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Senate tasks ministry to create awareness on new Start-up Act



The Senate has urged the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to create more awareness on the newly enacted Start-up Act, to sensitise the youth on the benefits and opportunities of the bill.

Chairman of the Senate Committee, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Cybersecurity, Sen. Oseni Yakubu made the call at the inauguration of the Digital Nigeria Conference organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja.

The theme of the conference is “Digital Transformation: A Path to Sustainable Digital Economy”.

He said the Act, which directly targets the youth, had great opportunities and benefits.

”The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy should create more awareness on the Start-up Act for Nigerian youth to know the benefits and opportunities that abound in it.

“We are going to collaborate with the ministry to create this awareness and I have been doing my little bit to create awareness of the potential of the bill.

“I trust Nigerian youth will key into the Act because they are intelligent, as well as contribute their qouta to the Gross Domestic Product and place Nigeria in the ICT world map.”

He said that with the signing of the bill into law, the government initiated a N5 billion starting grant to fast track its implementation.

According to him, “it means that there are other funds we are expecting in the sector from other sources so that we can have something to fall back to.”

Yakubu recalled the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the government with Microsoft to train five million Nigerians on digital skills.

The programme, he said, would greatly impact the country’s economy.

Prof. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy said that digital economy could greatly support the traditional economy.

He sad: “The contribution of the digital economy to the GDP of Nigeria and its role in making the economy resilient to adverse events like the COVID-19 pandemic are two good examples of the impact of the digital economy on the traditional economy.”

Pantami commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his unwavering support towards the numerous achievements in the sector.

According to him, efforts of the ministry continue to play a critical role in the development and digitalisation of the different sectors of the economy. 

Pantami, however, called on all stakeholders to persist in supporting the government to further accelerate the development of the digital economy sector.

Mnister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed commended Pantami on his drive towards digital transformation in the ICT sector.

Mohammed said the communication industry was the fastest growing sector globally, adding that impacted the economy and created job opportunities in the country.

He, however, noted technological growth also promoted fake news and hate speech, which people should be wary of.

In his remarks, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of NITDA said, “digital transformation was not about technology, but designing people, technology and processes to deliver things the way you want it,  when you want it and how are you want it  seamlessly.”

Inuwa said that digital transformation and sustainability were increasingly important and intertwined, adding that they were also full of promises and pitfalls.

“To achieve sustainability, you need strategy to realise promises while avoiding the pitfalls,” he said.

Also; Mr Ousman Bah, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, The Gambia, said the adoption of Blockchain technology, could aid transfer of money globally and faster.

Bah said his country was learning part of the processes Nigeria adopted in boosting development in the sector, adding that in 2023, his ministry had targeted five pillars to boost ICT in the Gambia.

Highlight of the event was the unveiling of a book written by Pantami titled: “Advancing Nigeria’s Drive Towards a Digital Economy”.

The conference had in attendance officials of government agencies across sectors, experts from the industry both local and international, among other participants.

It will also feature panel discussions, Blockchain Summit, Start-up and Innovation Ecosystem day and an award night.

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All is now set for the official launch of the world’s most-sophisticated, social networking in platform, Yomen Cloud.

The global IT giant, ITEK TEKNOLOGIES, owners and operators of the new app, has stated that Yomen Cloud, which promises to be the fastest and cheapest communications platform in the globe, will be launched worldwide on September 13, 2023; and will offer lots of bonuses and incentives to the first 5 million users, worldwide!

According to ITEK authorities, Voice and Video Calls are end-to-end encrypted. Yomen Cloud also provides a Family-Friendly environment, a safe and inclusive space for users of all ages, with veritable, AI components strictly prohibiting indecent posts, thereby ensuring that children can use the platform with confidence.

Also, on Yomen Cloud,
Job placement is made easy, life’s tasks, are simplified, including easiest payment of bills, such as Electricity bills, TV subscriptions, Airtime and Data purchases, etc, all in one place.

Indeed, in Yomen Cloud, the world is about to experience a new era of connection, empowerment and opportunities.

The Yomen Cloud app is presently available for downloads in Google Play and Apple Stores

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Julius Berger -AFP GM Emphasises Standards, Sustainability At Abuja IDAN Exhibition.



