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We Are Desirous Of A Vibrant, Competitive Telecoms Market In Nigeria- ATCON

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Mr. Olusola Teniola, ATCON President @ the ATCON Virtual Forum on Thursday

The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has said that it organized the virtual forum on “Meeting the Interests of Government, Consumers and Telecom & ICT Companies in the Era of COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 Pandemic for Digital Economy Development” because it wanted to converge regulators’ interests -to ensure a competitive telecom market and fast track development of the telecom and ICT industry.

It also said the objective of the virtual forum was in the interest of Operator’s Interests – an enabling environment for businesses and protection of investment in the sector; and Consumers’ Interests aimed at getting them satisfied in terms of quality of services, affordability access and connectivity; for Digital Economy Development.

ATCON President, Olusola Teniola who stated these in his welcome address at the forum held on Thursday, used the opportunity to appreciate Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy who he said, has been working assiduously to change the narrative of Nigeria through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

“As we all know, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy commissioned a number of projects that have reflected the dividend of sustainable development programme of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari,” Teniola said.

The ATCON President said Nigeria’s Telecom Sector has witnessed several important developments including the renaming of the ministry which supervises the Telecoms and ICT Sector to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and further expanding its mandate to capture the goals of digitalization of the Nigerian economy in line with the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) of the government.

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The developments also include the recently launched National Broadband Plan 2020 to 2025; the unveiling of a National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) and the constitution of Implementation and Steering Committee for the plan, all aimed at empowering Nigerian consumers to take advantage of the Nigerian digital economy.

“It should be emphasized that interdependence and collaboration among the government, telecom and ICT Companies and Nigerians are clearly necessary but each of separate stakeholder has limitations and potentials hence the forum is expected to make an attempt to address the challenges and turn them to advantage for the development of our Telecom and ICT Sector in the era of COVID-19 and Post COVID-19 Pandemic,” Teniola said.

He said that ATCON was providing this veritable platform for Governments, Consumers (corporate and personal) and Telecommunications and ICT Companies to rub minds on how consumers can be better off in terms of effective delivery of telecoms and ICT services and products in Nigeria.

It was also aimed at attracting further investment into the sector through consumerism and enactment of friendly policies and regulation by the Government, a development Teniola hoped members would use the feedback from the forum to improve and model their service delivery going forward.

The ATCON President expressed the association’s gratitude to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy; the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), IHS, VDT Communications, IpNX Limited, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), PPC Limited, Galaxy Backbone, MainOne, Pan African Towers Limited, Medallion Communications, NIGCOMSAT, Layer3 Limited and the media.

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Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, in his keynote address disclosed that the draft document on the Executive Order that would protect Telecommunications Infrastructure in the country is now before President Muhammadu Buhari for approval.

Pantami said that the protection of the rights of citizens and consumers was of utmost priority to the Federal Government, especially those who were struggling.

According to him, “The ministry is currently working on a policy that will reinforce existing Executive Orders 003 and 005, to ensure that priority is given to indigenous manpower and expertise.

“In the ministry, we always try to strike a balance by protecting the interest of consumers and citizens on one hand and the telecoms companies on the other…,” he said.

Faces of some participants at the ATCON Virtual Conference on Thursday

The minister explained that in order to create an enabling environment for investors and consumers, the government had intervened by enacting policies to protect telecommunications infrastructure.

Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta in his address explained that the Commission’s efforts at resolving consumer-related issues included the introduction of the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) code in 2015, when less than 500,000 people activated the code, but now activated by 22,722,366 lines.

“Ninety-eight per cent (98%) of the total service-related complaints received from telecoms consumers within a 15-month period, spanning January 2019 to April 2020, have been successfully resolved by the Commission,” Danbatta disclosed.

Speaking further on quality of service, the EVC said “the Commission has monthly engagements with operators as well as quarterly industry working group on Quality of Service and Short Codes, and is currently monitoring 2G Key Performance Indicators, while the KPIs for 4G are being prepared.”

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DrugStoc Secures $4.4M In Series A Funding

Healthtech startup plans to expand access to quality Pharmaceuticals in Africa

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L-R: Chibuzo Opara and Adham Yehia, DrugStoc founders

DrugStoc, a healthtech startup, has raised USD 4.4 million in Series A funding to expand access to quality medicines while providing sustainable supply chain financing for healthcare providers in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The funding round is led by Africa HealthCare Master Fund (AAIC), and other investors include Chicago-based venture firm, Vested World and the German Development Bank (DEG).

