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UNDP appoints African tech experts to steer its vision of leveraging 4IR technologies

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UNDP – The United Nations Development Programme announced a Technical Advisory Group comprised of prominent technology experts to steer its “Africa Leading the 4th Industrial Revolution (AL4IR)” initiative. The initiative aims to drive the responsible adoption and use of emerging technologies for Africa’s transformation and growth.

The team of experts, drawn from leading global technology firms such as Google and Uber to inventors, lawyers, activists and social influencers, bring to the initiative a wealth of insights, ideas and expertise in technology-enhanced transformation across several key sectors, including healthcare, governance, education, food systems, elections, access to the internet, mobility and open data for sustainable development.

Through UNDP, the Technical Advisory Group will help steer a vision of strengthening an African-led 4th industrial revolution with a solid and resilient foundation anchored on five key pillars: data, technology infrastructure, skilling revolution, agile governance and sustainable energy. The experts will collectively enhance Africa’s role and leadership within the realm of the 4th industrial revolution through the co-creation of ideas and solutions with institutions and countries within the region.

“UNDP is betting on Africans to take the lead in the 4th industrial revolution. By harnessing and advancing technologies that can steer the continent towards achieving its development goals faster, better and through a greener approach, Africa’s role and leadership in this industrial revolution will not only transform lives and institutions but will also ensure that no one is left behind,” said Ahunna Eziakonwa, UNDP Regional Director for Africa.

Africa’s development is increasingly intertwined with new technologies that fuse the digital, biological, and physical worlds. The COVID-19 crisis presents opportunities for accelerated adoption of technologies – transforming ways of life, communication, governance, learning and work – ushering in a new era of social, economic and governance disruptions.

UNDP views technology not only as a tool but rather as an artefact for sustainable development and an accelerator of resilience.

“If we want to leverage technology for sustainable development and resilience, we must ensure that the foundations for the 4th industrial revolution are firm,” explained Alessandra Casazza, Manager of the UNDP Resilience Hub in Nairobi.

While technology is a driver of socio-economic prosperity, previous industrial revolutions significantly increased inequalities with disproportionate benefits and opportunities for early adopters and damage to our natural world. Therefore, data, energy, internet, skills and agile governance, are anchored on the premise that the 4th industrial revolution must gainfully and meaningfully benefit the African continent. The AL4IR initiative aspires to influence the development and use of technology based on a sound, inclusive and resilient foundation. As the youngest continent globally, Africa’s youth are drivers and creators of innovations and, as a result, are poised to benefit most from new jobs and opportunities that were previously inaccessible to them.

Ensuring that rapid and exponential changes do not exacerbate disparities and knowledge or information gaps (especially between governments and the private sector) could advance progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

UNDP commits to convene, connect and catalyze collaborative actions with partners towards accelerated uptake and responsible use of the 4th industrial revolution technologies for better development decision-making and action.

The 10-member Technical Advisory Group comprises of:

  1. Chrystal Rugege, Managing Director, Center for the 4th Industrial Revolution, Rwanda
  2. Titi Akinsami, Lead, Policy and Government Relations Lead for West and Francophone Africa at Google
  3. Ory Okolloh Mwangi, lawyer, investor and policy advisor
  4. Rapelang Rabana, Rekindled Learning, 4RSA
  5. Davis Adieno, Program Director, Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD)
  6. Eniola Mafe, Lead, 2030Vision, World Economic Forum (WEF)
  7. Babusi Nyoni, designer and inventor
  8. Cezanne Maherali, Head of Policy, Middle East and Africa, UBER
  9. Nnenna Nwakanma, Chief Web Advocate, World Wide Web Foundation
  10. Philip Thigo, Digital Partnerships Advisor, UNDP and Lead, Africa Leading the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Source: UNDP

 

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Ola Williams Named as Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria

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Ola Williams (Image & Release: Microsoft)

Ola Williams has been announced as the new Country Manager for Microsoft Nigeria. Previously the Specialist Sales Leader working with the extended team and the company’s partner organizations to grow cloud revenue across enterprise customers, she takes over from Akin Banuso who is the Enterprise Commercial Lead for Middle East and Africa– Multi market region.

In her new role, Ola will lead Microsoft efforts to accelerate Nigeria’s Digital transformation and cloud adoption across all our customer segments. She will work to identify new opportunities and mobilize internal organization resources as well as external stakeholders.

Ola joins Microsoft’s Middle East and Africa – Multi market region’s Leadership team reporting directly to Microsoft’s Middle East and Africa – Multi market region’s General Manager, Ibrahim Youssry.

“I’m proud of the significant contributions Akin has put in to accelerate the transformation journey our customers in Nigeria,” Ibrahim said. “I’m thrilled that Ola will bring her unique expertise to take the country to new heights and also play a part in the larger leadership team to design how we address the Africa’s business landscape.”

“It’s a great honour to be taking on this exciting journey at a time when the organisation is focused on growing and accelerating Africa’s transformation,” said OIa. “I am very optimistic of where Africa is headed and how we have a unique opportunity to use technology to really transform the lives and business in this region.”

Ola joined Microsoft in 2010 as the Enterprise Voice Technology Specialist. She has also held various positions including Partner Technology Manager, Dynamics Partner Sales Executive as well as Account Technology Strategist. Ola has over 21 years of Information technology experience which spans through Solution implimentation, Solution Sales and Channels Management. She is graduate of Computer Science from the Federal Polytechnic, Offa and has a Master’s in Business Administration from University of Liverpool.

