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24 – 09 – 2019

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Dabchy, a Tunisian peer-to-peer fashion marketplace, has secured $300,000 seed funding in a round led by 500 Startups. Other investors who participated include Flat6Labs, Saudi Venture Capital Company, Vision Ventures, Daal VC and a group of angel investors. Founded in 2016, Dabchy helps people to buy and sell used and new clothes as well as fashion accessories. It claims it now has 400,000 users in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. The company will use the new funding to expand its team, for product development and expand its presence in the North African region.

South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) is urging customers to use its banking app and other mobile options as it prepares for what could possibly be the largest strike action in the country in 99 years, Fin24 reports. The strike is organised by South African Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). Both trade unions are protesting plans by some banks to retrench workers and reduce workers. The strike holds on Friday, September 27 but banks like the FNB are prepping customers to use alternatives to physical banking to offset the impact of the strike.

TC Townhall: Mobility is now four (4) days away! TC Townhall: Mobility is a forum about the future of Africa’s transport and logistics tech sector holding on the 27th of September, 2019. Our line up of speakers remains exciting. Some of our speakers include Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner at TLCom Capital, Nnena Nkongho, Principal at DiGAME, Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, MD at Lagos Waterways, Uche Ogboi, COO at Lori Systems, Lola Kassim, GM West Africa at Uber, and Frederic Oladeinde, the Lagos State Commissioner of Transport.

To attend, get tickets to the event via this link. There is a  20% discount if you or your organisation would like to purchase five (5) tickets or more.

Virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana are artificial intelligence systems that rely on several algorithms to work and provide responses to users’ queries. But Rachael Adams writes that these even though these AI technologies use familiar features, they “reproduce discriminatory stereotypes of female secretaries.” She explains that the gender bias problem of these systems is further exposed by their “flirtatious” responses to certain questions. Her article captures the diversity question that has become important in today’s highly digitised world where algorithms shape technology and how we use online services.

Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is going after Truecaller, the caller ID app. In a statement posted yesterday, NITDA announced that it is investigating the app for noncompliance with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR). After preliminary observations, the government regulator said it had found “many illegitimate provisions” in Truecaller’s privacy policy, some of which breached Nigerian laws and ignored global best practices. NITDA findings show that over 7 million Nigerians actively use the app, but it is advising them to “delist themselves” from the app to safeguard their privacy. This news doesn’t come as a surprise though. TechCabal has previously written that Truecaller uses several unsavoury practices to source for user data and harvest them for marketing and advertising interests. The only way to stop this is to delist or uninstall the app completely.

12 teams have been selected for the 2019 cohorts of Facebook FbStart Accelerator Programme in Nigeria, Techeconomy reports. FbStart is a six-month programme designed to support tech startups with market-ready products or student teams from Ghana and Nigeria who have working prototypes of their solutions. It provides them with equity-free funding between $10,000 and $20,000. This is the second iteration of the programme and the cohorts comprise of eight startups and four student teams. The startups include VNTS, Appruve, Curacel Systems, Neohaul Technologies, Chekkit Technologies LLC, VMEDKIT, Gradely and Simbi Interactive. While the student teams are Vinsighte, Mus-Comm, InventOne and GESAL. They will be formally announced on Friday.

Although Nigeria is infamous for online fraud, it is hardly the only African country struggling to control the vice. During the recent international crackdown of online scammers, the FBI and Kenyan authorities arrested three people for identity theft and business email compromise (BEC) schemes. They were Robert Mutua Muli, Amil Hassan Raage, and Jeffrey Sila Ndungi. Similar to Nigerian fraudsters like Invictus Obi, the arrested Kenyans filed fake tax returns using dead people’s information. However, one of them, Robert Mutua Muli, went a step higher to swindle three US cities. He defrauded Fairfax County in Virginia, Vermont, and the City of Detroit. He stole at least $1.4 million from Fairfax County alone. Vincent Achuka of Kenya’s Daily Nation provides an understanding about how these crimes were committed and how they were caught.

Over the last three years, Nigeria’s National Communications Commission (NCC) has tightened regulation for Valued Added Services (VAS) providers. The goal was to tackle abuses by VAS providers and to protect telecom subscribers from unsolicited text messages. However, Wole Olayinka writes that the strict policies of the NCC have reduced the value of VAS providers and have crashed their revenue by over 70 percent.

That’s it for today,
We’ll have more tomorrow

– Abubakar

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