Why ALAT is Important to Wema Bank

Alat

For the continuity of life (especially in the aspect of remaining relevant), a seed, which represents fertility must undergo certain changes in form and colour. Conditions must be favourable for it to germinate. It must be sown and must decompose for a new plant to emerge. That is the price the seed has to pay for its name to continue without the fear of extinction.

Wema Bank represents that seed which refuses to go into extinction despite being threatened by unfavourable conditions. On the 2nd of May 2017, ALAT came out of the womb of its mother, Wema, one of Nigeria’s oldest banks and proudly the oldest Indigenous bank. Wema launched to the public what is perceived as a disruption in the banking space; a fully-digital bank, first of its kind in Nigeria and probably the continent of Africa, ALAT just struck a particular Nigerian Chord in most people.
ALAT’s emancipation of the Wema Bank Brand are evident in the statements offered by Dele Adeyinka, the Chief Digital Officer of ALAT, who explained that “ALAT is much more than a bank, it is the future of banking”.

alat

ALAT is a fully-digital bank designed to deliver tomorrow’s banking to today’s customers. It is built to match your lifestyle and help you save more. With ALAT, you can save seamlessly with a simple automated savings plan and earn 10% annual interest—three times the standard bank rate.

Human nature is full of weaknesses despite some noticeable strengths. Problems are part of human beings as we are still striving towards perfection. The human brain is forced to think when problems seem tougher than imagined. ALAT was created by humans to solve problems faced by humans. There have been popular customer issues one of which was faced by a student who took to a popular blog to express his disappointment with the digital bank. He complained of having his account blocked for 6-8months for the reason of not being able to verify his address. He also complained of being snubbed each time he tried to draw ALAT’s attention to his problems!

I believe ALAT will stand the test of time in Nigeria with the coming on board of two of Nigeria’s financial veterans, Mr. Ademola Adebise, the new MD/CEO of ALAT and Moruf Oseni, the new Deputy Managing Director of the bank.

Moruf Oseni, Ademola Adebise
Moruf Oseni (L) and Ademola Adebise (R)

I would recommend that ALAT should diversify its outreach to the elderly and not only to the youth because learning never ends and these elderly people can be sensitized about its operations.

Also, immediate customer service should be provided to handle issues emanating from the registration process. The management should take note of the fact that Nigerians believe in facts and not tall stories about how digital banking works!

By Daniel Ojuade, Content Writer at DigiLaw

What Nigerians do on Social Media

Image of social media

The Nigerian populace has over the years been involved in interactive social relations and information dissemination.  Quite amusingly, the statistics from the Ministry of Communications posits that about 75% of Nigerian population who are on the internet use social media. This vividly shows how that quite a mammoth chunk of Nigerians (specifically teens and young adults) are quite active in the self-crafted world of the digital age. 

The idea of social networking in the cyberspace has been utilized by Nigerians for different reasons. Social media platforms are potent ways to reach out to loved ones, attend conferences or job interviews, link up with other professionals in a field as well as advertise and market your products or for sometimes self-branding.

Nigeria for one is known to be a society where mostly, all are “self-made” and upload their very creativity through any medium of publicity. Self-expression and latest projects are projected on platforms for the world to see and appreciate. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are other means through which the world can get to know the beauty in Nigerian art and culture as portrayed by different Nigerian artiste and celebrities who became well known by exploiting the gold in the digital social world such as Denrele Edun, Linda Ikeji, Lasisi Elenu, Mc Lively, Debola Lagos, to mention a few.

Amazingly, in recent times, the Nigerian society has crafted a niche for itself in the social media world through the apt use of myriads of social media platforms prominent of which are Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google Mail. Narrowing the statistics down to these popular ones in Nigeria, they rank as follows in their user strength: Facebook (82.2%), Twitter (6.39%), YouTube (2.71%) and Instagram (1.62%). A research recently conducted by Kaspersky Lab revealed that Nigerians spend a better part of their time on Internet-powered social media rather than watch video contents and download music.

