Ghana deploys AU's PanaBIOS for its elections
in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE 04.08.2020
Hello there, Welcome to TC Daily! In today's digest: Telkom SA launches funeral insurance service; Cameroon's education ministry partners IT company to distribute learning tablets & Ghana's 2020 presidential elections still to hold. Please take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter if this email was forwarded to you.

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Over the weekend, South Africa's Telkom announced, rather quietly, that it had made its debut into the financial services sector with its launch of Telkom Financial Services. The telco is leveraging the existing short-term mobile phone insurance services which it offers to its customers and extending that into funeral insurance, a US$500 million industry in South Africa. Premiums range from R32 (US$1.9) to R585 (US$34) depending on what plans individuals sign up for. The telco is partnering with GuardRisk to underwrite the funeral insurance services. Telcos typically rely on voice, SMS and data revenues to grow their businesses but they are also able to offer added services across a wide range of sectors to their large subscriber bases with significant boosts to their bottom-lines. Safaricom's M-Pesa has grown into a significant mobile money service in Kenya; Airtel's Mobile Money revenues jumped from US$103 million in 2017 to US$234 million in 2019. Earlier in June, Telkom launched the Yep! app, an online marketplace for SMEs. In addition to the funeral insurance service, Telkom is also now offering business loans to small and medium-scale businesses in a process that takes about 24 hours from initiation to approval. According to Telkom Financial Services managing executive, Sibusiso Ngwenya, the loans range from R20 000 (US$1,200) and run into the millions and will attract competitive interest rates. Businesses that receive the loans must have been in existence for over a year and have a turn-over of over R1 000 000 (US$58,000) annually. In the offing are lending services to individuals, a digital wallet and Ngwenya says other services will continue to be added in line with the needs of its consumers.

A new government policy that gives mobile networks "the right" to build cellphone infrastructure on private and public land has met with strong pushback from South Africans. In addition to the devaluation of properties, private property owners are concerned about the impact of radiation from infrastructure like 5G towers especially with all the controversies that has trailed the technology. There is very little evidence that support the theory that radiation from these towers are damning to human beings. MTN's executive for corporate affairs in South Africa has said the policy is still in "draft phase" and dissenting opinions are welcome to make it into a robust document that considers all parties involved. More than 42,000 submissions have been received on a platform called Dear South Africa, a digital public square as it were, for open discussions on policy drafts on their way to becoming law.

In Cameroon, in the absence of established virtual learning infrastructure and systems, school teachers have kept up with academic activities through platforms like WhatsApp since the start of the pandemic. A new partnership between the Secondary Education Ministry and a Cameroonian IT company, Evo-Solutions will make available 10,000 computer tablets and 1,000 video projectors to secondary schools across the country as more of them return to their classrooms in October. Students due to sit for examinations were allowed back to the classrooms at the start of June. Teachers will be trained on the use of the tablets under this new partnership and students will recycle the devices amongst themselves.
Ghana's presidential elections are set to hold on December 7, 2020. In 47 countries across the globe, elections have been cancelled so far, according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Ghana is hoping that its presidential elections will take place in December and the government is working towards actualising this. Using the PanaBIOS platform, a biosurvillance tool developed by the African Union to facilitate the safe reopening of borders, voters can now set up appointments to register to vote in the upcoming election. The app will most likely be used to display the final Voters' Register for the 2020 elections and may potentially be used in future elections. While the app continues to ensure that the registration enters are not crowded with potential voters looking to register and that every person who registers to vote can be traced, it is unclear how the actual voting process has been structured to take place to maintain safe distancing come December.
GreenED, an edtech company specialising in sustainability education has launched a learning resources for professionals and students interested in Green Star architecture and design.  Co-founder Marloes Reinink says the market for green buildings (architecture developed through environmentally responsible and resource-efficient processes) in South Africa has grown rapidly in the last decade and with it, the need for more expertise. GreenED seeks to provide knowledge taking into account local contexts. So far, the platform serves 2,000 subscribers taking over 300 courses and expanding into more locations is in its purview.
That's all for today,

We'll see you tomorrow.
- Kay

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