Privacy in the age of COVID-19
in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE 24.04.2020
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Shopping in store is a little more high stakes than it used to be. Spar Nigeria, a full service supermarket has transitioned online to make it easier for you to get your necessities, thanks to Flutterwave. Order online, pay securely with Flutterwave and get your groceries delivered to you.

In Nigeria, Yele Badamosi, a former Director at Binance Labs has launched Bundle, a digital wallet app. The app essentially allows users to send and receive funds in Naira and a few cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum. It’s clear that Bundle wants to drive the adoption of cryptocurrencies, but the service is taking a different approach. Calling itself a social payment app, Badamosi says Bundle users can send money to others by "searching through their phone, Telegram, or WhatsApp contacts." The app was incubated within Binance app. In 2019, it secured $450,000 pre-seed investment from Binance and a few other investors. In the long run, Badamosi says the plan is to build a superapp loaded with essential services. It aims to expand to 30 African countries by the end of 2020.
Tigo Tanzania, a telecom company, has launched cross-border fund transfers to mobile money services in four countries. The feature went live recently in partnership with Kenya’s Safaricom, Airtel Rwanda and MTN’s subsidiaries in Uganda and Rwanda. The move could boost cross-border remittances between the countries and the East African region.
In the midst of the pandemic, Jumia has expanded its brand presence to South Africa. The ecommerce company is working with consumer goods manufacturers to deliver essential products to consumers during the country’s lockdown. Since 2012, Jumia has had a restricted presence in South Africa and operated as Zando, an online fashion retailer. Jumia is leveraging Zando’s infrastructure for the recent expansion. As a non-essential service provider, Zando has halted operations. In its stead, Jumia has launched and is leveraging the fashion retailer’s infrastructure for the expansion. Zando’s CEO will also double as the CEO of Jumia South Africa. During the lockdown, it will retail products from brands such as Dettol, Harpic, Pampers and Always on a zero-commission basis.
After numerous cases of embarrassing security breaches, Zoom has released a new update to tackle the madness. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Zoom’s video conferencing service has ballooned from 10 million users to 300 million. But that popularity attracted malicious users who found ways to hijack other Zoom meetings, defacing their chats with porn and other provocative content. Called Zoom-bombing, the issue has dented the service despite the growth in users. The security challenge has forced companies and even schools to warn staff against using the service. However, the company says the new update should allay these worries. The update includes enhanced encryption and privacy controls to make meetings secure.
Nekesa Were, a Director at Kenya’s iHub has been appointed as Interim Executive Director at AfriLabs. She replaces Anna Ekeledo who is on maternity leave and won’t be available till the end of the year.
Owing to the coronavirus pandemic and resultant lockdowns, there's been a surge in digitalization and spotlight on some sectors including health, education and e-commerce. Following the first edition of our Building in Tough Times series which featured Sim Shagaya, we're hosting an interview with experienced investor, Eghosa Omoigui, Founder, EchoVC. Eghosa will speak about the investment opportunities that exist and his thesis for the future. The interview will hold on Friday, August 24 at 11 am. Limited slots are available. Click here to register.

After weeks of lockdowns, countries across the world are considering lifting restrictions movement. Lockdown is not a long-term fix, especially as the global economy grounds to a halt. With vaccines still months away from being fully ready, governments and their citizens are gearing up for the "new normal", rebooting society while the virus lurks. This starts with the mandatory use of face masks, but it also includes the use of technology in more aggressive ways for contact tracing. Using location data, a number of contact tracing apps alert phone users when they have contacted an infected person and informs them to self-isolate. Governments in Europe and a few in Africa are increasingly willing to use these tools to contain the virus. This approach may become important post-lockdown. The pandemic has been described as a "war', and as such hard decisions must be taken, including ignoring citizens’ privacy. Aggressive use of technology for contact tracing means this will happen. But it is hard to think that this is where it all ends. Governments are working with tech and telecom companies to develop sophisticated technologies and data practices to track citizens. Encrypted central databases have been created to house the data collected. These tools could easily become part of future government surveillance programmes. Companies like Google and Apple involved in these activities have tried to allay fears saying they are working with anonymized non-personal data. The South African government has equally informed citizens that it won’t use these tools to spy on them. However, the worry is that governments may not roll back these "wartime" efforts immediately after the pandemic ends. In March, Slovakia passed a law allowing the government to use telecom data to track people's movement. South Africa issued a similar directive in late March. This is something to watch closely.
That's all for today,

Take care and see you next week.
- Abubakar

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