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In other news on how Instagram is competing with TikTok, you can now download Instagram Reels from public accounts. 

Just select the share button at the bottom of your screen, and a download button will pop up if the user has a public account and has enabled it. The download Reels will also have the user’s watermark on it, similar to TikTok’s. 

So far, it looks like Instagram’s plan to compete with TikTok is working with the app at 2.35 billion monthly users compared to TikTok’s 1.1 billion users. 


Nigeria joins 17 countries to sign global AI safety agreement

Image source: Zikoko Memes

Nigeria wants to make AI safe for use. 

On Sunday, the country joined 18 other countries, including the US and UK to unveil a 20-page document that will be the holy grail of AI safety. The countries agreed that companies developing and implementing AI must ensure that their systems prioritise customer and public safety by preventing misuse.

What does the agreement mean? The non-binding agreement deals with questions of how to keep AI technology from being hijacked by hackers, and it includes recommendations such as only releasing models after appropriate security testing. The framework additionally outlines recommendations for safeguarding AI systems against misuse, ensuring data integrity, and implementing rigorous vetting processes for software suppliers.

While Nigeria is the only participating African country in the agreement, the move is usual as the country has yet to pass its own AI act into law.

The big picture: AI safety and regulation have been a subject of debate globally, with several governments weighing in. AI safety was partly the subject of debate in the OpenAI saga, with people fearing AI was being developed too fast without considering its consequences. 

The release of language models like GPT-3 sparked concerns about the ability of AI to generate harmful or misleading content. At the same time, the company’s non-transparent research practices raised questions about accountability and oversight. However, developments like this by governments around the world shine a light on the importance of AI and the need to shape its development and ensure safety for everyone involved.

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Zenith Bank to expand to France

Zenith Bank
Image source: Premium Times

Zenith Bank is spreading its wings to Europe.

The Nigerian commercial bank will set up shop in France in the coming months, according to CEO Ebenezer Onyeagwu.

Onyeagwu said the bank had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French government to initiate the issuance of a banking licence, which will kick-start the bank’s operations in the country. The CEO, however, didn’t say when the licence-issuing process would be complete. 

Zenith’s move to France mirrors Access Bank, Nigeria’s largest lender by assets, proposed move to Asia in 2024. 

The big picture: Zenith, which currently has subsidiaries in The Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, UAE, and China, joins a host of other Nigerian commercial banks offering cross-border trading to customers on the global stage. Per this TechCabal report, the bank’s goal is to encourage cross-border marketing and position itself as a leader in commercial and retail segments. The bank, with ₦13.38 trillion ($177.06 billion) in customer deposits, witnessed significant growth this year alone. Its financial results for the third quarter of 2023 rose by 149% to ₦505 billion ($6.3 billion).


OneWeb launches broadband service in South Africa

Image Source: Data Centre Dynamics

OneWeb has launched its low-earth orbit (LEO) broadband service in South Africa.

Through a partnership between telecom company, Paratus and satellite operator, Eutelsat, the Starlink rival will offer fast and reliable internet in areas with connectivity challenges, benefiting sectors such as healthcare, government, mining, agriculture, tourism, and hospitality.

The partnership leverages a 10,000-kilometre fibre network across 10 sub-Saharan African countries, providing customers with connectivity to various data centres in Angola, Namibia, and Zambia, along with connectivity to various subsea cable systems, including Equiano.

An advantage over Starlink: OneWeb’s satellites orbit at an altitude of 1,200 kilometres, while Starlink’s satellites orbit at an altitude of 550 kilometres. This means that the signal has to travel a shorter distance to reach the ground, resulting in lower latency. 

OneWeb has already established ground station connectivity in South Africa, Angola, and Mauritius. 

Zoom out: Starlink, meanwhile, is yet to secure a licence to operate in South Africa due to non-compliance with the country’s equity ownership rules for ISPs. To meet regulations set by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), companies must allocate 30% of their equity to historically disadvantaged groups. This mandate necessitates Elon Musk and other shareholders to surrender a considerable stake in the service to be provided in the country, a very unlikely mandate. 

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Nomsa Chabeli appointed as SABC’s new CEO

Oprah's We're Going Digital GIF
Nomsa Chabeli. Image source: The South African

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has appointed ex-DStv and MTN executive Nomsa Chabeli as its new Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO).

This follows the departure of the former GCEO, Madoda Mxakwe, from SABC five months ago. Nomsa Chabeli is set to assume the role of CEO starting from March 1, 2024. With more than two decades of experience, Chabeli has played significant roles at MTN, Multichoice, SAB, Brand South Africa, GCIS, and Edcon.

Chabeli will take over the organisation which is facing financial challenges, including a significant loss of R1.1 billion ($58.7 million) during its 2022/2023 financial year due to the R44 billion ($2.3 billion) in unpaid licence fees owed by over nine million South Africans.

How does she plan to do it? Chabeli will spearhead the vision and operational excellence across the entire SABC Group. She plans to enhance revenue and ensure enduring success for the organisation through innovation, and fostering connections in the dynamic digital landscape. Her focus is on inspiring, informing, and resonating with diverse audiences.

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  • Applications are open for the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Research fellowship 2024(up to $15,000). The Social Science Research Council offers fellowships to support the completion of doctoral degrees and to promote next-generation social science research in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. The fellowships support dissertation research on peace, security, and development topics. Apply by February 11, 2024.
  • The citizens of Commonwealth countries in Africa can now apply for the Commonwealth Africa Cyber Fellowship Programme 2024. Selected experts will serve as fellows for a year, and get exclusive access to academic research opportunities, networking events and annual conferences, with a focus on enhancing cybersecurity policies and institutions across Commonwealth countries in Africa. Apply by December 10.
  • Applications are open for the Mastercard Foundations Scholars Program 2023/2024 at the Carnegie Melon University Africa. The program provides generous financial, social, and academic support for students whose talents and promise exceed their financial resources. Apply by January 15, 2024.

Written and Edited by: Faith Omoniyi, Mariam Muhammad & Timi Odueso

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