Nigerians, however, spend a fortune on accessing the services provided for by social media. Facebook, for instance has its biggest market in Nigeria in ratio with other African countries with over 20 million Nigerians as active users accessing it through their mobile devices and this consequently means an upsurge in the money spent to access it. Statistics show that Nigerians spend about 197 billion naira on internet data every month to telecommunications operators. This interestingly is not showing signs of reducing any time soon (or ever) due to the fact that Nigeria is viewed by the social media creators to be one of the fastest growing in the world as relating to Information technology; this is reflected in a research by Mozilla and Research ICT Africa.

A question of what Nigerians do online can only be answered by the urgent need of individuals who use the social media platforms and whatever they use them for. This reasons are what have in themselves culminated into making Nigeria a gigantic force to reckon with in the social cyberworld.

By Egbewale Muyiwa, Content Writer at DigiLaw

MOOC Platforms in Nigeria

image of MOOC platforms
Foreign MOOC platforms

MOOCs, short for Massive Online Open Courses, are aimed at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. They are courses taken over-the-internet designed for hundreds or thousands of learners, integrating the connectivity of social networking, the facilitation of an expert in a field of study and a collection of freely accessible online resources, running in contradistinction with courses taken in conventional brick-and-mortar lecture rooms or campuses.

Among other things, MOOCs facilitate an unrestrained window for citizens of the world to get equal access to quality education, in light of the failings of the current system, which is evident in the number of uneducated persons in today’s world- stat of uneducated persons in the world.

The University of Stanford offered the first course on a computer network in 1962, and that marked the beginning of internet-based study programmes. It was not however until 2011 that MOOCs rose into prominence at Stanford University where an open online course in artificial intelligence attracted over 160,000 students from more than 190 countries. The success of this experiment owed largely to the heightened fraction of persons who acquired internet-enabled devices during this period leading to an increased online presence worldwide. According to the New York Times, 2012 became “the year of the MOOC” as numerous financially-capable MOOC providers affiliated with top universities emerged including, edX, Coursera, Udemy, ALISON, Open2Study and many more.

Few MOOC providers abound in Nigeria including Azure Tutors, UTIVA, UNILAG MOOC, NOUN MOOC offering a number of specialized courses.

image of Nigerian MOOC platforms
Nigerian MOOC Platforms

Azure Tutors offers free and paid online courses in Communication, Photography, Business, and Digital Media with their pricing formular ranging from N200- N20,000 for paid courses.

UTIVA, for instance, is focused on ‘helping college students in sub-Saharan Africa build skills that make them talented and highly skilled human resources to employers globally’ with trainings in work-place or business related soft skills like Project Management, Corporate Leadership and many more, combining physical face-to-face classes with online ones, all for free.

The University of Lagos in conjunction with Tsinghua University, China currently offers about 19 MOOCs across different fields, all for free.

NOUN which is notable for its free online resources, also maintains an MOOC on the history of philosophy of science.

Apparently, Nigerian MOOC providers need to heighten their publicity in order to expand their audience. Lots of Nigerians enroll for MOOCs offered by foreign providers due majorly to the massive publicity and ads done by the latter. An upscale in publicity by local MOOC providers will make Nigerians more aware of their services and consequently patronize them.

Also, Nigerian MOOC providers need to offer a local variety of generic courses capitalizing on the local content and resources available, for use to their advantage. To further cement themselves as heavyweights in the market, local MOOC providers can take the extra step of advocating/fighting for a nationwide recognition of their credentials/certificates  similar to that of traditional educational institutions. The future is already here, we need to brace for its impact.

By Sharomi Ridwan, Content Writer at DigiLaw

 

Ways Law has been used to Regulate Social Media

Image of social media

In a world where the man, far in the deep regions of Odogbolu, Nigeria, now has the access to every and anyone, basking in the bright beauty of an American summer, or enjoying the perfection of the Ohio autumn; via the instrumentality of social media, I think the world indeed is quite smaller than we had thought. It, however, has come to a place of being more than small, rather Lilliputian, so much so that there are no more private corners in our life, as most social media have a second-to-second detailed autobiography on their various social networking platforms. This exposes more people to the rising dangers that come with a hyper active and detailed social media account. Little wonder why countries have started devising means to curb and mitigate the negative effects of an active social media account via the so-called SOCIAL MEDIA REGULATION LAWS. 

