Orji Kalu Declares Senate Presidency Ambition, Says ‘It’s My Turn’
PDP Rejects Suspension of Enugu Governorship Election Results Collation
Youths Group Advocates Power Rotation for Fairness, Justice in Kogi
Tech Top 5 News
Nigerian Fintechs to Collaborate in Tackling Fraudulent Transactions
Following recent reports that Flutterwave was allegedly hacked, Nigeria’s fintech startups are jointly working on a strategy to tackle fraudulent transactions within their networks.
The registry tagged ‘Project Radar’ would enable companies to pool details, including banking and government identity data of individuals and groups that have attempted or made fraudulent transactions.
The plan is to start working on a blacklist of suspected criminals.
The list is created to counter rising fraud cases within the ecosystem.
The group is reportedly working with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), which operates a central switch for instant payments and is co-owned by Nigeria’s central bank and commercial banks, on how best to integrate with its existing fraud reporting system.
There are representatives of over a dozen companies, including payments processor Flutterwave, digital bank Kuda and savings app Cowrywise.
The executives complained that fraudsters were getting more successful at taking advantage of weaknesses in the financial system, but companies were not sharing data among themselves to identify such actors.
NITDA Unveils Gender Digital Inclusion Strategy
The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa, has said that NITDA is prioritising the development of a Gender Digital Inclusion Strategy (DGIS) in a bid to unlock the full potential of Nigeria’s digital economy and promote greater social and economic development for all Nigerians.
Inuwa, represented by his Special Assistant on Strategy and Innovation Iklima Musa Salihu, stated this at the United Nations International Women’s Day celebration organised by FGN Women Ambassadors Network (FWAN-NET) recently.
According to him, the strategy is to address the barriers preventing women from fully participating in the IT sector and reaping the benefits of digital inclusion.
He said through the DGIS, NITDA plans to outline specific steps that will be taken to bridge this gap and ensure greater gender parity in Nigeria’s digital economy by creating a more inclusive and diverse tech industry.
He noted that the agency had identified innovation as a critical tool for implementing the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), adding that it has the advantageous objective of bridging the digital gender gap by ensuring that the digital literacy and skills pillar incorporates children, women, internally displaced persons, and the physically challenged and aligns with the agency’s mandate of empowering all Nigerian citizens with digital skills.
“In fulfilment of this strategy, we have taken many steps to drive our nation’s prosperity by boosting digital innovation for women, creating an enabling environment that maximises the potential of all Nigerian women, promoting their ability to contribute to the economy, and ensuring their improved quality of life and well-being,” he said.
He said women were still significantly underrepresented in digital spaces, despite their undeniable competence and potential to contribute immensely to the field.
Google Announces Initiatives to Empower Women Entrepreneurs in Africa
As part of celebrating International Women’s Day, Google announced three new initiatives to empower women entrepreneurs in Africa and provide them with the resources they need to succeed.
The initiatives include the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa: Women Founders Cohort, the Hustle Academy for Women-Led SMEs, and a Social Media Series celebrating inspiring women in Africa’s technology sector.
Head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa, Folarin Aiayegbusi, said, “We are thrilled to announce the selected startups for the inaugural class of our Google for Startups Accelerator Africa: Women Founders Cohort. These women are tackling some of Africa’s most pressing challenges, and we’re excited to support them as they build the future.”
The 15 startups selected for the program are from eight African countries and are creating innovative solutions that improve livelihoods in their communities.
Google’s Hustle Academy is a boot camp-style training program designed to help entrepreneurs increase revenue, position themselves for investment, and build sustainable businesses for the future. As part of its International Women’s Day celebrations, Google plans to host six women-focused cohorts of the Hustle Academy program in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa throughout March.
Finally, Google is celebrating inspiring women in Africa’s technology sector through its #WomeninIT Social media series. The series features the stories of six inspiring women who are breaking barriers and making an impact in technology, business, entrepreneurship, innovation, and startups on the continent.
Head of Communications, Google Africa, Dorothy Ooko, said, “At Google, we are committed to providing women entrepreneurs in Africa with access to funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Through our programs, we aim to bridge the gap and empower women to succeed in their respective fields.”
