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Easypr.ng, Africa’s First Digital Content Distribution Platform Debuts In Lagos

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Easypr.ng, an online marketing and media content distribution platform has launched in Lagos.

Through the platform, individual and corporate organisations in need of public relations and other marketing services can customize required service to suit their budget plans.

It provides access to hundreds of newspapers and online news publishing platforms across Africa.

Companies and individuals looking to distribute press materials such as such as Press releases, news features, interviews and photo news, can create the contents and distribute through the platform by paying a fee depending on the number of media platforms required.

Users can also through the website, www.easypr.ng buy other marketing services such as digital marketing solutions including social media, advertising services, content writing and consultancy services.

Speaking about the solution, Co-founder, Easypr.ng, Afam Anyika said: “Our intention is to make sure that we deepen access to marketing services and at the same time make the process as seamless as possible.

“Through our solution, companies and individuals especially those without an idea on how to start, could get everything that they require from the platform without leaving the comfort of their homes or business places.

“For startups and individuals looking to get their word out there, there is dearth of marketing information available to make informed marketing decisions. That is the gap we have bridged with Easypr.ng. We understand the deep importance of SME’s to the nation and Africa’s economic growth. Put side by side the scarcely available marketing know-how for these businesses, our service aims to bridge the divide with a mission to significantly scale the SME sector in our part of the world, with success being the direct impact on varying economic/ market indicators.

“We not only provide these information, we give you the leverage to run a marketing campaign from the comfort of your house or office without wasting time on meetings and additional fees as seen with marketing agencies. It is more of a Do-It-Yourself for marketing.

“More so, this is the first time we are having an Afrocentric press distribution platform. We have access to hundreds of newspapers and blogs across Africa. And we provide access to these platforms at very cost effective rates. So, no one says you cannot launch a product in Ghana or Kenya while you are still here in Nigeria and at little or no cost. We simply want to sell Nigeria/Africa to the world.”

 

Strategic Partnerships and New Products Key to eTranzact’s Continued Profitability

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Premier e-payments solution provider, eTranzact International PLC held its 13th annual general meeting at the Civic Center, Victoria Island, Lagos on the 27th of July, 2016.

In attendance at the AGM were the executive and non-executive members of the board led by the Chairman, Mr Felix Ohiwerei, OFR; Mr Valentine Obi, Founder and CEO; and other members of the board.

The AGM had increased shareholder attendance and participation with general excitement about the company’s continuous profitability position and consistent dividend sharing in spite of the macroeconomic realities of the country in 2016.

Profitability and Dividends

eTranzact consolidated its dominance in key sectors of the industry in 2016, improving strategic partnerships and launching new products.

Gross revenue for the year 2016 was N10.4bn representing a 20% growth compared to 2015. Operating profit was 620m and Profit before tax(PBT) was 449.4m.

The board of directors approved the payment of a 10 kobo dividend to shareholders for the period.

Growth drivers

The key drivers of eTranzact’s growth in 2016 were strengthened collaboration with partner banks, major innovations across its mobile banking suite, new product releases and strategic alliances.

The Future

eTranzact has taken steps to increase profitability of new relationships, enhance and deepen existing ones, and explore new partnerships locally and internationally.

Speaking on the company’s performance for the period, Mr Felix Ohiwerei, OFR, Chairman of the Board, said “As a company we continue to demonstrate our understanding of the benefits of strategic alliances and the potential business opportunities these can create. We have fostered new relationships, enhanced and deepened existing ones and explored newer opportunities within our ongoing associations with existing partners. Our alliances contributed significantly to some of the improved financial performance we achieved in 2016.

I would like to take this opportunity to inform you all that this will be my last AGM as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and as a member of the Board. From the beginning, the Board in collaboration with the management team, have worked hard to build a world class organization with global operating standards. We have made a lot of progress over the years and we keep getting better

We are poised and committed to be a regional leader in the medium term and in the long term, a global leader in the electronic and mobile payment industry. To this end, we will continue to deliver secure, cost effective and innovative electronic and mobile payment services that are compliant with globally recognized standards”.

Also speaking, the Founder and CEO, eTranzact International Plc, Mr. Valentine Obi said:

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairman of the eTranzact board, Mr Felix Ohiwerei, OFR for his outstanding service and commitment to the vision, mission and values of our company.

Mr Ohiwerei has over the years shown us the true meaning of value based leadership demonstrating a continuous commitment to excellence, strategic planning and hard work. He leaves a strong legacy that we will work hard to keep up with and we will continue to execute our long term strategy and deliver on the mission and vision of the company.

I will also like to appreciate the board, management and staff of eTranzact for their doggedness continued innovation, drive and commitment to the vision and mission of the company.

2016 was a year that required special focus as we launched new products and extended our philosophy of making payments simple to other more complex industries as part of our innovation drive.

The rewards of our efforts have stayed consistent with an annual revenue growth rate of 70% that we hope to continue.

We promise to continue to make payments simple, and innovating and creating solutions that transform the lives of people in Africa”.

 

 

Ninety Percent of Kenyans Have Seen Fake News Regarding the 2017 General Election

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The first ever study on fake news in Kenya, The Reality of Fake News in Kenya, launched today in Nairobi and reveals shocking results concerning veracity of Kenya’s Media. The new study reveals that 90% of Kenyans have seen or heard false news about the 2017 general election, with 87% reporting instances of deliberately false or fake news.

The nationwide survey was led by strategic communications consultancy Portland in collaboration with GeoPoll, a mobile surveying platform.

Conducted via SMS, the survey asked a nationally representative sample of 2,000 Kenyans a series of questions about their consumption of news during May 2017 in relation to the forthcoming general election.

