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National Identity Will Fast-Track Digital Economy Development – Kashifu Inuwa

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Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, NITDA Director General.

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, has said that setting the Digital Identity process on track will ensure the effective implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy NDEPS, within the stipulated period.

Inuwa said this while playing host for the Nigeria Digital ID4D Project Team at the Agency’s Corporate Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.

He highlighted Broadband Penetration and Digital Identity as critical areas to the attainment of a Digital Economy. Adding that to achieve positive outcomes in regard to Digital Economy, there is a need for connectivity, and identifying who consumes or provides the services, and also you should be able to pay for the services.

The DG informed the Team that NITDA’s mandate of Developmental Regulation is in line with what ID4D is actually working on, and pledged them the Agency’s unalloyed support.

He acknowledged that collaboration between NITDA and ID4D as well as other relevant partners will always be welcomed with an open arm.

Inuwa reiterated that government cannot do it alone, thereby urging ID4D to help in whatever way they can for Nigeria to get this Digital Identity and implement policies and mandates.

“Anything that has to do with identity, we need it to implement our mandate. Identity is key to Digital Economy. We believe we need each other to succeed, our mandates are interwoven, we need ID to succeed, and you also need us for the ID to be used in Digital Economy”, the DG said.

He also lauded what ID4D is doing, particularly in areas of Developmental Regulation, according to him, it will make an impact on what NITDA is doing, adding that: “These Laws you are trying to help the government agencies to review, will equally help us.”

While expressing confidence that the Nigerian Digital space will soon compete with its peers globally, Inuwa “IT is dynamic, that is the reason why we are reenacting our own Bill that was passed in 2007; a lot of vocabularies are obsolete and things have changed, without that enactment, it will be difficult for us to deliver.

“We need to have a robust Law, because technology is growing and becoming dynamic, having a fixed law will be difficult to deliver, when the Technology evolves, the Law should be able to stretch and cover it”.

He also expressed concern about regulating the digital space, which he described as an ungoverned space that needs to be regulated in the best way – a major challenge faced globally.

“The right regulation does not exist, we need to co-create it, because it is not something that you can learn from the previous generation, due to its non-existence during their time, it’s our collaboration that will bring the desired changes in developing the nation’s IT sector,” he noted.

Earlier in his address, the Coordinator of Nigeria Digital ID4D Project, Musa Odole Solomon, appreciated NITDA’s stride in sanitizing the Nigerian digital space.

“Since its establishment, NITDA has proven to be one of the Federal government institutions contributing immensely to the Nigerian Economy through its various relevant regulations, monitoring, evaluation, and verification in fostering the development and growth of the Information Technology sector in the country.

Solomon said the ID4D Project’s objective is to increase the number of persons with a National Identity Number (NIN) and issue a robust and inclusive foundational Identity system that facilitates their access to services.

He added that “the project is designed following an ecosystem model, and not limited to any single organization. It involves different Agencies of government, the private sector, and civil society. The project had since identified NITDA as an important ecosystem implementing partner.

The Nigeria Digital ID4D is a five-year project, jointly funded by the World Bank, European Investment Bank, and the French Development Agency.

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Public Higher Institutions In Nigeria Are Yet To Fully Leverage Alumni Bodies Within Country And In Diaspora, Says Ennovate Lab CEO

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Public Higher Institutions In Nigeria Are Yet To Fully Leverage Alumni Bodies Within Country And In Diaspora, Says Ennovate Lab CEO

Mr. Jesudamilare Adesegun-David is Co-Founder/CEO of Ennovate Lab.

Olushola Okunlade, BusinessEcho was at the two-day ICTEL Expo organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), a leading voice in the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in Nigeria that hosted the 8th edition of the Information, Communication, Technology, and Telecommunications (ICTEL) Expo.

During the Panel Session on Education, Digital Literacy, and Digital Infrastructure in Nigeria on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at the ICTEL Expo 2022, organised by Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Mr. Jesudamilare Adesegun-David, Co-Founder/CEO of Ennovate Lab focuses on three specific points in his responses to questions.

The hybrid event has the theme, “Ensuring efficient digital infrastructure in Nigeria” and took place at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, Nigeria on Wednesday 31st August, and Thursday 1st September 2022.

Public Higher Institutions In Nigeria Are Yet To Fully Leverage Alumni Bodies Within Country And In Diaspora, Says Ennovate Lab CEO
Group photograph after the panel session at the ICTEL Expo 2022 on Wednesday.

