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Internet Speed: Google’s second subsea cable in Africa arrives in Lagos, Nigeria



Nigeria has something to cheer about after news broke that American tech company, Google snubbed Africa’s largest economy to establish its first Africa product development centre in Nairobi, Kenya.

The tech giant announced on Thursday, the arrival of its subsea cable, Equiano, in Lagos, Nigeria.

The announcement was made by Google’s West Africa Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, who revealed that the cable landed in Lagos, Nigeria today, making it its second successful landing in Africa after it reached Togo last month.

The Director further explained that the arrival of the cable became necessary as internet penetration in Nigeria remains despite the country being Africa’s largest economy. She noted that “landing this cable comes as part of critical stages leading up to its deployment later this year”

“Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy. Still, the share of people using the internet stood at approximately 35% as of 2020 – double what it was in 2012. Across much of the country, people lack affordable, reliable & quality access, which limits their ability to benefit from, and contribute to, the digital economy.” Ehimuan remarked.

“Since 2017, the Nigerian government has been actively working on its digital transformation programs as part of plans to grow its domestic sectors.

“These initiatives have proven pivotal to the success of many industries in the country, especially the start-up space. In the last five years, start-ups in Nigeria have produced five unicorns (start-ups valued at over a billion dollars). Businesses are also benefiting significantly from the usage of internet platforms, with total e-commerce annual expenditure predicted to climb to $75 billion by 2025, up from its current projection of US $12 billion.

“With Equiano (the subsea cable), we look forward to being an even more integral part of the digital transformation journey in Nigeria.” She concludes.

News about the Nigerian government’s willingness to collaborate with Google broke last week as a government agency, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) expressed determination to work together with Google Global Services Nigeria towards advancing the actualization of national targets for ubiquitous broadband access, in furtherance of Nigeria’s digital transformation policy.

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South Africa’s crypto firm VALR gets licence to operate as asset service provider



South African leading cryptocurrency exchange trading firm, VALR, has been granted both Category I and Category II licence by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) of South Africa to function as a Crypto Asset Service Provider (CASP).

VALR, which was established in 2018, is a digital asset platform that allows customers to buy, sell, store and transfer Bitcoin and 60 other cryptocurrencies, making it the widest selection of any platform in Africa.

Farzam Ehsani, co-founder and CEO of VALR, who made the announcement in a statement on Tuesday, said it came on the heels of recently obtained approval to offer crypto services in Europe, and another operating license in Dubai.

“VALR has now been licensed as a CASP by the FSCA, making it one of the first crypto asset platforms to receive regulatory approval in both categories in South Africa,” the statement said.

“VALR serves over 1,000 corporate and institutional clients and more than half a million traders worldwide.

“The South African regulatory authority has established a regulatory framework for CASPs, a sector encompassing crypto asset exchanges, wallet providers, custodians and other providers of financial services in respect of crypto assets.

“By licensing and regulating these entities, the country aims to foster trust, protect investors and consumers, and promote sustainable growth within the crypto industry.

“Obtaining the CASP license from the FSCA is a monumental achievement for VALR. Over the past six years, we have actively collaborated with the South African regulators who have now pioneered a regulatory regime, allowing innovation to flourish while protecting the public interest.

“Our license underscores our unwavering dedication to compliance, security, and providing a trustworthy platform for the crypto community.

“We welcome this regulatory milestone for South Africa and applaud the regulators for taking this important step for the nation,” said Ehsani.

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Sustainable Energy for All signs grant agreements with 19 clean energy developers in Nigeria



Global sustainable energy ornaisation, the
Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), has announced signing of grant agreements with 19 Nigerian clean energy developers under its Results-Based Financing (RBF) multi-donor fund.

The agreement, which has the endorsement of Universal Energy Facility (UEF) and Stand-Alone Solar for Productive Use (SSPU) programme, will see the deployment of high-capacity solar and battery storage systems to businesses and institutions across Nigeria.

Interim Chief Executive Officer, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), Joseph Nganga, who made the announcement, said the systems are expected to be fully installed and operational before the end of this year.

“This marks a significant step forward in our shared vision for a sustainable future. By signing these grant agreements, the UEF is truly making a difference by empowering clean energy developers to bring their innovative solutions to life,” Nganga said.

“I’m incredibly proud of the UEF’s work and excited to see the positive impact these projects will have on many lives.”

He further noted that reliable clean electricity for homes, SMEs, and institutions, will go a long way to transform daily life of users and the society.

“Electricity stays on, harmful petrol and diesel generator sets will be removed, which reduces indoor air pollution and CO2 emissions, equipment runs smoothly, and essential services like healthcare and education can function effectively. This unlocks economic opportunities and improves overall well-being,” he said.

“I am proud of the work we have all done to enable a better environment for the private sector to grow within the energy sector.”

Managing Director of Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency, Abba Aliyu, who also spoke on the agreements, said the SSPU systems are game-changers.

“The companies signing the grant agreements are a testament to the policies that have been put in place and capacity building efforts made in the past decade to build the sector.

“These solar power systems provide a reliable source of electricity, unlocking a range of socio-economic benefits.

“This significant expansion builds upon the success of the UEF’s initial launch of the SSPU programme in February 2023 when 10 developers received grants to deploy SSPU units in underserved or unserved communities.

“So far, over 1,600 systems have been installed, serving over 1,200 businesses and institutions such as health and educational facilities.”

The UEF has achieved significant progress over the past year, not only in Nigeria but also in Benin Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone, with thousands of Africans benefiting from this facility.

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