The survey found:

  • 90% of respondents reported having seen false or inaccurate news in relation to the general election. 87% of respondents regarded this news as being deliberately misleading – or fake news.
  • Traditional media remain the most trusted news sources, with television ranking highest, followed by radio and newspapers.
  • Radio is the most consistently accessed source of news in Kenya, with the smallest variation between different provinces across the country.
  • Social media is widely used by Kenyans of all ages to access and share news, with 49% of Kenyans using social platforms to secure general election news. However, social media consistently ranks lower than traditional media on trust.
  • Facebook and WhatsApp are the most popular social media platforms for news, preferred overall by 46% and 25% respectively.
  • Friends and family, and community leaders, are the least trusted sources of news overall, ranked as the least likely to provide accurate information about the general election.
  • 57% Kenyans feel able to access all the information about the general election that they need.
  • A vast majority of Kenyans (78%) would like more factual and accurate information about the general election instead of opinion and commentary.
  • 67% of Kenyans prefer comprehensive and detailed information about politics. 33% prefer summarised and concise information.

Robert Watkinson, Partner at Portland, said, “With 4 in 10 Kenyans unable to access accurate information about the general election, fake news is clearly a limiting factor on the electorate’s ability to make informed decisions. By revealing the scale and impact of fake news, we hope this study provides a new point of reference, not just for political campaigning in Kenya but also for all communicators seeking to engage Kenyans in the digital age.”

 

Learning from MainOne’s Outage, Infrastructure sharing and consolidation are the solution to industry distress-Suleiman Arzika

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While the Nation was still reeling from the effects of the outage of the dominant international fiber cable operator Main One, we were hit with the news of the financial/commercial crisis at one of the 4 dominant telecommunications operators Etisalat Nigeria. The crisis was so severe that it looked for a while that the company may go into receivership. This seems to have now been averted by the unprecedented intervention of the industry regulator- the Nigeria Communications Commission and the banking regulator Central Bank of Nigeria. For now, the banks have been allowed to take over the management and board of the company to keep it afloat while they work out a long term solution to the survival of the 4th largest telco in the country.

In an economy that has been more than 18 months in recession, this was just the latest blow from one of the hitherto lucrative industries that were considered the most bankable and cash rich sectors of the Nigerian economy. Since the successful liberalization of the telecommunications industry in the early 2000s, it rapidly became one of the fastest growing business segments in the world growing from less than 1 million customers in 1999 to more than 100 million customers as at 2015. This follows the distress we have seen in Aviation- where the 2 largest carriers Arik Airlines and Aero Contractors have been in receivership and various tales of distress we hear from the financial sector. It is fair to say that these are not the best of times for corporate Nigeria and something needs to be done urgently to stabilize the economy.

That said, what went wrong in the telecommunications sector and could the current distress have been avoided or minimized? I will say yes from my perspective. And much more efficiency and margin can be created with some innovative and forceful consolidation. The telecommunications landscape today is littered with massive inefficiencies that are very costly and have distorted the structure and increased costs. If these are eliminated or reduced, it will create a better playing field and reduce the chokehold on the operators.

Typically, the telecommunications industry comprises of upstream and downstream segments. The upstream segment comprises of wholesalers which include international cable operators, national cable operators, international voice and data gateways and national voice and data gateways. This also includes colocation and data center providers. The customers for these providers are other telcos, large corporates and government.

In the downstream segment, we have the retail services. The players here are the telcos (GSM and other telephony operators), Internet Service Providers (fiber to the premises, wimax and 4G) and application service providers (whatsapp, Facebook, skype, etc). There are of course ancillary providers who fall into the downstream such as recharge card distributors, installers and contractors. The customers for these providers are individual subscribers, homes, small and medium offices, etc.

Because of the way telecommunications have evolved, there are some integrated players who are basically shaped by their history more than any other factor. These integrated players are mostly the former incumbent national operators like AT&T in the US, BT in the UK, France Telecom in France, DT in Germany, NTT in Japan and so on. These integrated players built from the ground up because they had to create the facilities for their services to run on because in the days when the industry was tightly regulated, no other operator was allowed to compete with them. NITEL in Nigeria would have been in this category if it had survived.

Changes in 2 major factors have always and will continue to determine fortunes in the telecom business- they are changes in technology and changes in consumer behavior. The 2 factors don’t necessarily go hand in hand. A lot of the time, the technology runs ahead of consumer behavior while in some cases, technology has to catch up with consumer demand (when this happens, it is a jackpot). Some examples may be helpful here, When 3G services were launched in the late 2000s, equipment manufacturers and telcos were eager to show customers the wonder of video calling. Suddenly, you could see the called party on a video on your phone. It turns out that people were not ready for this yet, they didn’t want to see the people they were talking to for all sorts of reasons including the cost of the call. The manufacturers and telcos had to beat back a retreat and focus on the larger data capabilities of 3G networks and allow OTT (over the top) providers like Skype to fiddle with video calling until they found the right fit. Up till today the telcos are not able to find customers for video calling in the way that OTT providers are. On the other hand, per second billing of voice calls was one instance where the consumer demand was ahead of the technology and it took a while before the manufacturers and telcos were able to meet this. One of our local telcos who was first to provide this made it a game changer and reaped massive benefits back in the day.

So with rapidly evolving technology and consumer behavior, the operators are forced to continuously innovate and adapt in order to remain profitable. While they are making profits today, they are forced to envision where these 2 factors are going and how to respond to them. In most cases it involves tearing down the entire network and rebuilding it which may be cheaper but not feasible because services cannot be interrupted for so long. This makes the older operators who have to adapt to new technology have much higher switching costs than newer operators- legacy problem. This is probably the only industry where history is a liability.

