Category Archives: INNOVATION

Invest in ICT and create new billionaires, Zinox boss tells FG

Invest in ICT and create new billionaires, Zinox boss tells FG
Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Group,

Invest in ICT and create new billionaires, Zinox boss tells FG

With the right kind of investment in technological platforms and the overwhelming support of the government in providing the requisite enabling environment, Nigeria can effortlessly produce global billionaires from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
This much was disclosed by Leo Stan Ekeh, chairman, Zinox Group, in an interview feature with renowned media outfit, Cable News Network (CNN) which has received significant mention since it was first aired in the first week of January 2017.

Serial digital entrepreneur, Ekeh who has built arguably Africa’s most integrated ICT conglomerate – the Zinox Group – is confident that with significant investment in ICT, the challenge of youth unemployment, inadequate opportunities and growing restiveness among the youth can be arrested.

For this to happen, however, the government has to actively engage the youths by investing massively in ICT which, in his opinion, has become the fancy of young people.
Ekeh is a firm believer in the numerous opportunities which abound in the rapidly evolving ICT-driven future – a knowledge economy in which wealth is no longer the exclusive preserve of a privileged few.

“The miracle of ICT is that it is the only profession in the world today that can make the child of a poor man the richest man in the world. The challenge, however, is that majority of our youths are in a closed community in which the standards are still poor so they cannot exhibit their innate intellectual strength. As a result, they are seen as defeated and a lot of them are unemployed.

“We are doing our bit to correct this situation but government support will go a long way in helping the country achieve more. Presently, Zinox is building digital training centres and tech hubs across the country and empowering many of our youths. We have also committed some significant investment in a number of tech start-ups. Recently, we invested in an Ibadan-based software company – Xputer. Interestingly, some of the apps being created by the young chaps Xputer are driving the business processes of the major e-commerce outfits in the country. All they needed was a bit of exposure and support to help them scale up.

“The same situation applies to many of our youth. Today, if you give these youths the right platforms, which I must say is not expensive, Nigeria can produce a minimum of 10 billionaires from the ICT sector in the next few years.”

“Ninety percent of youths today want to go into trending professions; lifestyle professions and that is what ICT really is. If government invests in this sector as it should, Nigeria is capable of producing several billionaires straight out of the technology space”, he added.

Ekeh is the founder and chairman of the Zinox Group, a technology company based in Nigeria that manufactures and distributes computers at home and abroad. Zinox employs 1,800 Nigerians and Ekeh thinks the company can play a role in improving the tech economy, while tapping into Nigeria’s young population.by pioneering several successful technology start-ups and taking them to the zenith of marketplace competition.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2016

Which of today’s emerging technologies have a chance at solving a big problem and opening up new opportunities?

As the year 2016 would be coming to an end in few days to come, we take a look at technological breakthroughs of 2016 that is shaping our world.

The 10 Breakthrough Technologies on this list, published in the MIT Technology Review, all reached an impressive milestone in the past year or are on the verge of reaching one.


Immune Engineering

Genetically engineered immune cells are saving the lives of cancer patients. That may be just the start.


Conversational Interfaces

Powerful speech technology from China’s leading Internet company makes it much easier to use a smartphone.


Precise Gene Editing in Plants

CRISPR offers an easy, exact way to alter genes to create traits such as disease resistance and drought tolerance.


Reusable Rockets

Rockets typically are destroyed on their maiden voyage. But now they can make an upright landing and be refuelled for another trip, setting the stage
for a new era in spaceflight.


UGANDA LAUNCHES LARGEST SOLAR PLANT IN EAST AFRICA

UGANDA LAUNCHES LARGEST SOLAR PLANT IN EAST AFRICA
Uganda has placed itself on the map of countries like India embracing solar energy, as it has launched the largest solar plant in East Africa.

The Soroti Solar plant located on 33 acres of land in Soroti District, is made up of 32,680 photovoltaic panels, and has an output of 10 to 12 megawatt. The facility is the country’s first grid-connected solar plant and is expected to generate clean, sustainable electricity to 40,000 households.

