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5G Deployment Will Transform Nigeria to a Digital Economy-Danbatta



5G Deployment Will Transform Nigeria to a Digital Economy-Danbatta, SiliconNigeria

The executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof Garba Umar Danbatta, has restated that the deployment of the 5G technology will initiate several new changes in mobile connectivity with enormous capacity to boost productivity and grow the Nigerian economy.

The NCC boss said this while delivering the keynote address tagged “5G Deployment: Catalyst For Digital Transformation in Nigeria” at the International Conference on Multidisciplinary Engineering and Applied Sciences (ICMEAS) 2021, held at the Nile University of Nigeria, Abuja.

Represented by the director of technical standards at the commission, Bako Wakil, the NCC boss said that “the goal of the commission is that Nigeria becomes one of the leading nations with 5G technology deployed in a manner that is beneficial to all the stakeholders and contributes maximally to the digital economy policy of the federal government.”

“The FG will provide an enabling environment for the 5G deployment, but the MNOs will determine their own deployment strategies subject to alignment to the approved policies and other regulatory instruments in force,” he said.

He noted that 5G is already changing things radically with 44 commercial 5G networks in operation already worldwide as of May, 2020, according to the GSM Association.

He added that so many different industry sectors and organisations will be involved in the implementation and use of 5G products and services, hence collaboration across sectors and borders will be key to its success here in Nigeria and around the world.

He again allayed the fears of the alleged dangers of the electromagnetic radiations emitted by the wireless communications infrastructure that will be generated by 5G, saying that tests were conducted in accordance with the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Guidelines for general public exposure to time varying electromagnetic fields, which eliminated any fear of health hazards.

“The results of the test show that radiation from 5G infrastructure is far below the ICNIRP specification for protection of members of the public and therefore suggest that no public health hazards are expected from the use of 5G in Nigeria,” he said.

He said further that 5G is “already connecting people, things, data, applications, transport systems and cities in smart, networked communication environment supporting applications such as smart homes and buildings, smart cities, autonomous vehicle (with Tesia and Uber leading the way) 3D videos, remote medical services, virtual and augmented reality and massive machine-to-machine communications for industry automation, as well as many new innovations yet to come.”

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Zwart Talent Foundation Launches to Train Young Africans in Relevant ICT Skills



Zwart Talent Foundation Launches to Train Young Africans in Relevant ICT Skills, SiliconNigeria

Zwart Talent Foundation, a nonprofit organisation that bridges the growing tech talent gap, has launched to train young Africans in relevant Information and Communication Technology skills to enable them to participate in the global workforce.

Technology jobs in the United States outnumbered qualified workers by about 3 million as of 2016, according to a report by Randstad NV, a Netherlands-based human resources consulting firm.

By 2030, there will be a global shortage of more than 85 million tech workers, representing $8.5 trillion in lost annual revenue, according to Korn Ferry.

The Korn Ferry report projected that among the economies expected to be hit hardest are Brazil, Indonesia, and Japan, which could face shortages of up to 18 million workers. The United States and Russia are expected to be short of 6 million workers each, while China could face a deficit of 12 million. There is a serious shortage of tech talents across the world.

Zwart Talent Foundation, an initiative of ZwartTech, in partnership with TBEC Group of Companies, and International Sustainable Education Foundation (ISEF) plans to close this gap by training more than 2,000 young Africans in ICT skills in the next 5 years and connect them to jobs in international companies. The Foundation will deliver on these objectives via Zwart Academy, Zwart Recruit and Zwart Hub.

The Zwart Academy will train youths in Cybersecurity and Javascript for six months for free. Upon completion of the training program, students go through a one-year internship with Zwart Tech. Future courses will include PYTHON, Microsoft .NET, PHP/LARAVEL, Graphics Design, UI, and UX Design.

As an edtech cum social impact startup, 70% of admissions into the Academy will be reserved for girls. Meanwhile, applications to join the Academy will open in September and classes start in October.