So with such a situation, the odds are always in favor of the operator who is nimble, agile, ruthless and focused on the value proposition. It is always against the heavier, legacy laden and deeply entrenched player. This is one of the mistakes of the Nigerian telcos. While they are fairly new operators, less than 20 years old in most cases, they have been in a rush to acquire heavy assets including fiber optic lines across international and national boundaries, towers, switching and transmission equipment, land and buildings and so on. They have also developed these in parallel to each other thereby replicating costs across the industry and building huge operating costs. A classic example of this is in the building of towers. It is common to see 3-4 telco towers in a 100 sq.m area because according to the radio spectrum planning, that location is ideal for the towers but instead of one tower that everyone will share, every operator has erected their own. The set up cost and operating cost over time is accumulated and passed on to the customer eventually which leads to avoidable higher prices.

The inability to envision and adapt to new technology has also caught the telcos in severe slumber and led to avoidable problems. At Suburban we saw this clearly when we adopted Internet Protocol( IP) technology far ahead of the industry and made huge gains throughout the period we were a wholesale transmission provider. While other operators were still investing in soon to be obsolete circuit switching or SS7 technology, the smarter operators went for IP. Today the entire ICT architecture the world over runs on IP and those who adopted early had a stable foundation to build on. Today, the telcos are being taken to the cleaners by Over the Top(OTT) operators like WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon, Google, etc. This is due to their inability to perceive that customer behavior will shift in that direction. Today the traditional voice and sms revenue that made the telcos extremely profitable has been totally eroded by these free services that actually run on their networks. Unfortunately they are relegated to just being internet/data services providers. Internet/data services are more complex to run and provide lower margins than voice and sms which has led to the current distress the telcos find themselves in.

While it will take individual efforts at each telco to change their approach and attitude towards perceiving and responding to customer demands, it is easier to take steps to reduce waste by some practical steps. If operators across the entire spectrum craft their value propositions by defining their markets and focusing on them, they can create room to maneuver. So there is no need for Main One to be a downstream ISP competing with its customers when it does not have redundancies and alternative routing to secure its main investment ie the international cable. Likewise Globacom does not need to be a national carrier building everything everywhere to provide facilities that it cannot monetize. The international and national cable operators need to to share and swap their cable capacities. They need to define and streamline their customers so that they don’t end up competing with and killing their customers. When they do this, they trigger a price war that they cannot sustain and hence a race to the grave. The proper industry structure needs to be agreed to protect operators investments and customers.

This may not be easy for players who have made careers out of antagonizing each other, so the regulator NCC may have to step in to get this done. The opportunity presented by the distress of Etisalat has presented the perfect excuse for the NCC to do just this. The template of banking consolidation by the Chukwuma Soludo Central Bank may provide the framework for this much needed intervention. Along with this consolidation, the regulator needs to establish strict corporate governance guidelines that will help ensure that the massive investments in the sector are properly secured. The Federal Government itself needs to be take this very seriously as it can be seen that the failure of such a huge institution like Etisalat can cause a financial crisis that will affect the banks and other financial institutions and derail foreign investment required for diversification of the national economy. Let this be a wake up call for all of us.

Safaricom ditches its mobile telco look as it starts journey as an enabler platform for all things digital

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Bob Collymore, CEO Safaricom

On the surface, there might be nothing much from the new Safaricom logo but deep in its realms the telco is inching closer to its dream of becoming a raft or an enabling platform for just about everything away from its old mobile telecommunication roots.

As we all know, a raft or an axle is a central shaft for a wheel or gear either fixed or rotating. Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore speaking in an earlier interview said the firm was moving to becoming a raft.

“We don’t want to become a company for everything, we want to become a platform for everything. And in fact we’ve even moved on from using the word platform. We now use the word raft because platform is something which sits still. A raft is something which moves. And the world that we’re in today is moving at a particularly rapid pace,” Collymore told Business Daily. “So we want to be the raft that people can climb onto to get them where they want to go. We have stopped thinking about mobile phone companies being our competitors.We don’t want to think of ourselves as a telecommunications company. In fact pretty much every Friday afternoon I interview incomers to the company and we hardly get any with telecommunications background now. They’re coming from all sorts of other backgrounds.”

The first thing Safaricom did was act as a platform for mobile financial services M-Pesa then it went to power Little, an Uber competitor and Sendy, a courier firm which has since pivoted from peer-to-peer services to B2B. As a platform, Safaricom also powers Eneza Education and M-Survey and M-Tiba, a mobile health wallet and M-Kopa, a fintech firm lending solar systems to off-grid communities in Kenya.

As a pipeline model, Safaricom was acting as an airtime vendor investing in hardware and software infrastructure to make sure people could easily and conveniently make calls so it can sell more airtime. It needed a robust network capable of serving millions of customers. It did. However, with the advent of OTT platforms such as WhatsApp and Viber, Safaricom realized selling airtime won’t be dope in the next decade as voice which still its biggest revenue earner-close to 75 percent of its total revenues was headed to this VoIP applications.

As a platform, Safaricom provides Internet for these apps but sees its future beyond being just a platform as anyone can provide Internet for these apps. Therefore Safaricom is moving into M2M communications where it can power heavy automated industries which earlier wouldn’t need telecommunication services such as robust irrigation systems, video-on-demand school system, energy and water sensors, transport communication systems among others.

Safaricom’s Old Logo

With partners such as Huawei, Safaricom aims to power smart cities, the government of the future, starting with the government data center and the national police control center among others. Safaricom is repositioning itself for all these with its new brand from a telecommunications brand to a digital lifestyle enabler through a new brand campaign titled Twaweza: when we come together, great things happen.

The firm says its new brand position seeks to connect Kenyans to each other and also connect them to knowledge and information in a bid to democratize technology to bring out the best of their trademark resourcefulness, creativity and enterprising spirit.

