[Africa Tech Week] More collaborative efforts required to fight mobile money fraud in Africa
Mobile Money fraud is still a major concern in most African countries. Questions have also been abound on the security of mobile money transactions platforms, and also on the capacity of African security agencies to tame the fraud. Progress is, however, being made. Companies or financial institutions running these platforms are adding more security features as well as working with security agencies to prevent the fraud.
In Kenya, the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji this week called on all stakeholders in financial institutions and banking sector to work together to strengthen the fight against mobile money fraud and cybercrime. In 2014, Serianu and the Telecommunication Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK) released a cybercrime report which revealed that the most affected areas are mobile money. Back in 2012, we also published an article on how African mobile giant, MTN, reportedly lost billions of Ugandan Shillings from its mobile money service in a fraud case involving the operator’s employees.
African startups were also in the news this week. M-SCAN, a startup that develops portable mobile ultrasound devices (Ultrasonic probes), was crowned as Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup at TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018, held in Lagos, Nigeria. TechCrunch Startup Battlefield in Africa, sponsored by Facebook was first held in Africa in Nairobi in 2017 and Nairobi-based Lori Systems, with its product and service in the Productivity and Utility category, was crowned the overall winner for its logistics and cargo platform for African businesses. In Egypt, e-health startup Vezeeta raised $ 1 million in additional funding from IFC to add up to $ 12 million in Series C financing while in South Africa, insurance tech startup Pineapple got accepted into The Hartford Insurtech Hub. Still in South Africa, after launching in Cape Town earlier this year, Startup Guide, the global guide for startups in high-growth innovation hubs in Europe, the US and the Middle East, announced that it’s open to nominations in Johannesburg. Back in Nigeria, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced a $6 million equity investment in Kobo360 Inc, a tech-enabled e-logistics platform that connects the supply of trucks with the demand for transportation services by cargo owners in the country.
In Zimbabwe, Global money transfer company, WorldRemit this week entered into a new partnership with Atlas Mara Limited-owned Zimbabwe financial institution BancABC to provide a digital money transfer service. This was just one the recent partnerships WorldRemit has been entering into with financial institutions in Africa. Early this month, it joined forces with Addis International Bank for digital money transfers. It also recently partnered Access Bank for instant money transfers to Access Bank accounts in Nigeria.
A number of partners this week also came together to launch video on demand services in some African countries. Vubiquity, an Amdocs company and a global provider of premium content services and media technology solutions announced a multi-year deal with Discover Digital to provide new and exclusive international plus local content throughout the African continent, starting with TelOne DEOD, Digital Entertainment On Demand, in Zimbabwe. Last week, Kwesé, a subsidiary of Econet, also announced the launch of video-on-demand (VOD) streaming service, Kwesé Play, as the centerpiece in its new Kenyan broadcasting strategy, and a first in Kenya.
2018 is coming to an end and this week Google released an overview of the searches and questions that drove South Africans and Kenyans online throughout 2018. This year’s trending searches showed South Africans keen interest in local celebrities, news and events, with six of the top 10 trending searches being local. The top personalities list also reflects this – three of the top 10 are politicians, two are sports stars, and the other five related to current affairs and news events. In Kenya, the trending searches in 2018 were mainly dominated by events and personalities. Kenyans’ enthusiasm for football was once again seen in the fact that ‘World Cup 2018’ took the top spot in the trending searches, as people went online to find out more about their favourite country teams and players. Google has been releasing monthly searches for the same, some of which we have highlighted here. In October this year, Google Search celebrated 20 years of organizing the world’s information and making it accessible to billions of users in close to 200 languages.
This week, Pan-African bank Ecobank appointed MFS Africa as digital payment partner enabling cross-platform payment services for Ecobank account holders. Recently, the bank also signed an agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to work closely together to empower local communities to cope with disasters more efficiently.
Konza Technopolis Development Authority and Huawei this week announced plans to set up an innovation hub in Kenya, at Machakos University. Dubbed Konza Innovation Hub, it is expected to enhance research and innovations among students and researchers on campus and across the country.
On matters aviation, in Morocco, the Moroccan Airports Authority (ONDA) partnered with National Aviation Services (NAS), the fastest growing aviation services provider in the emerging markets to launch the first electronic gates (E-gates) at the Pearl Lounge in the Marrakech Menara Airport departures area. This is the first of its kind solution across Africa. Boeing also delivered the first 787-9 Dreamliner for Royal Air Maroc, introducing a second member of the super-efficient Dreamliner family to the airline's fleet.
In Nigeria, IDOOH International expanded to Africa through a partnership with Nigeria’s Abercairn Digital to deploy 1,000 in-vehicle media screens with ride-hail drivers in Lagos to provide passengers with an entertaining and interactive passenger experience.
Liquid Telecom was also in the news this week. The company reached an agreement with CDC Group Plc, the UK's development finance institution, to invest $ 180m in the company. It also announced that it is investing 8 billion Egyptian Pounds (USD400m) in Egypt over the next three years. This is part of a major partnership with Telecom Egypt which includes network infrastructure and data centres. Remember last month, Liquid Telecom extended its award-winning VSAT service through a new partnership with Kymeta, enabling it to deliver enhanced satellite mobile connectivity across Africa. In Kenya, the company published its second annual Sustainability Report revealing the internal reorganisation and value initiatives that have helped drive the company’s rapid revenue and profit growth.
The North Africa mobile phone market, comprising Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, saw year-on-year shipment growth of 11.5% in the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC) released this week. The global technology research and consulting firm's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker released in October this year also showed that Africa's smartphone shipments increased 9.8% quarter on quarter (QoQ) and 6.0% year on year (YoY) in Q2 2018. A total of 22.4 million smartphones were shipped in Africa during the second quarter of this year (Q2 2018), according to the insights. IDC also reported that the Africa and Middle East personal computing devices (PCD) market, which is made up of desktops, notebooks, workstations, and tablets, declined 7.7% year on year in Q2 2018.
Other highlights of the week included Kenya becoming the first country in the world to adopt TIACA’s new Cargo Service Quality (CSQ) tool nationwide, in a bid to improve standards at all airports across the country, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge being appointed by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres, to the Task Force on Digital Financing for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and General Electric, GE, the world’s premier digital industrial company, launching an e-learning portal for its Lagos Garage.