It said the power plant has the potential to increase its net output capacity by a further 20 megawatt of solar energy. According to the World Bank, Uganda currently has an 18.2 percent electrification rate.

Costing $19 million, the Soroti plant was developed under the Global Energy Transfer Feed-in Tariff (GET FiT), a dedicated support scheme for renewable energy projects managed by Germany’s KfW Development Bank in partnership with Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Agency (ERA) and funded by the governments of Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and, partly, the European Union (EU).

The solar plant overtakes the solar field at the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, the 42-acre power plant shaped like the African continent, which has a capacity of 8.5 megawatt.

The dependency on electricity through poor infrastructure has made blackouts routine in most African countries as the bulk of power plants and transmission facilities were built in the 1950s and 1960s. During droughts and even regardless, countries that depend on hydroelectric power generation, switch to generator sets, thus reducing productivity, higher costs in terms of industrialisation and many households are left in perpetual darkness at night.

According to New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), it is estimated that no more than 20 per cent, and in some countries as little as 5 percent, of the population in Africa (excluding South Africa and Egypt) has direct access to electricity. This figure falls to 2 percent in rural areas.

Africa is often considered and referred as the the continent where the sun’s influence is the greatest. According to the World Sunshine Map, Africa receives many more hours of bright sunshine during the course of the year than any other continent on earth.

Solar power is seen as one way Africa can reduce its energy gaps, as about 600 million people still lack the connection, and those figures are worse in East Africa.

The commissioning of the Soroti solar power plant comes at a backdrop of the threat of climate change and the Paris Agreement signed by countries to reduce their emissions.

ETHIOPIA IS SET TO BECOME THE WIND CAPITAL OF AFRICA

ETHIOPIA IS SET TO BECOME THE WIND CAPITAL OF AFRICA
ETHIOPIA IS SET TO BECOME THE WIND CAPITAL OF AFRICA

As countries rally around for cleaner, alternative sources of energy to meet their needs as well as their commitments as promised at COP 22 which took place in Paris, France in 2015, there has been an increasing shift to solar power.

However, some other countries are harvesting another natural resource to meet energy demands–Wind. Yes, Ethiopia, a nation in East Africa is making a big to become the largest producer of wind-generated energy.

In May 2015, the country commissioned the Adama II wind facility in Nazret; the farm consisted of 102 turbines, has an output of 153 megawatts and is currently Africa’s second largest wind farm. The largest single wind facility is the 301 megawatt Tarfaya farm situated in Morocco.

Well, Ethiopia’s plan to lead the African continent is one that seems to be following a track of improvement, before the Adama II project came online, in 2013, the Ashedoga plant with its 84 turbines and a capacity of 120 megawatts to power 100,000 homes was the largest wind farm in Africa. The country has two smaller wind farms near Adama, southeast of Addis Ababa, with a capacity of 51 megawatts each.

Currently, energy output in Ethiopia is over 4,000 megawatts, which is mainly sourced from hydroelectric power, however, that is set to change with the government’s plan to increase output to about 17,000 megawatts with wind power playing a major role.

Erratic power supply is still rampant; according to the World Bank, less than 30 percent of Ethiopia is connected to the electricity grid and the country needs the energy to drive economic growth that has averaged more than 10 percent in the past decade.

Wind power is also expected to offer benefits for surrounding communities by providing jobs and the opportunity to export energy. Already Ethiopia exports energy to neighbouring countries Kenya and Sudan.

The target is to become a leading force in the use of wind power capital is no easy feat. The government plans to build at least five more wind farms, and potentially more, aiming to deliver up to 5,200 megawatts sourced from wind power in the next four years.

 Credit: CNN [sourced from Ethiopia Electric Power Corporation]

Credit: CNN [sourced from Ethiopia Electric Power Corporation]
As ambitious as the plan sounds, the use of alternative, cleaner energy sources fall within the country’s plan to have a “climate resilient” economy by 2030, just as it made a commitment to cut its carbon emissions by 64 percent at the Paris conference.

