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IT and Telecomms

Airtel Africa Picks Carl Cruz to Lead Airtel Nigeria Operation

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Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, has announced the appointment of Carl Cruz as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Networks Limited (Nigeria).

The appointment which takes effect from 5th May 2023, will also see Mr. Cruz join the Executive Committee as the Regional Operating Director reporting to the Airtel Africa Group CEO, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya as well as the Board of Airtel Networks Limited (Nigeria).

Mr. Cruz has over 31 years of business and corporate experience from multiple geographies across Africa and Asia. In his most recent position, Mr. Cruz served as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Unilever in West Africa, with responsibility and oversight of three listed operating companies, including Nigeria, Ghana, and Francophone Africa.

He was a board member in the role of Executive Director in Unilever Nigeria Plc and a Non – Executive Director in the board of Unilever Ghana representing Unilever as a shareholder.

Prior to this, he was the Chairman and Managing Director of Unilever Sri Lanka, in addition to occupying leadership roles in Unilever Philippines and Hindustan Unilever India. Throughout his career, Mr. Cruz has managed strategic and directional responsibility in sales, distribution, customer and brand development, trade development and commercial engagement.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management from the University of De La Salle, Philippines.

Speaking on Mr. Cruz’s appointment, Airtel Africa Group CEO, Segun Ogunsanya said, “Mr. Cruz brings to Airtel Africa a wealth of business experience, exceptional track record and strong values. He has a solid record of accomplishment as a strategic and transformational business leader who thrives on problem solving and building strong teams to deliver business growth. We look forward to working with him to steer our largest region and to deliver on our corporate purpose of transforming lives.”

Mr. Cruz takes over from Mr. C Surendran.

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Innovations

How Tech Enthusiasts Can Garner In-Demand Skills in 2024

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In almost every circle, you will find a tech-bro, tech-sis, or tech enthusiast diligently refining their skills, aspiring to secure dream tech jobs that promise financial success and elevated social status.

What was once considered a niche has now evolved into a revered profession, capturing the interest of today’s youth.

The growing interest in the tech industry has prompted enthusiasts to look for the best methods and resources to acquire the skills needed to succeed in this dynamic field. Are you among those eager to acquire these sought-after tech skills? Here are four ways to do it.

Join networks and communities: Tech enthusiasts are encouraged to join communities, attend meetups, or participate in hackathons. These activities provide valuable networking opportunities with other tech enthusiasts and industry experts. You can gain insights, guidance, and support to advance your tech skills by engaging in these events. Additionally, networking can open doors to job opportunities and collaborative projects.

Engage in Hands-On Projects: Creating projects is an excellent way to strengthen your tech skills. You can build a website, develop a mobile app, or work on a data analysis project, leveraging open-source projects. The more you practice, the more your knowledge expands, allowing you to gain expertise even with initial setbacks or roadblocks.

Get an Industry Mentor: Another way to garner tech skills is to learn directly from an expert. A mentor can offer personalised advice, share industry insights, and provide support as you navigate your career path. Look for mentors who align with your career goals and values, and actively engage with them to maximise the benefits of mentorship.

Enroll in Tech Academy Programs: Whether physical or virtual, institutions and reputable platforms offer In-demand tech courses one of which is the Zarttalent Academy. The Zarttalent Academy provides diverse tech courses in Frontend Engineering, Backend Engineering, Project Management, and Product Design. In addition to a comprehensive learning experience, the academy awards students who complete the programs with globally recognised certificates. Graduates enjoy additional benefits such as international internship opportunities, access to global mentors, international job opportunities, and dedicated career support services.

Technology has become an essential part of our daily lives and no one can do without it. Acquiring in-demand tech skills can help you stay ahead of the curve and give you a competitive edge in the job market.

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Training and e-Learning

Airtel Boosts NIPR Public Relations Week with Onsite Data Connection

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Airtel Nigeria has collaborated with the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) to provide with unlimited internet access at the institute’s inaugural edition of the Nigeria Public Relations Week.

The trailblazing event themed ‘Leveraging Public Relations as a Critical Asset for Nigeria’s Economic and Reputation Renaissance’ is set to run from Monday, April 22nd to Friday, April 26th, 2024, and will welcome thousands of delegates across Nigeria to the prestigious June 12 Cultural Centre, nestled in the heart of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Speaking on the strategic collaboration, Director, Corporate Communications and CSR, Airtel Nigeria, Femi Adeniran, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “Airtel is proud to support the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations in its endeavor to advance the field of public relations. The relevance of public relations practice in Nigeria cannot be overstated, as it plays a vital role in shaping perceptions, managing reputations, and influencing public opinion. Hence, our support is a demonstration of our commitment to empowering individuals and organizations with innovative solutions that drive progress and create an enabling society.”

According to NIPR, through the PRWeek Organizing \Committee Chairman, Mr Yomi Badejo Okusanya, the NPRW will gather over 2,000 experts in the fields of economics, PR, and nation-building to discuss strategies for effectively communicating government policies and initiatives to the public. Other activities at the NPRW will include conferences, the annual general meeting, workshops, induction of new members, breakout sessions with students as well as traditional rulers and a tour of some legacy projects in Ogun state.

