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Facebook Rolls Out Instagram Lite to Sub-Saharan Africa and Other Emerging Markets

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Facebook Rolls Out Instagram Lite to Sub-Saharan Africa and Other Emerging Markets, SiliconNigeria

Facebook has announced the launch of Instagram Lite to Sub-Saharan Africa, a new, lightweight version of the Instagram app for Android that uses less data and works well across all network conditions.

The new version of Instagram Lite for Android is less than 2MB in size, making it fast to install and quick to load. It also has improved speed, performance, and responsiveness. Instagram Lite not only works similarly to the Instagram app for Android, but it allows the Instagram experience to remain fast and reliable for more people, no matter what device, platform and network they use. 

Commenting on the rationale for introducing the app to Sub-Saharan Africa, Engineering Manager for Instagram Lite, Peter Shin said, “Connectivity in the region can be unstable, slow and expensive, making it challenging for people to have a high-quality Instagram experience. Many people were already familiar with the concept of a Lite app after the successful roll-out of Facebook Lite some years ago. We started testing the new version of Instagram Lite when people across the continent started asking for a Lite app for Android. The feedback was very positive and we are excited to launch it across the continent today”. 

“Our team aims to leave no one behind, so today we are very excited to bring Instagram Lite to people in over 170 countries, including the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region,” he added.

Instagram Lite is similar to the core Instagram app experience, though some features are not currently supported, such as Reels creation, Shopping, and IGTV. Instagram Lite is likely to gain appeal to users in locations with limited bandwidth or high data costs, especially in the developing world. 

Instagram Lite is currently rolling out in over 170 countries, and Facebook remains committed to building and improving the app to help everyone in the world connect to the people and things they love. 

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MTN Nigeria To Invest $1.5 Billion On Broadband Infrastructure In Three Years

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MTN Nigeria To Invest $1.5 Billion On Broadband Infrastructure In Three Years, SiliconNigeria

MTN Nigeria plans to invest 640 billion naira (approximately US$1.5 billion) over the next three years to expand broadband access across the continent’s most populous country, in line with the federal government’s 2020-2025 National Broadband Plan and in support of MTN Group’s strategy, Ambition 2025: Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.

“Nigeria is one of our most important markets. We have a proud history of partnering with Nigeria and Nigerians to drive faster and more inclusive growth through digital transformation,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita after a three-day visit to Abuja and Lagos, in which he met a number of key stakeholders.

These included President Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isa Ali Pantami;  Executive Vice Chairman Prof Umar Garba Danbatta; as well as Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele.

The MTN Group President – who was accompanied by MTN Group Chief Financial Officer Tsholo Molefe, MTN Nigeria Chairman Ernest Ndukwe and MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola – reiterated MTN’s support for Nigeria’s plans to secure 90% broadband population coverage by 2025. This aligns with MTN Group’s belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life and our work to extend digital and financial inclusion across Africa.

The delegation welcomed Nigeria’s plans to auction 500MHz of 5G spectrum: five blocks of 100MHz in the 3500MHz band, which Mupita said would facilitate accelerated broadband access.

He said MTN Group’s plans to sell down 14% of MTN Nigeria to Nigerian investors were well advanced and this would happen as soon as conditions were conducive. MTN Nigeria, in which MTN Group has a 78,8% stake, sought to have the largest retail shareholder base on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, where it has a market capitalisation of 3.4 trillion naira (US$8.2 billion).

“To mark the 20th anniversary of MTN’s operations in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria plans to build a new flagship headquarters in Lagos,” concluded Mupita.

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Mastercard Foundation, Africa CDC Invest $1.3 Billion On New Vaccination Drive

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Mastercard Foundation Africa CDC Invest $1.3 Billion On New Vaccination Drive, SiliconNigeria

The MasterCard Foundation has announced that it will deploy $1.3 billion over the next three years in partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa and hasten the economic recovery of the continent.

The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative will acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people, support the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across the continent, lay the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on human capital development, and strengthen the Africa CDC.

Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation said, “Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent. This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent. In the process, this initiative will catalyze work opportunities in the health sector and beyond as part of our Young Africa Works strategy,” she added.