With an over 70 percent network coverage across the country and over 28 million subscribers providing over 200,000 touch points for its customers and offering over 100 different products under its portfolio, Safaricom is so close to its dream of becoming part and parcel of Kenya’s every individual and sector and government or private agency. It was time for the mobile communications better option brand, which was launched to beat competitor Kencell, to be dropped and forgotten.

eTranzact continues profitability trend with 865.1 million naira PBT in 2016| Proposes 10k Dividend per share.

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eTranzact International PLC, Africa’s premier e-payments solution provider has announced a profit before tax of 865.1 million naira and revenue of 10.40 billion naira for the year ended December 2016.

In a year that was characterized by adverse sentiment triggers on the global front, falling oil prices and increased macroeconomic challenges, eTranzact was able to grow its revenue from 8.67 billion naira to 10.40 billion naira maintaining its 3 year profitability trend.

Speaking about the financial results, Niyi Toluwalope, Chief Financial Officer, eTranzact says;

“eTranzact continues to ensure it maximizes the value of its shareholders and stake holders. We will continue to invest in our core infrastructure to position the company for the expanding opportunities within the sector”.

eTranzact new logo

In 2016, eTranzact completed its strategic rebranding; making key changes to its brand identity, vision, mission, products and people helping the company take advantage of various opportunities.  The company also made efforts to align its processes and operating standards with global best practices achieving the ISO 27001 & ISO 20000 certifications recognizing service delivery and excellence. The certifications were testament to eTranzact’s commitment to a world-class, customer-oriented service culture and environment.

eTranzact certifications

eTranzact launched BankIT TM ,a payment service that allows businesses receive payment from bank accounts on Mobile, Web, USSD and POS without a debit card or hardware token.  In a short time of launch the product achieved significant traction processing millions of transactions for partners like Multichoice( DSTV and GOTV), Airtel, GLO, Etisalat, Slot, etc, providing the engine for millions of customers to pay subscription fees using 3899*SmartcardNumber#; buy airtime and data- *444# for Airtel, *805# for GLO and *695# for Airtel, as well as on the web for schools and ecommerce companies.

In partnership with the Nigerian military, the payment technology company also launched a Military pension product which allows over 100,000 retired members of the Army, Navy and Airforce access a biometric military pension card with a 4-in-1 value proposition: identification, verification, rewards, including receiving and making payments.

“Recognizing opportunities for partnerships, improved product focus, continued innovation, drive and commitment to the company’s vision of making payments simple helped our company navigate the challenging macroeconomic environment in 2016. We believe some of the strategic investments we have made across our business in 2016, have prepared us for an even better 2017”, says Valentine Obi, Founder and CEO, eTranzact.

China Europe International Business School(CEIBS) Alumni Hold Event In Lagos, Nigeria

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Alumni of the China Europe International Business school(CEIBS), the number 1 MBA in Asia according to Forbes, financial times, Bloomberg and Business week, and 11th in the world according to the financial times held their reunion and induction ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria on the 18th of March 2017.

CEIBS which according to Alumni and analysts is unparalleled in preparing internationals to do business in and with China, has 19,000 Alumni globally and was founded by the Chinese government and European union in 1994.

CEIBS Alumni Event
L-R: Head of SME banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank,Obinna Ukachukwu ; Council Member China Europe International Business School, Alumni Nigeria Chapter,Mrs Omoyemi Chukwurah; Acting President CEIBS/Group Head Private Sector, eTranzact, Mr Sunday Adebayo Agboola; Head,Business Development, Sales and Marketing, Africa, CEIBS Dr. Thelma Opara and Professor Mathew Tsamenyi, Professor of Accounting and Academic Director, Africa,CEIBS =during the reunion and Induction ceremony of CEIBS Alumni Association, Nigeria Chapter held in Lagos.

The reunion and induction ceremony was organized by the CEIBS Nigeria chapter headed by acting President, Mr Adebayo Sunday Agboola, Group Head, Private Sector, eTranzact International PLC and also had in attendance, Head of SME banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank,Obinna Ukachukwu , Head,Business Development, Sales and Marketing, Africa,CEIBS, Dr. Thelma Opara and Professor Mathew Tsamenyi. Professor of Accounting and Academic Director, Africa,CEIBS.

CEIBS Alumni Event 2

The event allowed the acting president of the Nigeria Alumni chapter to share his vision and mission with the Alumni body comprising of captains of various industries and graduates of CEIBS’s Global Executive MBA, Women Entrepreneurship & Leadership for Africa Programme (WELA) and the FCMBA.

In his address, the acting president, Sunday Adebayo Agboola thanked all the members for working hard to make the event a success.

He said; “As Alumni of CEIBS, we play a key role in extending the opportunity we enjoyed with CEIBS to other Africans. We have a lot of work to do in establishing and maintaining the CEIBS brand in Africa especially at a time where Asia- Africa relations are on the rise and more synergies for growth are emerging.

Today, we will be inducting new members into the Alumni as well as creating committees that will help us realize our goals”.

CEIBS Alumni 3

The Alumni body also came together to present a cheque of N3 million naira to Mrs Adebimpe Talabi, the wife of the late president of the Nigerian Alumni chapter.

The CEIBS Africa project was launched in 2008 with a mission to prepare highly competent innovation oriented managers and executives who are capable of leading and growing their organisations in the increasingly dynamic African economic environment. These are leaders who are capable of negotiating the forces of globalisation and international competition for the benefit of their organisations.

Practical Steps to Improving IT Governance in Africa

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Information Technology (IT) has in recent years emerged as the support for change and growth in both public and private sectors of many of the world’s economies. Organizations that have embraced IT from a strategic approach have reaped big benefits evidenced by the scaling up of the markets, ease of innovation and automation.

