By Dipo Olowookere
Online Editor of Punch Newspaper, Mr John Abayomi, has threatened to sue popular Nigerian blogger, Ms Linda Ikeji, over a story published on her blog this week.
The famous blogger had claimed that Mr Abayomi, a former Online Editor of Vanguard Newspaper, was the owner of the popular gossip blog, Instablog9ja, which has been a thorn in the flesh of many Nigerian celebrities.
But reacting through his counsel, Falana and Falana’s Chambers, the seasoned journalist said there was no iota of truth in Ms Ikeji’s exclusive story.
Mr Abayomi said since the story was published on the Linda Ikeji Blog, his life and that of his family have been under threat.
In his letter to the blogger, the journo said Ms Ikeji must retract her story and tender an unreserved public apology.
“Your publication has put him in the harm’s way, thereby endangering his life and the lives of his family members.
“It has also attracted a lot of negative reactions from members of the public including celebrities who has been eager to know the face behind the blunt and sarcastic blog because of the method of reportage.
“Your mendacious publication was clearly actuated by malice in that it was deliberately done to portray our client as an imposter, a fraudster and a blackmailer.
“In the light of the foregoing, we have our client’s firm instructions to demand an unqualified apology together with a retraction of the libellous publication in the edition of your blog (Linda Ikeji blog) in addition to having the retraction published on Instagram.
“However, if you fail or refuse to accede to our client’s demands within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter, we shall have no option than to initiate civil proceedings against you at the Lagos State High Court without further recourse to you,” the letter which was signed by Chukwuma Onwuemene (ESQ.), and delivered to the blogger on Friday, read.
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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) will establish an Institute for Broadcast Policy and Regulations in 2022, the Director-General, Mr Shehu Ilelah, has disclosed.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, he explained that the establishment of the institute will enhance professionalism in the broadcast industry.
Mr Ilelah added that the commission has initiated a partnership with National Universities Commission (NUC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for broadcast curricular accreditation at the nation’s tertiary institutions.
“Preparations for the establishment of Institute for Broadcast Policy and Regulation are top in my agenda for next year. This is to ensure professionalism,” he said.
Mr Ilelah reiterated the need for professionalism in broadcasting, saying: “We know the harm fake news, hate speech and unprofessional broadcast have cost the society.
“We must be extremely cautious of the contents we put out. NBC prides itself on professionalism, efficiency and integrity in fulfilling its mandate as a regulator.”
The director-general urged the new licensees to pay their licence fees, as requested by law before the due dates to avoid penalties.
“For the already established broadcasting stations owing licence renewal fees, we are putting them on notice that they have up till February 17, 2022, to pay their debts or have their licences withdrawn and reallocated to prospective licensees,” he said.
According to him, the affected broadcasting stations are owing license fees amounting to about N4 billion.
On digital switchover (DSO), Mr Ilelah said that the commission took very important progressive steps towards the actualisation of the project in the country.
“In my first one month in office, I established an NBC Steering Committee which reviewed the challenges of previous launching of DSO across the country from the pilot launch in Jos in 2016 to Lagos this year.
“Also in November, my team was in Kano for the switch over of the digital terrestrial television broadcasting signals, thus bringing a digital experience to viewers of television contents in the state,” he said.
By Tolu Oyekan
Despite being the second largest continent by population and its huge landmarks, Africa still lags behind in several indicators vital for a successful industrial revolution. The region is still behind in the most important measures of innovation capacity.
Although Africa has 18% of the world’s population, it accounts for only 0.3% of global R&D spending and 0.5% of patent applications. Trade statistics paint a picture of a relatively low-tech, low value-add region: Africa produces 0.4% of global high-technology exports and 0.8% of middle-technology exports, such as industrial machinery, autos and chemicals.
Unlike previous waves of industrial change, competing in the digital age doesn’t require deep scientific expertise or massive capital investment. Instead, innovators and entrepreneurs in emerging markets are in a position to tap into flows of talent and digital knowledge; and convert them into novel goods, services and business models.