The African Union’s goal as set out in the African COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy is to vaccinate at least 60 percent of its population – approximately 750 million people or the entire adult population of the continent – by the end of 2022. To date, less than two percent of Africans have received at least one vaccine dose.

The new partnership builds on the efforts of the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility (COVAX), the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), and the global community to expand access to vaccines across Africa. The number of vaccines available to Africa represents a small portion of the global supply and the financial costs to purchase, deliver, and administer vaccines remain significant. The Africa CDC is calling on governments, global funders, the private sector, and others to help meet this goal.

Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC said, “Ensuring inclusivity in vaccine access, and building Africa’s capacity to manufacture its own vaccines, is not just good for the continent, it’s the only sustainable path out of the pandemic and into a health-secure future. This partnership with the MasterCard Foundation is a bold step towards establishing a New Public Health Order for Africa, and we welcome other actors to join this historic journey.”

In 2020, Africa faced its first economic recession in 25 years due to the pandemic. The African Development Bank has warned that COVID-19 could reverse hard-won gains in poverty reduction over the past two decades and drive 39 million people into extreme poverty in 2021. Widespread vaccination is recognized as being critical to the economic recovery of African countries.

The initiative builds on an earlier collaboration between the MasterCard Foundation and the Africa CDC to expand access to testing kits and enhance surveillance capacity in Africa. Through the Foundation’s support, the Africa CDC’s Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) deployed nearly two million COVID-19 tests and more than 12,000 trained health care workers and rapid responders across Africa. In total, the PACT has enabled over 47 million COVID-19 tests across the continent.

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Inlaks bags Outstanding IT Company of the Year in Ghana

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Inlaks bags Outstanding IT Company of the Year in Ghana, SiliconNigeria

Inlaks, a leading African systems integrator and financial technology solutions provider, has been recognized as the Outstanding Information Technology Company of The Year, at the Ghana-West Africa Business Excellence Awards (WABEA), 2021.

The award is in recognition of Inlaks’ outstanding achievements as an information technology institution that provides customer-centric IT solutions in Ghana, Nigeria, and other respective West Africa business regions.

The annual awards ceremony is targeted at recognizing the industry’s merits and set a benchmark for excellence, whilst rewarding innovative ideas that have pushed the boundaries of what is possible in the development of various sectors in the West Africa sub-region to attract investors into the region.

Country Manager of Inlaks Ghana, Yacoba Esther Amuah, expressed her excitement about the award, emphasizing that it is a great honour to the company to be recognized at such difficult times when the entire world is merely surviving in the wake of COVID-19.

“We have been in the market for a great number of years, and everyone knows the impact of COVID-19 on businesses so to be recognized as outstanding in the midst of all this is a great achievement and we are really excited about it,” she said.

Furthermore, she pinpointed that professionalism has been the hallmark of Inlaks, putting customers at the centre of everything that the company does to ensure optimum customer satisfaction.

Touching on the way forward and what clients should expect, she said: “They should look out for products and services that are going to meet their needs because with the onset of this pandemic, everyone has been talking about digitization and we are poised to work with customers to meet their digital needs.”

Inlaks is a leading system integrator in Sub-Sahara Africa, and partners with OEMs in the technology industry to provide world-class information technology solutions that exceed the needs of its customers. Over the years, Inlaks has built a reputation as the foremost ICT and Infrastructure solutions provider in the region, helping customers to effectively seize new markets and service opportunities.        

The event, organized by KN Unique Communications and endorsed by West Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was attended by distinguished business owners, government representatives and industry leaders that have played various significant role in the development of various sectors in their respective West African countries.

Inlaks is a leading system integrator in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company partners with leading OEMs in the technology industry to provide world-class information technology solutions that exceed the needs of its customers.

Over the years, Inlaks has built a reputation as the foremost ICT and Infrastructure Solutions Provider, helping customers effectively seize new market and service opportunities.

With an impressive customer base that includes six Central Banks in West Africa, 18 of the 24 banks in Nigeria, and other major customers in the West African region, Inlaks has become the dominant Information Technology Company in Africa.

Inlaks’ customers cut across various segments including Banking, Telecommunication, Oil/Gas, Power, Utilities, and the Distribution sectors of the economy.

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