Ennovate Lab is committed to building resilient and inclusive innovation ecosystems in underserved university communities in Africa beginning from Ogbomoso in Oyo State, Nigeria. Ennovate Lab does this by identifying and resourcing the most promising tech and entrepreneurial talents in these communities, incubating startups, and developing digital products and services that unlock greater socio-economic value for Africans.

How can public universities finance the necessary digital infrastructure they need to be on the cutting edge of digital advances and opportunities?

Public higher institutions in Nigeria are yet to fully leverage their alumni bodies within the country and in the diaspora. The role of alumni bodies in funding critical infrastructural projects is not to be underestimated. Western universities have been able to hack into getting their alumni involved in funding their alma maters. For instance, in 2018, Michael Bloomberg donated $1.8bn to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University. While that might be a stretch for Nigerians at this point, the recent story of how US-based Dr. Philip Ozuah donated $1m to University of Ibadan College of Medicine is proof of how much alumni can do when they are courted right.

Secondly, we need to leverage the presence of innovation hubs, especially in underserved communities where such higher education institutions (HEIs) are found. Innovation Hubs are able to pull in resources that can be shared by the wider HEI community. This is what Silicon Valley made possible for Stanford University. While it is possible to establish such hubs within the HEIs, independently-run hubs and the ecosystems they create around themselves can set the pace for HEIs in an unfettered way. This ensures that HEIs are consistently drawn to cutting-edge tech advances in the global digital economy.

What are the missing components in our education if we will be globally competitive?

Education, particularly it’s quality of it, is what sets nations apart. Show me the educational system of a nation and I will show you what the future holds for them.

A major issue in our schools is the absence of intentionally teaching critical and creative thinking for problem-solving. The status quo for a long time has seen rote memorization normalized. This can never transform anyone into a problem-solvers. This is one of the reasons why we are more of a consumer nation rather than a creator nation. Critical and creative thinking must be taught while using the Project-Based Learning model. I have seen what’s possible when these skills are taught like we’ve been doing for 5 years at Ennovate Lab. In the past years, we have taught more than 5000 people from high school students to educators, academics to government officials and the results have always been amazing. We need to integrate this into every school’s curriculum across primary, secondary, and tertiary levels.

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ICTEL Expo 2022: Unitellas Backs Clamour For Digital Transformation With Edge Clouds

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Director of Operations, Unitellas

…Committed to delivering digital technology to modify business operations

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Unitellas International Limited has pledged to use emerging technologies to unlock value with Edge Clouds that will deliver digital transformation.

The Nigerian ICT sector has recorded an unprecedented growth of 18.44 per cent in the second quarter of 2022.

Unitellas International Limited is an Innovative Technology leader in the provision of enterprise-grade Edge Cloud and IT Infrastructure as a service within the African region. Unitella’s goal is to provide local access to world-class IT infrastructure Technology at reduced costs and change the narrative of sensitive data being stored outside Nigeria’s borders by providing Edge Cloud Infrastructure to Service Providers and Enterprises of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy.

In partnership with both local and international organizations, Unitellas provide fully managed Edge Cloud Services – Compute Power, Network, and Storage with Backup, Archiving, and Disaster Recovery capabilities.

Blessing Omo, Director of Operations, Unitellas International Limited

Blessing Omo, Director of Operations, Unitellas who spoke on Digital Transformation: Unlocking Value with Edge Clouds in Nigeria at ICTEL Expo organised by LCCI on Thursday in Lagos stated that “We are committed to delivering the digital transformation that will help the application of digital technology to create or modify business operations to meet the ever-changing customers and market needs. Today operating a business or delivering public services has gone beyond just selling products and rendering services. “

“A good customer experience is key to customer satisfaction and retention, brand loyalty, and continuous goodwill of citizens in the case of government.

As a country, Nigeria is still on its digital transformation journey to improve digital and data performance. The government, Institutions, and Private sector IT stakeholders collaboratively are taking steps to position the country to play a leading role in contributing to the global digital economy.”

Investing in Edge Cloud Technologies is key to digital transformation, “Edge Clouds” are compact or modular data centers closer to where the end users utilize them. Edge Computing brings processing closer to the source of data and enables the unlocking of the value of data assets in real time for critical decision-making.

