa made the pledge during a dinner meeting with some key stakeholders of Lagos Ecosystem, including representatives from Microsoft, MasterCard, and Norebase, among others.

While suing for trust, and strengthening the value chain deliberated on the best way to accelerate growth and support startups in the country, he said “there are lots of distrust within the government and the ecosystem, so much that the only way to engender trust between the two entities is to have this conversation.”

The Director-General assured the group of his unrelenting support to the ecosystem which he maintained would be his return base upon retirement from government service, and emphasised the need for collaborations across the board to achieve a faster and more sustainable digital economy.

“We cannot succeed in isolation; we need each other to succeed. Innovation is not distributed evenly across the world. Innovation and the digital economy are about humans”.

“A company is as good as its next product and its products are as good as the person or people who make them. This underscores the relevance of talents. If you don’t have the requisite skills and talents, then it is no deal,” he added.

The NITDA DG seized the opportunity to share his thoughts on different issues bordering on investments, partnerships, commercialisation of innovations, enabling policies and acquisition of relevant skills as well as training.

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“At NITDA, we are reenacting our act and laws to make it more robust so that we protect the ecosystem,” Inuwa stated.

The NITDA boss whose friendly body language gave the forum some sort of a relaxed atmosphere was keen on listening to their opinions and suggestions on how to get the ecosystem to perform much better.

“The sector we are in is dynamic and we must move with its pace, so we don’t play catch-ups or get left far behind. We must disrupt the way we do things and bring to bear professionalism, innovations that will solve indigenous problems but have a global impact,” the DG urged.

While taking turns to share their ideas and challenges, some of the representatives touched on diverse areas of concern and specialisations, including soliciting for government support in the development of hardware space, funding, talents, procurements, local content enforcement, mitigating gateways, policy timings and changes, data protection and management, digital skills framework, standardisation and others.

Reacting to their comments and questions, the Director-General extensively explained the efforts of NITDA under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and by extension, the Federal Government in addressing most of the issues deliberated.

The Start-up Bill was also on the front burner of his response as the DG quickly reminded them that most of the concerns raised would soon be rested, given the recent passage of the Bill into law by the National Assembly.

He assured the startups of a speedy and effective implementation of the bill to deal with the bottlenecks experienced in the process, and fast-track the anticipated growth of the ecosystem.

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Moreso, Inuwa highlighted the Code of Practice for Interactive Platforms as another document that is expected to engender appropriate monitoring to enforce compliance to established regulations guiding the sector, while seeking their contribution to the document.

“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 letter. Also, I think we need to form a union for Startup Ecosystem,” Inuwa added.

The engagement with the Lagos ecosystem ended with a resolve by all parties to forge ahead against all odds but not just as an ecosystem but more united and prepared for future tasks.

The meeting was part of NITDA’s stride towards making Nigeria a talent hub for Africa and possibly the digital world, especially as there are several reports indicating a global talent shortage.

 

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Fintech

UMBA, US-Based Fintech Acquires Majority Stake In Kenya’s Daraja Microfinance Bank

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has announced the acquisition of 66.06 per cent shareholding of Daraja Microfinance Bank (Daraja MFB) by US-based fintech company UMBA.

The announcement follows CBK’s earlier approval, under Section 19(4) of the Microfinance Act and approval by the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Planning, pursuant to Section 19(3)(b) of the Microfinance Act.

UMBA fintech is incorporated in the State of Delaware, United States of America and has its headquarters in San Francisco, California. The company has operations in Kenya and Nigeria.

In Kenya, UMBA operates a non-deposit-taking credit business through its subsidiary UMBA Technology. In Nigeria, it operates in partnership with a licensed bank to offer digital banking services.

Daraja MFB was granted a license by the Central Bank of Kenya on January 12, 2015, to carry out community microfinance bank business within Dagoretti Division of Nairobi County.

The MFB’s Head Office and branch are located at Dagoretti Corner, Nairobi. The MFB’s target market is Micro and Small Enterprises. It is categorised as a small microfinance bank with a market share of below 1 percent of the microfinance banking sector as of March 31, 2022.

Analysts say the investment by UMBA will strengthen Daraja MFB’s business model. In particular, it will support the digitalization of Daraja MFB as it moves to provide ‘anytime anywhere’ services to its customers.

This is aligned with CBK’s vision of a microfinance banking sector that works for and with Kenyans.

CBK welcomes this transaction which is a critical component of Daraja MFB’s transformation plan. It will strengthen Daraja MFB and support the stability of Kenya’s microfinance banking sector.

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