The African Union Scientific Technical Research Commission (AUSTRC) has urged the Scientific Community in Africa to take the continent from poverty to prosperity.
Dr. Ahmed Hamdy, Executive Director, AUSTRC said this while briefing participants on modalities at the African Scientific Research and Innovation Council (ASRIC) meeting with the theme “Freeing Africa from Poverty, Hunger and Diseases“ on Wednesday in Abuja.
“We need you people to solve our problems in a creative way, in a way that if we sit in our offices to work for Africa for 10 years we will not be able to achieve.
“Because we are talking to the grassroots of the pyramid, which are the scientists, you are on the top of the pyramid by the way, that is the reality.
“We are politicians, we sit, we develop nice programmes, projects, agenda 2063 amongst the others, but if we do not have the backing of
the scientific community, you people, we will not go anywhere.
“So, I am calling upon this meeting to be open minded, create clusters of science, virtual labs, work together to solve our problems, to take us from poverty to prosperity.
“All nations that achieve prosperity, they use Science and Technology, and the soldiers of development are the scientists, like it or not this is your own responsibility“
Hamdy said the flagship projects which will be developed during the course of the meeting should be able to address problems that are more inclusive to bring services to the African Communities.
According to him, more participation of scientists in the continents database is crucial for success, and noted that out of 16,000 scientists in Africa, Nigeria takes the lead with the most number of scientists.
“We need projects that are market driven; we need more participation of scientist in our database today.
“We have about 16,000 scientists from all over the continent, the largest number are coming from Nigeria, and thanks to the Nigerian Academy of Science for the good work.
Secondly, we have from Ethiopia, and thanks Ethiopia for the good work; the Chairman of the Egyptian Academy, Egypt is the second largest producer of knowledge in the continent.
“Let me plead with you once more and say please publicise our work in your academy, call your scientists to work with us in the Africa Union method of sciences.
“I know Egypt is doing a lot, but we need more, South Africa too, so, I need to call on those countries where 60 per cent of our knowledge is coming from, the countries are Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya
The Executive Director also noted that the African Union Science and Technology Innovation Fund (ASTIF) is functional, and appealed to
Prof. Raleno Mechieka to educate his country on need to champion science and technology.
He said as Africans, we are the problem and also the solution, and urged everyone to join hands to achieve the Africa we envisage.
Similarly, Prof. Raleno Mechieka, Chairman, African Scientific Research and Innovation Council (ASRIC), appealed to the scientific community to strive to get the specific project that can make an impact in the continent.
“Let us all complement and interact with each other in this meeting by coming up with strategies that can help in implementing the flagship projects of ASRIC,“ he said.
Nigeria News Agency reports that this is the second edition of the AUSTRC Meeting to be held in Abuja, the first edition was held in 2017.
Edited by Felix Ajide (NAN)
NFMC: Pantami stresses autonomy of council
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has restated the need for National Frequency Management Council (NFMC) to regain its autonomy in accordance with the provisions of the Act establishing it.
Pantami said this in a statement signed by the Mrs Uwa Suleiman, Special Adviser to minister’s on Thursday in Abuja, following resolutions reached at the end of an inaugural meeting with members of NFMC in Abuja.
The minister, who is the Chairman of Council, faulted the domiciling of the Council as a department under the Ministry, citing Section 30(2) of the Act to buttress his point.
According to the section: The Council should be positioned properly as an autonomous body with the secretariat serviced by officials of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
It also stipulates that there should be frequent audit of the Council, to be carried out on all the spectrum licenses issued from its inception till date.
This is to determine the amount paid and to determine if spectrum licenses issued were been used for the purposes they have been assigned accordingly.
Suleiman said that the meeting ended with resolutions: That the Council be positioned properly as an autonomous body with the secretariat, serviced by the officials of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
She said the meeting also resolved that frequency audit be carried out on all the spectrum licenses issued by the Council from its inception to date.
This according to the meeting is to determine amount paid and to know if spectrum licenses issues were being issued for the purposes they were assigned.
The minister emphasised the need not reduce the Council to the status of a department within the Ministry, adding that its independent status was clearly spelt out in the Act establishing it.
He noted that NFMC was established by the Communications Act of 2003 which empowered the body to coordinate and regulate spectrum license allocations across regional and international borders.
The minister called on the management of all regulatory bodies represented in the Council, particularly, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), to immediately propose subsidiary legislation to support the existing Act.
He expressed optimism that this would enhance efficiency and fairness to the consumers with regards to payment by satellite television stations among others.
Highlight at the meeting was the inauguration of the National Frequency Management Council / Nigeria Police Force (), Joint Committee on evaluation of 450MHz Police equipment.