According to Automation World 2021 Cloud & Edge survey, 62 percent of companies are currently leveraging cloud technologies as part of their digital transformation roadmap and countries like the US, UK, Singapore, etc are implementing cloud policies in governance and have recorded accelerated digital transformation and delivery of essential public and business services.

“We can achieve the same, Nigeria can achieve the next stage of digital transformation and reap the benefits of cloud services by shifting focus away from relying on legacy IT systems to utilize more cloud-based solutions which offer cost savings, capacity to scale rapidly as needed, advance cybersecurity features and access to powerful analytical tools for processing big data.

“Hybrid clouds – a mix of private and public clouds can be harnessed for the delivery of e-Government platforms and services, storage of sensitive citizen data, and delivery of applications that solves public sector and social challenges.”

“When the government takes the big step towards adopting cloud services, local businesses and entrepreneurs are encouraged to embrace cloud solutions facilitating digital transformation across all sectors of the economy with a resultant boom in Domestic Tech Ecosystems and the economic growth of Nigeria.”

“Storing Data in the Public cloud poses issues of Data Protection, Domestication, Retention, and Sovereignty as well as Exposure of Sensitive Data to Cyber and Ransomware attacks.”

To attain a high level of Security and Governance; meet Privacy and Intellectual Property as well as Data Protection Regulation Compliance as required by regulating bodies such as NITDA, CBN, NCC, NDPB, and the like, Nigerian-based organisations and organisation rendering services to Nigerian-born citizens should utilize Edge Clouds which are available in Four Data Centers (Galaxy Backbone-Abuja, CWG, African Data Center and Rack center in Lagos).

Blessing Omo, Director of Operations highlights different Edge Clouds and how it works;

Zadara-Edge Cloud Infrastructure: Powered by Zadara- a leader in Edge Cloud Services with 400+ global locations, organization in Nigeria now have access to a fully managed Full Stack infrastructure service that can be deployed on-premise, in the cloud or hybrid on a pay-for-use model which is scalable up or down as needed with no long term contracts or CapEx hardware investments.

With this cloud infrastructure, services can be delivered with high performance and reliability because edge clouds improve latency, reduce response time and conserve network resources thus reducing bandwidth costs.

 Availability of applications are supported even during connectivity and cloud outage with improved security and privacy since the need for sensitive data to be sent to the cloud is reduced because processing and storage are handled locally.

With NO CapEx investment and NO long-term contracts required, high-performance elastic cloud services, including edge computing, without financial or operational burdens can be enjoyed. Services can be Scaled up, down, or turned at any time and you only pay for what you use.

Zcompute is elastic – any application can be developed, deploy, run and virtualize in a secured environment. zCompute is deployable in a collocated data center, private data center or public cloud. Whether you want to the cloud, repatriate from the cloud or just need resources closer to your data, zCompute is for you.

zStorage is enterprise storage made easy, offering different performance levels with any data type (structured or unstructured), and any protocol – (File, Block, and Object) in any location.

With a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and Virtual Private Storage Array (VPSA), Multiple tenants are able to run compute and storage resources simultaneously on the same physical machines, without interfering with one another. Performance is predictable with full data privacy and security, and full elasticity can be maintained regardless of how many users are active at once.

Backup to Object Storage provides simple, cost-effective data protection leveraging object-based storage which eliminates the need for host-based backup software and provides an easy-to-use, high-performance, block-based, backup process.

Data backed up by Back up to Object Storage can be restored to any storage medium from any vendor, including Zadara, Amazon, Google, or any other storage target required by the user.

The infrastructure comes with a simple web interface to monitor applications and the health of the infrastructure itself with visualized dashboards, automated monitoring and alerting as well as detail reporting and billing.

Since it’s a fully managed infrastructure, support is at no cost with a 24/7/365 proactive monitoring and support team, no need to border about system refresh as it is handled seamless and we provide an uptime guarantee SLA of 99.9999%.

Implementation and Used Cases: Utilizing Edge Clouds in Nigeria will facilitate the digitalization of many processes in State Ministries, Government Agencies, and Tertiary Institutions as well as other sectors since it can be implemented to achieve cost-effective deployment and upgrade of mission-critical cloud-native applications, services, communication, and learning systems just to mention a few.

It can also be implemented for Backup, Archiving, and Disaster Recovery purposes.

