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Biden, Kenya’s Ruto pledge protect democracy in Africa and beyond

Biden, Kenya’s Ruto pledge protect democracy in Africa and beyond

U.S. President Joe Biden welcomed Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House for a state visit, pledging new partnerships on technology, security and debt relief to the leader of one of Africa's strongest democracies. Ruto's is the first state visit by an African president to the White House since 2008, a gesture toward the importance of a continent that is home to 1 billion people and nurtures close trade ties with China, but which ranks behind the wars in Ukraine and Gaza on Washington's agenda. On Thursday evening, Ruto was the guest of honour at a lavish state dinner that drew a wide…
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West Africa’s coast was a haven for piracy and illegal fishing – how technology is changing the picture

West Africa’s coast was a haven for piracy and illegal fishing – how technology is changing the picture

THE Gulf of Guinea – a coastal region that stretches from Senegal to Angola – is endowed with vast reserves of hydrocarbon, mineral and fisheries resources. It is also an important route for international commerce, making it critical to the development of countries in the region. IFESINACHI OKAFOR-YARWOOD, Lecturer, University of St Andrews For a long time, however, countries in the Gulf of Guinea haven’t properly monitored what’s happening in their waters. This has allowed security threats at sea to flourish. The threats include illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, drug trafficking, piracy and armed robbery, and toxic waste dumping. For…
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How the cookie crackdown plays to Africa’s text messaging strengths

How the cookie crackdown plays to Africa’s text messaging strengths

AFRICAN businesses are continuing to find value in a technology that is largely being forgotten by the latest offerings of the metaverse, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies. Despite a whirlwind of digital advancement, including a surge in smartphone penetration across the continent and the emergence of world-leading mobile money solutions, Africa remains a huge market for feature phones, which offer text-based communications and are not reliant on an internet connection. Consequently, "old-school" USSD or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (known by most of us as text messaging services) have remained a cornerstone for many African companies' sales and services offerings.…
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Khartoum’s yellow taxis stand idle as technology trumps tradition

Khartoum’s yellow taxis stand idle as technology trumps tradition

THE yellow taxis of Khartoum were once an enduring part of its colonial legacy. Now the vehicles, introduced in Sudan's capital under British rule in 1937 and last renewed as a fleet in 1978, bear the signs of numerous repairs, their paintwork chipped - and their often elderly drivers wait in vain for customers. They say they've been left behind by competitors who advertise using unregulated ride-hailing apps, and who drive newer cars. "We've raised generations of children off the back of this taxi. But our taxis are old now," driver Alrasheed Ahmed, who has had his since 1980, told…
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Technology and sustainable development: a hamlet in rural South Africa shows how one can power the other

Technology and sustainable development: a hamlet in rural South Africa shows how one can power the other

IT'S hard to imagine that the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the fourth industrial revolution can be part of the same conversation. But, as a briefing paper by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) points out: Over 70% of the 136 SDG targets could be enabled by technology applications already in deployment. To be achieved, both ideas – sustainable development and the fourth industrial revolution – require innovative thinking and a change of attitude. Authors SAURABH SINHA, Professor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation, University of Johannesburg MDUDUZI MBIZA, Research Associate, University of Johannesburg The fourth industrial…
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Africa eyes more broadband networks in 2023

Africa eyes more broadband networks in 2023

CONRAD ONYANGO, BIRD STORY AGENCY AFRICAN countries are looking to roll out more broadband networks in 2023 as mobile and internet service providers expand their investment in undersea and land-based cables and internet services originating in space become a financially viable option for some consumers. Broadband is a technology widely defined as one that gives users access to faster internet with a minimum of 25 Mbps in download and 3 Mbps in upload speeds. The recent landing of a 45,000-kilometer subsea cable in South Africa by mobile network provider,MTN South Africa and its subsidiary, MTN GlobalConnect in the Western Cape…
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Tech’s long COVID-19: What privacy battles will define 2021?

Tech’s long COVID-19: What privacy battles will define 2021?

UMBERTO BACCHI THE coronavirus pandemic added a new layer to the ever-developing debate around privacy and technology in 2020, as governments and companies turned to tools like contract tracing apps and employee monitoring software. As the year comes to an end, the Thomson Reuters Foundation asked privacy experts around the world what issues will shape the conversation in 2021: MASS SURVEILLANCE - Ella Jakubowska, policy officer, European Digital Rights, Brussels "In 2021, one big challenge for civil society will be protecting fundamental rights in Europe from the threat of mass surveillance. On the one hand, the European Commission is poised…
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Technology and home visits can help South Africans with diabetes cope with insulin

Technology and home visits can help South Africans with diabetes cope with insulin

APPROXIMATELY 4.5 million South Africans have type 2 diabetes – a condition characterised by high levels of sugar in the blood. It can be treated with drugs and managed through healthy eating and exercise. But if it’s not managed well, it can be life-threatening. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in South Africa. Blood sugar levels rise to dangerous levels when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar in the body. Authors PATRICK NGASSA PIOTIE, Project Manager, Tshwane Insulin Project, University of Pretoria ELIZABETH M. WEBB, Associate professor, University…
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How smart investments in technology can beef up Africa’s economy

How smart investments in technology can beef up Africa’s economy

NOBLE BANADDA, Professor and Chair of the Department of Agricultural and Bio Systems Engineering, Makerere University THERE is no shortage of technological innovations designed to boost animal agriculture in Africa. These range from GPS tracking systems which identify and trace pastoralists’ herds to livestock vaccine SMS services that alert farmers to disease outbreaks. But to unlock the economic potential of the sector as demand for meat and milk swells threefold towards 2050, countries must invest in the critical areas that will improve quality across the whole value chain. That is increasing productivity and quality from the breeding of the animal…
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Password education should be age-appropriate: here’s how

Password education should be age-appropriate: here’s how

KAREN RENAUD, Visiting Professor of Cybersecurity, Rhodes University SUZANNE PRIOR, Lecturer in Computing, Abertay University CHILDREN are increasingly being exposed to, and using, technology from a very young age. This has never been more true than in 2020 when the vast majority of children worldwide have used online resources to access educational resources and communicate with family and friends during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the resources and websites used, along with the devices they are accessed on, require the use of a password to authenticate the user. However, young children don’t necessarily have the skills and knowledge required to…
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