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16 - 09 - 2019

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Airtel Africa has appointed Ian Ferrao as its regional manager for East Africa. Ferrao has over a decade worth of experience in the telecommunication industry. Before joining Airtel, he worked at Vodacom, serving as Managing Director for Vodacom Lesotho and later Vodacom Tanzania. In his new role at Airtel, Ferrao will lead the growth of mobile money adoption as well as voice and data services in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Rwanda.
Advertisements on traditional media like newspapers, radios and television are typically vetted by advertising regulatory bodies. This is the standard practice in most countries. They do this primarily for public safety and fair competition, among many other reasons. But on the internet, it is difficult for advertising regulatory bodies to vet adverts before they go live. Yet, Nigeria's advertising regulator, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), is taking a defiant stance against digital realities and wants to extend its tentacles to the internet. This is not odd; the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has done this since 2011. What is causing concern is that APCON wants all online ads from Nigeria to go through its vetting process which involves paying a ₦25,000 ($68.87) application fee and a relatively lengthy review process. It is simply applying its traditional process to the online universe without considering how different the internet is from other media. Meanwhile, implementation has already started and at least one user has been served a violation notice. However, in this article, I explained that two historic court rulings make it illegal for APCON to force non-advertising practitioners to observe its rules. On the internet where adverts don't have to come from "advertising practitioners", the court judgements could provide a cover for almost anybody posting adverts online.
Seven African startups have won a combined $66,000 at the 2019 Pitch AgriHack Competition. Organised by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), Pitch AgriHack supports digital startups that are using technology to improve agriculture. This year, startups from Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria came out on top in the four categories at the competition. They include Profish (Ghana), Savanna Circuit Tech (Kenya) Jaguza (Uganda), Arinifu (Kenya), Trackball Global Technologies (Nigeria), Foodlocker (Nigeria) and TechShelta (Ghana).
Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, is worried about the menace of fake news on the internet.  In a series of tweets, he explained that ahead of the 2019 elections in February, one of his aunts was worried when she read fake news on Whatsapp that claimed he had resigned. “[The] Media is powerful, social media is perhaps, even more so,” he wrote, pointing out that his aunt was actually “convinced” he had resigned. In this IAfrikan report, Fatemeh Torabi Asr explains that fake news is “spreading 10 times faster than real news” and it poses a serious threat to our society.
Innovation Support Network (ISN) announces its 1st Annual Gathering (ISN2019) scheduled for the 23rd and 24th October, 2019 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria. The theme of the ISN2019 is ‘Building Sustainable Hubs to Support Nigerian Entrepreneurs’. Learn more about the ISN and ISN2019 at: https://isnhubs.org.ng/
“Extremely high” import duties in South Africa are making it difficult for electric cars to enter South Africa. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, the world’s most popular electric car manufacturer, made the revelation on Twitter recently when he was asked when his company's electric vehicles will reach the South African market. This provided a sequel for Bradley Prior of MyBroadband Africa to explore import duty challenges in the country’s economy and what other manufacturers think about it.
The new Lagos State Commissioner of Transport, Dr Frederic Oladeinde will be speaking at TC Townhall: Mobility, a forum about the future of Africa's transport and logistics tech sector holding on the 27th of September, 2019. The most knowledgeable and influential mobility entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers will gather to explore, discuss and define the potential of Africa’s mobility sector and the challenges. Get tickets to the event via this link. Companies and individuals buying at least five (5) tickets can get a 20% discount here.
Bike hailing in Nigeria is not just improving how people dodge traffic in the country’s commercial capital of Lagos. An interesting culture shift has come with it especially in terms of safety. With their gears, emphasis on multi-part training and better use of technology, Techpoint’s Ifeanyi Ndiomewese writes that bikers affiliated with bike hailing companies “stand out from the regular okada crowd.” I have previously written about how TORA Africa trains bikers for companies like Gokada and ORide.
Two weeks ago, the xenophobic attacks in South Africa hit the news cycle. Like previous attacks, the recent wave was blamed on African migrants who they claim are stealing jobs from citizens and engaging in illegal activities like drug dealing. However, Quartz’s Abdi Latif Dahir writes that foreigners are not the country’s biggest problem. He explains that while South Africa does have a crime problem, the police in the country “in many cases have no idea who the perpetrators are.” He also points out that there are bigger problems at play, including high unemployment levels and persistent inequality, that influence xenophobic attacks.
Seun Onigbinde, the co-founder of civic startup BudgIT, has taken up a technical advisory role Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning. He will support the government on issues of budget reform, development planning, and revenue growth. According to his blog post, the advisory role is for an initial six months and was “underwritten by an international development agency.” However, there was a little controversy when this news broke. Although he published the blog on September 7, the story hit became news last Thursday, September 12; and when this happened, Seun’s Twitter account was disabled. With many people unaware that he had shared the news days before, some speculations went viral that he disabled his account to “hide” critical tweets about the Nigerian government. However, a few hours later, his account was back online, and he explained that he sometimes deactivates his account to “de-clutter and focus”. In hindsight, there was nothing controversial about this.
That's all for today!
We'll see you tomorrow - Abubakar
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