[Africa Tech Week] More collaborations needed to promote internet safety among children and young people in Africa
This week, the world celebrated Safer Internet Day (SID) 2019, a day set aside to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology especially among children and young people. From cyberbullying to social networking, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns.
In Kenya, Safaricom hosted the annual Safer Internet Day to advocate for the responsible use of the internet at an event held at the Michael Joseph Centre, Safaricom House. To support this day, Facebook has announced that it has partnered with more than 20 African NGOs and government agencies in a campaign spanning 15-plus African countries. The Kenya Scouts Association, with the support of Google, also launched the 2019 edition of Web Rangers, a youth programme for online safety at an event to mark Safer Internet Day. In 2018, Google Kenya hosted the first Web Rangers summit in Africa aimed at spreading awareness about internet safety and promoting responsible digital citizenship on the continent. In November 2018, Kenya’s mobile operators, regulator and government also came together to support a major GSMA initiative aimed at ensuring a safe online environment for children and young citizens in Kenya.
Facebook announced that it is opening up a content review centre in Nairobi Kenya as part of its continued investment across Sub-Saharan Africa and commitment to safety and security on its platform. This came just a few months after the company launched its Third-Party Fact-Checking to help assess the accuracy of news in Kenya, and reduce the spread of misinformation, whilst improving the quality of news people find on its platform. The social network also partnered Dubawa, a Nigerian Online platform, to intensify the fight against fake information in the country.
Telkom Kenya and Airtel Kenya announced the signing of a binding agreement that will see the shareholders of the two companies enter into an agreement to merge their respective operations. Early this year, Telkom announced that it will dedicate KSh. 1 billion, $10 million, into the expansion and optimisation of its 4G and 3G network. Still, on telcos, Safaricom partnered with KAPS to enable motorists across Kenya to pay for their parking by M-PESA. The telco, also partnered with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Wetlands International and other stakeholders to raise awareness on the urgent need to conserve Kenya’s wetlands, ahead of World Wetlands Day on 2nd February 2019. It also announced new “All in One Monthly Bundles” that will see customers enjoy discounted data and calling rates in one package.
WorldRemit partnered with Express Finance SA Cameroon for international mobile money transfers to Cameroon. Xpress Money also announced that its setting sight on doubling mobile wallet operations in Africa in the first half of 2019. In January, the digital money transfer service joined forces with NIC Bank for digital money transfers to Kenya. It also launched its low-cost digital money transfer service from South Africa to over 145 destinations worldwide.
On matters cloud, IX Reach, the leading provider of SDN cloud connectivity, remote peering and Ethernet services announced its network expansion into East Africa in partnership with the award-winning Djibouti Data Center. icolo.io, a leading provider of carrier-neutral colocation services in Africa also commenced the construction of its new data centre in Kenya.
African startups were also in the news this week. Kenyan based recruitment startup Shortlist raised $2 million series A led by Blue Haven Initiative, with participation from Compass Venture Capital, existing investor Zephyr Acorn, and several others. South African based Artificial Intelligence Software & Solutions startup Cortex Logic has secured growth investment to expand it’s reach to new clients in Europe and the USA. According to a recent Digest Africa INDEX, an annual report that summarises Africa’s technology investment landscape, Africa’s 50 most funded tech companies in 2018 raised a total of $618M.
Nigerian telecommunications Globacom announced that it will be rolling out its Glo2 fibre optic infrastructure in 2019 from Lagos to Niger Delta states. In Ethiopia, Cambridge Wireless (CW), joined forces with Regional State Government, Bahir Dar University and local delivery partners to deploy world-class connectivity infrastructure in a rapidly growing city in the country.
Other highlights of the week included The Court of Justice of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) implementing a paperless digital courtroom after signing up with CaseLines and Liquid Telecom Kenya connecting Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi to Dadaab refugee complex.