According to a report provided by the Reporters Without Borders in 2014, 14 countries were typically named Enemies of the Internet. This is founded on no far-fetched reason than their recent legislations and governmental policies which have been seen to be quite anti-social media. While some seem to be merely regulatory, others have been a total shut down. Here are some the countries.

EGYPT

image of Sphinx and great pyramid of Egypt
The Sphinx and the Great Pyramid at Egypt

The Egyptian Supreme Council for Media Regulations (SCMR) has been saddled with the ultimate responsibility to place people with more than 5,000 followers on social media or with a personal blog or website under supervision. More than 500 websites have already been blocked in Egypt prior to the new law, enacted in 2018.

CHINA

Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China

China owns the greatest amount of legislation in the world. According to statistics, the NPC of China, the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China, and the State Council Information Office and 14 other departments had published more than 60 laws relating to internet regulation.

USA

Map of the USA
Map of the USA

Despite the United States’ ardent advocacy for the protection of Freedom of Speech, reliable source shows that the accidental exposure of Janet Jackson’s nipple during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII led to the passage of the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005.

NORTH KOREA

Kim Jong-Un with family of a soldier
North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un, with the family of a soldier

North Korea, on the other hand, has entirely closed off the use of social media. Reasons for this range from incessant online abuse, cyberbullying, online child sexual exploitation, fraud, impersonation and so on.

In a research carried out on Facebook and twitter, report held that 60% of respondents had come across inappropriate or harmful content online, whilst 41% said that they had experienced cyber bullying.

NIGERIA

Map of Nigeria
Map of Nigeria

In Nigeria, the first Anti-Social Media Bill was passed in 2015, though later ousted due to the thought of its tendency to deprive the Freedom of Speech. However, the ghost of the outcast bill is back in the form of a social media regulation bill which is already at the second reading stage in the upper house of assembly.

Other laws exist in Turkey, the European Union (who have replaced media laws for competition laws), Norway and the United Kingdom.

In my opinion, Social media need to be regulated from hate speeches and peace distorting contents.

By Olalekan Temidayo, Content Writer at DigiLaw

AI is the Future: Why we think so

image of AI hand touching human hand
Credit: technewsworld.com

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for more than most people actually realize. The term “artificial intelligence” can be traced back to 1956. It belongs to John McCarthy, a Stanford researcher who coined the term and defined the key mission of AI as a sub-field of computer science.

DEFINITION OF AI
In simpler terms, Artificial Intelligence (also known as machine intelligence) is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals. Artificial Intelligence is the goal of computer science and the goal is to create systems that can function intelligently and independently.

The truth is that AI is everywhere and is already being woven into the fabric of society. From the 3.5 billion daily searches on Google to the new Apple iPhone X that uses facial recognition to Amazon Alexa that answers questions and to self-driving cars.

However, these days, there is a perception of technological advancement as an imminent threat to the society, widening social divide and limiting employment opportunities. While the latter part ‘may’ sound logical, it is not entirely true. Innovation is not additive or subtractive, but multiplicative. It exponentially creates more opportunities for people than the prior status quo. According to a PwC study, 38% of jobs in the U.S are at high risk of being replaced by AI over the next 15 years. But that doesn’t mean there would be limited job opportunities. Technology displaces and creates jobs. According to a research firm, Gartner, some 1.8 million jobs will be wiped out by 2020, but 2.3 million new ones will be created. In fact, repetitive jobs will become extinct. Therefore, as the role of computers evolve in the workplace, workers have to evolve their own roles as well.

REDUCE COST OF OPERATIONS

Image of AI in banking
Credit: Chatbots Magazine

For instance, did the ATM replace banks? No. ATMs helped to increase the number of banks by more than 40% by lowering the cost of opening a branch. AI would eliminate jobs that are physically harmful and dangerous to humans. Good news for factory workers who breathe in toxic chemicals and bomb disposal experts who place their lives on the line.

