NCC Boss, Danbatta Confirmed to Deliver the 2021 Bullion Lecture

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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman/chief executive officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), is the distinguished personality to deliver the 2021 edition of The Bullion Lecture.

Danbatta will speak on the theme: ‘Telecoms, Digital Banking and Nigeria’s Economic Development.’ at the annual Lecture scheduled to hold by 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 11, 2021 at The Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Danbatta, a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE), Nigerian Academy of Engineering (FAEng.), Renewable and Alternative Energy Society (FRAES) and Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (FNIEEE), is an erudite engineer, philanthropist, and a nation builder per excellence.

An astute administrator and a renowned scholar, Danbatta holds BEng and MSc degrees from the Technical University of Wroclaw in Poland, and PhD from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, The United Kingdom.

Until his appointment as the country’s chief telecoms regulator in 2015, Danbatta was a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Technology, Bayero University, Kano, for 32 years, where he taught courses in telecommunications engineering and electronics, and held academic positions of Dean of the Faculty and Head of Department at different times.

Prof. Danbatta has also supervised more than 60 PhD, MEng and BEng projects in diverse areas of telecommunications and has also served as external examiner to seven universities and polytechnics and is an assessor, technical reviewer and editorial member to eight research journals.

He has to his credit more than 50 articles in journals, conference proceedings and technical reports in addition to being the author of a six-chapter, 167-page book titled: Elements of Static Engineering Electromagnetics.

The Bullion Lecture is a platform conceptualised by the Centre for Financial Journalism (CFJ Nigeria) for lively and professional discourse on national and international issues.

Ray Echebiri, founder/chief executive officer of CFJ Nigeria, said the lecture will be chaired by the President, Africa FinTech Network and former President/Chairman of Council, The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Dr. Segun Aina.

Distinguished panelists, who will dissect the lecture, are Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), Mrs. Chizor Malize and the Executive Director, SystemSpecs Limited, Mr. Aderemi Atanda.

Expected guests at the lecture include government officials, captains of industry, banking industry executives, Information and Communication Technology ICT) professionals, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of multilateral institutions, senior media executives, and other journalists, and members of the public. Participation at the lecture will be virtual and in-person.

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Africa’s overall mobile phone market grew 4.6% quarter on quarter (QoQ) in Q4 2020, according to the latest figures announced by International Data Corporation (IDC).

The global technology research and consulting services firm’s newly released Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker reveals that feature phone shipments to the region grew 7.6% QoQ in Q4 2020, while smartphone shipments increased 0.7% over the same period.

However, when the data is analyzed year on year (YoY), smartphone shipments were down 4.5% on the corresponding quarter of 2019, while feature phone shipments were down 8.0%. Looking at the year as a whole, Africa’s overall mobile phone market declined 10.0% YoY in 2020, due in large part to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half the year.

QoQ, South Africa led the way in the smartphone space, with shipments increasing 16.3% in Q4 2020. The Nigerian smartphone market grew 12.1% QoQ, while Egypt’s growth was much slower at just 1.8%.

“South Africa imposed a total market lockdown in Q1 and Q2 2020, causing a buildup of pent-up demand that led to high growth rates in Q3 and Q4 2020,” says George Mbuthia, a research analyst at IDC. “In Nigeria, Chinese vendors were keen on pushing high volumes of units during Q4 2020 when the dollar rate was stable. Egypt, on the other hand, experienced a slow growth rate due to high sell-in in Q3.”

Transsion brands (Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) led the African smartphone market in Q4 2020 with a combined unit share of 48.2%. Samsung and Oppo placed second and third with respective unit shares of 16.1% and 6.4%.

The average selling price (ASP) of smartphones grew 5.6% QoQ due to the launch of new models by various vendors in the midrange and high-end price bands. Shipments of devices from the lowest price band ($0<$80) declined 14.5% QoQ in Q4 2020, while the $200<$300 band saw the highest growth, with shipments of these devices increasing 43.7%.

4G devices accounted for 83.9% of the smartphones shipped in the African market during Q4 2020; 3G devices garnered 15.4% share, with 5G devices accounting for the remaining 0.7%.

“The infrastructure investment required on the telco side to drive 5G adoption is understandably lacking at the moment, since the primary desire of telcos is to utilize their existing 4G capacity,” says Mbuthia .

“On the device side, most vendors are now starting to launch their 5G models in the market, and the cost of 5G devices is expected to decline significantly over the medium term, leading to much faster growth for 5G handsets.”

Looking ahead, IDC expects smartphone shipments into Africa to grow 2.9% YoY in 2021. “The first half of the year is likely to be slower as vendors face component shortages,” says Ramazan Yavuz, a senior research manager at IDC.

“However, a recovery is expected to start from the second half of 2021. With the expansion of vaccination programs and a subsequent slowdown in the spread of the COVID-19, markets across the region are expected to return to normal in H2 2021, with retail channels performing better and purchasing power starting to improve.”

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