Africa, as the newest emerging economy has its share of opportunities signaled by IT and is continuing to roll out many of its enterprises on the platform of technology.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY STRATEGIES & BEST PRACTICES, is a book by Stanley Mwangi Chege that discusses practical steps to improving IT governance in Africa. The author examines the conduct of African enterprises towards the digital agenda and what the future portends for the continent as a member of the global economy.

“The book shares insightful content on IT best practices and strategies that can be leveraged by boards directors, business executives or IT managers to transform their organizations. It can also be employed by business students and professors in universities to teach practical skills”, says Dr. Waudo Siganga, Chairman, Computer Society of Kenya.

Inside the book you’ll find; Top IT Management Concerns in Africa, IT Human Resources Considerations in Africa, IT Change Management Challenges in Africa, IT Process practices in Africa, and much more.

To get your copy of the e-book click here.

LG’s V20 Military-grade impact resistance phone guarantees less cracked screens

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Chances are that you have experienced that unfortunate moment when your phone slips out of your hand and the screen is smashed to pieces. Not only is that unsightly, it can potentially make your phone impossible to use.

We have in the recent past seen many people opting to use cases for their devices, ensuring that the screen and other durability features are further reinforced, but some argue that cases take away from the smartphone experience.

Worry about that no more, LG’s forward thinking V20 that has features to effectively prevent breaking.

Experts estimate that nearly half of all active smartphones are currently broken, meaning that cracked screens or waterlogged phones are extremely common.

 

The new LG V20 however shows that the phone is intended for extended use with features that effectively resist breaking, even by accident. Through this model, LG has been successful in keeping a phone sleek, lightweight and still durable.

 

This innovative phone was constructed using premium materials that can commonly be found on aircraft, sail boats and mountain bikes.

 

It passed drop tests conducted by an independent lab that conforms to US military standards, the results of which show that the phone can survive repeated drops landing in a variety of positions.

 

Another test by Android Authority was able to crack the screen only after dropping it on screen from about eight feet in the air.
“Once in a while our smartphones slip through our fingers and fall, when that happens, your phone had better be LG V20. This trendsetting phone’s chassis uses the military grade material made for aircraft. Drop tests have shown that LG V20 is tough and unbreakable, it is designed to handle fairly standard drop heights,” said Moses Marji, General Manager Marketing LG Electronics.

Apart from being unbreakable, the phone has a wide-angle lens making it capable of capturing wonderful selfies. Additionally, it has an HD audio recorder that picks only prominent voices and cancels background noise. The recorder uses sophisticated microphones which empower users to create studio quality recordings.

 

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Get Discounts While Paying Your Bus Fare With the Huduma Card

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On January 17th 2017, CS Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Sicily Kariuki together with other partners and stakeholders were issued with Huduma Cards at Huduma Centre GPO then proceeded to pay for fare using the cards on the Cashlite express bus. This marked the commencement of the pilot phase of the Huduma Card.

In order to ensure the Huduma Card is working efficiently, Huduma Kenya has partnered with 6 main partners; MasterCard, DTB, Equity, CBA, KCB and X-infoTech. Mastercard in particular is a key partner in the Huduma Card as they ensure acceptance of the card internationally whilst also ensuring high standards of security!

The Cashlite express bus is a bus that accepts card payments. For now Huduma is piloting with two buses; City shuttle and Compliant bus. The two buses ply several routes such as kikuyu, Ngong road, Jogoo road and KNH- CBD route. You can board the Cashlite Express bus at Kencom, Ambassador or Railways stage and Get a 10 bob discount every time you pay with the Huduma card.

You can collect the card free of charge from any of the 5 Huduma centers in Nairobi. Once you receive your Huduma card simply load it with funds and begin paying for goods and services such as fare, or even shop at stores that allow MasterCard transactions.

For any enquiries on Huduma Card please visit corporte.hudumakenya.go.ke or call them on 0206900020.

Efritin Shuts Down Operations In Nigeria; Lays off Staff and Sells Off Assets Amidst Lawsuits.

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Saltside‘s online classifieds company, Efritin Nigeria is officially shutting down operations this week in Nigeria, with staff already vacating their head office in Ikeja and office property auctioned among staff. The company website is still online while the central team gradually informs partners and merchants on its platform.

efritin-website

In November, we reported that its former marketing manager had accused Somalian national and former MD of Efritin.com, Zakaria Hersi of stealing thousands of dollars, turning a blind eye to internal mismanagement and false fully creating invoice trails.

Information from some senior members of Management who plead anonymity say that Zakaria Hersi’s activities were the beginning of the end for Efritin Nigeria as they struggled to raise further investment to scale the business leaving current CEO Gbenro Dara with a very difficult job of managing public and internal perception. 10 court cases in Nigeria that would cost the company up to N20million in fees among other things caused the central CEO to finally make the decision to close the company.

gbenro-dada efritin
Gbenro Dada, Current MD of Efritin Nigeria

Members of staff at the central level of Efritin in Dubai were affected as well as part of job cuts in the company.

In January 2015, Saltside Technologies, the parent firm of Efritin and Ghana’s Tonaton secured a $40 million investment led by Chinese equity investor Hillhouse Capital with participation of Bangladesh’s PE firm Brummer & Partners and existing lead shareholder Investment AB Kinnevik to reinforce its market leadership positions and expand into new frontier markets. Ironically, this is the money that has caused Efritin’s death.

 

 

 

 

 

Nigerian startups to compete for NGN10m seed investment on The Amazon Project TV show

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U.S-based Digital Marketing Agency, AIS Media, today announces the premiere season of The Amazon Project (TAP) – a 13-week television production aimed at selecting and investing in the brightest entrepreneurs and business ideas in Nigeria. The program will air on terrestrial and satellite television channels towards the end of the first quarter of 2017.