FACEBOOK, MICROSOFT, TWITTER, AND YOUTUBE ARE COMING TOGETHER TO HELP CURB THE SPREAD OF TERRORIST CONTENT ONLINE

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube have stated that they are coming together to help drive down the spread of terrorist content online. These platforms have formulated a means of discouraging any content that promotes terrorism.

This will be done through the creation of a shared industry database of “hashes”, that is, unique digital fingerprints for violent terrorist imagery or terrorist recruitment videos or images. By sharing this information with each other, they will be able to identify potential terrorist content on their respective platforms.

 

Read more at TheCable

MEET THE FINALISTS FOR THE 2016 APPSAFRICA INNOVATION AWARDS

Leading pan-African technology news portal and advisory service, AppsAfrica.com has announced the finalists for its 2016 Innovation Awards. This comes months after it announced a shortlist featuring leading mobile and tech companies from across Africa. The award is scheduled to hold in Cape Town, South Africa on November 14th 2016.

“We are delighted with the huge response building on 2015 and this year’s finalists represent North, South, East and West Africa which is testament to innovation happening across the continent” said Andrew Fassnidge, Founder of AppsAfrica.com.

The 2016 awards attracted over 200 submissions from 25 countries, chosen by an independent panel of leading industry experts. The Awards celebrate the best in mobile and tech from across Africa. It also provides winners with the global publicity, recognition and networking with 300+ industry peers at the Awards party.

Meet the finalist for the 2016 Appsafrica.com Innovation Award in the different categories

Disruptive Innovation Award
Domestly – South Africa, Flutterwave – Nigeria, Bottles App – South Africa, Opera Max – Africa and Flare – Kenya.

Best Social & Messaging Award
Pelichat – South Africa, LOGISA – Tanzania, Jongla – Nigeria, Vula Mobile – South Africa and Dokita Eyes – Togo.

Best African App Award
Zynar – Africa, SpacePointe – Nigeria, Domestly – South Africa, Sliide Airtime – Nigeria and Vula Mobile – South Africa.

Enterprise Solution Award
Kasi Insights – Cameroon, Flutterwave – Nigeria, Celstra – South Africa, Alpha Exchange – South Africa and Sauti  – Africa.

News & Entertainment Award

KoshK Comics – Egypt, Battabox – Nigeria, Super Animals AR App – South Africa, Vodacom Video Play – South Africa and Glo Twitter Voice – Nigeria.

Educational Award
Tuteria – Nigeria, Mwabu – Zambia, Shule Direct – Tanzania, Eneza Education – Kenya and Xander Apps – South Africa.

Fintech Award
BitPesa – Africa, Lakt – Kenya, Monetbil – Cameroon, PiggyBankNG – Nigeria and Standard Bank – South Africa.

Social Impact Award
Abalobi – South Africa, Medtrucks – Morocco, Agriledger – Kenya, Ask Without Shame – Uganda and Worldreader sub-Saharan Africa.

Brand On Mobile Award
Purlieu – Ghana, LAfricaMobile – Senegal, Mobi Hunter – South Africa and Vouchercloud – South Africa.

Women In Tech Award 
Sayu Abend, SpacePointe – Nigeria, Ruth Nabembezi – Ask Without Shame – Uganda, Faraja Nyalandu  –Shule Direct – Tanzania, Emma Margetts – Alpha Exchange – Global, and Genevieve Leveille, AgriLedger – Kenya.

The awards are supported from leaders in mobile, tech and innovation including Uber, Opera Software, Mobile Monday South Africa, MEF, MMASA, iHub, CcHub, The Bandwidth Barn, Citi, IDEA, Buni Hub, Citi, Silicon Cape, Techpoint.ng, TechCabal, TLA Africa, MEST and Women In Tech Africa.

“It’s exciting to witness the fantastic work the industry is doing to solve problems and enrich lives through mobile and the internet,” said Jo Eyre, Senior Manager Africa of Opera.

A recap of the 2015 Awards Ceremony