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“Mobile Operators Must Be Compliant With Regulations” – NCC

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Telecom operators have been tasked to always comply with the provisions of extant laws, subsidiary legislations and other regulatory frameworks put in place by the Commission to ensure a more competitive and sustainable telecoms sector in Nigeria.

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta gave the charge at a two-day tripartite dialogue of the Commission tagged, ‘Talk To The Regulator (TTTR) Forum’ which held in the ancient city of Kano on Friday, October 15, 2021.

The programme had in attendance representatives of more than 104 telecoms licensees in different categories and segments of the Nigerian telecoms market as well as consumers of telecoms services.

Prof. Danbatta said while the Commission continues to engender effective regulatory environment, there is a need for licensees to support several initiatives carefully designed to enhance market opportunities for all its licensees.

“Telecoms industry sustainability can only be guaranteed where all licensees ensure full and effective compliance with licence conditions and other regulatory prescriptions. So, this forum provides an opportunity to discuss areas where some of our licensees are falling short of their licence obligations, and how we can collectively improve on the present situation,” he said.

The EVC highlighted some of the key policies that have been articulated by the Federal Government, including the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS, 2020-2030); the Nigerian national Broadband Plan (NNBP, 2020-202), the Revised national Digital Identity Policy for SIM Registration, among others, and sought the licensees’ full and unalloyed commitment to ensure their successful implementation.

Danbatta also briefed the licensees about some activities which the Commission is pursuing to further facilitate the achievement of its regulatory mandate.

These include the recently-launched NCC’s five-pillar Strategic Vision Plan (SVP, 2021,2025); commencement of a comprehensive review of its licensing frameworks; ongoing reviews of other key regulatory instruments to align with the rapidly emerging contemporary developments; ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) and Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) linkage exercise; as well as the ongoing efforts to launch the Fifth Generation (5G) network in Nigeria.

The NCC CEO said, as the regulator, the NCC provides the enabling environment for healthy competition in the industry.

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TechNews

MTN, Airtel, Mafab, Get Approval From NCC Over 5G Deployment

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MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, Airtel Networks Ltd and Mafab Communications Ltd., have been announced bidders of the forthcoming 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) spectrum auction.

Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced , said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

Mr Adinde said the license was for the deployment of Fifth generation (5G) networks in the country.

He noted that the qualified bidders met the criteria for participation in the licensing process of 3.5Ghz spectrum, including payment of the stipulated Intention to Bid Deposit (IBD) as outlined in the Information Memorandum (IM).

Mr Adinde said that the mock auction was scheduled for December 10, while the main auction will be held on December 13, both in Abuja.

He said: “The stage is now set for the three companies to participate in the main auction.

“They will also participate in the mandatory mock auction process, which will come as a precursor to the main auction.

“The commission has also reaffirmed the dates for the conduct of both the mock auction and the main auction.”

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Startups

AFEX Launches $100m Food Security Fund

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AFEX, Nigeria’s leading commodities market player, has today announced a new $100m 10-year bond called The Food Security Fund (FSF). The financing will strengthen Africa’s food security and produce three million MT of food annually on the continent.

AFEX’s fund will support the financing of 250,000 hectares of land for commercial and smallholder farming, initially consisting of 30,000 hectares in the Nigerian states of Kano, Kaduna, Oyo, Ogun, Cross River & the FCT, before covering markets across East and West Africa.

The focus of the The Food Security Fund will be to explore and optimize climate smart innovations and high yield agronomy protocols to ensure more food is produced and that land is used efficiently. As a blended finance structure, with an external fund manager, AFEX’s $100m bond will boost food security in Nigeria, with additional impact across Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

A significant portion of the funding will be allocated to constructing warehouses. In Nigeria alone there is only capacity to store 4% of annual grain production. Restricted production has led to a 300,000 MT gap between demand and supply of seeds, and a 10 million MT gap in demand and supply of grains, increasing food import costs, and declining capacity utilization of processing plants.

“The launch of The Food Security Fund is another really important milestone as we chart our journey building the physical and technology-enabled infrastructure for the continent’s commodity sector,” said Ayodeji Balogun, CEO at AFEX. “Finance will always be a key component of that infrastructure and so we’re very excited to roll out this bond to deliver what will eventually be a decade’s worth of impact. One of our core missions is to help the continent feed itself and we deliberately aligned our company goals with the UN SDGs from the outset, in particular the first and second goals to end hunger and eliminate poverty.”

Having worked with capital markets players to structure debt securities for over 200,000 smallholder farmers to date, AFEX is well positioned to roll out the Food Security Fund. Bolstered by an existing network of over 100 warehouses and digital trading platforms that link investors with producers and processors, the company’s commitment to the agricultural sector and deep industry knowledge will add crucial expertise behind this much needed funding.

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Startups

Octamile Raises $500,000 In A Pre-seed Round Les By EchoVC

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Octamile, an insurtech company enabling insurance and non-insurance businesses to protect African consumers from financial loss, has come out of stealth mode with $500,000 from a pre-seed funding round led by EchoVC with participation from Fiat Ventures, Kesho VC, Trade X, Verraki Partners, Dale Mathias, Kyle Daley (Founding team member of Chime) and other local and international angel investors. 

Speaking on the launch, the Founder and CEO of Octamile, Gbenro Dara, said that “Insurance is one sector that has the power to elevate the economy, but only about 5 out of 100 Africans have any form of insurance protection. The industry has lagged in the use of technology to deliver better products and services.” 

Gbenro has spent the past decade in leading roles at various technology startups, including Jumia, myautogenius.com, Hotels.ng, Efritin.com, Cheki.com and Olist by Opera software. With a degree in insurance from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, Dara is a Member of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria. 

“Our team has identified key areas where we add value and support the growth of the Insurance ecosystem with data and technology by partnering with traditional insurance businesses and non-insurance businesses,” said Gbenro. 

He cited the Access to Insurance Initiative – A2ii – (a global partnership working to ensure that the worlds excluded and underserved have access to insurance); insurance allows the worlds excluded and underserved to take control of their lives and reduce their vulnerability against risks. Hence, insurance is vital to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Africa. 

At Octamile, we believe in simplifying access to and reducing friction in the insurance experience to protect Africans from financial loss. Our digital insurance solution enables non-insurance businesses to offer Insurance as a feature in their already existing products. For insurance providers, we are powering them with the data and technology to improve customer experience, reduce administrative costs and optimise the profitability of their insurance portfolio. 

Having been described as the ‘operating system infrastructure for digital insurance in Africa,’ Octamile offers the following benefits to the ecosystem: 

  • Digital Claims: Our insurtech solution empowers insurance providers to provide a seamless claims experience and reduce administrative costs by integrating end-to-end claims management solutions into their existing systems and processes. Octamile’s end-to-end solution covers first notification of loss, remote inspections, rule-based decision making and payments. 
  • Improved Risk-Assessment: Increase the profitability of your insurance portfolio by integrating data from diverse sources to establish better pricing and risk profiling of your customers and their assets. Brokers, Banks, Fleet owners, Online Marketplaces can also leverage this data.
  • Embedded Insurance APIs: Non-Insurance businesses and developers can boost revenues and increase the life-cycle value of existing customers by adding insurance by ‘default’ as a feature in your product or existing business, powered via our flexible and customisable APIs

“Our goal over the next months will be to work closely with our partners, which include AXAMansard, and FirstBank, and onboard the dozens of insurers and startups on the waitlist ready to leverage the power of our solutions,” said Gbenro Dara, Founder and CEO, Octamile.

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