. “…the future of manufacturing holds incredible promise, and sustainable furniture represents a beacon of hope in this journey. Julius Berger-AFP

….promises to remain at the frontlines of that progressive journey for the manufacturing of sustainable furniture.”

The need for sustainability and more creative beautification of the furniture manufacturing process has been emphasised even as the challenges of the entire production chain were also highlighted.

Speaking at the annual International Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN) exhibition event in Abuja, Oliver Cohnen, an Architect and Master of Carpentry as well as the General Manager of Abuja Furniture Production, the furniture production unit of Julius Berger Plc, the engineering construction leader, said, “…with regard to the production of sustainable furniture and their challenges, it involves considering various aspects of the production process, including materials used, and the overall lifecycle of the furniture.”

According to Cohnen, “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are the three fundamental principles that guide sustainable practices and environmental conservation efforts.” He added that, “…these principles are crucial for promoting responsible consumption, minimizing waste generation, and conserving resources. By incorporating these principles into furniture and interior design, we can contribute to a more sustainable future.”

Saying that sustainability is the concept of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, Cohnen added that, “…it encompasses practices and approaches that aim to balance social, environmental, and economic considerations to create a harmonious and enduring system.” In a broader sense, the AFP General Manager continued, “sustainability involves promoting responsible actions and making choices that minimize negative impacts on the planet, society, and the economy. It entails finding ways to preserve and protect natural resources, promote social equity and justice, and ensure long-term economic viability.”

Harping on the key principles and pillars of sustainability, which Oliver Cohnen identified as Social Equity, Economic Viability, Inter-generational Equity and Environmental Stewardship, the AFP general Manager further said, “sustainability fundamentally, operationally involves conserving and protecting natural resources, minimizing pollution and waste, promoting biodiversity, and mitigating the impacts of human activities on ecosystems.”

On the production of sustainable furniture and their challenges, he said it involves considering various aspects of the production process, materials used, and the overall lifecycle of the furniture, with a lot of key factors to consider. Cohnen submitted that in sourcing sustainable materials for quality furniture production, one of the primary challenges is finding and sourcing environmentally friendly and sustainable materials to produce furniture. This he added, includes materials like responsibly sourced wood, recycled or upcycled materials and non-toxic finishes or alternative materials like bamboo, cork, or recycled plastics. Cohnen, however, cautioned that one must avoid materials associated with deforestation, or high carbon emissions, adding that, ensuring a reliable and consistent supply of such materials can be a challenge, especially if they are not readily available in the market. Another challenge, he continued, include cost considerations. This is with a view to balancing sustainability with affordability. This, he added, can be a challenge, as consumers often consider price as a significant factor in their purchasing decisions.

Consideration of design and functionality to optimize resource usage and minimize waste, the General Manager said that, “creative furniture designs that are durable, timeless, and multifunctional, allowing for long-term use and adaptability, will take into consideration modularity to enable repair and replacement of specific components instead of discarding the entire piece. This may be a challenge, but a challenge with a creative promise and hope.”

Cohnen further said, energy and water consumption and supply chain considerations are to collaborate with suppliers who follow sustainable practices, ensuring they meet environmental and ethical standards. Reducing energy and water consumption during the manufacturing process is an essential aspect of sustainability adding that, “…in implementing energy-efficient technologies, optimizing production workflows, a consideration of renewable energy sources and using eco-friendly machinery can help minimize environmental impact.”

A manifestly well-rounded furniture production architect, Cohnen also professionally, authoritatively submitted that the ability to conduct a lifecycle assessment to understand the environmental impact of a manufacturer’s furniture, from material extraction to disposal is a top consideration. Under the circumstance, he added that “…furniture producers must use the findings to identify areas for improvement and implement sustainable practices throughout the entire lifecycle.” Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that integrates sustainable practices across the entire supply chain, from sourcing materials to production, distribution, and end-of-life management. “Furniture manufacturers can contribute to a more sustainable industry by reducing environmental impact, conserving resources, and promoting responsible consumption and production. Collaboration with suppliers, industry partners, and regulatory bodies can also help overcome these challenges and drive the adoption of sustainable practices in this sector,” said the Julius Berger-AFP General Manager, Oliver Cohnen.

