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Happy salary week ☀️
Good news for remote workers who jump right from bed into their work meetings: beauty filters are coming to Google Meet.
The company recently announced that it’s rolling out new features that will “touch up your appearance” during calls. This includes teeth whiteners and complexion smoothening—which can be subtle or heavy. The feature will start rolling out on mobile to early adopters by October 28, but the rest of us won’t be getting it till the end of the year.
Onto today’s newsletter. 👇🏾
IROKOtv denies shutdown rumours
GIF source: Tenor
African streaming platform IROKOtv is standing tall.
Yesterday, tech publication Techweez reported that the platform had shut down after “facing challenges”, and being offline for a while. Users had previously reported that the platform’s mobile app and website had gone offline, and no formal communication had been made across its social media handles.
Investigations by TechCabal, however, revealed that the platform is not shutting down. CEO Jason Njoku denied the shutdown rumours in a conversation with TechCabal. According to Njoku, the company’s services went offline due to an ongoing migration.“We’ve been migrating platforms for the last few weeks, so the site has been in maintenance mode,” he said.
A renewed focus: The CEO explained that IROKOtv is now tailoring its focus to a diasporan audience. “We had to hard pivot away from Africa, which rendered our existing product and platform obsolete. It was harder than expected to untangle everything after 10+ years of building for Nigeria first,” he said. With 89% of its 2023 revenue reportedly from outside of Nigeria, IROKOtv will now double down on its dollar-paying users.
In line with this move, IROKOtv is also working to make its service accessible on smart TVs, including Roku, LG, and Samsung, by the end of the year.
Zoom out: So far, African streaming services are fighting hard to compete with international streaming services like Netflix. At least four telecom companies—including Vodacom’s VideoPlay, and Telkom’s TelkomOne—have shut down their streaming platforms in the last year. Some market forecasts project Netflix as lead for streaming in Africa by 2029, with MultiChoice’s Showmax coming second, and Amazon Prime as third.
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Kenyan court rules against CA’s live protest ban
GIF Source: Tenor
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has been called to order.
A Kenyan court has issued a series of orders compelling the CA to revisit its regulations that had previously banned TV stations from broadcasting live protests.
The court’s ruling, which was issued on October 19, emphasises the importance of upholding freedom of expression and information.
What led to the ban? In March 2023, Kenyans, led by defeated presidential contender Raila Odinga, protested against the high cost of living and the alleged illegitimacy of President William Ruto’s regime. The Communications Authority (CA) then censored six television stations for their live coverage of the protests, which saw two people shot, and over 200 protesters arrested. The authority’s director general, Ezra Chiloba, claimed the coverage generated panic and jeopardised peace and warned six media outlets against their coverage of the country’s ongoing protests. However, the High Court suspended the CA’s decision to censure the six TV stations on March 24, 2023.
At the time of the ban, the then Director General Ezra Chiloba, accused six Kenyan stations of breaching the programming code. However, the court’s ruling has issued several key orders.
What are the orders?
- The court cancelled the CA’s decision to reprimand six TV stations – Citizen TV, NTV, K24, KBC, TV47, and Ebru TV – for their coverage of Kenyan protests held on March 20, 2023.
- The court also ruled that Regulation 19(a), (b), (c), and (d)—which prohibit TV stations from broadcasting protests in the name of national security—were in violation of the constitution.
- The court also suspended the CA’s plan to review the Programming Code, stating that the Code had expired and was of no legal effect.
Zoom out: The court has further directed the regulator to review the Programming Code for Broadcasting Services in Kenya that is currently in effect. Due to the complexities of this process, the court has suspended the order for 12 months, allowing the authority time to address the issues at hand.
South Africa’s Milkor 380 Drone makes successful first flight
The Milkor 380 Drone
South Africa’s Milkor 380 Drone is ready to fly.
Milkor, a Pretoria-based defence company, recently ran a successful test flight on its Milkor 380 Drone after three years and seven months of development.