The Amazon Project (TAP) will provide up to NGN10 million in seed capital and business incubation support to 10 participants who can demonstrate their superior abilities as entrepreneurs, to an expert panel of carefully selected judges and, ultimately, the viewing audience.

TAP judges are Foluso Phillips (Chairman of Phillips Consulting), Funke Bucknor (CEO of Zappahire Events), Anne Agbakoba (Founder Numeris Media Group), and Wole Faroun (CEO NetPlusDotCom). There will also be Guest Judges throughout the season.

meet-the-judges-1Wole Faroun, CEO of the Project said: “Doing business in Nigeria in a recession is a like wading through the famous Amazon rainforest where only the toughest and smartest survive. This project will reward entrepreneurs that can prove they have what it takes to make it in Nigeria by applying innovation and smart economics to meeting needs and solving complex business problems.“

Segun Lawal, creative anchor and lead producer of TAP said: “The Amazon Project is entrepretainment at its very best. In this intense, reality TV show, business meets entertainment in a manner tailored to the Nigerian environment, and geared at promoting local industry and innovation.”

TAP is sponsored and supported by a leading telecommunications firm and a foremost commercial bank. Both institutions are ideal partners for this project, having demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses over the years.

The show will be produced by Ultima Studios, and the episodes will be recorded at their multimillion-dollar studio complex in Lagos. To ensure integrity of the contestants’ selection process, both shortlisting and voting  will be overseen by a leading entrepreneurship and capacity building organization, in collaboration with  a major consulting firm in Nigeria.

To join the hunt for the next Big Businesses in Nigeria, and for more details on the show, please visit the project website at  www.theamazonproject.com.ng

Efritin.com rewards Buyers and Sellers with 12 days of Christmas discounts and giveaways.

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Efritin.com, Nigeria’s No 1 marketplace where you can buy and sell everything has just launched its 12 days of Christmas celebration to reward its loyal customers with the best discounts on Laptops, Mobile phones, electronics, cars, fashion and beauty, etc; from partner sellers this Christmas.

At Efritin.com, Christmas goes beyond a single day, creating opportunities for loyal buyers and sellers to shop for the best discounts while also winning prizes every day till Christmas.

In the last 3months, Efritin.com has recorded huge success with its used cars category with Sellers on its membership platform reporting sales of cars within 24-48hours on the platform. A Christmas window has opened up for new sellers to join the Membership platform which guarantees sales of your products.

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Buy Now, a nationwide product verification and delivery service launched  a few months ago by Efritin to help Buyers and Sellers guarantee exchange of products has also just achieved a big milestone with more users signing up to use the service.

Speaking about the 12 days of Christmas and other milestones, Gbenro Dara, MD, Efritin Nigeria said;

“2016 has been a very big year for us at Efritin.com; from the launch of our Buy Now service which continues to distinguish us in the classifieds market, to achieving our quality targets in different categories to all time highs in transaction numbers, etc;

Our loyal buyers and sellers have continued to show trust in our used goods platform and we decided to show our appreciation with our discounts store, giveaways on our social media pages as well as a special outreach to the poor in collaboration with COTSNG – Christmas on the streez.

Christmas and the end of the year celebrations are a time for giving, sharing and shopping, and we want to continue to put smiles on the faces of our buyers and sellers all year round”.

New and old customers can visit Efritin.com immediately to start enjoying discounts this season.

 

Tigo Awards the Winners of the 2016 Digital Changemakers Competition

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Tigo Ghana and Reach for Change have announced the winners of their 2016 Tigo Digital Changemakers Competition. The first place winners, a joint application, are Abdul Razak Gausu, Abdul Alhassan and Damien. T. Punguyire of Child Care Information Centre. They received GHS70,000 for their digital innovation which is helping to improve on infant health by providing parents and caregivers with SMS and automated voice calls.

Two runners-up, Ernestina Edem Appiah and Herman Heinrich Hesse were also awarded GHS30,000 each for their digital solutions. Ernestina leads on an initiative that helps children to code while Herman runs a development programme that improves children’s vocabulary.

Together all the three winners are the 2016 Tigo Digital Changemakers. They also received a place in the Reach for Change incubator programme and will get up to 5 years’ professional support to help them build sustainable social enterprises. The incubator includes mentorship, coaching, trainings and access to a global network of social entrepreneurs.

“We are thrilled with the selection from this competition: all three have exceptional social innovations and we look forward to working with them to help them develop and scale their projects, said Solomon Twum, the Regional Portfolio Manager with Reach for Change Africa. “These social entrepreneurs have very strong potential to be financially sustainable with ventures expected to create social change for years to come.”

“Technology is increasingly becoming more central to social inclusion and Tigo is excited that through our Digital Inclusion agenda and in partnership with Reach for Change, we are supporting digital entrepreneurs to ensure the development and wellbeing of children. The impact of this programme cannot be over emphasised as our previous Changemaker winners have and continue to work in very deprived and remote communities across Ghana,” said Gifty Bingley, the Director for Corporate Affairs at Tigo Ghana.

Two additional finalists also received GHS5,000 grants to help them complete the development of their digital applications. Elijah Amoo Addo’s app will work to reduce food waste and solve nutritional deficiencies among vulnerable children while Edem Isaiah Akpan is working on a digital application that will promote hygiene among children.

Since 2011, Tigo and Reach for Change have awarded 20 social entrepreneurs with both financial and professional support grant funding and support through the intensive Reach for Change incubator programme. They have also supported dozens more through accelerators designed to help transform ideas into investment-ready initiatives.

NTSA Directs Kenyan Drivers to Submit Information to TIMS before End of Year

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The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has issued a public notice requiring every driver to transfer their details to the electronic system before the end of 2016.