Umar said this was done in line with the provisions of the law empowering the Council to extend membership to competent and qualified persons or organisations to assist in the discharge of its duties.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the meeting, which was Pantami’s first as NFMC Chairman, was the 48th of the council and the fourth to be held this year.
The minister assured that the nation that “under my leadership, national interest must supersede sectoral or personal interests.“
He described protection of the consumer as paramount, adding that the ministry would continue to provide enabling environment for industry players to thrive, “within the dictates of the law. ’’
Edited by: Emmanuel Nwoye/ Dada Ahmed
NITDA trains South-West women in ICT for job creation
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has trained 100 women in the South-West geo-political zone on Information Communication Technology skills to consolidate plans of the Federal Government to create jobs.
Mr Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General of the agency made the disclosure in a statement issued and signed by Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Cooperate Affairs and External Relations of the organisation on Friday in Abuja.
Umar said Inuwa was represented by Dr Vincent Olatunji, Director, e-Government Development and Regulation Department of the agency at the capacity building training.
The director-general said the training would also close the gender digital divide, promote job creation, financial inclusion and provide women with the skills to participate in the digital economy.
The key objectives of the programme, he said include: boosting digital literacy, creating digital jobs, bridging the digital divide, promoting digital inclusion and using technology to address gender imbalance in economic opportunities.
“The programme is part of the agency’s continuous efforts aimed at implementing the administration’s key priorities of economic diversification, job creation, investing in Nigerians and achieving gender balance in economic opportunities.
“It is also part of NITDA’s strategy toward the realisation of Mr President’s promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
“We should know that women clearly have unequal access to economic opportunities in comparison to men and NITDA believes that technology can bridge the gap.
“The 100 women being trained are projected to create 300 direct jobs and over 1,000 indirect jobs,’’ Inuwa said.
He recalled that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), Federal Government programme, focused on restoring growth, developing human capacity and building a globally competitive economy.
According to him, meaningful growth can take place when citizens’ development is prioritised through increased social inclusion, creating jobs and improving the human capital base of the economy.
Inuwa, who noted that statistics showed that women’s participation in ICT was less than 24 per cent, pledged the commitment of the agency to increase the percentage.
Mrs Bisi Fayemi, Wife of Governor of the state, in a statement, commended the state government for promoting gender issues.
These she noted include women empowerment and promulgation of laws that could tackle socio-cultural and economic impediments against women.
Fayemi said that steps in the right direction needed to be taken for Nigeria to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda of 2030,which include industrialisation and developing human capital.
“Technology has a lot of benefit and women in developing nations have a large proportion of illiteracy in the digital world.
“This programme can make women active in the world of ICT and enable equal access to innovative ICT concepts,” she said.
Edited by: Dada Ahmed
Group commences ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ park rally, donates breathalyzer to FRSC
The Beer Sectoral Group (BSG) of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), on Thursday commenced the “Don’t Drink and Drive” Park Rally across the country.
Mr Tony Eneh, the Executive Secretary of BSG, said the group donated breathalyzers to the FRSC during the rally at Ojota and Ketu parks.
The Nigeria News Agency reports BSG had earlier launched the ‘Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign to create awareness of the danger of drunk driving.
Eneh said the breathalyzers were for the FRSC to determine alcohol intake by drivers while driving.
According to him, the group was happy to give back to the country by creating awareness on the dangers of drunk driving through the “Don’t Drink and Drive” rally and by donating breathalyzers.
Also speaking at the occasion, The Lagos State Sector Commander, FRSC, Corp Commander, Hyginus Omeje, said the “ember” months campaign was an integral component of the FRSC’s strategic intervention to elevate the consciousness of Nigerians to the realities of road crashes.
The sector commander said dangerous overtaking and speeding remained the greatest risk factors on highways.
He said a survey it carried out showed that 204 motorists tested positive to alcohol use out of 2,058 randomly tested with breathalyzer within Lagos-Ibadan expressway command.
According to him, Driving Under Influence (DUI) was the highest among drivers who accounted for 154 positive cases.
Omeje said in Lagos State, road traffic crashes and fatalities recorded from the first to third quarters of 2018 stood at 225 and 74 respectively.
According to him, the statistics over the same period in 2019 currently stood at 419 crashes and 84 fatalities, which translated to 51 per cent increase in crash cases and 14 per cent fatalities.
“These are colossal human capital with frightening impact on health systems, sustainable development, city liveability and survivability of society.
“Available statistics have annually depicted increased road traffic crashes during the period of September to December.
“Risk exposure to road crashes during terminal months of the year, especially December, escalates due to increased socio-economic activities, inordinate traffic surge that over stretch road transport system,” he said.
The FRSC commander appreciated the different groups and individuals, who had contributed and supported the commission on its campaign on safe road system.