"We are engaging some partners on a project to implement Edge Clouds for Tertiary Institutions to run school management systems, Online Learning Platforms, Student Information Systems and also provide a test environment for students studying computer science and information technology related courses

Our young talented, innovative developers, tech experts, and engineers with creative ideas are constantly developing applications that can be utilized to solve a lot of challenges. They need to be encouraged. They are faced with the challenges of high costs to host these applications in the public clouds and some businesses have been paralyzed by bill shocks and losses due to the uncertainties and high rates of foreign exchange rates.

These same services are available in-country, with 50% discounts off the public clouds and payable in our local currency. So let’s patronize local content and we will in effect be curbing capital flight due to the patronage of the hyper-scalers.

“Currently, we have Partners who have leverage on this infrastructure to provide email services hosted locally; offer backup for data generated from ATM transactions and host core banking applications used by many Nigerian banks; store POS transactions locally and offer Disaster Recovery and hosting services to government agencies and enterprises in Nigeria. So it is here and working effectively.

Now, Data Protection Agencies, Controllers/Processors are also empowered to implement compliance with data protection laws and regulations as we now have locally empowered cloud services providers who can provide the same services as the hyper-scalers.

Value Proposition of Edge Clouds: The value proposition of edge clouds is its decentralized nature, keeping data closer to its source while bringing compute resources to anywhere it needs to be.

With a growing hybrid workforce in this post-pandemic era, edge clouds improve the performance and the ability to access corporate data in real-time.

Business continuity relies on bullet-proof Backup. This solution provides business continuity that can backup centrally from and to any medium and access anywhere meaning you can Backup from any On-premise infrastructure, or any cloud.

The primary benefits or values that implementing Edge Clouds in Nigeria include

  • Improved latency
  • Reduction of response time
  • Conservation of network resources (low-bandwidth costs)
  • Constantly availability of mission-critical applications
  • Improved Security and Privacy
  • Cost savings as you pay per use without CapEx investments
  • Cost-effective test environments for DevOps
  • Reduce Capital flight in foreign exchange
  • Increased confidence in local technology and so

This value-add can be unlocked if government, institutions, businesses, and individuals’ conscious efforts are made to promote local technologies in our cloud adoption and digital transformation strategies.

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ICTEL Expo 2022: Galaxy BackBone Seeks Partnership To Drive Digital economy Inclusion In Africa

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ICTEL Expo 2022: Galaxy BackBone Seeks Partnership To Drive Digital economy Inclusion In Africa

…Advocates Increased Partnership To Propel Nigeria’s Digital Economy

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBB) has called on all relevant stakeholders to partner with the government to propel the digital economy.

Speaking at the Information, Communication, Technology, and Telecommunications (ICTEL) Expo organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Lagos, Professor Muhammad Bello Abubakar, Managing Director/CEO Galaxy Backbone noted that as “GBB evolves as an organisation, they are aware of the need to establish great partners who would work with GBB in line of her vision of being the leading enabler of Digital inclusion in Africa. This is because we believe that this is what drives the development and growth of any economy.”

Abubakar who was represented at the event thanked the Lagos Chamber of Commerce for partnering with Galaxy Backbone and he pledged to increase the agency’s support toward the advancement of trade and industry in Nigeria.

leading enabler of Digital inclusion in Africa

Speaking further, he emphasized the importance of working together toward creating effective and productive Digital Infrastructures that will power and propel the nation’s Digital Economy.

“We are very clear in mind that we cannot succeed on our own, hence we are determined to collaborate with organisations and platforms like yours in advancing the goals and objectives of our respective organisations.

“With ICT today contributing almost 19 per cent to our nation’s GDP and the realities of our vibrant and energetic young population of innovative tech entrepreneurs spanning out from different parts of this city of Lagos and across the country and the realities of our growing digital economy, we are poised as an organisation to reposition ourselves and advance the growth and prosperity of our nation. And what better way to do this, than to support what the Lagos Chamber of Commerce is doing.

“We are hopeful that in a short time, we would be listed as one of the most advanced digital economies operating out of Africa,” he said.

He also seized the opportunity to educate attendees on the world-class Tier III Datacentre and soon-to-be-launched Tier IV Datacentre operated by GBB for Cloud and Disaster Recovery purposes.

Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy recently inspected the soon-to-be-launched World-class Galaxy Backbone Tier IV data centre built by the Federal Government of Nigeria which also houses GBB’s North West Regional Office and Network Operating Centre in Kano.

Galaxy Backbone is the Digital Infrastructure and shared services platform for public and private organisations.

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