Victoria from Techpoint here
Here's what I've got for you today:
- NAFDAC launches Green Book to verify drugs
- MTN explores the skies to increase network coverage in Africa
- Central Bank of Lesotho restores interbank transfers
NAFDAC launches Green Book to verify drugs
A few days ago, several Nigerians complained on X about the flood of fake goods, which included everything from drinks to packaged foods, medications, and toiletries.
Following that, they requested that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) investigate the matter and determine a means of halting the spread of fake goods within the nation's marketplace.
While I’m not sure whether this is a response to Nigerians' complaints or just a coincidence, NAFDAC announced the launch of the "NAFDAC Green Book," a database of registered and approved drugs for sale and distribution, yesterday.
Beginning in January 2024, everyone in Nigeria will have access to the NAFDAC Green Book, allowing them to use their Android smartphones to verify any medication.
For context, the NAFDAC Green Book, which includes information on 6,432 registered pharmaceutical products, aims to make it simple for the general public to verify the authenticity of medications online.
This move in the pharmaceutical industry aims to improve consumer safety and transparency.
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Sadly, counterfeit drugs are on the rise. The NAFDAC Director General, Mojisola Adeyeye, attributed the increase to the challenging economic environment, which encourages the manufacturing and distribution of subpar products.
Moreover, NAFDAC says its enforcement directorate destroyed 135 truckloads of voluntarily submitted fake, counterfeit, and spurious products and damaged or expired products, estimated to be around N16 billion.
What’s more, Adeyeye disclosed the agency’s intentions to gradually stop producing and selling alcohol in sachets by January 2024.
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MTN explores the skies to increase network coverage in Africa
MTN Group is partnering with satellite communication companies, including OneWeb, Starlink, Lynk Global, and AST SpaceMobile, to increase Internet connectivity in Africa's rural areas.
The tech giant is exploring Low Earth Orbit (LEO) trials, which could completely change how distant parts of Africa receive telecommunications by testing standard and direct-to-device satellite services.
The company plans to conduct pilots with Lynk Global in Ghana and South Africa, negotiate tests with AST SpaceMobile in Nigeria and South Sudan, and conduct enterprise-focused trials with Starlink in Rwanda and Nigeria.
This move could help the company surpass its target of 88% broadband population coverage in 2022 and reach 95% coverage by 2025 throughout its entire footprint. In the long run, it would achieve universal access.
According to Mazen Mroué, Chief Technology and Information Officer of MTN Group, the company has focused on two "distinct yet complementary" LEO-based solutions for connectivity enhancement.
One of these approaches uses LEO satellites to provide MTN cellular sites with backhaul connectivity and "critical" fixed connectivity for enterprise customers, while the other employs direct-to-cellular technology to improve network access in previously underserved areas.
Zoom out: In July 2023, Safaricom announced plans to launch satellite Internet services, in collaboration with AST SpaceMobile, that use a constellation of satellites to communicate directly with common 4G smartphones to provide low-cost broadband connectivity to rural and remote areas.
In September 2023, Vodafone and Amazon’s low Earth orbit satellite constellation, Project Kuiper, collaborated to bring 4G and 5G services.
Vodacom, a subsidiary of Vodafone, announced that it would replace the need for fixed wireless or fibre-based connections by using Project Kuiper to connect mobile base stations in remote locations to its core networks.
Central Bank of Lesotho restores interbank transfers
Eight days after a cyberattack that disrupted the nation's payment system, the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) has restored interbank transfers.
While banks can now process transactions with other banks, the CBL advised customers to anticipate delays as the processing of payments is done manually.
According to a joint statement issued by the Bankers Association of Lesotho (BAL) and the CBL, the industry is working to improve the payment process as soon as possible.
What happened? On December 11, 2023, the Central Bank of Lesotho disclosed that a cybersecurity incident had affected its system.
Despite assuring no financial or other losses, the bank temporarily suspended some of its systems to prevent further infiltration.
Two days later, the apex bank and the BAL stated that the technical teams were working to resolve the issue.
Per a statement, without specifying the alternatives, the two institutions have “agreed to institute business continuity processes and measures as alternative ways to facilitate payments and transactions between all the banks.”
Sidebar: In May 2022, Lesotho passed new legislation to address cybercrimes, granting the government authority to oversee online activities, specify cyber offences, and establish penalties such as fines and lengthy prison terms.
In case you missed it
- Nairaland taken down twice over an abuse report and may not be coming back anytime soon
- Zambia to launch digital centres for citizens to access free Internet service
- Nigerians now have more interest in stablecoins than Bitcoin – Google Trends
What I'm reading and watching
- Online fraud: INTERPOL seizes $300 million, arrests 3,500 in sting operation across Nigeria, Ghana, 32 other countries
- Atheist VS Agnostic - How Do They Compare & What's The Difference?
- Ethical dilemma: Should we get rid of mosquitoes? - Talya Hackett
- Lawyers Hub has opened applications for its 2023 Startup Law Accelerator program. Apply here.
- Do you live in Nigeria and work with a local or foreign company? Whether it's remotely, on-site, hybrid, full-time, part-time or as a freelancer, @TheIntelpoint is trying to understand the Nigerian workspace: how you work, and toxicity in the workspace among others. Please, fill out the questionnaire here.
- If you are a software engineer, creative designer, product manager, design researcher, or a techie looking for an internship role, please, check out this website.
Have a superb Wednesday!
Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.