 

 IMPROVE FARM YIELD

Image of AI in farm
Credit: Bainbridge Consulting

We can make use of AI in different sectors of the economy, including farming, Researchers at Penn state and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have been able to feed networks of computer with over 53,000 photos of healthy and unhealthy crops in which the system has been able to identify crops and diseases with an accuracy rate of 99.35%. AI is also capable of increasing yield of farmland in developing countries with machine learning algorithms used in drone technology for both planting and fertilizing seeds.

 

 INCREASE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE

Image of AI assisting in healthcare

Even in the healthcare sector, consulting firm Frost & Sullivan reports that the healthcare AI market is set to experience a compound growth rate of 40% through 2021, largely because AI has the potential to improve healthcare outcomes by 30% – 40% while cutting treatment costs in half. Also, virtual nursing assistants, aid clinical judgement/diagnosis, automation of administrative tasks, image analysis, and so on are potential ways AI can benefit the healthcare sector.There have been extraordinary advances in the ability of Artificial systems to incorporate intentionality, intelligence and adaptability in their algorithm. AI has the potential to greatly improve security, healthcare, education, and poverty. AI is the future.

By Jeje Yansola, Content Writer at DigiLaw

Why Airbnb is unpopular in Nigeria

Image of unoccupied houses
Unoccupied houses in Nigeria

In highbrow parts of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and other major cities, there are thousands of houses that are unoccupied, despite the fact that Nigerian government badly needs to house close to half of its population. These houses are usually exorbitantly priced, beyond the reach of many. Some may say that these houses are built with proceeds of corruption but that is not my concern here. Even if the house is the result of ill-gotten wealth, that shouldn’t stop it from generating economic value, especially when there are technologies now that make it possible for homeowners to make money from their unoccupied houses without the need for long-term agreements.

What am I talking about? Airbnb.

Logo of Airbnb
Airbnb logo

WHAT IS AIRBNB?

Standing for ‘Air-bed-and-breakfast’, Airbnb is an online marketplace for homeowners who are willing to let out their houses or a part of their houses to tourists who need a place to stay and working class people who need a place to live. Think of it like the Uber for housing. With Airbnb, every homeowner is a mini-hotelier. You can make some passive income with the empty room in your house. Homeowners are free to set their price which is however subject to Airbnb’s commission. Like Uber and Taxify, both host and guest can rate each other at the end of the stay. Airbnb also provides a guarantee for homeowners, up to the tune of $1 million (roughly N360 million) for any damage done to their property by their tenants.

 

WHY IS AIRBNB UNKNOWN IN NIGERIA

With all this in mind, to what extent is Airbnb non-existent in Nigeria? This response from Frances, a recent Airbnb user in Nigeria says it all:

‘Whenever I tell a fellow Nigerian I was staying at Femi’s Airbnb in Lekki, the response was, ‘We have Airbnb in Lagos’?

 

Airbnb operates in Lagos, Ibadan and Abuja, allowing guests to rent apartments for as little as $11 (roughly N3,960) per night for a private room. In some cases, it can go as high as $135 (roughly N48,600) per night for an entire apartment. With respect to Lagos, most of the listed homes are on the island, Magodo and Ikeja Government Residential Areas.

You may have never used Uber or may have used it only once, but you’ve surely heard of it. How can Airbnb be less ubiquitous?

Trust. Nigerians simply don’t trust online platforms enough to give their money. Despite the fact that we live in an age of Jumia, Konga, and so many online marketplaces, most Nigerians (including the author) still have a “cash-and-carry” mentality. Paying online for goods and services that we cannot physically touch and feel is not possible for Nigerians. Uber and Taxify learnt this lesson fast enough and today, generally allow users to pay with cash. In many other climes where they operate, this is strictly banned. This is what Airbnb has failed to do. It has refused to adapt to circumstances unique to Nigeria.

This is not to say that with time, Nigerians will not catch up with the rest of the world in accepting online mediums of payment as conventional, but till then, cash is King.

Airbnb and all other potential competitors should take note.

By Akin Agunbiade, Chief Research Officer at DGL Research