“NTSA has migrated Motor Vehicle Registration, Motor Vehicle Inspection Booking, Motor Vehicle Transfer of Ownership, Motor Vehicle Record Search, Driver License Record Search, Driving License Issuance, Driver License Renewal and Application for Road Service Licenses to the Transport Integrated Management System (TIMS),” the statement read.

Manual transfer of vehicle ownership will come to an end beginning next month, making the process purely digital in the new year.

“From January 1, 2017, NTSA will not accept any manual submission of transfer of ownership applications”, NTSA director-general Francis Meja said in a notice.

Moving the transfer of motor vehicles by dealers, individual owners and finance institutions to the online portal is aimed at easing the process and cutting the amount of time vehicle owners spend on the task.

The system allows for real-time transfer of vehicles without having to lodge physical paperwork with the regulator.

The buyer and seller will be required to register on the TIMS portal and submit their full details, including Personal Identification Number (PIN), identity card and mobile phone numbers

“Individual car owners, companies, motor vehicle dealers and financial institutions are required to create own profiles on TIMS by December 31st,” says Mr Meja in a gazette notice.

The notice says all persons holding onto transfer forms are required to submit them to the nearest NTSA offices for processing,

The system is linked to the Kenya Revenue Authoriy’s online platform and will update all the vehicles registered to a person based on duty payments.

To transfer a vehicle, one is required to enter the buyer’s PIN, paving the way for the system to prompt for payment of the transfer fee.

The fee varies based on engine capacity and can be paid through the mobile money system. It’ll cost buyers Sh 1,500 to transfer a small car.

Once the fee is paid, the system will generate a two part verification code. The first part will be sent to the seller and the second to the buyer through their mobile phones.

Each has to enter the code on their TIMS profile for the transaction to be completed. The system will then show that the vehicle transfer has been completed.

“If there is a dispute after the transaction, then the parties have to come to the office to have it reversed,” Fernando Wangila, NTSA’s ICT director said in an earlier interview.

This message came days after the Authority dismissed a message making rounds on social media instructing license holders to send a short code message in order to know the status of their DL and avoid being delayed on roadblocks.

The false warning claimed that those who failed to ensure their details are on the eCitizen and NTSA portals by December 31, 2016, would have to redo the driving test.

Four More Days to Apply for the 2nd Edition of the SAG-SEED Starter in Nairobi

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The SAG-SEED Starter promotes the incubation of new eco-enterprises. Setting up a business is both an exciting and challenging task: Turning an idea into a product or service customers actually want to buy, requires not only a deep-dive into the market, but also business skills and bringing together the right team and partners. Considering all aspect can be challenging, therefore, SEED supports young teams of entrepreneurs with innovative ideas through the SAG-SEED Starter Months.

 

During the application period for the SAG-SEED Starter Months future eco-entrepreneurs form their teams and come up with their business ideas to tackle one of the main challenges in their country. Under expert guidance the selected teams will come together during two workshops to develop and refine their business ideas. The time between the workshops is used for testing the idea on with potential customers and partners. After the Starter Months the teams have proven their concept and are ready to engage partners, funders, and go to the market.

Applications for the second cohort of the SAG-SEED Starter in Kenya are only open for FOUR MORE DAYS.

The programme encourages and supports teams of potential entrepreneurs to set up new eco-inclusive enterprises. The first cohort already brought together 14 hardworking teams, with great ideas from paper made out of banana fibre to eco-tourism around lake Victoria. We’re looking for the new batch of motivated teams!

How does it work?
A number of selected teams will come together during two workshops in Nairobi  during 25-27 January and 23-24 February 2017 to develop and refine their business ideas. The period between the two workshops will be used for facilitated testing of the idea with potential customers and partners. After the workshops, the most promising teams qualify for additional capacity building support.

The deadline for applications is 19 December. The Application Form and the Application Toolkit (with tips to complete the form) can be found online at www.seed.uno/support/starter.

Innovative Mobile Phone POS, BankIT POS Launched by eTranzact at e-banking Conference

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If it is in your mind, it could soon be in your hand. We are in the age where Science fiction is becoming science reality- Valentine Obi, 2016 at CEBIH 2016.

Valentine Obi, CEO of eTranzact (https://twitter.com/mrvalentineobi) was a speaker at this year’s edition of the committee of e-banking heads (CEBIH) conference held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja last week. He talked about “Adding value through disruptive innovation” and how disruptive innovation is affecting every part of life from payments to banking to transportation to hotels to health, etc.

He talked about how disruption can be ugly even bordering legality, using the example of MMM which has over 1.2million users in Nigeria, with everyone required to have a Bank account.  He charged the Bankers and other tech companies to look at consumer behavior patterns in MMM and how the knowledge can help transform banking.

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The event saw the launch of BankIT POS, a point of sale application that you can install on your phone to help take advantage of your most used device as a tool of business. BankIT POS allows you simply install an application on your phone that processes debit card and direct bank account payments.

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Earlier in the year, eTranzact launched BankIT, a payment service that allows businesses to receive payment from bank accounts on Mobile, Web, USSD and POS. In a short time since launch, BanKIT has already processed millions of transactions for companies like Multichoice( DSTV and GOTV), Airtel, GLO, Etisalat, Slot, etc, providing the engine for millions of Customers to pay subscription fees using 3899*SmartcardNumber#; buy airtime and data- *444# for Airtel, *805# for GLO and *695# for Airtel, as well on the web for schools and ecommerce companies.

The CEBIH event had in attendance Heads of e-banking from top Nigerian banks; Mrs Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank; Mitchel Elegbe, CEO, Interswitch; John Obaro, CEO, System Specs; Ade Sonubi, MD, NIBSS; Adia Sowho, Director, Digital Business, etisalat and other professionals in Banking, payments and telecommunication sector.

