Category archives for: Technology

Ghana: Kumasi Hive Wants to Create Maker Start-Ups That Will Generate New Manufacturing Jobs – " Ghana’s Got to Start to Add Value"

One of Ghana’s active maker spaces is the recently created Kumasi Hive in country’s second city. Russell Southwood spoke to co-founder Anna Lowe about its start-ups, the problem of finding angel investors and her desire to create new manufacturing jobs.

Kumasi Hive’s co-founder Anna Lowe came out of manufacturing and the supply chain sector:”I was getting medicines across borders in Africa and there were plenty of challenges. I was aware of the Maker Movement and digital manufacturing and got interested in producing things locally.”

Kumasi Hive’s other co-founder and CEO of the organization George Appiah ran a group of hackers and makers in Ghana’s second city, Kumasi that he had started in 2010. As Lowe tells it:”A lot of education in Ghana is very theoretical. There’s a need for people to get involved in hands-on projects. I came to Ghana for another social project and was interested in (George’s) maker space. I set up a whole lot of meetings and George was one of them.”

At that stage, it was a student network of practical projects but they had no real equipment to use. As a result, it was hard to do prototyping:”They had great ideas but no way of turning them into businesses.” They were sharing parts and each time something was created it was taken apart and cannibalized to provide the next idea.

So they joined forces to create Kumasi Hive and one of the first things it ran was an incubator programme, which was a general training in both technical and business skills.

The space itself is a large house that has been repurposed to create a maker space and rooms that are used as co-working spaces:”There are now 12 start-ups in our incubator programme and well over 100 people have come for the incubator training programmes.”

The start-ups combine maker skills with an entrepreneurial eye for possible opportunities. Dext makes science kits for High School students:”It’s addressing a practical education problem and allowing young people to do experiments.” Klack 3D is making 3D printers and Pasgid Robotics is making low-cost robotics sets for education institutions.

Although Kumasi Hive has only been going for a year, it has attracted new students to its work. It runs a Saturday Club and 3D design courses for local students:”We do programmes aimed at different sectors, particularly agriculture and run an agriculture hardware hackathon in the north of the country sponsored by a local agricultural company. We’ve been looking at the rice supply chain and our focus has been to find innovators.”

So why set up in Kumasi rather than in Ghana’s capital Accra?:”There were a number of reasons. Creativity Group which was founded by George was in Kumasi and it had 6 chapters in different communities. There’s also quite an artisan culture in Kumasi. There were already several hubs in Accra and nothing in Kumasi at the time.”

Kumasi Hive have expansion plans:”With our existing site, we want to grow our programmes and encourage more successful businesses and also to do more work with young kids in schools. We also hope to open Hives in other places in Ghana. We’re looking at Tamale, where we ran the agriculture hackathon and we might also open in Accra in partnership with an existing hub.”

So what has been the hardest thing in doing all of this?:”The hardest thing is funding and it’s not just for our activities but helping fund the businesses we find. The first proof of concept might cost US$500-2,000. Then the next tranche up takes you into angel territory, somewhere between US$50,000-100,000. There are fewer people who understand hardware in this context. Software just needs a laptop. Hardware needs materials.”

So far it’s been possible to cover programmes with grant funding but harder to find investment for the start-ups:”There’s potential to raise money locally but we’ve not seen much yet. There’s an Angel Investor Club in Accra but not one in Kumasi.”

Lowe is passionate about the potential for makers to create manufacturing jobs:”For me, it’s one of the main reasons to do this. Hardware innovation will leads to manufacturing locally, which will create jobs. Ghana basically exports raw materials and imports goods. It’s got to start to add value. A start-up like Dext is the beginning of that journey. The start-ups might create anything from hundreds to the low thousands of jobs but it’s really only in the early stages. Lots more needs to be done.”