With Airtel’s provision of onsite unlimited data connection, attendees and participants can enjoy unparalleled access to online resources, real-time updates, and interactive engagements throughout the duration of the event. This will significantly support the exchange of ideas, foster networking opportunities, and elevate the overall experience for all stakeholders involved.

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IT and Telecomms

How NCC Will Achieve 70% Broadband Penetration Target- Danbatta

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The national target to achieve 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025 is receiving renewed attention from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which promises 50 per cent before the end of 2023.

This promise was one of the highlights of the special media chat with executive editors and media chiefs in the northern part of the country, hosted by the Executive Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, to unveil his achievements since the resumption of office till date.

At the occasion, where Danbatta informed the media chiefs that Fifth Generation (5G) services subscriptions have already hit half a million in subscription, the various efforts of the Commission to improve broadband penetration are yielding fruitful results with the current estimates as at July 2023 standing at 47.01 per cent.

Using the extant reviewed five-pillar Strategic Vision Plan as building block, the EVC spoke to 119 milestones achieved under the five strategic pillars, including regulatory excellence, universal broadband, market development, digital economy and strategic collaboration.

Danbatta said through effective implementation of NCC’s mandates under his leadership and cooperation of internal and external stakeholders since 2015, telecommunications industry in Nigeria has achieved remarkable milestones under our leadership. “While we acknowledge the challenges encountered by the industry, we have also witnessed explosive growth, improved regulatory standards, and digital innovations that have garnered global recognition,” he said.

While reeling out impressive statistics that have characterized his leadership at NCC from 2015 to date, the EVC said active telephone subscribers had increased from less than 150.7 million to 218.9 million, representing a teledensity growth of 115.70 per cent from 107.87 per cent in 2015.

Through stimulating broadband infrastructure across the country, Danbatta said broadband penetration, which stood at 6 per cent in 2015 has increased significantly to 47.01 per cent as of July, 2023, enhancing over 89.73 million subscriptions on 3G, 4G and 5G networks in the country. Additionally, general Internet subscriptions have reached 159.5 million up from less than 100 million in 2015.

“Also, from 8 per cent contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015, telecommunications sector now contributes 16 per cent quarterly to the Nigerian economy as of the second quarter of 2023. besides, following the authorization of more telecommunications companies to operate in the Nigeria’s telecoms sector, the investments profile has increased tremendously from $38 billion in 2015 to $75 billion currently and this keeps growing daily. From the sales of Fifth Generation (5G) C-Band Spectrum, the NCC has generated over $847.8 million for the Federal Government,” he said.

Danbatta, who has received a gallery of awards nationally, regionally and globally in recognition of the outstanding performance of Nigeria’s telecom industry also listed several achievements recorded since 2015.

“Other milestones and initiatives recorded aside the regulatory activities that culminated in the landmark launch of 5G services in Nigeria include the introduction of Spectrum Trading Guidelines, re-farming and re-planning certain spectrum band for efficiency, the emplaced collaborative process for the release of C-Band Spectrum by Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Limited, and introduction of the Expanded Revenue Assurance Solution (ERAS) to address revenue leakages and improve government revenue from the telecoms industry.

“These initiatives also include Licensing of Satellite Earth Stations, issuing of operating licence to SpaceX Satellite, facilitating the landing of additional submarine Cables, such as the Google 2,000km Equiano subsea Internet cable in 2022, listing of MTN on the Nigerian bourse, licensing of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs), introduction of new unlicensed millimeter wave spectrum, and regulation of white space spectrum,” Danbata said.

Also as part of NCC’s commitment under Danbatta’s leadership, the Commission has endowed professorial chairs in Nigerian universities and committed over N500 million naira to Research and Development (R&D) in the telecoms sector. “The creation of the Digital Economy Department, the mandate to drive the implementation of the indigenous telecoms sector growth through the operation of the Nigeria Office for Developing Indigenous Telecom Sector (NODITS), are also important strides made by the Commission,” he said.

Danbatta said other consumer-focused initiatives of the Commission have also centered on the establishment of Emergency Communications Centres (ECCs) in over 30 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). All these centres are operational, as well as the creation of the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT). The EVC said these two initiatives have been helping consumers to  get succour in times of emergencies as well as ensuring effective protection for telecom consumers while online.

The NCC Chief Executive said the Commission has also taken very clear actions on consumer protection, advocacy, information-sharing and education. “These include introduction of data roll-over just before the expiration of subscribed data plans, introduction of the 622 toll-free number for lodging service-related complaints to the Commission, the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code for tackling the menace of unsolicited text messages,  elimination of forceful/deceitful subscriptions to telecom services on mobile networks, tackling the issue of call masking, ensuring effective Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration, launching of National Roaming service and reduction of access gaps to telecom services from over 217 to 97, thereby enhancing access to telecom services by more Nigerians,” Danbatta said.

However, Danbatta said while the industry still faces a number of challenges such as vandalism, securing equitable Right of Way (RoW) from governmental stakeholders, as well as multiple taxation and regulation, the Commission has put framework in place to work with necessary stakeholders to overcome the obstacles posed by these challenges and to sustain the growth trajectory which has been the hallmark of telecoms sector as an enabler of socio-economic development in Nigeria.

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