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CEBIH executives with Mr Adeyemi Adeyemo, Group Head, Business development, eTranzact and Mr Valentine Obi, CEO, eTranzact at the CEBIH conference.

Businesses can sign up to start using BankIT POS here: http://bit.ly/BankITPOS. You can see more pictures below and others here: http://bit.ly/CEBIH2016

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Improved Collaboration will save N200b from Cyber Crime and Hard tokens In Nigeria – Valentine Obi,eTranzact

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Fotolia 37375108, 76855752; Thinkstock 454370457, 522205077; iStock 54971658, 20842607

eTranzact International PLC has started the implementation of Applock – a technology that ties mobile financial service apps with mobile phones to help Banks, mobile money operators and other partners reduce fraud and safeguard financial information of customers.

With over 15million smartphones currently in circulation in Nigeria and with efforts by the OEMs to increase this number by making smartphones even more affordable, mobile banking and mobile money adoption in Nigeria has also increased, leading to the need to scale up technology resources as well as think up new ways to make the process easier and safer for consumers. eTranzact has been heavily focused on building the infrastructural backbone of what is required to take this industry to new heights.

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Speaking at the Information Systems Audit and Control Association Conference in Lagos, Mr Valentine Obi, CEO of eTranzact, talked about how fighting cybercrime and fraud is a collective effort, and proper coordination among the stakeholders is currently lacking to the advantage of the fraudsters.

He said; “Fighting cybercrime requires the collaboration of the entire ecosystem from the banks, switching companies, to the regulatory bodies.

The current strategy to fight cybercrime in Nigeria is not sufficient. N127b is lost every year in Nigeria to cybercrime according to the Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu.

The payment industry stakeholders need to clearly define the rules of engagement in the event of a fraudulent activity in the industry. Information technology risks have evolved dramatically in the last few years but the approach that financial institutions use to manage them has not kept apace. Hard tokens cost as much as N3000 and if a customer with 4 accounts needs to get a token, that amounts to N12,000 per customer leaving the customer to either get the tokens or be excluded from electronic transactions altogether. We believe this is the age to deploy other cheaper and safer options that are not dependent on hardware.

Fotolia 37375108, 76855752; Thinkstock 454370457, 522205077; iStock 54971658, 20842607

eTranzact has created an Enhanced Strong Authentication system (ESA) which, in addition to the Applock technology, will significantly help reduce cybercrime and fraud in POS, Mobile and web transactions. With ESA, the Mobile phone becomes the token, allowing the user secure multiple bank accounts with one phone. 

ESA will translate to savings of over N120b spent on hard tokens for 40million cards and will result in no foreign exchange loss.  ESA allows the generation of one time password codes and setting dynamic spending limits on ATMs and Cards”.

 

Exclusive: Uche Ajene Accuses Zakaria Hersi, Former MD of Efritin.com of Theft and Fraud

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Uche Ajene, former marketing manager of Efritin.com has accused Somalian national and former MD of Efritin.com, Zakaria Hersi of stealing thousands of dollars, turning a blind eye to internal mismanagement  and false fully creating invoice trails that led to her.

In a set of tweets on November 17, 2016, Uche also named Chioma Viola Opara, Regional Sales Director at Flexenclosure AB as his co-conspirator.

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Uche Ajene who held a similar position at Rocket Internet’s Jumia is well respected in online marketing cycles, and also held a similar role at Naspers’ MIH Internet Africa, a consultancy role with United Bank For Africa, Interra Network inc. and Silverton Bank.

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Uche who has made a name for herself on twitter with her blunt and direct tweeting style was absent from twitter earlier this year around the time when whispers of her exit from Efritin were first brought to our knowledge. She was accused of fraud and mismanagement of funds but sources have confirmed to us that she was able to clear her name of accusations within the company but not to the larger online marketing community who did not have access to her side of the story.

Uche in her tweets mocked the duo of Zakaria and Opara over thefts of $50,000 and $100,000, and promised to reveal more information about their illegal activities while at the company.

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In communication with Techmoran, Uche talked about Efritin’s unique approach to classifieds in Nigeria and how Zakaria’s greed and mismanagement had led the company to lay off a lot of its Nigerian staff in 2015, increasing the need to rely on it’s central team.

In collusion with Chioma Viola Opara, Regional Sales Director at Flexenclosure AB, Zakaria Hersi had created a company “VC Stratem” and created invoices for online marketing services worth $40,000 for services never rendered. He also faked email communication from Uche asking for approvals for this invoice and other invoices that he sent to the parent company in Sweden.  She also mentioned reporting theft by Gabi, a former member of the Efritin Nigeria team to Zakaria but he ignored it.

Responding to questions about how Zakaria’s theft affected Efritin Nigeria’s operations and prospects of growth, she talked about how hurried expansion to other parts of Nigeria and the volume of theft created pressure on Efritin Nigeria leading to fears about the viability of the Nigerian market from the parent company.

The entire experience reinforced a lesson for her on great record keeping which she eventually helped clear her name with the company.

 

 

 

Etisalat and Samsung Launch Device, Data and VR Experience Centre in Lagos.

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Today, Samsung and Etisalat at an event in Lagos launched a new initiative to allow customers experience devices, data and virtual reality.

Samsung has created a Samsung Experience Zone at the Adeolu Odeku experience center, where they will demo Samsung devices and get customers to experience these devices. This product demo and experience will provide further opportunity for people to experience Etisalat 4G LTE in action.

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The demo corner or Samsung Experience Zone at Adeola Odeku is the first of its kind to be launched by a mobile operator and walk-in customers can experience the mobile ecosystem of Samsung from mobile phone to the Virtual Reality Gear powered by etisalat 4G network.