Tech Top 5 News
The Federal government has announced that it is discussing a possible partnership with Binance and Talent city for the first virtual free zone in West Africa.
The unfolding partnership is a landmark development in digital finance, blockchain economy and virtual free zones.
In a statement, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) explained that it had preliminary meetings with the crypto exchange and tech infrastructure company Talent City regarding a crypto-friendly economic zone similar to Dubai’s virtual free zone.
NEPZA, which helps regulate and operate free zones in the country, stated that the zone would focus on blockchain and the digital economy, making Nigeria a hub for global digital assets and promoting long-term economic growth, NEPZA stated.
At the meeting, NEPZA director Sikiru Lawal, Binance Executive Director Nadeem Ladki, and Talent City CEO Luqman Edu discussed the matter.
“Our goal is to engender a flourishing virtual free zone to take advantage of a near trillion-dollar virtual economy in blockchains and digital economy,’’ NEPZA’s Managing Director, Adesoji Adesugba, said. “We seek to break new grounds to widen economic opportunities for our citizens in line with the mandate of the Authority, the directive of the Honourable Minister, and the economic development agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The NEPZA noted that Virtual Free Zone would be suitable for crypto businesses to flourish. It will offer tax incentives for crypto businesses and crypto-friendly laws and regulations, like Dubai’s virtual zones.
Kippa Obtains Super Agent Banking Licence from CBN
Kippa, a financial management and payments platform, has obtained a license from CBN to operate as a super agent.
It is a payment solutions services licence which will enable Kippa to have the ability to build its network of merchants, providing them with the infrastructure and tools to offer financial products and services to their customers.
Kippa merchants can now accept offline payments from customers and, more importantly, increase customer footfall, customer retention and business revenue by offering financial products and services on Kippa’s infrastructure.
In a statement, the CEO of Kippa, Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph, said, “We’ve done an incredible job acquiring and onboarding merchants from all nooks and crannies of Nigeria. We aim to further empower these merchants by providing them with the tools and infrastructure to provide financial services to their customers. This is already yielding results.”
Ekezie-Joseph added, “Looking at our counterparty data, merchants activated on KippaPay are in the 90th percentile of Kippa merchants regarding customer retention: so, they have more customers and a higher number of transactions per customer.”
He explained that the licence allows the firm to empower all our customers with tools and infrastructure not just to accept payments but to start to offer financial services to their “end-customers.” It also allows the company to integrate with the national switches and “allows us to provide business-to-business and platform and services to other fintechs.”
Executive Director of Payment Services, Toyin Albert, said, “We are excited to offer further financial services to our merchants, which align with the CBN’s broader financial inclusion strategy. We are fully aware of the existing regulatory framework and requirements and will continue to drive our initiatives to millions of Nigerians while engaging all stakeholders concerned.”
Apple Launches Series of New Products
Apple launched a series of new products last Wednesday, as the US-based technology company aims to attract both high-spending and budget-conscious consumers through its new offerings.
The new products, which include the 5G-enabled iPhone 14 series, the Apple Watch 8 Series and new AirPods, were released at its ‘Far Out’ event.
The new smartphone models include the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus models start from $799 and $899, respectively. The iPhone 14 Pro costs $999, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at $1,099.
The iPhone 14 and iPhone Pro will come with a 6.1-inch screen, while iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max will have 6.7-inch displays. Powered by the new A16 bionic chip, which Apple claims is the fastest chip ever in a smartphone, the new iPhone 14 Pro includes a new camera system with a 48-megapixel main camera.
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus will be powered by the A15 bionic introduced with the iPhone 13 series last year.
Apple also revealed Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Ultra, which the latest WatchOS9 software will power. Apple Watch Series 8 delivers various health features, including a temperature sensor with advanced features for women’s health and crash detection for severe car crashes.
Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $399, and Apple Watch SE at $249. Apple Watch Ultra, which starts at $799 has the best battery life of any Apple Watch, reaching up to 36 hours during normal use, the company claimed. The company also announced the second generation of AirPods Pro. With the new H2 chip, AirPods Pro promise to enhance audio performance — including upgrades to active noise cancellation.
Samsung to Enhance Security Systems
Samsung has confirmed that its security systems were attacked and some data has been stolen, but the company has said it is putting measures in place to prevent a re-occurrence.
The breach, which happened in late July, affected mainly Samsung systems in the US, according to the company.
While the tech giant said customers’ social security and credit card numbers weren’t affected by the incident, it admitted that other forms of personal data might have been stolen.
However, in an email to customers, Samsung said security is a top priority at the company.
In late July 2022, an unauthorised third party acquired information from some of Samsung’s US systems.
“Around August 4, 2022, we determined through our ongoing investigation that personal information of certain customers was affected. We have taken actions to secure the affected systems, and have engaged a leading outside cybersecurity firm and are coordinating with law enforcement,” said Samsung in a statement.
It added, “We want to assure our customers that the issue did not impact Social Security numbers or credit and debit card numbers, but in some cases, may have affected information such as name, contact and demographic information, date of birth, and product registration information. The information affected for each relevant customer may vary. We trust our customers’ place in our products and services, trust that we have built up over many years.”
NBS: Technology Contributes More Than Oil to Nigeria’s GDP
According to the recent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the National Bureau of Statistics, the information and communications technology (ICT) sector contributed 18.44 per cent to Nigeria’s GDP in the second quarter of 2022. The sector saw a 6.55 per cent growth rate from Q1 2022.
The contribution of the oil sector, which used to dominate the country’s GDP bottom line, fell to 6.33 per cent in Q2 2022, a position lower than its 7.42 per cent in Q2 2021 and 6.63 per cent in Q1 2022.
With trade coming in second to ICT and contributing 16.81 per cent to the economy, higher than the 16.6 per cent it recorded in 2021 when the world was recovering from the pandemic and the 16.13 per cent it recorded in Q1 2022, the non-oil sector dominated the economy.
According to the report, the non-oil sector contributed 93.67 per cent to the nation’s GDP in the period in review. The figure is said to be higher than 92.58 per cent in Q2 2021 and 93.37 per cent in Q1 2022. The non-oil sector’s contribution grew by 4.77 per cent from the previous rate.
The non-oil sector was driven by telcos, trade, financial institutions, transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing (food, beverage and tobacco). The report also showed that economic activities picked up around telecoms and trade services after the COVID-19 pandemic and government regulations on SIM-NIN integration.
Altogether, Nigeria saw a GDP growth of 3.54 per cent in Q2 2022, from the 3.11 per cent growth it recorded in Q1.
Tech Personality of The Week:
This week’s tech personality is Solape Akinpelu, the founder and CEO of Hervest.
HerVest is a women-focused and inclusive fintech platform for the underserved and excluded women in Africa.
The platform enables women to participate in savings, impact investments and credit, particularly for smallholder women farmers in Nigeria.
As a financial feminist, Solape is pro SDG5 and SDG10 and believes in achieving gender equality and reducing inequality through financial literacy, technology, and access to capital.
Solape is the Nigeria chapter Country Manager of Women in Tech® Global, an international organisation with a double mission: to close the gender gap and to help women embrace technology. Women in tech global is present in over one hundred countries with growing members of over 70,000.
In September 2021, Solape’s led HerVest was chosen from thousands of applicants to present at the world’s number one startup launch competition at TechCrunch Disrupt. Also, HerVest is the only Nigerian startup selected to pitch alongside nineteen other global stars.