The Google for Startups Accelerator Africa Women Founders Cohort includes Afriwell Health (Congo), Alajo App (Nigeria), eWaka (Kenya), Farmer Lifeline (Kenya), Maxibuy (Nigeria), MosMos (Kenya), Gobeba (Kenya), Hepta Pay (Rwanda), Jem HR (South Africa), Kola Market (Ghana), Mipango (Tanzania), Smart Ikigega (Rwanda), Suitch (Cameroon), Tyms Africa (Nigeria), Zydii (Kenya).
uLesson Building Online Open University
Nigerian edtech company, uLesson has expanded its operations to tertiary education in Africa.
According to reports, Miva Open University is a Pan-African Open Distance e-Learning institution.
In a video on Twitter, cofounder and CEO of uLesson & Miva University, Sim Shagaya, said they are bringing Miva University on board because he has a strong interest in education.
“Over the last four years, my team and I at uLesson have carried out transformative work on K-12 education across Africa. Yearly, over one million students are denied entry into our nation’s universities due to limited spaces and other reasons. I believe that education should be widely available, effective, and enjoyable. This is why we are building Miva Open University,” he said.
Senior Vice President (Academics) at Miva University, Iheanyi Akwitti, explained that the university would be a fully licensed degree-awarding digital institution.
The university will be offering undergraduate courses in computing, computer science, cyber security, data science and software engineering. It also has a school of management and social science featuring degrees in business management, economics, accounting and public policy and administration.
Grammarly Introduces AI Tool For Writing and Editing
Come April, Grammarly will be taking a step further with the introduction of its new generative AI tool, GrammarlyGo.
The AI tool will be used as a writing assistant, help people edit, as well improve communication.
Grammarly which offers a real time spelling and grammar checking tool already uses AI in several ways. It also recommends ways to better structure your sentences and can even tell you the tone your writing portrays (with adjectives like Formal, Confident, Accusatory, and Egocentric).
Grammarly Go also includes customised voice options to read text aloud and uses AI technology to facilitate idea brainstorming sessions with users.
In a blog post, Grammarly said, “It will uniquely offer relevant, contextually aware suggestions that account for personal voice and brand style while staying true to our augmented intelligence philosophy to keep customers in control of their experience. GrammarlyGo will enable customers to save time, enhance their creativity, and get more done.”
Built on OpenAI’s GPT-3 large language models, the tool will be able to perform distinct functions. If a document that has already been written, GrammarlyGo will be able to edit it to portray a different tone or change the length to make your writing clearer or more succinct. Alternatively, if you are experiencing a writing block, its ideation tools will help unlock your creativity by creating brainstorms and outlines based on prompts you provide.
GrammarlyGo is designed to function seamlessly with Grammarly-compatible email threads and long-form documents. The new feature will be capable of generating quick replies based on the context of received emails and producing content based on short prompts.
Tech Personality of The Week
This week’s tech personality is Folake Edun.
Edun is the CEO and cofounder of Towntalk Solutions, a data intelligence company that gathers and analyses data using real-time data and Artificial Intelligence to enable businesses operating in Africa to make better-informed decisions.
They also provide individuals with operational and financial security.
The company’s flagship product, Area! is an assets protection platform designed to provide greater value to stakeholders in the logistics and FMCG value chains in Africa with real-time analytics, vehicle tracking, and access to insurance providers.
Towntalk has been in operations since 2020 and is a member of the 2022 cohort of the ARM Labs Lagos Techstars Accelerator Program, which provides early-stage companies with mentorship, funding, and access to Techstars’ extensive network of over 7,000 mentors, 20,000 investors, 10,000 founders, alumni, and corporate partners.
According to Edun, co-founding Towntalk was driven by her passion for creating sustainable solutions that address the impact of the lack of data on businesses on the continent. Before Towntalk, Folake worked in risk management consulting for six years at Deloitte UK before moving to Nigeria. In Nigeria, she worked at two leading financial institutions – Africa Finance Corporation and Chapel Hill Denham.
In the 2022 International Women’s Day celebration, she was recognised by Google as one of the five African women entrepreneurs creating an impact in Africa.