Specifically, Nigeria has been making steady progress in digitalization, technological advancement and innovation. The advent of the internet has impacted Nigeria positively; connecting businesses, individuals and enterprises in a seamless manner. Internet access and mobile phone usage have grown dramatically, as has Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
Nigeria has the potential to unleash innovation that could transform industries and improve well-being across the region. These innovations can be seen in the transport, health, education, payment and fintech sectors.
Nigerian startups have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in equity funding. Voltron Capital is one of the well-known active investors in Nigeria tech startups and Africa at large.
Since its inception in 2014, it has invested in 33 startups. The Fintech (Financial technology) sector is one of the major and fastest-growing start-up ecosystems in Nigeria and these companies in Nigeria are driving tangible change for businesses.
According to a study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the number of African tech startups receiving funding between 2015 and 2020 increased by 46%, nearly six times faster than the global average.
However, the progress Africa has achieved has been concentrated in a handful of nations: Nigeria and five other African countries (Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, and Tunisia.) These six countries account for half of all African mobile communication subscriptions, for example. Internet access and mobile phone usage have grown dramatically.
In 2021, Nigeria had 108.75 million internet users. This figure is projected to grow to 143.26 million internet users in 2026. Four nations receive around 85% of the continent’s venture capital investments and 70% of STEM graduates.
South Africa, Egypt and Morocco account for 70% of public R&D spending in Africa. By their analysis, only two nations—South Africa and Kenya—have comprehensive regulations related to innovation.
In a recent report by BCG, Morocco’s 200-company automotive cluster is launching R&D initiatives linking manufacturers to universities and Kenya has emerged as a hotbed for fintech. South Africa’s dynamic health technology ecosystem includes more than 120 companies. Incubators, entrepreneurship training and investment funds are making Egypt the region’s fastest-growing startup ecosystem.
The good news is that talents in the region who are trained in the skills needed for fields like AI and advanced analytics are proving that they can integrate seamlessly into global value chains.
Freelance workers in such digital disciplines are in high demand, and the COVID-19 epidemic has made leading corporations far more receptive to remote work. This means that, for once, governments that invest in training can create jobs at home that will contribute to socio-economic development and innovation in Africa—rather than a brain drain.
Given the region’s diverse markets, there is no uniform approach to building and nurturing an innovation-driven economy that will work in all of Africa. The most appropriate strategies and mixes of policies will depend on which types of innovators—such as Multinational corporations, local champions, or startups—are being targeted.
There are, however, three basic steps that African governments need to follow to activate their national innovation system: build a national innovation strategy, stimulate domestic innovation activity, and enable the new national innovation ecosystem.
Building a National Innovation Strategy
Governments need to set their sights on innovation-driven fields that can create value well into the future by defining a national ambition and targeting priority innovation sectors. This can be done by considering the evolving opportunities in the emerging, digitally connected, Industry 4.0-driven global economy. Based on this analysis, policymakers should identify industrial sectors that are in the strongest position to achieve key national goals.
Nigeria has taken the initiative to adopt a National Strategy for the development and expansion of the tech ecosystem into communities, schools and innovation-driven enterprises (IDEs), thereby providing an opportunity for various sectors of the economy to leverage technology to transform business models, enhance productivity and efficiency; while also creating jobs and wealth for operators.
Stimulating Domestic Innovation Activity
To successfully launch different innovation clusters to stimulate innovation activity and attract foreign partners, African governments should provide operational, technical and financial support; encourage collaboration, invite open innovation and provide an innovation-friendly regulatory environment.
Enabling the New Innovation Ecosystem
A well-designed policy framework can lay the ground for a thriving innovation economy. But governments—especially in developing economies such as those in Africa—must also play a lead role in driving the investments that are needed to build innovation capacity.
Governments can leverage the success of leading-edge companies to support the development of innovation ecosystems by collaborating with the private sector to build supporting infrastructure, develop the talent pool and actively pursue and support pro-innovation investment.