Background Briefing – Africa’s Makers and Maker Spaces

BloLab sets up an African digital fabrication laboratory to promote technological democratization, innovation and manufacturing

http://www.smartmonkeytv.com/channel/newsletters/blolab_sets_up_an_african_digital_fabrication_laboratory_to_promote_technol

Jumanne Mtambalike, Buni Hub on making a 3D printer and drone from e-waste-mass production next?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXVe3DNCLms

South Africa: Tobias Overbeck on building a glove-controlled drone and flying in drone competitions

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7sDnHvvf7A

Rick Treweek on African Robot’s 3D printing training and his passion brand Trobok Toys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJqcjXPa7vk

Robyn Farah, Kat-O on her maker space in Cape Town and what it does

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwF0QSktKBs

Africa: Orange Sees Relationship With Start-Ups As Part of Africa’s Broader Digital Transformation

interview

London — Orange is one of a handful of mobile operators on the continent that has taken its relationship with Africa’s emerging start-up ecosystem seriously. It has launched its own incubators, supported pitch competitions and begun to open up its APIs. It sees these relationships as part of a broader digital transformation of Africa.

Sylvain Béletre talked to Roger-Edgar KRA, in charge of Business Development API (Innovation Tech Hub, Open Web Services, Middle East and Africa, Innovation Marketing Technology) in the MEA zone at Orange’s Technocentre.

Q. From your experience in the field, how is the digital transformation of the African continent happening?

A. Local businesses that want to take advantage of new mobile uses, or international companies that see Africa as a growth hub, are designing new products and services using the new digital tools: e-commerce platforms, e-health services, job search platforms, MOOCs, mobile advertising, video and music streaming platforms, money transfer, online insurance, smart metering, etc.

Q. Are these digital solutions meeting the major challenges faced by companies in the region?

A. Digital tools answer some of the major challenges faced by companies in the region: How to better monetize your solutions? How to make your business more attractive, visible and expand internationally, especially at the pan-African level? How to remove intermediaries? How to reduce distribution costs? How to improve customer experience?

These challenges concern all industry sectors: entertainment, agriculture, health, education, transport, energy, retail, etc.

However, creating a digital service in Africa is a real challenge: IT projects dedicated to the integration of technical platforms require investment and time. In a context where smartphones and the use of data are still emerging, and where the majority of customers do not have a credit card, the context is quite different from other regions in the World. Designing a website or an Android application for smartphones and tablets is only a small part of the answer, you must also know how to monetize them, but also design a version for low cost mobile phone/feature phones, via SMS, Vocal or even USSD.

In order to deploy on a large scale, partnering with local telecom operators can boost your footprint. Finally, your media must include the most common payment services. Orange has taken action accordingly.

Q. How does Orange respond to these challenges?

A. Orange has for years set up large infrastructure projects within its African subsidiaries in order to simplify and accelerate access to its resources. With these platforms deployed, Orange is now very active in partnering with local players (entrepreneurs, developers, digital agencies, media, etc.), and creating an open innovation ecosystem, bringing together startups and large corporates.

In order to support developers and save them time and money, Orange offers a suite of new business solutions based on three blocks: communication, distribution and payment.

On payment, the ‘Pay With Orange’ offer allows an Orange mobile customer to be charged for a digital service, by debiting his Orange telephone credit, either once or several times. Orange Money Web Payment allows you to charge an Orange Money customer for a physical or digital service by debiting its Orange Money account.

On improving their communications, Orange’s SMS offer allows companies to send customized and automated SMS, for example an appointment reminder, an order confirmation, or a forgotten password.

To support their distribution, our Offer # 303 # My Store is a pan-African “appstore” in USSD, which allows companies to reference a service in a given category, and to charge for subscription through Pay With Orange and soon via Orange Money.

These offers have been deployed on the continent since 2014, with already strong coverage (12 countries for SMS API, 6 for Orange Money Web Payment).

