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Investors Predict Africa’s Internet Economy is Set to Boom

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Internet Usage

Professional investors are forecasting strong growth in the value of Africa’s internet economy with mobile phones central to the expansion, new global research* for blockchain-based mobile network operator World Mobile shows.

The study with professional investors responsible for around $700 billion assets under management by independent research company PureProfile found one in four (25%) expect the value of Africa’s internet economy to more than double over the next three years from the current estimated $115 billion. ** More than half (51%) expect it to be worth more than $200 billion by 2025.

Increased use of mobile phones will be central to the growth which will be further enhanced by improved affordability, the study with investors in the US, Germany, the UK, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Nigeria, and Switzerland found.

Around 71% of investors expect affordability of mobile phones in Africa to improve over the next three years – currently it is estimated they account for around 6.8% of monthly incomes on average ***– while nearly all professional investors (97%) believe the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated demand for mobiles.

World Mobile is launching its unique hybrid mobile network supported by low altitude platform balloons in Zanzibar which it plans to roll-out throughout the continent. It is already in discussions with government officials in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other territories underserviced by traditional mobile operators.

Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile said: “Professional investors see the opportunities for the African internet economy and are clearly expecting mobile phones to play a central role in driving it forward over the next three years.

“Affordability is central to the increasing adoption of mobile phones but none of it is achievable without connectivity. We want to help create a world where everyone can access affordable connectivity, a world where economic freedom is a truth and a world where people are able to jump on the opportunities that internet creates.”

Professional investors questioned believe healthcare is the sector which will see the most benefit from increased connectivity. Around 53% highlighted the opportunities for healthcare ahead of e-commerce on 42% and media and entertainment on 40%.

Education was chosen by 33% of professional investors questioned alongside finance which was selected by 34%.

World Mobile’s balloons will be the first to officially launch in Africa for commercial use, providing a more cost-effective way to provide digital connection to people and is the first step in its mission to help bring nearly four billion people online before 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank’s SDGs.

The World Mobile approach is more sustainable, in environmental, social and governance terms. Environmental impacts are mitigated using solar-powered nodes, second-life batteries, and energy-efficient technology. World Mobile creates a positive societal impact through the application its circular economy model – a “sharing economy” where locals share in the ownership and rewards of the network. Governance is maintained by the secure underlying blockchain technology, which means that user data privacy is guaranteed and not commercially applied as it is by other mobile operators.

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Telecommunications

TELCOS Decry Government’s Decision on Telephone Tax

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MTN

The Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has said the recent move by the Federal Government to add a one kobo per second tax on phone calls is a misplaced priority. 

Investors King recalls that the Federal Government of Nigeria had, on Monday, said it will implement a one kobo per second tax on phone calls in the nation to fund free healthcare for the vulnerable. 

ALTON said it is a “bad fate” on the part of the Government and it is badly intended. “This is because when we came out that the government should look at our cost of operations and give us room to review tariffs, everybody treated us like an outcast. 

“The same government is now coming in a matter of days to say they are introducing new taxes. So, when they were saying to us that we cannot increase tariff because it is insensitive to the plight of the people and now, they brought another tax thing through the back door, we think it is bad fate and badly intended. So if we cannot review based on the impact it will have on subscribers, why are they bringing in another tax, still on subscribers. 

“Government cannot act in one way and say another thing”, ALTON said.

According to ALTON, this will affect subscribers because they get less value for what they pay for.

“It means now that when you buy a 100 recharge card, the percentage will be deducted from it and paid to the government. So it is shortchanging the people. What will happen is that operators will be mandated to collect this tax on their behalf and remit it to the government”, the association noted.

ALTON suggested that although the motive for the tax rate is understandable, the government should have looked elsewhere to source it.

It said: “Not telecoms subscribers whom the government has said its suffering because of living lately 

“We will not complain as operators because we will definitely remit, it is the subscribers that will bear the brunt”.

A Lagos State resident, Taiwo Popoola, in a conversation with Investors King, said the decision to increase the tax rate will be too hard for an average Nigerian to bear if implemented. According to him, only the upper class of the society will conveniently afford it. 