Nobuhiko Ichimiya, Director at AAIC stated that “We are very excited to be part of the DrugStoc journey. The pharmaceutical market in Africa has enormous growth potential and we are glad to back a company well-positioned to be a key player in the sector’s growth in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Chibuzor Opara, DrugStoc’s co-founder and CEO; asserted that “We are committed to making an impact in the healthcare industry. This funding will enable us to expand and launch our tech-enabled products in more African countries where pharmaceuticals are critically needed.

Launched in 2017, DrugStoc is a cloud-based platform that provides healthcare providers with the interface for easy access to pharmaceuticals and healthcare products.

It ensures that patients get quality medicines at affordable prices, and boasts superior quality control systems with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification on Good Distribution Practice.

Having grown over the last three years with an almost 1500% increase in monthly sales since January 2018, 14 million people currently have access to genuine healthcare products through hospitals and pharmacies covered by DrugStoc.

DigitalTimesNG understands that with this funding round, the company will grow coverage to about 100 million people. It plans to achieve this by expanding its supply chain infrastructure both digitally and physically.

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Digital expansion will see DrugStoc build out its tech solutions to boost access and accommodate more partners as it extends coverage beyond Lagos.

The DrugStoc team


DrugStoc will also build on its partnerships with financial institutions such as Sterling Bank, to increase access to sustainable supply chain financing.

The company, founded by two seasoned professionals in the health sector, Chibuzo Opara and Adham Yehia, has powered over nine million prescriptions and projects 12 million by the end of 2021.

Chibuzo Opara said: “Fragile and resource-challenged healthcare systems require a radically transformative set of market-based strategies to expand access to healthcare. The DrugStoc way re-engineers the value chain digitally, improving and expanding access to healthcare at the same time.”

It is predicted that Africa’s pharmaceutical industry will be worth $56 billion to $70 billion by 2030, from just $5.5 billion in 2007. However, the broken supply chain and chaotic distribution channels on the continent still pose a significant challenge.

It affects the delivery of quality medicines, affordability of pharmaceuticals and efficient healthcare delivery for health workers. Innovation to solve supply chain challenges is a key opportunity in this growing market.

Based on estimates from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Africa imports about 94% of its pharmaceutical and medicinal needs from outside the continent.

DrugStoc is ensuring that more vital drugs, vaccines and health technologies are supplied safely, effectively and affordably to more people.

According to Liam O’Connor, who is also among a group of individual Silicon Valley investors, “DrugStoc has demonstrated impressive growth and the ability to improve healthcare providers’ access to pharmaceuticals in Nigeria.

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“I am excited to support DrugStoc’s innovative work building a reliable, resilient and high-quality pharmaceutical supply chain across Africa.  I am confident that DrugStoc will succeed in making a critical healthcare difference that will help save lives.”

In 2016, DrugStoc was incubated under Stanford’s Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies; and in 2019 made the shortlist as one of ten finalists for the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative, Jack Ma’s flagship entrepreneur program in Africa.

It also won the award for the Technology Enabled Distributor of the year, at the Nigeria Health Excellence Award in 2019 and 2021.

The healthtech startup will now double down on its vision to change the way healthcare providers interface with the pharmaceutical market and revolutionize sub-Saharan Africa’s access to quality pharmaceuticals.

CardinalStone Partners Limited acted as Financial Advisers to DrugStoc.

 

 

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Cloud Exchange, Huawei Unveil Africa’s First Uptime Institute Tier IV Prefabricated Data Centre In Nigeria

Cloud Exchange expands its service offerings from systems integration, hybrid cloud infrastructure to Tier IV data centre colocation interconnects and cross-connects, managed network and security, private and public cloud services.

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L-R: Sales Director, Data Centre, Huawei, Victor Oyeniyi; Head of Data Centre and Operations, Cloud Exchange, Adetoyese Oyerinde; Relationship Officer, Huawei, Victoria Zhuyuan; Deputy Managing Director, Huawei, Eric Yang; CEO Cloud Exchange, Glad Dibetso; and Deputy MD/CFO, Olayemi Anifowose at the official launch of Africa’s First Uptime Institute Tier IV Prefabricated Data Center today in Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria.