Q. How many partnerships have you established?

A. To date, more than 700 African startups have subscribed to Orange’s SMS notification service. And 40 services are ‘live’ on portal # 203 # in Cameroon. Dozens of services use our means of payment, monetize video streaming platforms, information portals, video games…

Q. Do you have examples of success stories in Africa?

A. In Senegal, the MLouma startup has created a virtual agricultural platform that publishes real-time information on the price, location and availability of farm products. At its launch, the platform was only available on the Web – making it difficult to access and costly for rural users. Integrating # 303 # My Store has given a very strong impulse to the service: now accessible from any phone, MLouma has gone from 1,000 to 75,000 users in 6 months! In addition, MLouma will be able to federate new users in all the other countries where the platform # 303 # My Store is available without requiring further development. MLouma also integrated the SMS API to alert users of the availability of new products, as well as the MEA DCB service to bill USSD requests.

In Cameroon, the pan-African media group ‘Jeune Afrique’ has produced a USSD version of its news service, referenced on # 203 # in Cameroon; Just like RFI, TV channel ‘France 24’, thus allowing 100% of the Orange customer base to access this service, updated in real time. The pan-African deployment of these services is in progress, on short code # 303 #.

For developers ready to use the Orange APIs, the portal is here:

You can discover other Orange programs related to startups and digital entrepreneurs across Africa, here:

And do not forget, if you are a young startup, you can currently apply for the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize.

Togo: Yobo Studios Pioneers Short-Format Series Content for Broadcast and Online

London — If you’re a regular visitor to Discop Africa (the largest TV trade show in Africa), you may have noticed her. Or maybe you know ‘Zem’, her mini-TV series that was a hit in Africa and with the african diaspora.

Half Togolese on her father’s side and half from Guadeloupe on her mother’s side, Angela Aquereburu Rabatel founded the company YoBo Studios with her partner Jean-Luc Rabatel in 2009 (the year of the first Discop Africa’s edition). She explains her career and describes her productions to Sylvain Béletre/BalancingAct – April 2017.

Based in Lomé, Togo, YoBo Studios is an audiovisual production company – now one of the largest production companies in the country – whose “objective is to provide original and exportable content”. The other ambition of her team: to bring a different perspective on Africa today.

Q. Before becoming a producer, what was your background? Have you done other things?

A. I went through the ESCP (Ecole Supérieure de Commerce) in Paris to obtain my specialized Master in Entrepreneurship. I worked in measuring instruments and then in an HR consulting firm before turning to the audiovisual sector. I trained on the job: I read a lot of books and viewed many tutorials to learn the trade. Moving to Togo quickly became obvious.

Q. How did you land in the television sector? And why did you choose Togo to establish yourself?

A. My father is already a ‘television dinosaur’ in Togo, as he was one of the first to set up satellite dishes in the region for Canal + Horizon and CFI. My partner, Jean-Luc, was a comedian in Paris and had full-on projects. My father said to us: “Why do you waste your time in France when here the sector is damaged! Look at the mediocre content on television, which does not look like us! “That’s how we decided to do the Zem pilot.

My family lives in Togo and has developed facilities that I can benefit for my productions. Without this family base in Togo, I think we would have had a harder time getting started in audio-visual production …

Q. What were or are your biggest challenges? And your biggest hits?

A. Our greatest popular success: ZEM. Our ‘challenge’? The financing of our productions, our financial margins.

A. Tell us more about YoBo Studios.

Q. We produce fun, entertaining and aesthetic content: TV series, commercials, 3D animation and soon feature films. The company was called Caring International. We then changed our name to something more authentic. The Yo comes from the mina (Togolese dialect), the yovo which means ‘person with white skin’. And the Bo comes from the word ameyibo which means ‘a person with black skin’. A nod to our partnership – Jean-Luc and me – and on cinema … black & white.

Q.What are your main production projects today?

A. This year, we produce Zem Season 3, and “Oasis”, a new drama for Cote Ouest. In 2018, we plan to shoot the “EXPAT” series, which is currently under development, and another series project for the moment confidential. Beginning in 2019, we would like to produce long feature films that cross borders … broadcast on television and in cinemas.

