Over the past couple of days, celebrities have taken to Twitter to denounce their blue ticks subscriptions to Twitter Blue.
Now, several deceased celebrities like Michael Jackson, Chadwick Boseman, and even journalist Jamal Khashoggi whose account has been inactive since he was murdered in 2018, are now subscribed to Twitter Blue.
Zimbabwe is joining the digital currency revolution market.
This week, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RSV)—the country’s apex bank—announced plans to introduce a gold-backed digital currency. According to the bank, the digital currency, which will be tied to the price of gold, will help Zimbabweans shore up against the country’s ever-increasing inflation rate.
Calming hyperinflation: From the 1980s till 2009, Zimbabwe suffered from hyperinflation due to poor economic programmes by its government. In 2009, the government replaced the useless Zimbabwean dollar—with $1 USD worth Z$2,621,984,228,675,650,147,435,579,309,984,228—with the US dollar, and inflation was stalled.
By 2018, though, the government reintroduced the Zimbabwean dollar which again lost relevance quickly as more citizens hoarded US dollars, believing that the government would print more cash to shore up its budget, and make the currency worthless. Inflation surged to a staggering 255% in 2019, doubled to 558% by 2020, by another 98% in 2021, and finally jumped to 285% in 2022.
The silver gold lining: This isn’t Zimbabwe’s first gold-plated solution to its inflation problem, though. The gold-producing nation introduced literal gold coins—Mosi-oa-Tunya—last year which are worth the market price of gold.
Its new digital currency will complement the Mosi-oa-Tunya by being the digital representation of the gold coins. With it, the country hopes to have more citizens buy into its gold industry and fight the redundancy of its currency.
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SUDAN THROTTLES ITS INTERNET
The crisis in Sudan is getting worse with reports of internet shutdown across the country.
On Sunday, cybersecurity firm NetBlocks confirmed that internet connectivity in Sudan had dropped to 2%, down from its usual 40%. Since then, the internet has been slowly restored to some areas.
What’s happening in Sudan: Over the past seven days, two army generals have unleashed military forces in a jostle for power.
In 2019, Lt Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the commander of the military, and Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who leads the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), ousted Sudan’s dictator Omar al-Bashir. In 2021, the duo again toppled a civilian government of prime minister Abdallah Hamdok and prevented a transition to civilian rule.
Since then, international organisations—via threats of sanctions—have pressured the duo to hand over power for civilian rule, and the pressure finally erupted into conflict as former lovers turned enemies. Both military leaders began to use their armies against each other, leaving thousands displaced and hundreds dead.
A history of shutdowns: Internet shutdowns aren’t new in Sudan. Its first shutdown, during the 2019 coup, lasted 36 days. It subsequently had at least three other shutdowns since then including an 8-hour shutdown after last year’s coup.
NIGERIA’S POPULATION COMMISSION DENIES HACKING
Nigeria is set to count sheep its people in May, but its census agency might hiding some skeletons.
Earlier this month, a staff member of the Nigeria Population Commission (NPC) claimed that the Commission’s servers had been hacked.
Per the staff, the hack is one of the reasons why the Commission postponed training for the enumerators and supervisors who will be in charge of conducting Nigeria’s first census in almost two decades.
NPC counts it a lie: In a response shared yesterday, the Commission denied all allegations of a hack, assuring Nigerians of the safety of their data. According to director of public affairs, Isiaka Yahaya, the Commission is “committed to upholding the highest standards of data protection and maintaining the trust placed in us by the Nigerian population”.
This isn’t the first hacking news the NPC has been implicated in, though. Last year, it announced that it had foiled a hacking attempt during its recruitment exercise.
An expensive hack exercise: Tensions rose after the hacking allegation, with some agencies calling for another postponement of the census.
Nigeria is reportedly spending $385 million for its digital census exercise, which is set to commence by May 3. The country is getting some pretty expensive tech, with $184 million alone being spent on Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) for the census.
With so much money being spent on tech, it’s expected that the Nigerian government will take cybersecurity for this exercise seriously. Nigerians aren’t holding their breath, though; their government spent $663 million on faulty tech for a recently-concluded election.
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Speaking of hacking, Kenya’s biggest online retailer Naivas announced yesterday that it had suffered a ransomware attack.
Per chief commercial officer Willy Kimani, the hack may have exposed some of the company’s data. “Naivas regrets to announce that alongside many corporates and organisations in and outside Kenya, we have been the victims of a ransomware attack by an online criminal organisation. This unlawful intrusion may have compromised some of our data,” Kimani’s statement read.
The company also stated that the perpetrators of the cybercrime are threatening to publish the stolen data. Naivas, however, says it has the situation under control and is working with Kenya’s Data Protection Commission to resolve the situation.
Credit/debit card info is safe: Fortunately, the supermarket chain says it doesn’t keep payment information on its servers and instead protects that information with secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption. Way to go on telling hackers where to look.👍🏿
Big picture: It appears cyber criminals now have super appetites for supermarkets. Just last year, ShopRite also suffered a data breach from cybercriminals who stole over 600GB of customer data from the company.
The SaaS Accelerator Program: Africa 2023 has opened applications for its accelerator programme to enable early startups in Africa to receive funding. Selected startups will receive up to $70,000 in funding. Apply by September 7.
Growth4Her, a 6-month investment program, is calling for applications from founders in West and Central Africa. Apply by May 8.
Young Impact Associate (YIA) fellowship which is funded and implemented in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation is open for applications. Apply by May 15.
WEMA Bank Hackaholic 4.0, a startup competition that enables founders and innovators to blitzscale their ventures, is receiving applications from Nigerian designers, developers, and creative thinkers. Apply before May 1.
Innovation for Ecosystem Restoration, an accelerator for entrepreneurs championing ecosystem restoration throughout sub-Saharan Africa, is open for applications. Apply by May 14.
Football club, Paris Saint-Germain, is looking for a startup that can develop a collaborative platform that can solve the challenges of product development in Africa. Apply before April 30.
Wise Guys SaaS Accelerator Program is looking to help SaaS startups level up through tailored guidance and support from world-class mentors and experts. Apply before September 7.
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