NITDA fines fintech company, Facebook and COVID-19 Vaccines, Kenya’s drone registrations

by | Mar 16, 2021

This post is a delayed version of Techpoint Digest, a week-daily newsletter that rounds up major happenings in African tech. You can start receiving it hours before everyone else if you subscribe now.

Good day,

Oluwanifemi and Emmanuel here

Today we are discussing:

  • NITDA’s $13,000 fine on Nigerian payments company
  • Facebook’s COVID-19 vaccine move
  • How to own a drone in Kenya

A quick noticeYesterday, we wrote about Innoson’s supposed partnership with an admittedly strange cryptocurrency, Zugacoin. Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing has come out to debunk any claims of such partnership, quelling other questions we had about the announcement. Still, could that really be the full gist?

NITDA fines Nigerian fintech company

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The story: The Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has fined Nigerian financial services provider, Electronic Settlements Limited with the sum of ₦5 million ($13,123) for Data Protection Breach. 

Electronic Settlement Limited is a financial services company behind products like Paypad, a mobile Point of Sale (mPoS) service, and CashEnvoy, a web payment gateway. 

NITDA Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs Hadiza Umar, stated that the company will be under a six-month oversight by NITDA which shall involve the implementation of prescribed security protocols and processes.

How it happened: The information technology regulator states that it conducted investigations on the company’s websites, and applications. It also visited the company’s office in Lagos, reviewed its technical documents and interrogated its officials at the NITDA office in Abuja. 

Why this matters: In 2019, NITDA introduced the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) to try to bring Nigeria up to global standards for safeguarding the rights of individuals to data privacy.

Though policy experts admit there’s room for improvement, it was largely a step in the right direction. However, it is not clear how much Nigerians or Nigerian companies try to be data privacy compliant. Read why I made this statement

So far, the regulator has shifted compliance deadlines several times and we’ve not heard much from its investigation on Truecaller

Promising sign: By implementing such strict punishment, NITDA might be sending a signal to other companies that are yet to be fully compliant. One only hopes this extends to government offices and schools that have also had privacy breaches in the past

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Check out how Techpoint Africa beat the NDPR deadline in June 2020.

Facebook and COVID-19 vaccination

Global tech company, Facebook is introducing a tool that will help you locate where and when vaccination is taking place in your locality and register. This was first hinted at in February, and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg confirmed it in a Facebook post yesterday.

Update: Available as links on the COVID-19 Information Center feature on the app, it will include hours of operation, contact info, and links to make a vaccination appointment. This has been rolled out, first in the US, and later in the other parts of the world as vaccination gets widely carried out. Of course, it will require information input from local governments.

This feature may soon be brought to Instagram. Meanwhile, Facebook claims it has already opened up WhatsApp for helpline services to share vaccine availability information with health workers in Indonesia and South Africa.

Other plans: Apart from this, Facebook plans to make $120 million available in ad credits to NGOs, governments, and health ministries as part of its intention to encourage the circulation of the right preventive health information.

What’s in it? For Facebook, it will attract more COVID-19 related ads as well more people probably depending on the platform for information as well as on other Facebook family of apps.

Fun fact: Half of all the countries in Africa already have access to COVID-19 vaccines which came from different sources apart from the COVAX facility. But the continent is still behind compared to other parts of the world. Check out the heat map here.

Currently, countries that have begun vaccination already have a central system for vaccination registration. In Nigeria, for instance, citizens are encouraged to register on the NPHDA website. But, vaccines are administered on the basis of priority groups.

How to own a drone in Kenya

The Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has given owners of Unmanned Aviation Systems (UAS), known as drones, the approval to legally operate them after paying a KES 3,000 ($27.3) registration fee.

However, depending on the services required by drone operators, other charges like remote air operator certificate can go as high as KES 80,000 ($730). These charges are stipulated under the Civil Aviation (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) Regulations, 2020. Also, drones are classified based on their risk factors.

By the way, Kenyan laws only allow citizens (18 years and above), businesses, and governments to own a drone. And these drones can be used in agriculture, health, transportation, data collection, aerial mapping, among others. Compared to the previous hostility expressed towards drones in the country, this development will further bolster confidence in UAS ownership in the country.

In the meantime, the government will carry out sensitisation to make the citizens aware of what the regulations entail.

Recall: It was in April 2020 when the Kenyan government lifted the ban placed on UAS operations in the country. And Emmanuel believes it may later influence other African countries with similar bans.

While the charges in Kenya look relatively affordable, the case is different in Nigeria. See?

What else is happening?

  • China wants to dismantle Alibaba’s media empire: reports. Read
  • Where Stripe’s new mega-valuation places it among payment companies. Read
  • Elon Musk crowns himself ‘Technoking’ of Tesla. Really?
  • Keep in mind: Register for the Digital Currency Summit with this link.
  • Meanwhile: Here is the list of confirmed speakers at Techpoint Digital Currency Summit 2021

Have a great day!
Oluwanifemi Kolawole & Emmanuel Paul for Techpoint Africa.

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