Its features: The Milkor 380 drone is said to be the largest drone built in Africa, with a wingspan of 18.6 metres—or as tall as a six-story building—a continuous flight time of up to 35 hours, a range of up to 2,000km, and a maximum altitude of 9,000 metres.
The drone is controlled from the ground by three people, including a pilot, a commander, and someone to control the equipment onboard.
There’s more: The drone is also equipped with infrared and high-resolution cameras, allowing it to undertake observation, intelligence gathering, reconnaissance, and offensive missions. It can also be used for conservation, combating land and sea poaching, and border control.
There’s no set price for the drone, as this varies based on each customer’s specifications.
Zoom out: Milkor is now conducting regular test flights and hopes to have four drones ready for the market by the end of 2023.
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After 10 months in private beta, Paystack announced that all business in Kenya could now accept payments with our growth tools. Learn more →
MTN appoints David Behr as CEO ICT Centre of Excellence
David Behr, Chief Executive Officer of ICT Centre of Excellence
There is a new boss in town!
MTN has named David Behr as the head of its ICT Centre of Excellence (CoE), a division dedicated to brainstorming innovative solutions and best practices for the company’s enterprise business.
Behr replaces interim chief Vaughan Naidoo in the role. Behr’s appointment is effective as of November 1, 2023.
MTN’s CoE is a think tank that helps the telecom with fast-tracking products and developing new solutions and practices geared towards its enterprise business.
Who is David Behr? Behr brings more than two decades of telecom industry experience to the table and currently serves as the CEO of Liquid C2. He is widely recognized as an industry expert, particularly in enterprise areas such as cloud solutions, cybersecurity, IoT, and platform development
Zoom out: As reported by local media, MTN appears to be making a more significant move into South Africa’s enterprise technology sector. This is evident with Behr’s appointment, along with the recent appointment of Tumi Chamayou as the company’s chief enterprise officer. <
The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 07:15 AM WAT, October 24, 2023.
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At $35,000, bitcoin has hit a 16-month high! CoinTelegraph reports that the leading cryptocurrency recently hit the highest it’s ever been since May 2022. The high is run by a swell of optimism that the US will approve a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). Last week, a US court ruled that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has no basis to deny bids to turn bitcoin funds into ETFs. With the SEC announcing that it won’t be appealing the decision, many analysts now believe that an ETF approval from the SEC is underway. So far, only four countries—Brazil, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands—have approved ETFs.
Worldcoin is switching its operator rewards from USDC to WRLD tokens. Starting October 24, operators will be rewarded with WRLD tokens instead of USDC in a bid to circulate the token. After the announcement, WLD token prices fell nearly 6% to $1.48.
- The Digital Nigeria International Conference 2023 is set to hold from October 24–26, 2023 at the Abuja International Conference Centre. The 3-day programme will see technology enthusiasts within the Nigerian startup ecosystem dive deeper into areas and aspects where startup founders seek support, education, or real-world problems, challenges facing their businesses and roles of government, especially NITDA, in supporting Nigerian startups. This year’s Digital Nigeria International Conference will attract over 10,000+ in-person and 5,000+ virtual attendees. Find out more about the speakers here.
- DICE is holding the next edition of its quarterly gathering. This edition is themed “Solve for Africa: Co-Creating a Tech-Enabled Future” and will feature startup founders, investors, venture capitalists and tech leaders answering questions on how tech can be harnessed as a catalyst for change in Africa. Join Jim Ovia, chairman of Zenith Bank, Bosun Tijani, Nigerian minister of comms, and Funke Opeke, founder of Mainstreet Technologies amongst others by 6 PM on November 8, 2023, as they co-create a shared future. Register to attend here.
- Interested in discovering how tech is driving Africa’s economic boom? Then the 2023 Africa Tech Festival is for you. With over 200+ speakers including South Africa’s minister of mineral resources Gwede Mantashe, the event is set for November 13–16, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa. Tickets are available here, and you can get 15% off paid passes with the code “TECHCABAL15”.
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