Edited by: Oluyinka Fadare/Salif Atojoko
Facebook celebrates key milestones for sub Saharan Africa in 2019
Facebook on Thursday released its ‘2019 Year in Review’ infographics, showcasing some of its investments across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director Facebook Africa, said in a statement that in 2019, Facebook trained over 7,000 woman-owned businesses in digital skills across sub Saharan Africa.
Ntshingila said that because the company was able to grow an ecosystem of developers, entrepreneurs, creatives, and many other communities as part of its commitment to give people the power to build communities.
He said that the company also celebrated 79 Community Leadership Circle meetups with over 2 ,650 people attending.
We have reached our 45th Developer Circle, with circles now in 17 African countries and representing more than 70,000 members.
Facebook also hosted the first-ever iD8 Nairobi Conference with over 400 African developers and startups in attendance.
Facebook has also expanded Third-Party Fact-Checking across 10 African countries,” he said.
The regional director also noted that Facebook announced the creation of the world’s most detailed population density maps of Africa, created by its AI researchers, to help humanitarian aid and relief agencies.
Ntshingila said that Africa was important to Facebook and they were committed to investing in its youth, entrepreneurs, the creative industries, tech ecosystem.
Our 2019 Year in Review highlights just some of our investments, and the impact we have been able make in the region.
I am excited about the future of Facebook and our family of apps here in Africa, as well as the potential of this young, mobile and dynamic continent.
And I am looking forward to creating more partnerships in 2020 and beyond,” he said.
Edited by: Edith Bolokor/Wale Ojetimi
5 female entrepreneurs win UK-Nigeria Tech Hub Pitch competition
Five Female entrepreneurs on Thursday emerged winners at the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub pitch competition aimed at supporting gender inclusive economic growth.
Honey Ogundeyi, the Country Director of the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, said that the programme was aimed at bringing 15 of the continent’s most ambitious development-focused women entrepreneurs to the United Kingdom in January.
Ogundeyi made this known during the Africa-UK Female Tech Founders 2020 programme held at the British Deputy High Commissioner’s Residence at Ikoyi, Lagos.
” The five entrepreneurs who emerged winners during the pitch competition are: Damilola Emuze, founder of Scholarx, Damilola Olokesusi, of Shuttlers mobility and Dr Funmi Adewara of Mobihealth.
The two others are: Ifeoma Uddoh of Shecluded and Keturah Ovio of Limestart, “Ogundeyi said.
NAN reports that other participants at the pitch competition were Agorite, Easyshop Easy cook, Mumspring, Roving Heights and 9IJAKIDs.
She said that the entrepreneurs would gain access to world-class mentoring time with UK investors and expert training to help scale their companies.
Harriet Thompson, the British Deputy High Commissioner, Nigeria, said that UK-Africa Investment Summit would take place six weeks from now.
Thompson said that the winners would be in London during the summit, adding Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) would cover all costs and programmes to help support them grow their businesses.
We are pleased to be hosting an event that brings support for women, whose empowerment is vital for Nigeria’s future prosperity and stability.
Nigeria’s tech sector accounted for over 11 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP in 2018 (compared with 9 per cent from oil and gas) and is the fastest growing part of Nigeria’s economy.
In 2018, Nigeria’s technology companies attracted $300 million (+167 per cent YoY) in funding, mainly from foreign investors, “she said.
Thompson said that the UK was supporting and looking forward to strengthening its partnership further in Nigeria.
She said this was necessary because technology could be a key enabler to boost Nigeria’s growth, tackle poverty and create jobs.
‘The UK is trying to build and expand that eco-system in different ways.
We now have our very own Tech Hub here in Nigeria and the Director is Honey Ogundeyi. The hub is funded by our Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
‘’The UK-Nigeria tech hub focuses on three key areas: skills and capability development, digital ecosystem building and facilitating innovation collaborations between Nigerian and UK tech businesses.
“This will help to build skilled, entrepreneurial and networked populations which will create jobs and address digital inequality.’’
She said the tech hub had supported companies such as Riby, Innovation Corner, Social Lender and Farmcrowdy to grow their businesses, build links with the UK’s thriving tech sector.
Thompson, who noted that Nigeria was one of the most exciting technology sectors in Africa, said the hub would support the growth of thriving digital eco-system in the country.
According to her, the outfit will also provide support to scale innovations and drive growth in tech investment in Nigeria.
As Europe’s leading tech hub, UK is credible partner. We generate more billion-dollar tech businesses than any other country on the continent.
We have a network of regional tech clusters which reflect a dynamic and growing industry across the whole of the UK with London as the centre of Europe’s technology sector.
The UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in 2019 launched the UK-Nigeria Tech hub as part of international Tech Hub Network in partnership with the British High Commission in Nigeria.
Edited by: Dada Ahmed
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