“On the part of the users, buying airtime will drastically reduce. People would resolve to use social media channels to reach each other and may, in turn, reduce the income of these telecommunication companies,” Taiwo said. 

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Allow Automatic Antivirus Products Updates to Fight Computer Malware – NCC tells Nigerians 

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cybercrime - Investors King

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advised that allowing automatic update features for AVAST and AVG anti-virus applications could prevent cyber vulnerabilities.

The Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) of the NCC, in a statement signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Ikechukwu Adinde on Sunday, noted that the vulnerabilities in AVAST and AVG anti-virus apps can lead to millions of devices being attacked.

Recall that Investors King reported that the NCC had warned Nigerians about a new hacking technique that allows hackers to access and hijack vehicles.

Investors King also recalls that the CSIR team had proffered solutions to the newly developed cyberattack schemes on telecom consumers. 

According to the CSIRT, the AVAST and AVG Antiviruses can lead to attacks on millions of devices with high impact in terms of consequences to the ICT user.

“The threat types as a result of this vulnerability are bypass authentication, remote code execution and unauthorised access while consequences range from privilege escalation, bypass security products, overwrite system components and corrupting the operating system”, the statement read.

The CSIRT further stated that “researchers at SentinelOne security firm have discovered two potentially damaging vulnerabilities in AVAST and AVG antivirus products that allow attackers to escalate privileges enabling them to disable security products, overwrite system components, corrupt the operating system, or perform malicious operations unimpeded.

“Two vulnerabilities identified as CVE-2022-26522 and CVE-2022-26523 targeted the “anti rootkit” driver of Avast antivirus (also used by AVG) allowing an attacker with limited privileges on the targeted system to execute code in system mode (kernel mode) and take complete control of the device. Moreover, the vulnerabilities allow complete take-over of a device, even without privileges, due to the ability to execute code in kernel mode.

“However, the cybersecurity centre has offered tripartite measures that should be taken by Internet/ICT users to prevent being vulnerable to cyber threats. They include enabling automatic update features for AVAST and AVG antiviruses, upgrading AVAST and AVG antiviruses to version 22.1.2504, as well as carrying out regular patch management”.

NCC said the advice is coming as the commission is committed to continually sensitise Nigerians on how to prevent cyber attack. 

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Egypt to Produce 60% African Vaccine Needs – VACSERA

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COVID-19 Vaccine - Investors King

The Chairman of Egypt’s Holding Company for Biological Products and Vaccines (VACSERA), Dr. Heba Wali, has revealed that the country is set to produce 60% of African vaccine needs by 2040.

She made this statement at a press gathering in Cairo on Monday, revealing that there is the construction of a $50 million vaccine storage facility, which will be completed in July to house about 150 million doses of COVID-19 and other vaccines.

Dr. Wali explained that the facility is being created as part of the Egyptian government’s ambition to make Egypt the continent’s vaccine production hub.

She said, Egypt currently has the capacity to meet the country’s COVID-19 vaccination demands; however, VACSERA is receiving technical assistance from China in the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

VACSERA is also looking forward to beginning manufacturing of vaccinations to combat avian flu and pneumonia, which have caused serious health problems in several African countries in recent years, she added.

VACSERA, she claims, has the potential to generate 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccinations each year, with 70 million doses produced in five months during the pandemic’s peak.

According to WHO estimates, there have been 254,000 deaths and 12.086 million recorded infections in Africa since the outbreak in 2019, with Egypt accounting for around 24,690 deaths.

She revealed that the first consignment of vaccines was sent to Palestine in an effort to assist the Middle Eastern country in combating COVID-19.

Wali said that VACSERA is developing a strategy with Centres for Disease Control in other African countries to find a common ground for vaccine production in the continent.

Prior to this, Investors King reported that Egypt sought a loan of 83 Million Euros from the African Development Bank to power their Electricity Sector to Spur Economic Recovery from Covid-19. The funding is part of the Bank’s budget support to the Egyptian government to strengthen its electricity infrastructure, which is expected to bolster the private sector and accelerate recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, Investors King explained.

VASCERA was established over 100 years ago, and is currently, the only producer of vaccine & Sera in Egypt and one of the main functioning blood banks. Likewise, it is the oldest manufacturer of vaccines in Africa and the Middle East

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