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Nigeria: Major events that shaped ICT industry in 2018

There are dozens of issues and events which took centre-stage in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector in Nigeria in 2018. Our reporter examines some of the iconic moments that defined the sector in the outgoing year in no particular order:

  1. Social Media Week Lagos

The Social Media Week Lagos held it’s 6th edition with over 10,000 participants in February, 2018. The annual conference now considered Africa’s largest digital media & tech event was held at Landmark Centre in Victoria Island, Lagos on February 26 till March 2, 2018.

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The SMW Lagos one week-long programme focuses on ideas, trends, insights, business practices and policy that leverage technology to transform industries and communities across Africa as over 100 local and international organizations participated at the event.

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  1. Teleology acquires 9mobile

Teleology Nigeria Limited finally took over 9mobile in November, bringing an end to speculations surrounding its business operations.

Following the approval by the regulatory authorities including the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Teleology later announced the constitution of a new Board of Directors for 9mobile.

The company named the new Board of Directors as: Nasiru Ado Bayero (Chairman), Asega Aliga (Non Executive Director), Adrian Wood (Non Executive Director), Mohammed Edewor (Non Executive Director), Winston Ndubueze Udeh (Non Executive Director), Abdulrahman Ado (Executive Director) and Stephane Beuvelet (Acting Managing Director).

  1. Zinox/Yudala acquires Konga.com

Zinox Group, an integrated ICT solutions conglomerate and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), in February, 2018 acquired e-commerce giant, Konga in a move that surprised many in the industry.

Though the cost of acquisition wasn’t made public, the details of the deal revealed that Zinox Group assumed ownership of the e-commerce platform, Konga.com which remains one of the biggest players in the e-commerce sector; KOS-Express, the world class logistics arm of Konga and KongaPay, the company’s integrated mobile money payment channel with over 100,000 subscribers. It would be recalled that Zinox Group which hitherto runs Yudala, another e-commerce platform merged with Konga.com, few months after the acquisition.

  1. CBN/AGF slam MTN with $8.1billion fine over CCIs

In August, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the MTN Nigeria illegally repatriated the sum of $8,134,312,397.63 in collusion with  four banks.

It imposed heavy sanctions totaling N5.87 billion on the four banks under its regulatory purview and asked them to refund the sum of $8,134,312,397.63 for what it described as “flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006’.

The apex bank said the action became necessary following allegations of remittance of foreign exchange with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation issued on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and subsequent investigations carried out by the apex bank in March 2018.

Few months after, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) also slammed another fine on MTN Nigeria.

However, the CBN had settled the matter with the telecom giant in December.

  1. Nigeria’s broadbrand penetration reaches 31 percent, slightly above set target for 2018

The Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Umar Danbatta, in December announced that the country’s broadband penetration stood at 30.9 percent as at November 2018, surpassing the 30 percent target by the National Broad Band Plan.

  1. Facebook, Google partner Nigerian government, media to tackle fake accounts, fake news

It wasn’t a good year for Facebook generally. Besides news early in the year that Facebook was losing its teenage customers, the issue of the social media platform being used as the major vehicle for spreading fake news and massive misinformation, for example, to significantly sway election results all over the world, caused a lot of outrage during the course of the year.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal in this connection is a big story in 2018. The event in India in July in which dozens of people were maimed or killed in villages across the country because of false rumours spread on WhatsApp made headlines all over the world. ,

Similarly in October this year, there were reports that the accounts of at least 90 million Facebook users were hacked. With all these problems with Facebook, the #DeleteFacebook movement which kicked off this year was not at all surprising.

In Nigeria, Facebook alongside Google have been providing supports for government, media and technology stakeholders to end and/or reduce the circulation of fake news on their platforms. Between October and December, a lot of initiatives were launched and trainings held.

  1. Nigeria generates $180million from online gaming activities, seconds Egypt

Nigeria ranked second on the African continent having generated about $180million revenue from online gaming activities  between January and October 2018, a report on the Global Games Market has shown.

Egypt led the whole continent with $286million in revenue for the same period. The study was carried out by NewZoo, a global provider of games and e-sports analytics.

 

  1. Online streaming becomes more prominent as Netflix featured Nollywood movies on its platform

The ability to stream videos online has impacted positively on Nollywood both locally and internationally. This year, Netflix acquired Genevieve Nnaji’s movie titled “Lion Heart”. While Lionheart is not the only Nigerian movie listed on the American movie streaming platform, it is the first original Nollywood film to be bought by the American movie streaming platform.

A scene from the movie, ‘LionHeart’.

Other Nollywood films currently showing on Netflix include The Wedding Party, Fifty, The Visit, When Love Happens, Road to Yesterday and Dearest Mummy.etc.

Similarly, StarTimes also started online video streaming service called StarTimes ON for its Over The Top business.

  1. Survey reveals Nigerians’ transactions on PoS hit N1.82trillion in 10 months

When you combined technology with financial systems (popularly referred to as FinTech), the impact can be mind-blowing as recorded this year.

Nigerians carried out N1.82trillion worth of transactions on the Point of Sales terminals across the country between January and October 2018.

According to the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), the transactions were conducted on about 200,239 active terminals that were issued by mobile money merchants to retailers.

The statistics indicated that this was the highest value recorded since PoS was introduced in 2012 by the Central Bank of Nigeria to drive home its cashless policy aimed at enhancing Nigeria’s payment system.

  1. EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) becomes effective

In the area of tech regulation, the European Union’s (EU’s) General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which expands the privacy rights of EU’s citizens and places severe obligations on organizations that handle the personal data of Europeans, came into effect.

  1. More tech start ups spring up

Many tech hubs hosted tech start-ups contest during the outgoing year.

For instance, Genesys Ignite in Enugu, TechCrunch Start-up Battlefield Africa in Lagos and Africa FinTech festival, among others. The keenly contested competitions provide avenues for tech-preneurs to raise funds to mass produce their tech innovations and ideas.

  1. Nigerian-based Paystack Payment Gateway Company gets international recognition in the third quarter of 2018.

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