Q. Please tell us more about these new projects.

A. Oasis and Expat are series projects under development. Oasis is a fictional 20-minute episode of 26 minutes in development for Cote Ouest, which has obtained support from the OIF. The series tells the story of a woman who integrates a real estate complex to do industrial espionage, but whose mission will be compromised when she goes back to a knowledge watch. Expat is a ‘drama’ of 10 episodes of 26 minutes that tells the story of a French couple who believes they are leaving in ‘expatriation’, while they land in Porto Novo, Benin …

Q. How would you define ZEM, this series which was the first success of your company?

A. ZEM is a short format series (3 minutes), whose purpose is to establish a humorous dialogue between several motorcycle taxi drivers and their entourage. I think this series was a success because it was the first time at the time that we showed on television in 2009 a short African format shot in HD with actors who had a smooth and fast rapport.

The pilot first made a buzz on Dailymotion France with more than 50,000 views on the first day (at the time it was a lot for African content!). It was also the first time that Canal + Overseas made co-production on a series. Season 1 of ZEM has 26 episodes, Season 2 is 50 episodes and Season 3 has 60 episodes (in preparation). The Season 1 was broadcast on January 4, 2010 on Canal + Afrique and on July 4, 2010 on Comédie (France), Ma Chaine Etudiante (France) and TV5monde in 2012, then the A+ channel in 2016. The Season 2 appeared to the public 12 September 2016 on TV5monde. Zem received a special prize at the Festival Vues d’Afrique in Montreal in 2012.

Q. Hospital IT (pronounced ‘Hospitalité’ in French) is about the medical world, correct?

A. This series of fiction describes a facet of the medical world in Africa. It shows the ambivalence between traditional medicine and Western medicine. The series is coming out this year.

Q. Who distributes your programs globally?

A. Zem and Palabres belong to YoBo Studios, we distribute them. Mi Temps is distributed by Canal+. The rights of Hospital IT and Oasis belong to Cote Ouest which distributes them.

Q. Is brand placement important to the survival of your company? What percentage of the total budget?

A: Yes, it is important funding for some of our productions; today, our partnering channels deal with the placement of trademarks in our productions, when our content has been pre-purchased by a channel that is linked to an ad planning agency (e.g. Canal+ Advertising, FTP). Product or brand placement represents today about 5% of the budget of our productions, at best.

Q. Do you think that the development of the audiovisual sector is important for Africans, and if so why? (In comparison with other sectors and infrastructures – health, water, electricity …)

A. For us it is as important as the rest, but for governments it is not an urgent priority. However, audiovisual programs make it possible to pass on many messages to the population, and not only in an autocratic way. The development of the audiovisual sector is essential: Watching television is the only entertainment that exists for the big mass, outside drink… As a result, the audiovisual sector is a decisive tool to convey strong messages of health, ecology, democracy … In short, we can inform and educate the populations through audiovisual programmes. But it would require a real political will to improve this sector.

Q. How do you think the African audiovisual sector has evolved since 2009?

A. It is a sector in full evolution: I see programs of better quality with more variety. Financing and margins remain the weak point.

Q. What are the current trends in terms of audiences across Africa right now?

A. Mobile TV is growing all over Africa. African people watch a lot of videos on their mobile phones. Some – the most connected – subscribe to VoD services: iROKO, Netflix, etc.

Q. What challenges do you see in the sector? And how do we deal with them?

A. Financing is key. To make exportable and cost-effective content, a minimum investment is required.

Q. Who do you think are the main leaders of the sector in French-speaking Africa? Those who really invest …

A. Local producers and broadcasters, Cote Ouest, Bolloré / Canal+, OIF, TV5Monde, RTI … There are not enough, at least on the French-speaking side. TV5monde has a genuine investment policy on African productions, they also make local ‘coups’ with real action points. RTI (Radio TV Cote d’Ivoire) can be very aggressive in its content acquisition policy but focuses mainly on Ivorian productions when it comes to pre-purchase; The Canal+ group with Canal+ Afrique, the A+ channel, NollywoodTV are key buyers in the sector… And finally Cote Ouest, which has always been a leader in distribution in Africa, but for the last 2 years has started (co-)production.