Zwart Recruit will match top-notch tech experts with international opportunities. The startup has a pool of highly skilled and well-trained IT experts who have completed the rigorous recruitment process and are ready to provide world-class tech services. If you are a senior IT expert, you can apply to join Zwart Recruit.

Zwart Hub is a tech business incubator that aims to support entrepreneurs to start, grow and scale their business to a world-class level.

The Chairman of Zwart Talent Foundation, Nelson Tosin Ajulo said: “We launched the Zwart Talent Foundation to help Africans quickly combat poverty by giving them the chance to acquire tech skills as well as connecting them to international job opportunities. This will enable them to earn more and boost their economic status.

“We have also realised that the quality of ICT education in Africa is inadequate. Considering this, students who join the Foundation will become Junior Developers in less than 3 years compared to attending a university and spending four or five years on the same course.

“Our approach is not only innovative, but it also saves time and will help tackle inequality faster, bridging gaps between social classes. The Academy training program involves a lot of practicals and it is free.”

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59.8m Enrolments As FG Extends NIN-SIM Verification to Oct 31, 2021



59.8m Enrolments As FG Extends NIN-SIM Verification to Oct 31 2021, SiliconNigeria

The Federal Government has approved the extension of the deadline for National Identity Number (NIN)-Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) data verification to October 31, 2021.  

The decision to extend the deadline was made following a request by stakeholders to accommodate registration in hard-to-reach remote areas, foreigners and diplomatic missions, diaspora and address low enrolments in schools and hospitals, as evidenced by enrolment statistics. 

The decision also followed a review of the progress of the exercise which indicated significant progress, hence the need to consolidate the gains of the enrolment and NIN-SIM verification process across the country.

As at July 24, 2021, there are over 5,500 enrolment systems within and outside the country and this would significantly ease the NIN enrolment process and subsequent linkage of NIN to SIM.

The administration of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the extension as part of efforts to make it easier for its citizens within and outside the country, and legal residents to obtain the NIN and it is important to take advantage of the extension.  

The NIN-SIM linkage also makes it easier for the security agencies to carry out their statutory duties and the relevant parastatals under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy are supporting them as required.

There are now a total of 59.8 million unique NIN enrolments, with average of 3 to 4 SIMs per NIN.  With the great number of enrolment centres within and outside the country, and many more coming up, every citizen, legal resident, and Nigerian citizens living in diaspora should be able to obtain their NINs. 

The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,  Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, PhD, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, on behalf of the Federal Government, commends the Kano State government and other States that have made NINs a key requirement for school enrolments and access to other important services.  

The Federal Government is also excited at the news that the use of NIN in the process of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exam significantly reduced the challenge of exam malpractice.  

The Minister, on behalf of the Federal Government, appreciates Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise.  

Similarly, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, and the Director-General/CEO of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Azeez, urge citizens and legal residents to make sure they use the opportunity to complete the process of enrolment and verification before the October 31 deadline.

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Encouraging Girls in Science to Bring Fresh Perspective to Problem-Solving



Encouraging Girls in Science to Bring Fresh Perspective to Problem-Solving, SiliconNigeria

By Tolu Oyekan, Partner, Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

Over the years, the study of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has increasingly gained grounds across the world.  Nigeria is not left out as many young people are becoming more interested in studying science subjects at secondary and tertiary levels of education.

This is no surprise as our world today is largely driven by technology.  Technology encompasses practically every facet of our lives.  Life has become easier through the application of technology.  For instance, Information and communication technology (ICT) has proven to be invaluable as the world tries to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. The application of ICT tools kept people connected, made essential services accessible and sustained businesses.

The 21st century brought about lots of scientific innovations which have propelled the need for students at different levels to become more proficient in the knowledge of STEM. Besides Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics; other STEM subjects include Actuarial Science, Statistics, Psychology, Robotics, Information Science, Atmospheric Sciences and Educational Research. 

Experts have discovered that early exposure of students to STEM and technology-related subjects will help young people develop a passion for technological pursuits and eventually help them pursue a job in a STEM field.

Right now, the fastest growing job categories are related to STEM with recent studies indicating new jobs in areas such as data analysis, software development and data visualization, virtual reality, artificial intelligence etc.

