Stories by Olabisi Olaleye

A new report commissioned by IHS Towers, the largest mobile telecommunications infrastructure provider in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, has disclosed that Africa must deliver a renewable power revolution as happened with telecommunications, to reach its ambitious targets.
According to the report themed, “Power Up, Delivering Renewable Energy in Africa,” written by the Economist Intelligence Unit highlights examples of successful renewable energy projects across the continent and identifies barriers and promoters of success within the sector.
Commenting, IHS Towers co-founder and Interim IHS Nigeria CEO, Mohamad Darwish, said: “This report reaffirms that sub-Saharan Africa has the raw ingredients for a vibrant renewable energy market: resource abundance, falling costs of wind turbines and solar panels, smart innovations in end-user equipment and political commitment – by governments and international donors alike.”
Meanwhile, the report reiterated that the  key findings include renewables, which must play a greater role in Africa’s energy mix. The case for building renewable energy infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa is stronger than ever and positive experiences in lead markets such as South Africa and Kenya highlight successful strategies and best practices. However, Africa requires up to $90 billion of investment annually to meet its current energy shortfall. The African renewables sector resembles the mobile phone sector of a decade ago. It has the capacity to leapfrog heavy infrastructure with a larger-than-assumed market, the emergence of smart business models and improved technology. However, long-term renewable procurement programmes are needed to build the greenfield infrastructure necessary. There has been huge growth in technology sales and financing innovation. The market for pico-solar units has grown from almost zero in 2009 to 4.5 million in 2014 and, in January 2016, Africa saw its first solar bonds, a securitisation financial product for small scale off-grid solar projects. Ambitious energy targets are not enough. Investors are carefully assessing the technical capacity of host governments, the country’s infrastructure track record and the connection between renewable targets and economic needs.
The report finds that a 680 per cent increase in net renewables capacity deployment is needed if Africa is to achieve the African Renewable Energy Initiative’s ambitious goal of 300 GW of renewable capacity by 2030 agreed by the African Union (AU) and member governments at the recent Paris climate talks. Innovative tools and projects are helping to bring green energy to people beyond the traditional grid.
However, there is no substitute for larger infrastructure programmes such as wind and solar farms. The report, which includes over 28 expert interviews, fieldwork and reportage from Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia, suggests four measures to attract increased investment in renewables projects and ensure their success – governments should target subsidies that protect the poor while not deterring investors with artificially low tariffs; more transparent and harmonised regulations are required to support private sector decision-making; improved border customs efficiency will help to reduce costs and improve construction and maintenance times by making it easier to move technology and equipment in and out of landlocked countries; and attention should be focused on government-led comprehensive renewable procurement programmes, rather than relying on one-off investments.

MinCommerce launches made-in-Nigeria e-commerce platform

MinCommerce Solutions  Limited (MIN) has launched an online marketplace which is primarily  focused on indigenous products and businesses.
The platform which was launched in Lagos recently, would enable Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) operators of made in Nigeria products sell and market their goods and services to a wider audience both locally and internationally.
Registered merchants would have access to their own personalized web store, have logistic support for the delivery of goods purchased online, inventory management system and a secure payment platforms for goods.
Speaking at the launch, the founder Mr. Kelechi Ogbonaya said: “ In every crisis, there is an opportunity and with the current economic downturn it is important to look inwards and looking inwards means we patronise and support our local industries thereby reducing the demand of forex.”
“This is a good time to patronise made in Nigeria. In our researches, we discovered that Nigeria spends billions of dollars importing food items we can produce here. Also, more people are patronising indigenous fashion designers, more entrepreneurs are involving mind blowing products. With this, we saw the need to create a one stop shop of everything made in Nigeria and hopefully in the nearest future we would be an exporting country because we have the ability and resources to do so,” Ogbonaya added.
He also added that merchants can enjoy all the benefits that come with having an online store by being able to sell their products to customers all over the world. Businesses that sign up to MIN’s Marketplace will have a free microsite provided for them, and MIN will provide additional value-added services including but not limited to marketing, customer service and logistics partnerships to cater for customers in all 36 states in Nigeria as well as Abuja and any other country from whens sales request come.

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Firm harps on quality of service

The Chief Executive Officer of VDT Communications, Mr. Biodun Omoniyi, has urged local investors to maintain a better quality of service delivery in spite of the unfriendly business atmosphere, saying, “The Nigerian business environment is harsh and it is not business-friendly to make investments; no foreign investor is interested in bringing funds to invest in Nigeria at this moment of harsh business environment. This situation has left investments in the hands of local investors, who are struggling to maintain their businesses in the country.”
Omoniyi, who spoke during the 15th year anniversary celebration at the weekend in Lagos  disclosed that the company’s growth and successes achieved over the last 15 years were centered around corporate organisations but going forward, other plans will explore more retail businesses in Nigeria, in relation to its service offerings.
VDT Communications, an enterprise solution provider for corporate organisations and is responsible for providing technology services to clients across the country.
The company celebrated its achievements with its partners and customers in Lagos insisted on providing quality service that will drive growth in organisations, at a period when business development seems tough as a result of the harsh business environment of the country.
Omoniyi, who harped on the general business growth and sustainability in the country, stated further that “It’s been interesting running business and providing services to organisations for 15 years. Not many companies have come this far, because the Nigerian business environment is very harsh and has led to many companies going under. But for 15 years, VDT Communications has made appreciable mark in business, hence we decided to celebrate our success story in the past 15 years with our partners and friends.”
The VDT boss also disclosed that the company has introduced  4G LTE Advance solution, which is a retail broadband service and will deliver data to mobile devices at the speed of light.
“It addresses data services in desktop and mobile devices. We have the smaller units of it like MiFi, that provides data signals to mobile devices that are compliant with Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. We have covered Lagos Island, Victoria Island, Ikoyi, and we are planning to cover Ikeja in Lagos, before the end of the month.

Lagos  to host TechPlus 2016

Tech experts, enthusiasts, innovators, policymakers and a vast spectrum of tech-savvy brands and individuals will on July 22 and 23 be hosted at the biggest tech gathering in Nigeria, TechPlus2016, billed to hold at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos.
Themed ‘A Connected World’, TechPlus2016 will converge over 10,000 participants, 60 panellists, 100 exhibitors, 3,000 gamers and hackers and a wide array of tech-savvy, insight-driven audience across diverse sectors.
Featuring five unique segments: Conference, Exhibition, Gaming, Hackathon and Pitch event, TechPlus2016 provides an avenue to advance technological discourse, innovation, showcase and networks in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
In its second year, Techplus is a gathering of everything technology, providing a robust tripartite tech experience through its conference, exhibition and gaming structures while serving as a platform for knowledge sharing, networking and market place for the consumers and businesses. Techplus has positioned itself as the premier and most authoritative tech gathering in Nigeria. The maiden edition of the event saw the display of hi-tech innovations and gaming solutions.
In a statement by Tunji Adeyinka, Managing Director of Connect Marketing, organisers of TechPlus 2016, he said: “Techplus Conference and Expo is a place where new technology comes to life, new products are launched and innovations converge, providing manufacturers, concept generators, software and hardware companies, content developers a platform to bring their products and services to life.”