What were the main digital policy regional updates in Africa? This space brings you the main updates month by month, summarised by the observatory's curators.
Follow the GIP's March 2020 briefing on Internet governance, which will include updates from the Africa region during March. Register to attend.
Curated by Foncham Denis Doh
Murder mystery haunts Vodacom Lesotho
18 Feb 2020 | Privacy and data protection
Vodacom Lesotho may lose its license for allegedly sharing phone records in a murder investigation. The Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane and his wife are suspected of murdering the prime minister’s estranged wife, Lipolelo Thabane.
According to media reports, cell phone records provided by Vodacom showed that Thabane’s phone was used to call someone from the crime scene at the time the crime took place. The police then asked the prime minister to explain who he was calling and why.
The Lesotho Communications Authority slapped Vodacom with a series of penalties, claiming it did not follow the law.
Vodacom partners with Amazon web services to provide cloud services
14 Feb 2020 | Capacity development, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud computing
Vodacom, a connectivity provider, is partnering with AWS, a cloud provider, to consume and resell cloud service is in Africa. Vodacom group CEO, Shameel Joosub, said that Vodacom will move more services to the cloud for more efficiency and fast data analysis. Vodacom with its large market share will resell AWS services, and the AWS platform will be used by Vodacom to build services such as: business intelligence as a service, chabot as a service, security as a service, and even Internet of things as a service.
In 2020, Vodacom will begin moving its services to the AWS cloud. It plans to build an AWS cloud centre of excellence and train its staff.
Liquid Telecom SA to supply Internet Solutions with wholesale 5G
14 Feb 2020 | Telecommunications infrastructure, Access, Digital standards
Liquid Telecom South Africa, a submarine cable provider, has partnered with Internet Solutions (IS), an Internet service provider, to supply wholesale 5G connectivity for their customers. Reshaad Sha, CEO of Liquid Telecom SA said that technologies like SD-WAN, the Internet of Things, and cloud computing used by local businesses need high quality, high capacity, and more reliable connectivity for maximum performance.
Setumo Mohabi, managing executive for Internet Solutions, said that IS has improved its networking model to provide a high performance hybrid network that combines many WAN transport services to give customers full bandwidth usage for high availability and application performance.
Malawi draws up new cybersecurity guidelines to protect finance
12 Feb 2020 | Consumer protection, Privacy and data protection, Critical infrastructure, Network security
The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has implemented new rules, the Information and Cyber Security Risk Management Guidelines, to guide banks to overcome cybersecurity risks.
Governor Dalitso Kabambe, registrar financial institution RBM, said that poorly managed cybersecurity risks can disturb the financial industry by causing denial of service to customers, exposure of private information, deletion of records, and data management problems.
John Kapito, executive director of the Consumers Association of Malawi, said that the high risk faced by the banking industry necessitates constant changes in cybersecurity policy.
Management of information and cybersecurity risk, strengthening banks information security, and the protection of critical infrastructure are part of the rules.
Rise of mod apps in Sub-Saharan Africa
13 Feb 2020 | Network security
Studies conducted in Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria on 230 million app sessions from more than 21 000 apps and 4 000 panellists by Caribou Data shows that mod apps, whatsapp clones - such as GBwhatsapp and FMwhatsapp - are becoming more popular in Sub-Saharan Africa due to their additional functionalities. GBwhatsapp, has 5% of total sessions per user, compared to Facebook which has 3%, and is the sixth app in terms of usage.
Bryan Pon, co-founder of Caribou Data, said however that there is no safety assurance with these applications, since they are not to be found in the Google Play store, thus exposing the users to malware.
New online payment solution to curb cyber fraud
13 Feb 2020 | E-commerce and trade, Cybercrime
Kenya’s fintech startup, JointPesa, in partnership with Fineserve Africa, has launched an online payment solution to protect users from fraud. The application enables users to carry out transactions without fear of defaults, safety, or product losses.
Valentine Kilonzo, JointPesa founder, said that cyber fraud is an obstacle to the adoption and growth of e-commerce in the country, and the application aims to eliminate online thieves.
The application synchronises digital payment solutions such as mobile payments with an e-wallet, so that buyers must make a deposit in their e-wallets before buying goods and services.
Facebook and partners across Africa work together for a better Internet on Safer Internet Day
11 Feb 2020 | Network security, Child safety online, Capacity development
On 11 February 2020, Facebook partnered with nine non-profit organisations and government agencies in Africa, to raise awareness on Internet safety and security, as they celebrated Safer Internet Day with the theme ‘Together for a better Internet’. This year’s partners were from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Madagascar, Tanzania, and Zambia.
Jocelyne Muhutu-Rémy, strategic media partnership manager for Facebook Sub Saharan Africa, said that they offer many tools and platforms to give people control over their experience, and that they are working together with partners to raise awareness on the practices, resources, and tools available for online security.
ADCA prepares for greater investment in 2020
7 Feb 2020 | Telecommunications infrastructure, Sustainable development, Access, Data governance
The Africa Data Centers Association (ADCA) is an membership-driven organisation which aims to help members with challenges such as data sovereignty, bandwidth costs, latency, and IT computing power. They disclosed that ‘Africa's datacentre market features 85 competitors from 54 countries within a continent that is home to 1.3billion people, and with an overall geographic area similar to Paris or Amsterdam, it is ripe for expansion and investment.’
Fatoumata Sarr, chairperson ADCA, said that there are infrastructure and technical challenges in Africa, such as developing an innovative and efficient cooling solution and bridging connectivity gaps in landlocked countries. Sarr added that skills on data centre management and maintenance, with solid operational procedures are necessary.
World Bank calls for flexible drone regulations in Africa
4 Feb 2020 | Telecommunications infrastructure
On 3 February 2020, at the inauguration of the Lake Kivu Drone Challenge (LKC), Benedict Eijbergen from the World Bank called for flexible drone policies in Africa to encourage both big and small companies to operate.
The LKC is an African Drone Forum (ADF) activity, lastly held in Tanzania in 2019 and dominated by foreigners. This year, in addition to the foreign drones, the OMTDTZ Bamboo drone designed by eight Tanzanian students and made of bamboo sticks took part. It flew for two minutes to an altitude of 100m.
World Bank appoints Progressus for expansion of African Regulatory Watch
4 Feb 2020 | Taxation, Access
The Progressus Corporation announced its selection to head phase two of the African Regulatory Watch Initiative (RWI). RWI is set up to help the government with the challenges of broadband market growth such as: connecting the unconnected, fair competition, affordable data costs, justified taxation, innovation, and new economic models.
While phase one of the initiative improved broadband development in some countries, phase two is expected to do even more .
Progressus, which is currently analysing each country's telecom industry, will analyse the connection between regulation enforcement and market growth, and finally produce the RWI index that will assess all the countries.
Zimbabwean entrepreneur turns tree into a wi-fi hub
3 Feb 2020 | Telecommunications infrastructure, Access, Sustainable development, Online education
On 3 February 2020, William Sachiti, a UK based Zimbabwean artificial intelligence expert and entrepreneur published an open-source technology called Trees of Knowledge to improve educational access in Africa using smartphones.
The technology uses a tree or rural landmark with a microcomputer to broadcast a wi-fi connection, giving access to free educational content on any mobile device within a radius of 100 metres. A solar-powered battery charging station is also available for users.
Sachiti said that the technology is a solution to the challenges of low 3G coverage, high data costs, and phone power, faced by education through smartphones in Africa.