West Africa: Pres. Sirleaf Opens 14th Annual West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly

[New Republic] President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has opened the 14th Annual West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly in Monrovia. She recalled that when the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was organized many years ago, the main purpose for its formation has been to seek and promote political dialogue and settlement of various kinds amongst and between countries of the Sub-region.

Gambia: ‘All the Phone Numbers of Our Witness Are Deactivated’

[Daily Observer] A prosecutor in a drug trial before a Banjul Magistrates’ Court Tuesday informed Magistrate Malafy Jarju that the prosecution is facing difficulties to reach Jambar Dem on his phone to come and testify as a witness in a drug case involving Omar Jarju.

Liberia: LTA, Partners End Int’l Internet Workshop

The Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) and partners have ended a two-day international workshop on ICANN (the Internet Cooperation for Assigned Names and Numbers) Ecosystem and top level Domain Names management in Monrovia.

According to a press release, the mission of the ICANN is to, among others, coordinate the allocation and assignment of the three sets of unique identifiers for the internet, which include Domain Names, Internet Protocol addresses and autonomous system numbers as well as Protocol Port and Parameter Numbers.

The ICANN also seeks to coordinate the operation and evolution of the Domain Names (DNS) root name server system and coordinate policy development reasonably and appropriately related to the above mentioned technical functions.

The workshop, which was attended by dozens of representatives from the telecommunications and internet sectors of West African nations as well as the leaderships of the ICANN and the West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly, was aimed at building the capacity of participants about the ICANN and teaching them about the ICANN Ecosystem and many other issues that are relevant mainly to Liberia.

At the climax of the workshop Tuesday, several key issues in the telecommunications industry were put forward during various presentations by visiting experts of the sub-region.

Topics highlighted include the need to support the Domain Names (DNS) industry in Africa, ICANN’s contribution to internet security, and Domain Names dispute resolution.

Liberia

Gambia’s Barrow Meets Sirleaf

Liberia’s President and Chair of regional bloc ECOWAS Mrs. Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf has received the Gambia’s President… Read more »

Liberia: Ellen Echoes High Telecommunications Roaming Charges

[New Dawn] Liberian President and Chairperson of ECOWAS Mrs. Ellen Johnson -Sirleaf says the sub-region’s telecommunication experts must address one key situation regarding the high telecommunications roaming charges that ECOWAS citizens face when commuting across the region.

Africa: Guarding Against Cyberattacks On the Power Grid

By Princess Tsambo

Riaan Badenhorst, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab Africa When it comes to cybersecurity, the media spotlight falls predominantly on end-user breaches. But, imagine the consequences if hackers take down the electricity network of a country. At Kaspersky Lab, we believe a shift in focus is required. Power grids are incredibly complex networks that feature integrated automation and control functions. And, because these communicate through open protocols, there is not sufficient security built-in to protect against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. Industrial control system (ICS) environments form an integral part of this industrial space. As such, these have become some of the most targeted areas for malicious users in this sector. A recent Ernst & Young survey has found that almost half of power and utilities companies say it is unlikely that they would be able to detect a sophisticated attack. This is quite concerning given how reliant the digital world has become on the supply of reliable energy infrastructure. Think for a moment back to the days of load-shedding in South Africa and how it negatively impacted on productivity. Now imagine the potential of the power going down across the country and not coming back online. Protecting these national assets requires more than just a traditional IT security system or approach. It is not about maintaining the integrity of sensitive corporate data, but rather about ensuring the continuation of the process of supplying electricity. Further complicating matters, is the fact that ICS environments are often significantly customised and filled with proprietary (and often legacy) technologies. This makes it incredibly difficult to install a security solution that can plug all the potential gaps in the system. With electricity facilities becoming more connected they are no longer managed in closed systems. There is therefore a myriad of technical, infrastructural, and even organisational challenges to overcome if the infrastructure is to be protected effectively. Enterprise-level cybersecurity systems are not capable of fulfilling the specific requirements of electricity suppliers. Instead, an industrial-level solution that secures every layer of infrastructure without impacting on the operational continuity and consistency of the processes is required. However, cyberthreats can bridge the gap between industrial and enterprise systems – and it is becoming increasingly imperative to have a security solution that can fulfil vastly different organisational requirements. Industrial operations therefore need to work with a vendor capable of providing a full suite of complimentary solutions delivering protection on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, servers, databases, all the way through to ICS environments. It is this integrated approach that will help ensure that the lights keep on in times of crisis. Industry has moved beyond just meeting the security demands of their sites, but needs to make sure the integrity of the entire infrastructure is maintained. The alternative, could be too significant to contemplate. -CAJ News

