Uganda's communications commission is introducing a new
in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE 08.09.2020
Welcome to TC Daily! In this edition, there's a bizarre new regulation in Uganda that will affect your next Facebook live session and there's some talk about trying to innovate around Africa's infrastructure problem. This week's TC Live Podcast is also available here. Our next TC Live on digital identity will feature Mitchell Elegbe, Founder at Interswitch. Register here. Please take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter if this email was forwarded to you.
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INNOVATING AROUND POOR INFRASTRUCTURE
"It’s hard to innovate around bad governance and weak infrastructure. "You can only innovate towards infrastructure. It makes no sense for banks to try to spread across Liberia when parts of the country are inaccessible during the rainy season." - Digital Nomads; the Nigerian who has seen West Africa and has theories for the region’s progress On most days, I start the day by opening my Twitter app and convincing myself that it’s the fastest way to catch up with the news. While the app doesn’t always deliver on my expectations, some days it throws up gems. Like this one; Maersk Line shipping company and its sister company, APMT are planning on ditching the seaport in Nigeria in favor of investing in a maritime hub in Cote d’Ivoire. Why are major shipping companies looking to move their focus from Nigeria to Cote d’Ivoire? The answer starts with poor infrastructure in Nigeria as well as how weak infrastructure often drives up costs. There’s also the fact that Nigeria’s export traffic is pretty weak. There’s a reason I’m leading with this bit about Nigeria’s ports. It feels like a coincidence that I found this news story a week after Fu'ad, who has been to all the countries in West Africa made an interesting prediction about Nigeria’s ports in this Digital Nomads story. Here’s what he said; "Nigeria cannot sort out its major port in Lagos, so that’s a big opportunity for both countries." While he could not have predicted that Cote d’Ivoire would be where attention would turn to for shipping, it shows once again that it is pretty hard to work around the problems of bad infrastructure. I have one more example to help push home this point and once again, it’s from Twitter but in place of shipping, it’s real estate. This helpful thread, written by a Nigerian who lives in Lagos tells renters what to look out for when they’re house hunting. If you’re wondering why a thread like this is valuable, it’s because house hunting in Lagos is like preparing for war. There have been a number of attempts to solve this problem with technology. One strategy has been to allow renters to find houses online. That process has since been hijacked by home agents, who post houses which are unavailable. Some agents dupe unsuspecting renters by demanding agent fees for such houses. But the bigger issue is a quality problem in the housing sector. One may argue that services like Muster and Fibre take some of the stress out of the renting process, but only a small fraction of Lagosians can afford such services. So, we’re back right where we started, there’s only so much that technology can do - we need better infrastructure.
SOCIAL MEDIA IN UGANDA
In a bit of the bizarre, Uganda’s Communications Commission will now make it compulsory for "providers of online data communications and broadcasting services to obtain authorisation." That’s a lot of words, but what does it mean? According to the UCC; "if your Social Media page is used to transmit sound, video or data intended for simultaneous reception by the public (Broadcasting) and by data, we mean electronic representation of information in any form including audiovisual, you need authorisation as a data communicator." Bottom line; you now need authorization from the UCC before you start a Facebook live, Instagram Live, or Twitter live session. Even more ridiculous is the fact that to get an authorization, you will need to pay an application of UGX 100,000 ($27) annually. Now, not only will Ugandans have to pay a for an Over The Top (OTT) tax (a daily tax charged for the use of social media platforms), they will now need to register as broadcasters and pay a fee to put out information. The end goal of a move like this is the repression of free speech and an attempt by government to escape public censure, especially given the role that social media platforms play in protests and popular uprising today.
TC LIVE
Have you ever tried to set up a bank account or bid for a contract without any means of identification? If the contracting officer or banking officer did their jobs well, you must have been unable to proceed without an ID. Now, imagine what the experiences of those who have no formal means of ID are. Digital identities are important. They can make the difference between whether people access economic opportunities or not. This month, on Wednesday, September 16th, 2020, TechCabal in partnership with identity verification company, VerifyMe will mark International ID-day by bringing industry veterans together to explore the state of digital identity in Nigeria. Speakers include Mitchell Elegbe, Founder / Group Managing Director, Interswitch, and Esigie Aguele, Co-Founder and CEO, VerifyMe Nigeria. They will answer questions including how a digital identity ecosystem will enable the Nigerian tech community, particularly fintech; and how entrepreneurs and professionals can shape and take advantage of a working digital identity system? Register here to attend the event.
WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING?
That's about it, -Olumuyiwa Catch up on the latest episode of the TC Weekly Podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, Google Podcasts, and Anchor.fm

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