Cloud Exchange, a leading system Integrator in West Africa and a provider of end-to-end Information Technology (IT) system solutions, has officially launched Africa’s first uptime institute tier IV modular prefabricated data centre in collaboration with telecommunications giant, Huawei.

The state-of-the-art data centre was unveiled on Thursday, September 30, 2021, at a grand ceremony held at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.

The introduction was in line with Cloud Exchange’s expansion of its service offerings from systems integration, hybrid cloud infrastructure to Tier IV data centre colocation, interconnects and cross-connects, managed network and security, private and public cloud services.

Chief Executive Officer of Cloud Exchange, Mr Glad Dibetso said Nigeria’s growing digital economy drove the development of the data centre.

“The Tier IV data centre vision was born from the burning platform we were on in 2016. We had an audacious vision to build the first African Tier IV Prefabricated Data Centre certified by Uptime Institute. We wanted to be part of the solution by finding tailor-made solutions fit for purpose and pragmatic for the continent.

L-R: Deputy MD, Huawei, Zhao Wenjun (ken); CEO Cloud Exchange, Glad Dibetso; Vice President, Synergy Capitals, Sunkanmi Oladimeji; and Head of Data Centre and Operations, Cloud Exchange, Adetoyese Oyerinde at the official launch of Africa’s first Uptime Institute Tier IV Prefabricated Data Centre in Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria.

“Infrastructure, especially in ICT has continued to hold the continent back. We knew that for Africa to fully participate in the future, we all need to improve ICT infrastructure as it is the bedrock of digitalisation.

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“We did not know how we will accomplish the Tier IV dream; however, we had the will which aligned with the quest to do meaningful work; it always seems impossible until it’s done. The efforts of our employees, partners, clients, and industry stakeholders have achieved a green Tier IV data centre.

“We not only achieved the best data centre internationally, but we also made sure it’s good for the environment. We have built the very first Tier IV Data Centre in West Africa, the first green one free of air and noise pollution and one that is also free of the effects of FM200 contamination,” he said.

In the same vein, Adetoyese Oyerinde, Head, Data Centre and Operation at Cloud Exchange West Africa explained that as a customer-centric company, Cloud Exchange realised that the only guarantee for its operation was to go for the highest level of availability threshold obtainable in the world of Data Centres- a Tier IV Data Centre, the facility that promises a minimum of 99.995% availability.

“This translates into total redundancy, continuous cooling, fault tolerance and unmatchable reliability that has not been witnessed before in sub–Saharan Africa.”

He noted that the difference between Tier III and Tier IV Data Centre has always been under-emphasized.

“It is all in numbers, a downtime of 96 minutes compared to 26.3 minutes, a lot can happen in 70 minutes, a lot can be lost in 70 minutes and a lot of money can be made in 70 minutes. Tier IV also promises just more than availability, it promises reliability, it promises excellence, it promises adaptability, and all these have been built into the very first Uptime Institute Tier IV Data Centre in West Africa,” he explained.

L-R: Chief Technical Sales Officer, Cloud Exchange, Obinna Adumike; Relationship Officer, Huawei, Victoria Zhuyuan; Head of Data Centre and Operations, Cloud Exchange, Adetoyese Oyerinde; CEO Cloud Exchange, Glad Dibetso; Deputy MD, Huawei, Zhao Wenjun (ken); and Deputy MD/CFO, Olayemi Anifowose at the official launch of Africa’s first Uptime Institute Tier IV Prefabricated Data Centre in Ikoyi, Lagos Nigeria.

Eric Yang, Deputy Managing Director of Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Limited, said, ”Huawei has been delivering top ICT solutions for over 22 years in Nigeria since 1999. For the past 20+ years, Huawei has been providing and supporting our Partners, Customers and Industries with our unique solutions to build the best practices like Cloud Exchange Data Centre.”

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Huawei’s solution uses a 3.6-m high cube and complies with a Tier IV Designed Facility. It includes HUAWEI’s high-efficiency modular UPS, PAC and DCIM+ management system.  All these advanced facilities are prefabricated in the factory and pretested before delivery.

