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Meta Partners with Africa No Filter to Improve Virtual Reality in African Storytelling

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Meta, formerly known as Facebook, and Africa No Filter, a narrative change organization have announced a partnership to launch a programme which is directed at bolstering the use of Virtual Reality in storytelling within Africa.

The programme, which is titled “Future Africa: Telling Stories, Building Worlds” will provide mentorship as well as grants, as it supports Extended Reality storytellers in developing new, compelling content about the African continent.

The programme makes up a part of Meta’s focus on immersive technology, as well as Africa No Filter’s investments in innovative storytelling that directly addresses and eradicates negative stereotypes about the continent.

Africa No Filter’s Executive Director, Moky Makura said that Virtual Reality possesses the potential to elevate storytelling to a higher level. Makura mentioned that in the metaverse, audiences do not only watch a story unfold right before them but they get to partake of that story. Makura touted the programme as an opportunity for content creators in Africa to move beyond the boundaries of their creativity.

From today, the two companies are opening opportunities for Extended Reality creators to apply to the programme, and receive funding of amounts reaching $30,000. Those applying for the programmes must fulfil certain criteria: of African descent, over 18 years old, have a track record of XR (Extended Reality) content creation and have a portfolio of work which shows their creativity and innovation.

The applicants must also show how the project will tell an intriguing African story which changes pre-existing stereotypical narratives about Africa. The projects may make use of 360 Video, VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality).

In collaboration with Electric South and Imisi 3D, participants will receive ongoing mentorship, production support, and opportunities to launch their projects in either a virtual or in-person showcase, which includes the Electric South’s Creators Lab which will be held in February 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The application is open to both organizations and individuals, and applications close on January 7, 2022. The programme will last from February 13 to August 13, 2022 and participants must be available on these dates. The project must also be completed within six months.

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Telecommunications

Call, Data Rate to Jump 100% as FG Imposes 5% Excise Duty on Telecoms

Call and Data rates could jump as much as 100% once the Federal Government implemented 5% excise duty on telecommunication services

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Services Tax

Call and Data rates could jump as much as 100% once the Federal Government implemented 5% excise duty on telecommunication services, a source from the sector stated.

According to industry experts, the increment will not only impact subscribers but also increase tax burden on telcos which would translate into rise in tariffs.

This, experts explained would increase the total consumption tax on the sector from just the 7.5% Value Added Tax (VAT) to 12.5%, a situation they said would worsen Nigerians’ economic status given the ongoing happenings in the country.

If implemented, Nigerians are now expected to be paying as much as N40 a minute, up from N20 and could be paying up to N2,500 per gigabyte.

Last week, Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, decried the new tax, threatening to take the Federal Government to court for overburden the industry with so much taxes at a time when the telecommunication sector and the entire Nigerian economy was not faring well.

He said: “The 5 percent excise duty will overburden the industry. As a Minister, I was neither consulted nor obtained a memo to that effect. Even the appropriate lawmakers that were supposed to be talked with have also told me they were not.

”Things are not done that way. Besides condemning the tax, we will take every lawful step to guarantee that the tax does not stand.”

However, Ahmed Zainab, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, had different excuse for going ahead with the new 5% excise duty. According to her, the new 5% excise duty was in line with 2020 Finance Act and was part of Federal Government efforts at augmenting the nation’s revenue, especially from the non-oil sector.

The National Association of Telecoms Subscribers and the Nigerian Telecommunication Consumer have joined Pantami and other Nigerians to kick against the decision they considered wicked and inconsiderate.

Chief Adeolu Ogunbajo, president National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS) also added his voice. He said the sector is barely holding its ground with the existing 7.5 percent VAT, additional 5 percent will sum the total VAT in the sector to 12.5 percent. This is a killer move on the sector, he said.

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Soft POS User Base to Grow 475% Globally by 2027

The total number of merchants deploying soft POS solutions will surpass 34.5 million globally by 2027

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A new study from Juniper Research has found the total number of merchants deploying soft POS solutions will surpass 34.5 million globally by 2027; rising from 6 million in 2022. This growth will be driven by Apple’s entrance into the soft POS space; enabling iOS users to access an affordable mobile POS solution.

Soft POS enables NFC enabled smartphones or tablets to accept contactless payments, without additional hardware.

1.2 Billion iOS Users Added to Soft POS Market

The research forecasts that Apple’s decision to enable third parties to develop soft POS solutions leveraging iOS NFC capabilities will result in an influx of iOS-specific services; leading to innovative solutions for merchants. Furthermore, the research predicts Apple’s entry will provide 1.2 billion iOS users with soft POS capabilities; unlocking a previously untapped market.

Soft POS is the latest development from Apple within the payments space; building upon Apple Pay and Apple Pay Later. Soft POS vendors should leverage Apple’s payment ecosystem by developing innovative solutions such as integrated QR payment acceptance, using Apple Pay and Pay Later compatibility to attract a broader iOS user base.

Increasing Contactless Payment Adoption to Drive Soft POS Uptake

The research anticipates soft POS adoption being driven by the increasing use of contactless payments – with volumes expected to rise from 195 billion in 2022 to 408 billion by 2027. Therefore, consumers will come to expect contactless acceptance as standard; forcing smaller merchants to adopt contactless-capable POS solutions. Merchants are anticipated to embrace soft POS, based on cost savings achievable from eliminating the need for additional hardware, as well as mobility advantages over contactless POS.

This will be profound for small-sum and mobile merchants that must accept contactless transactions, but lack the need for high-cost dedicated terminals. As such, the research recommends soft POS vendors must look to target micro and mobile merchants; designing solutions that meet their unique needs.

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Fintech

Buy Now Pay Later Users to Reach Over 900 Million Globally by 2027

Buy Now Pay Later users will surpass 900 million globally by 2027; increasing from 360 million in 2022.

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mastercard biometric payment card fingerprint

A new study from Juniper Research has predicted that the number of BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) users will surpass 900 million globally by 2027; increasing from 360 million in 2022. This substantial growth of 157% will be driven by the anticipated economic downturn, which will increase the demand for low-cost credit solutions.

BNPL schemes enable consumers to spread the cost of their purchases without interest charges; making them a highly attractive alternative to credit cards. Additionally, BNPL services do not require hard credit checks and an increasing number of merchants are accepting this payment method; making it easier to access for consumers than traditional credit.

India to Experience High User Growth

The research identified India as having potential for rapid growth in BNPL, with users predicted to grow from 25 million in 2022 to 116 million by 2027. This is due to rising eCommerce usage and growing interest in international goods available through online retailers. In turn, it recommends that vendors build strategic partnerships with vendors in developing markets with established consumer bases, to successfully capitalise on this user growth and associated revenue.

Virtual Cards to Further Boost Usage

The research predicts that the adoption of virtual cards, where digital only cards are used for purchases, will increase the usage of BNPL solutions, as they only require merchants to accept card payments – overcoming previous limitations on growth. The advancement of virtual cards allows BNPL schemes to compete with credit cards; particularly in-store, where single use BNPL cards can be used within a digital wallet to complete contactless transactions.

Juniper Research recommends that in order to compete in this highly competitive landscape, BNPL vendors must differentiate their services: including offering virtual cards, browser extensions that automatically facilitate BNPL payment services, and digital loyalty schemes.

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