Africa

Ghana Drops VAT On Domestic Flights As 10 Investors Seek License

The Ghana Ministry of Aviation has received proposals from 10 foreign and local investors to operate in the country’s… Read more »

Rwanda: Mastercard U.S.$1 Million Grant Set to Ignite Business Growth in Rwanda

In support of Rwanda’s Sustainable Development Goals, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growthhas confirmed its commitment to a grant of up to USD$1 million over three years to support the growth of small business owners in Rwanda.

According to a press statement by Mastercard, to ensure that the first phase of the roll out of the grant is successful, Mastercard has partnered with theAfrican Entrepreneur Collective (AEC), locally known as Inkomoko. The team develops and grooms entrepreneurs in industries such as technology, agriculture and energy – three of East Africa’s biggest and fastest growing sectors, and priorities in Rwanda.

Announced during at the 2016 World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF Africa) in Kigali, Rwanda, Mastercard committed to supporting Rwanda’s vision of financially empowering its citizens, with the grant established to support achieving this goal. The commitment is in line with driving poverty out of Rwanda through job creation, ensuring gender equality through equal access to opportunities, and delivering decent work prospects which will enable economic growth.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are key drivers of the local economy – currently making up 97.8 percent of the private sector in the country.Inkomoko’s one-year programme removes the barriers local entrepreneurs face in the areas of skills development, networks, and financing, through providing mentoring, technical support, capacity building, and direct access to affordable capital. What makes the partnership between Mastercard and Inkomokouniqueis the support of both Rwandan nationals as well as some of the 160,000 refugees currently living in Rwanda.

In collaboration with the United Nations Agency on Refugees (UNHCR), the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) and MastercardCenter for Inclusive Growth, Inkomokowill roll out aprogramme aimed at fostering the social and economic independence of refugees in Rwanda.With a large population of refugees, the role of private and public partnerships remains crucial to the inclusive growth and development of all those displaced. Mastercard, together with the African

Entrepreneur Collective,has committed to assisting entrepreneurs in Rwanda regardless of their circumstances, a vision shared and driven by the Rwandan government. “Connecting entrepreneurs, especially women and refugees, to the networks that power the modern world – like financial services – unlocks their economic potential and accelerates a cycle of equitable and sustainable economic growth,” says Shamina Singh, President of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

The Inkomoko entrepreneurship programme aims to restore the dignity of refugees living in Rwanda by empowering these small business owners with vital support to grow their businesses. The programmewill work with 4,000 refugees in Rwandaover the next three years.

“The intention is to connectrefugees with the tools and skills necessary to enable them to become self-sufficient and independent entrepreneurs to improve their own livelihoods, create jobs for others in their communities, and contribute to Rwanda’s larger economic development. Rwanda’s refugee camps and host communities are places of vibrant social and economic activity with bustling markets, shops, restaurants, and industries,” says Julienne Oyler, Executive Director of African Entrepreneur Collective.