While there is no single innovation strategy that can work across such a diverse region as Africa, the basic approach of defining national strategies, stimulating innovation activity and enabling the innovation system applies. Success in these areas will require collaboration among all actors in the innovation ecosystem: local companies, small entrepreneurs, academic institutions and investors. The specific policy formula should vary according to each country’s level of economic maturity, existing innovation capacity, competitive strengths, market ambitions and national needs.
As African nations continue to aggressively invest in their innovation capacity and implement the right blend of strategies and policies, we believe the continent is poised to write a new chapter in its economic history. But Africa should move now while there is still ample opportunity to get on the top deck with innovation cycles that are redefining the future.
Tolu Oyekan is a Partner at BCG
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has launched a Deep Decarbonization Pathway Programme (DDPP) in a determination to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent come 2050 in its quest to meet net-zero carbon emission levels.
DDPP is a national research and capacity building project to be implemented between Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Environment and the Agence Française de Dévelopment (AFD) with the International Relation and Sustainable Development Institute (IDDRI) as the coordinator.
Launching the project, Minister of Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, stated that the decarbonization of the global economy has long been recognised as an imperative in the fight against climate change.
“The Nigeria Deep Decarbonization Project is, therefore, a very important component in our effort to navigate Nigeria and the global world over the harsh and unpleasant risks of climate change,” she said.
According to the Environment Minister, the federal government has made several climate change interventions intended to mitigate climate change and increase resilience to avert the excruciating consequences of climate change.
The Minister revealed that the federal government recently submitted its revised and robust Nationally Determined Contributions that articulate climate actions until 2030 in response to Article 4.2 of the Paris Agreement.
“The Federal Ministry of Environment also formulated Nigeria Decarbonisation Transition Plan, which enumerated pathways for Nigeria to achieve net-zero by 2050.
“The Nigerian government’s effort to transit to a low-emissions economy was also echoed in all the discussions that the Federal Government of Nigeria was involved in at the COP26.
“The Nigerian government formulated and communicated its Long-Term Low GHG Emission Development Strategies, LT-LEDS and envisioned that by 2050, Nigeria will be a country of low-carbon, climate-resilient, high-growth circular economy that reduces its current level of emissions by 50 per cent, moving towards having net-zero emissions across all sectors of its development in a gender-responsive manner,” the Minister explained.
On his part, the National Project leader for DDP Nigeria, Mr Chukwumerije Okereke said what prompted the project was a desire to build a capacity of Nigerian academics, to be able to design high quality, rigorous, robust climate change models that can guide international climate policy.
“This project was prompted by the fact that year after year, Nigeria designs and publishes nationally important documents and plans around climate change. What about mitigation? What is about adaptation, and more recently, the nationally determined contribution that provides a guideline of how Nigeria can reduce their emissions in the long run while also growing sustainability.
However, all of these plans have been really designed and written by foreigners, foreign experts, international experts, and the reason is that Nigeria does not have enough capacity on what we call climate modelling,” he explained.
Mr Okereke said the team will be working very closely with the government to make inputs into the long term strategies; the long term climate change development strategy that the government will be producing next year, before COP 27 in Egypt.
“Having Nigerian academics working in collaboration with other ministries, and guided by the Department for climate change under the Federal Ministry of Environment, we hope that we’ll be able to produce long term strategies. These strategies will be relevant, specific contexts that will accommodate the uniqueness of our Nigeria and certain that they will help to ensure that whatever is produced will be implemented,” Mr Okereke added.
Director of the DDP Initiative at IDDRI, Mr Henri Waisman, said all countries should consider positive zero emissions within their boundaries by 2050- 2070, notably from fossil fuels combustion and maximize the domestic carbon sinks.
He noted that carbon neutrality by 2050-2070 is feasible in all the country contents IDDRI have investigated and it is possible to achieve simultaneously carbon neutrality and key socio-economic goals, as defined by each country.
“We develop a scientifically robust analysis of pathways achieving the systemic transformations towards carbon neutrality; we use this analysis to structure domestic conversations with decision-makers and stakeholders on options, choices and risks,” he said.
The Nigeria Deep De-carbonization Project is designed to generate context-specific scenarios and long-term modelling that will offer substantial evidence to support the government’s long term emissions reduction strategies and climate action in general.
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