On beauty in terms of furniture manufacturing, he said that is subjective and can vary based on a customer’s personal preferences, cultural influences, as well as design trends. There are, however, certain aspects and principles that can be considered when defining beauty in furniture manufacturing, he said. “Aesthetically pleasing furniture can evoke emotions, create a sense of harmony, and be visually captivating. It may feature elegant lines, balanced proportions, and thoughtful details,” Cohnen explained, adding that, the choice of materials being used can contribute to its beauty. He further submitted that “…skilful craftsmanship and attention to detail play a significant role in defining the beauty of furniture. Precise joinery, seamless finishes, and impeccable upholstery contribute to the overall quality and attractiveness of a piece. The level of craftsmanship reflects the dedication and expertise of the artisans involved in its creation.”

The experienced furniture manufacturing expert further said that beauty in furniture goes beyond aesthetics and includes functionality. Well-designed furniture should serve its intended purpose effectively, providing comfort and usability. Functional beauty, Cohnen stated, is achieved when a piece fulfils its function seamlessly while retaining its visual appeal. He also listed timelessness, sustainability and emotional connection as other considerations for a fulfilling furniture satisfaction.

On the future of manufacturing furniture, Cohnen said, “…it is likely to involve advancements in technology, materials, and practices that further enhance sustainability and reduce environmental impact. Innovations in materials science can lead to the development of new sustainable materials with enhanced properties. For example, bio-based composites, 3D-printed sustainable materials, or even materials made from agricultural waste or fungi. These materials could offer increased durability and a lower carbon footprint.”

Oliver Cohnen mentioned a long list of industry practitioners who have gained worthy recognition for their contributions to sustainability in the field of architecture declaring with an experientially confident forecast that, “…the future of manufacturing holds incredible promise, and sustainable furniture represents a beacon of hope in this journey. Julius Berger-AFP promises to remain at the frontlines of that progressive journey for the manufacturing of sustainable furniture.”

It would be recalled that the organiser of the annual design exhibition, Design Week Lagos, DWL, Ms. Titi Ogufere had last year described Julius Berger-Abuja Furniture Production, AFP, as Nigeria’s leading furniture production company with no equal. Ms. Ogufere also spoke at the just concluded 2023 IDAN exhibition held in Abuja amidst similar encomiums from other high profile visitors to the AFP exhibition stand. She said, “Julius Berger- AFP pavilion is a great stand with amazing new designs. Year after year, AFP’s product quality and strength keeps pushing the standards higher. AFP is a superb Nigerian brand, consistently setting a sustainable global benchmark, indeed, for the furniture industry.

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Amazon opens office in Nigeria




An Information Technology firm, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) says it has opened its first office in Lagos, Nigeria.

A statement on Tuesday by Ms Amrote Abdella, the firm’s Regional Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, said the office was to reinforce its commitment to Africa.

Abdella said that the new Lagos office was part of AWS’s support for the growing number of customers and partners in Nigeria.

AWS, a subsidiary of Amazon, offers website hosting, backup, digital marketing, analytics, application integration, blockchain, networking, and other related services to clients worldwide.

“With a local presence, AWS will support new and existing customers looking to use AWS products and services to innovate, lower their information technology (IT) costs, and grow their organizations in the cloud.

“We are excited to open our first AWS office in Nigeria, Lagos offers a highly skilled and creative talent pool, and the area is home to many fast-growing startups and notable Nigerian enterprises leading the way in digital innovation.

“We look forward to fostering the country’s pioneering spirit and helping our customers accelerate their digital transformation as they deliver innovative new products and services to the Nigerian community,’’ Abdella said.

Abdella said AWS Activate provides startups with the resources they need to get started on AWS, including up to $100,000 in credits, training, support, and contact with incubators, accelerators, and venture capital firms.

According to her, AWS Academy helps university students and educators develop knowledge and skills about AWS Cloud computing, to accelerate cloud-related learning.

The regional manager said that AWS Academy member institutions in Nigeria included the University of Benin, University of Jos, and Igbinedion University.

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