Supporting and developing entrepreneurs in these areas will have tremendous impact on the communities themselves and the country at large.Rwandahas become a bustling centre of commerce in Africa, and by implementing programmes that broadly target high potential local entrepreneurs, broad-based economic growth can be advanced by equipping the country’s next generation of business owners with the right tools to hone their financial literacy – the foundation of financial inclusion and growth.

In this way, the support provided as part of the grant not only falls in with the country’s Vision 2020 strategy to create a knowledge-based, cashless economy with 90 percent financial inclusion, it also contributes to Rwanda meeting its Sustainable Development Goals, most notably in terms of eradicating poverty and driving gender equality through the empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Facilitating inclusive growth is an important way to build social and economic development, and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth remains committed to working with partners in both the public and private spheres to drive that development.

“Microentrepreneurs drive the local economy, and through our partnership with African Entrepreneur Collective, we look forward to empowering them with the tools and training to grow their businesses and advance the lives of their families and communities,” concludes Singh.

East Africa: OLX Championing Cyber Trust Through Launch of New E-Commerce Service

By Baraka Jefwa

OLX has unveiled a new service that will allow car buyers and sellers to transact safely by being able to pay directly through escrow. The service dubbed “Sell It For Me” will also handle the entire process for people who want to sell their vehicles.

The service launches at a time when there’s ever more evidence of a need for developments that boost confidence among internet-based transactions.

A recently conducted global survey revealed that Internet users are increasingly concerned about their online privacy; it found that 49 percent of users polled said lack of trust is their main reason for not shopping online.

What the survey says

The survey of 24,225 Internet users was conducted by global research company Ipsos, on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) between December 2016, and March 2017. The survey was conducted in 24 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Japan, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia and the United States.

The research shows that among those worried about their privacy, top sources of concern were cybercriminals (82 percent), Internet companies (74 percent) and governments (65 percent).

“The lifeblood of the Internet is trust and when that is damaged, the consequences for the digital economy are nearly irreparable,” Director of CIGI’s Global Security & Politics program Fen Osler Hampson said in a press statement. “The results of this global survey offer a glimpse into why policymakers should be concerned, and why there is a strong link between user trust and the health of e-commerce,”

Lack of trust is most likely to keep people off e-commerce platforms in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, suggesting that the potential gains of e-commerce are not spread evenly around the globe.

“Nearly 50 percent of Internet users surveyed do not trust the Internet and this lack of trust is affecting the way they use it. The findings of this year’s CIGI-Ipsos survey underscore the importance of taking action now to build stronger online trust by addressing users’ concerns and using technologies such as encryption to secure communications,” said Sally Wentworth, Vice President of Global Policy for the Internet Society, in a press release.

How OLX seeks to gain the internet’s trust

Speaking at the launch, held at the Intercontinental hotel, Kenya, OLX, Country Manager, Peter Ndiang’ui said that the service will make it safer and more convenient for car traders on OLX and involvement in the payment process will increase buyers’ trust when making a car purchase.

“Direct payments to OLX champs to handle selling transactions are a definite value addition to our users who are always seeking safety and convenience when trading online. It is also important to note that those wishing to continue with hands-off buying and selling on our platform are still free to do so.” Added Ndiang’ui.

Per Ndiang’ui, the service, which has been rolled out in Nairobi, has currently hired 20 verified and vetted OLX Champs, who have access to data analytics which increase the chance of selling the cars of faster. OLX is also seeking to partner with financiers, insurers and auto garages to help ease the process of selling cars online.

The service starts when an OLX Champ is linked up with the seller to agree on the selling price from which the champ will get his commission. The Champ handles the entire selling process. Money is then sent directly to OLX and once the buyer confirms receipt of the vehicle, OLX releases the money to the seller. The escrow services allow direct deposit to OLX, which guarantees safety for the buyer.

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