However, girls are highly under-represented in STEM and ICT classes; globally the percentage of young girls undertaking ICT courses range from 8.9% in Switzerland to 20.0% in United States, except for India with 50.5%. What this means is that except this trend changes, women will remain under-represented in the future workplaces.

This year, the International Girls in ICT Day held on April 22 with the theme: ‘Connected Girls, Creating Brighter Futures’. On this day every year, stakeholders in the technology space and indeed all of us, should seek opportunities to empower girls to develop digital skills so as to pursue careers enabled by technology.

As these young girls move on to take up various careers in the ICT sphere, they are faced with several challenges, particularly finding a perfect work-life balance. Conditions like pregnancy, breastfeeding and child care pitched against rigorous work hours, put many women in disadvantaged positions. In many cases, childcare centres are not found close to places of work resulting in women working part-time or accepting lower paying jobs to focus on their homes or quitting their career early.

There is also the glass ceiling issue affecting females in ICT such as gender biases during appointments, promotion and career improvement opportunities as well as harassment, biased evaluation by peers along with familial responsibilities, which could cause increased stress.

There could be several factors which account for the under-representation of girls in STEM. One which is quite obvious, is the issue of the environment, culture as well as the emphasis on gender equality and encouragement of growth mindset. A report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) shows that the learning environment and social belief system affect girls’ interest and achievements in STEM/ICT subjects.

Another study showed that in countries like Sweden and Iceland where gender parity prevails, girls perform better than boys on Math tests. On the other hand, girls from countries like Turkey where gender discrimination is greater, don’t do well in Math tests.

Research also shows that majority of people view STEM fields as which should be ideally dominated by men; a view which still holds sway to this day. Society views women in science and engineering jobs as less competent than men unless they are exhibiting success tendencies.

No doubt, there are many women who are exceling in science and ICT-related fields.  Some examples of women excelling in ICT globally include Sheryl Kara Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook and founder of; Ruth Porat, Chief Financial Officer of Alphabet Inc and its subsidiary, Google and Ginni Rometty, Former Chairman, President and CEO of IBM, In Nigeria, worthy role models for girls are Funke Opeke, founder, Main One Technologies; Omobola Johnson, former Nigerian Minister for Communication Technology; Juliet Ehimuan, Country Manager Nigeria, Google; and Cherry Eromosele Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Interswitch, to name a few.

The beautiful thing is that girls definitely bring a fresh sense of perspective to problem solving in the classrooms and workplaces as professionals. One of such ways is using her ‘voice’; by this, I don’t just mean talking. It is when a girl challenges the status quo, excels at her studies, contributes in making policies or suggests an idea that moves their schools or organisation towards a new course of action.

Some studies have shown that teams with women as leaders were more successful when facing tasks that are more mentally challenging and required complex problem-solving abilities.  But this good performance only showed if the women spoke up, if the men believed that women were capable contributors, and if the team acted on the women’s suggestions.

To ensure girls are more interested in STEM and ICT careers, women already in these fields should get more involved in the development of STEM policies which will favour and encourage girls to develop interest in these subjects. These will include exposing girls to STEM fields, encouraging participation in STEM programmes, providing scholarships, as well as supporting learning opportunities in communities.

And men can be effective allies in the gender equality conversations. They can start with listening their female conterparts and taking their concerns seriously. Men in position of authority can bring their influence to bear by amplifying women’s voices, educating other men against stereotype, credit women’s work and ideas fairly, advocate for policies that removes bias and advances equality. More importantly, men should show their support, at home, workplace and other social circles.

At Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the education and encouragement of girls to fit adequately into the future of jobs, is a core aspect of our ‘Back to The Future’ agenda. Currently, there are more women in the BCG workforce in Lagos, than there are men. Working with this crop of brilliant women have brought interesting and insightful perspectives to problem- solving. So, I know first-hand that women bring fresh perspective to problem-solving.

I hope that more girls will begin to have affinity for STEM subjects and capacity will be built in ICT-based endeavours to gain new skills and enhance problem solving.

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