10 things you need to know in tech across Sub-Saharan Africa this week

Good morning Africa!

These are tech trending news across Sub-Saharan Africa you need to know this week, January 13 to 17, 2020.

1. MTN Nigeria stock may rally this week after the telco firm scaled through Nigeria's attorney general big hammer last week over the payment of $2 billion in tax arrears

Last Tuesday, Nigeria's attorney-general (AGF) asked the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to take up the case. MTN Nigeria has promised to work with the two government agencies to resolve contentious issues.

2. Political ads on Facebook and 2020 elections

Facebook has said it will not ban political advertising or institute any sort of fail-safe measure to avoid lies presented in ads from politicians on its platform.

On Thursday, Facebook said the decisions about political ads should not be made by private companies.

Companies like Google and Twitter have blocked and limit political ads on their platforms but Facebook said it can only expand transparency and “give more controls to people when it comes to political ads.”

In a blog post, Facebook's Rob Leathern, said, "Ultimately, we don't think decisions about political ads should be made by private companies, which is why we are arguing for regulation that would apply across the industry."

Political ads are deployed by international actors and lobbyists to influence voting across the world. It happened during the US election that paved the way for Donald Trump and other African countries through political consulting firms.

2020 is an election year for African nations from Ghana to Tanzania, Sudan, Burundi, and Côte d’Ivoire. The world and Africa await how Facebook ads play out in these regions.

3. Kaspersky says Russian-speaking hacking group is attacking large banks in Sub-Saharan Africa

Security researchers at Kaspersk have reported on thousands of notifications of attacks on major banks located in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region.

The malware used in the attacks indicates that the threat actors are most likely to be an infamous Silence hacking group, previously known to be responsible for the theft of millions of dollars from banks across the world.

The global cyber security company advised financial organisations to take measure to protect themselves from such attacks.

4. Nigeria plans to invest N265 billion ($732 million) in broadband infrastructure in 4 years

The Nigerian government is planning to invest $732 million in broadband infrastructure over the next four years, according to Umar Danbatta, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission.

Danbatta said the project will kick off this year, under a public-partnership arrangement to increase fiber coverage by 30,000km across its 774 local governments.

5. Paradigm Initiative launches 2020 Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship Program

Paradigm Initiative, a social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights, has opened an application for the 2020 Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship Program.

The deadline to apply is 15 February 2019, 11:59 pm UTC. Successful candidates will be announced on 15 March 2019.

The Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Digital Inclusion Media Fellowship 2020 seeks to embed media professionals within the daily work of Paradigm Initiative in the fields of digital rights and digital inclusion in Africa.

6. 059 comes on MTN Ghana network

MTN Ghana has added a new network code (059) to the existing ones. This new 059 block of numbers was allotted by the National Communication Authority (NCA).

The new code will add up to MTN Ghana’s existing number block with codes: (024), (054) and (055).

7. Twitter is testing new features

Twitter is testing a way to let its users block all replies to their tweets, one of four options Twitter plans to give users who want to tailor who replies to their posts.

The micro-blogging site revealed the plans at the CES tech conference in Las Vegas, where the firm has been hosting a media forum led by Kayvon Beykpour, its vice president of product.

8. Kendi Ntwiga joins Microsoft as Country Manager for Kenya

Kendi Ntwiga has been appointed as Country Manager for Microsoft operations in Kenya.

Before joining Microsoft, she served as the General Manager of the East, West, and Central Africa Cluster for Check Point Software.

Kendi will be responsible for developing and maintaining effective relationships across the company’s subsidiaries, and regional sales and marketing departments.

9. Explore Future Africa Fund

Future Africa Fund will be investing $50,000 into 20 startups every year to help them scale and serve Africa’s booming enterprise and consumer markets.

The Fund will look at how to help startups scale and serve Africa’s booming enterprise, and consumer markets.

10. Voice and Data plan increase in some Nigerian states

Telecom companies may soon increase tariffs for voice calls and data over the decision of some state governments to increase the cost of right of way (RoW) for telecommunication infrastructure.

The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) warned that if sub-national governments have the ways, it may increase tariffs in affected states.


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