The government of Zimbabwe is in the process of installing and testing an indigenous video conferencing and messaging app, TrueConf. This became imperative due to a recent unpleasant experience of hijacking during an event by the Meteorological Services Department in the country.
The event, hosted on a popular video conferencing app, Zoom, was hijacked and participants had to endure the explicit content that was displayed before the effort to recover the meeting was successful.
Meanwhile, TrueConf is intended to be included on another locally-developed platform, Public Finance Management System (PFMS), which was previously adopted to keep the country’s finances secured.
The government believes that integrating such a feature will be vital because the more locally-managed a platform is, the more secure it will be to host the government’s confidential activities.
Zimbabwe’s plan isn’t the first in Africa, especially since the pandemic started. A similar move was taken by a Kenyan startup a few months ago.
Earlier in June, the gaming startup, Usiko, launched the first African video conferencing app, Gumzo, which means ‘chatting’ in Swahili.
The founder claims that the mobile app is accessible on lower versions of mobile devices and can run on lower generations of mobile networks like 2G because of the focus market.
Since launch, the app is mostly utilised by Kenyan teachers for taking classes since academic structures were shut down.
Globally, video conferencing platforms have been critical in sustaining remote activities during the pandemic. While adoption increased for popular products, more companies also tapped into this visible market need.
Apparently, cybersecurity casualties also increased with this. At a time, Zoom’s reputation began to tank due to high reported cases of Zoombombing. Subsequently, the global company upgraded the app’s security features to protect users.
As the case is, countries are evidently concerned about falling victim of cyberattack due to the use of foreign tech tools, especially when it concerns national security. Hence, they are encouraged to locally build tools to address their needs.
Subsequently, it is expected that more intentional tech innovation will spring up, especially in emerging economies.
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