Week 10: Africa’s largest eCommerce event, Spotify coming to SA, Internet Censorship a reality in South Africa

An exciting week for South Africans within the digital space. Along with a host of events within the digital space we received the dubious rank of being some of the worlds rudest internet users. Imagine how this shapes the experience of start-ups within the tech space, where your first customers might now also appear to be the most difficult. A clearer picture of the typical South African internet denizen is now emerging. Along with our poor ranking within the Digital Civility Index further insight was given thanks to a 2018 overview our digital population done by Effective Measures. The survey of some 285 00 people served to confirm – among other things – the young age SA internet users.


eCommerce Africa hosts the largest event in Africa for the fourth year running
South Africa has just passed the historic milestone of having 1% of all sales take place online. Although this is an achievement for any country from the African continent, we still lag far behind the international norm. March 14 and 15 will see the continents largest eCommerce event hosted at the Cape Town International Convention Center. The event boasts a top-class lineup of speakers that guarantees the basic ticket price of R100 will be a bargain.
Siliconcape.com,  ecommerce-africa.com, Savca.co.za

Global music streaming service Spotify set to launch in South Africa
The first strong hint that SA would have its own access to the leader in the music streaming space was given in September 2017 when the company placed an advert in local media for a senior editor and music programmer. The business now plans to make its local presence official with a press conference scheduled for Tuesday 13th of March. The cost of the service for US residents starts from $9.99 and we have yet to see if this will be adjusted for the South African audience.
Mybroadband.co.za, Forbes.com, TechCentral.co.za

Internet freedom in South Africa takes a step backwards
Voted in by margin of 189 for and only 35 against, the Film and Publications Amendment Bill has a taken a step closer to becoming a reality. The bill which is aimed at curbing the exposure of minors to explicit sex or violence would effectively give control of the classification of user-generated content over to the South African Film and Publication Board (FPB). This has been universally hailed by South Africans as a terrible idea.
EWN.co.za, PMG.org.za, Mybroadband.co.za

New mobile app allows the instant pitching of ideas to industry gurus
If you think you have the next great idea however need to first see if it will fly, the Timon mobile app is exactly what you need. The platform allows for short interactions with industry experts labelled on the app as “Gurus”. Your interaction with each guru is billed per minute and facilitated through this user-friendly interface. This means that you would be able to test your start-ups MVP sooner than was previously possible.
2Oceansvide.com, TimonApp.com, Nigeriatoday.ng


  • 2018 overview of South African Internet users-demographicsMybroadband.co.za
  • Nedbank to embracing AI. With the bank set to lose some 3000 jobs due to incorporation of bots. Mybroadband.co.za
  • Applications to the Nedbank Business Accelerator are open. Ventureburn.co.za
  • Round table discussions on how to manage the fast pace of change within your business. Hosted by Oracle on March 13th. Siliconcape.com
  • Austrian Trade commission joins hands with Technology and Innovation Agency along with Silicon Cape to help find innovations within the agri-water space. Siliconcape.com
  • Digital Civility Index. South Africans ranked as some of the webs rudest users. Businesstech.co.za



Kenyan student launched a ‚panic button‘ app that could improve public safety
Kenya’s crime rate is extremely high compared to other countries. And a one Edwin Inganji, who was a victim of the Nairobi crime in 2013 figured out a quick fix to alleviate at least part of Kenya’s public safety problem. Inganji is a computer scientist and co-developer of Usalama, an app that alerts law enforcement and nearby app users about dangerous situations with a few shakes of the phone. The app was recently shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa prize for engineering innovation. theguardian.com Usalamatechnology.com  

US$171m lost to cybercrime in 2016
In a report by Deloitte, companies and government organisations in Kenya lost US$171 million through cybercrime in 2016, and this is expected to rise by 30% by the end of this year. The report “Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2017” ranked Kenya as one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of cyber security.Riaan Badenhorst, Managing Director at Kaspersky Lab Africa says more awareness is required within organisations to better understand new threats and security practices related to digital assets. „From my perspective, things like that [education] can be driven from (the) top down. That means even ministers working it government departments need to be aware of those risks. Without awareness we aren’t going to come close to resolving any of these problems,“

Kenya’s tech-shy insurance sector stands to be disrupted
The insurance industry is behind others, including banking, when it comes to innovation and this makes it vulnerable to ‚insuretech‘ disruptors. This is according to Julius Kipnge’tich, regional CEO of Jubilee Holdings, the parent company for Jubilee Insurance, who said players in the insurance space risk becoming irrelevant if they fail to innovate and implement technology as part of their core operations: „We are now catering to a young market. They are internet savvy. In the next two years, eighty percent of phones will be smartphones…Technology is quickly changing the way industries are doing business, and insurance is not exempted”.

  • TESPOK lobbies for deletion of two clauses in the Kenya Computer and Cybercrimes Bill 2017:techweez.com
  • True caller targets wider user base in Africa: itwebafrica.com
  • Internet Security: Tools to Protect Your Internet Privacy: techweez.com
  • Israel to help Kenya fight cyber crime: businesstoday.co.ke


After „Petro“ success: More state cryptocurrencies?
After Venezuela’s publicity success with the state-owned Petro, other governments of financially troubled countries are also thinking about starting their own cryptocurrencies. According to reports, Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu, the deputy chair of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party and the country’s former Industry Minister, has drafted a report to propose a state-backed cryptocurrency dubbed „Turkcoin.“ Though the technical specifics remain unclear, the lawmaker touts that Turkcoin would aim to tokenize asset-backed securities for the issuance, which he argued would yield lower risks than existing cryptocurrencies. The US Treasury Department has warned that Venezuela’s Petro cryptocurrency could violate sanctions against the OPEC nation’s socialist government.
coindesk.com, reuters.com

Moscow looks to blockchain for fair elections
The city of Moscow is looking to evolve their Active Citizen polling network to log votes in upcoming elections. Thus making the election process transparent to all and tamper-free. In 2017, the Active Citizen program was moved on to a Blockchain network where ideally the data can never be deleted or changed and the system cannot be hacked. Today it has added a private version of the Ethereum network to the existing architecture with a view towards implementing this into the city’s voting process. In this way, city officials hope to soothe citizen’s fears of vote manipulation while showing the world’s governments that free and fair elections can be had in Russia.

Tech firm undercuts facial recognition: Facebook is to reintroduce facial recognition for its European users in the coming months, more than five years after it withdrew the technology amid pressure from privacy watchdogs and campaigners. The company said the feature will be strictly on an opt-in basis for users. Riding the wave of a global push to comply with new privacy standards, a small Israeli company believes it can help people stay anonymous in a hyper-connected world. The startup, called D-ID, says it has developed a firewall to block facial recognition. D-ID’s solution is a system of digital alchemy that subtly alters stored pictures, enough to escape detection by facial recognition algorithms. Side by side the changes are noticeable, but on its own the altered picture appears normal.
irishtimes.com, reuters.com