In addition, Huawei provides exclusive factory acceptance tests (FAT) to guarantee reliability and quality. Huawei’s solution takes the modular architecture and supports expansion in a stacking manner. This modular and scalable design allows it to deploy more racks in the same space and reduce the customer’s initial investment.

Besides, the design PUE is lower than 1.5, which will bring tangible benefits to Cloud Exchange in the long run. Huawei’s solution also provides a customized facade with high-level finishing.

Yang added, “Huawei will keep innovating on our DC solutions especially the prefab modular solution with the concept of one layer, one DC, one rack, one DC. Along the lines of electrical and electronic together with digital and AI technologies, we do believe the prefab modular solution is going to be well accepted by our clients.

“We also believe this solution is going to benefit businesses more because it enables capacity follows network planning, and Investment follows business growth.”

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Jobberman Unveils Alliance For Better Work Initiative

The initiative is a commitment for companies to employ from a talent pool of over 180,000 jobseekers

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Jobberman, the single largest job placement website in sub-Saharan Africa, has announced its Alliance for Better Work initiative, as part of its longstanding partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.

The employer-centred initiative is geared to radically bolster recruitment in Nigeria, with a focus on driving female hires and providing integrated end-to-end support on the easy to use online jobs platform.

DigitalTimesNG understands that large corporations to SMEs in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Kaduna will be able to capitalise on access to over 182,000 pre-vetted jobseekers between the age of 18-35, segmented by industry and qualification level and with a core focus on the agricultural, creative and digital sectors in Nigeria.

The Alliance for Better Work has been designed to improve job retention, workplace productivity, business development and, crucially, bridge the gap on gender unemployment which according to recent data is 35.2% compared to 31.8% for men.

To date, employers have faced challenges such as the cost of training new employees, a flood of unfiltered applications and wide skills gap.

The campaign will run in parallel to Jobberman’s successful soft skills training program, which has already equipped 190,628 young people between the ages of 18-35 for the workplace, as well as placing more than 82,600 in dignified employment.

The latest drive will see the pioneering platform draw from its leading expertise in the market to tackle both strands of recruitment with equal volition and on course to reach its target of securing employment for 3 million young people by 2025.

The Alliance will establish a commitment between Jobberman and employers in the agriculture, creative, digital, finance, healthcare, retail/FMCG, advertising and education sectors to #hirebetter and move beyond the inertia of costly recruitment processes.

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According to Jobberman’s data insights, companies can spend an average of 4-6 weeks on their hiring process and cost an estimated 20-25% of the annual gross salary of a candidate to recruit.

The Alliance for Better Work is an exclusive recruitment club that gives employers access to the largest pool of trained quality candidates in the country, innovative end-to-end recruitment and post-hiring support, brand amplification, and exclusive rates, all tailored to companies’ specific needs.

Rolake Rosiji, CEO of Jobberman Nigeria said, “The Alliance for Better Work is ultimately about unlocking the competitive advantage of Nigerian companies, often lost in long and poor cycles of recruitment. By joining forces with Nigeria’s most astute companies we aim to set a standard of progressive recruitment practices that will allow businesses to flourish.

“Plus, this opens up the opportunity to accelerate our mandate with Young Africa working in placing trained young people in dignified work. Employees are a company’s greatest asset and Jobberman has the experience, the tools, platform and the resources to make this a reality for employers.”

Country Head Nigeria, MasterCard Foundation, Chidinma Lawanson added, “The MasterCard Foundations Young Africa strategy aims to give 10 million youth, and women access to dignified and fulfilling work in Nigeria – 70% of which must be women.

“The Foundations’ partnership with Jobberman is one of the many ways that we intend to achieve this. The launch of the Alliance for Better Work Campaign is intentional in filling the gap in the recruitment process, particularly as it pertains to gender unemployment. We look forward to seeing its impact.”

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With over a decade in the recruitment business, Jobberman has used its platform to develop job seeker skill sets, identify gaps in the labour market and streamlined the hiring processes for employers.

The partnership with the MasterCard Foundation is steering transformative change in the issues surrounding unemployment in Nigeria. The partnership aims to train 5 million job seekers and place 3 million in dignified employment over the next five years.

Companies interested in being a part of the Alliance for Better Work campaign can sign-up here:www.jobberman.com/employer/hirebetter or by sending an email to connect@jobberman.com

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