 

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João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, The President of the Republic of Angola To Speak At The Angola and Turkey Business Forum

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João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, The President of the Republic of Angola (Image: Claudia Padayachy)

The President of the Republic of Angola, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, will give the inaugural speech at the Angola-Turkey Business Forum, to be held at the Ato Congresium Conference Center in Ankara, Turkey, today, 28 July 2021, at 9:00 am local time.

President Lourenço, who will address the Turkish business community, will take this opportunity to highlight Angola’s economic potential and the opportunities that the country offers. He will also discuss his government’s commitment to economic growth and development through the private sector as well as the multiple initiatives that have been adopted to improve the business environment.

This Forum is part of the official program of President Lourenço’s visit to the Republic of Turkey and is the perfect opportunity to inform the local business community and investors of Angola’s new business environment. Numerous ongoing reforms and support policies for private investment and the diversification of the economy have been put in place.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of AIPEX, António Henriques da Silva, will present the numerous investment opportunities in the Republic of Angola.

Turkey’s Minister of Commerce, Mr. Ahmet, and the President of DEIK, are also expected to present at the Forum. 

Around a hundred Angolan and Turkish companies from various sectors are expected to participate in the event.

The Angolan and Turkish business communities will soon enjoy closer ties, with the launch of two direct weekly air connections between Luanda and Ankara through Turkish Airlines.

The  Angolan presidential delegation comprises Manuel Nunes Júnior – Minister of State for Economic Coordination, Edeltrudes da Costa – Minister and Cabinet Director of PR, Tete António – Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Ernesto dos Santos – Minister of National Defense and Homeland Veterans, Sérgio dos Santos – Minister of Economy and Planning, Ricardo Viegas de Abreu – Minister of Transport, João Baptista Jorges – Minister of Energy and Water, Manuel Tavares de Almeida – Minister of Public Works and Spatial Planning, Diamantino de Azevedo – Minister of Mineral Resources , Oil and Gas, António Francisco de Assís – Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Victor Fernandes – Minister of Industry and Commerce and Antonio Henriques da Silva – Chairman of the Board of Directors at AIPEX.

Over the last 18 years, Turkey has significantly increased its presence in Africa, going from 12 embassies and investments of around USD 100 million in 2003 to 42 embassies and around USD 6.5 billion in direct investments in 2021.

From 2003 to 2019, Turkey’s trade with Africa increased about five times, and now some 51 African cities are served by Turkish Airlines, which plans to start flights to Angola soon. (Source: issafrica.org and AIPEX).

To date, Angola has registered around USD 200 million in investments of Turkish origin, especially in mining and steel. President João Lourenço’s visit to Turkey will boost economic relations between the two countries and, in the medium term, an increase in Turkish investment in Angola is expected in priority sectors, namely, industry, mining, energy, tourism and transport, in addition to trade, where the two countries already have strong links.

The trade balance between the two countries is unfavourable for Angola, data from the General Tax Administration (AGT) indicate that from 2015 to 2020, Angola’s imports from Turkey was around USD 1,702,737,951.00, while exports from Angola to Turkey in the same period were only 41,960,419.00 USD.

 

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Wärtsilä to modernise power generation at Nigeria’s oldest and largest food company, Flour Mills Nigeria

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Wärtsilä will enable leading Nigerian food company to modernise its power generation facilities to meet everyday production needs

The technology group Wärtsilä will supply fuel-flexible dual-fuel engines to extend, improve, and modernise power generation for a captive power plant at Nigeria’s oldest and largest food and agro allied company, Flour Mills Nigeria. The company’s Lagos-based power plant is needed to ensure sufficient capacity and a reliable electricity supply around the clock to meet its food production requirements, and commitments to its customers. The two received orders were booked by Wärtsilä in March and June. 

The first order comprises a 9-cylinder Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engine generator set and is an extension to the existing generating capacity provided by a similar Wärtsilä engine generator set that has been successfully operating since 2017. The second order comprises a 12-cylinder Wärtsilä 34DF engine generator set and is intended to replace an existing inefficient mono-fuel generating asset in the plant with efficient dual-fuel generating capacity as part of Flour Mills Nigeria’s captive power plant modernisation plans. The Wärtsilä engine generator sets will be delivered during 2021 and are expected to become fully operational in early 2022. 

The multi-fuel capability of the Wärtsilä engines, which can switch seamlessly from natural gas to liquid fuel mode while running at full load, facilitates continuous supply of electricity to critical loads in the event of uncertainties in the quality and quantity of the gas supply. In addition to maximising the availability and reliability, this inherent capability provides a valuable hedge against fuel price increases, and lends itself to accommodating future fuel infrastructure developments. 

Also Read Wärtsilä Optimised Maintenance agreement supports growth ambitions of a privately-owned Nigerian supplier of energy to the national grid

“It is always gratifying to receive repeat orders from a customer, not only because it signifies their satisfaction with our solution, but also because it cements the relationship between our companies. Operational flexibility and efficiency, which are features of the Wärtsilä engines, are becoming key issues in energy production, and are especially relevant for production facilities with a critical need for a reliable electricity supply,” commented Marc Thiriet, Energy Business Director, Africa West. 

The Nigerian government’s 30-30-30 vision document for the power sector aims to achieve a capacity of 30,000 megawatts of electricity by the year 2030, with at least 30 percent being supplied from renewable energy sources. The selection of fast-starting and stopping Wärtsilä engines means that should the customer have access to solar or wind power in the future, these engine generator sets can provide smart back-up generation to balance the fluctuating supply from renewables.

Wärtsilä has a leading position in supplying flexible power generation to West Africa with 4792 MW of capacity installed, of which 667 MW in Nigeria. Wärtsilä has operated in the country since 2010 and has about 90 employees locally.

 

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