Victoria from Techpoint here,
Here's what I've got for you today:
- Sudan's Internet shutdown hits over 14m users
- A plan to introduce a single emergency number across Africa
- Microsoft to build another data centre in SA
Sudan's Internet shutdown hits over 14m users
Sudan has been in a bit of a mess lately.
Here’s a lowdown on what’s been happening: The Internet and phone networks have been completely down for several days, and no one is sure who is to blame.
On one side, the Sudanese government and a paramilitary group called the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are pointing fingers at each other. They've been duking it out for almost a year, causing chaos and forcing millions of people to flee their homes.
The RSF, which controls much of the telecom infrastructure, has been accused of shutting down Sudani and MTN Sudan's networks in protest of poor communication services.
However, the RSF is saying, "Not us!" Instead, it blames the Sudanese army for disrupting digital communication across the country.
Meanwhile, the Digital Rights Lab, a non-profit in the country, is working to clarify the situation. According to DRH, the RSF may have taken over some Internet service provider centres in Khartoum, the nation's capital.
Be the smartest in the room
This chaos has spread to Zain, a major telecommunications company, disconnecting about 14 million Internet users. The telco claims it is facing challenging circumstances beyond its control.
As if that was not enough drama, Anonymous Sudan, a hacktivist group, is getting involved. It’s going after countries it thinks are cosy with the RSF, like Djibouti and Uganda, disrupting their telecom networks.
Remember in July 2023 when those Anonymous Sudan hackers messed with Kenya's eCitizen platform? The hacktivist group hacked the website after seeing a video of Sudanese General Yasir Al-Atta accusing Kenyan President William Ruto of supporting Sudan's paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
What's more, in 2023, Sudan lost millions of dollars and cut off Internet access for millions of people due to censorship. Now, it’s joining the club with other African countries like Comoros and Senegal that are clamping down on Internet freedom.
A plan to introduce a single emergency number across Africa
Telecom bigwigs from all over Africa gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, for a powwow hosted by the African Telecommunications Union (ATU).
They were preparing for the World Telecommunications Standardisation Assembly (WTDC), which will take place in India later this year.
The goal? To hash out a plan for a single emergency number that operates across the continent. Picture this: one number you can dial anywhere in Africa to get help in a pinch; no more memorising different numbers for each country.
Do you even know your country's emergency number? You don't? Do you see why this is important?
Over 200 folks from different African countries, including telecom regulators and business peeps, showed up to brainstorm. They want to add this global emergency number alongside the ones countries already have, making it easy to get help no matter where you are.
John Omo, the ATU Secretary-General, summed it up: Africa needs one emergency hotline, pronto. According to him, It'd be a game-changer during disasters like floods.
Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Information, Eliud Owalo, gave props to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for their work on standards. He's all about supporting institutions like the ITU to keep pushing tech boundaries.
David Mugonyi of Kenya's Communications Authority weighed in, claiming that sticking to global standards can either boost or stifle growth.
Microsoft to build another data centre in SA
Microsoft has announced plans to build another data centre in South Africa, adding Centurion to its list of spots in Joburg and Cape Town.
This move follows hot on the heels of Google setting up shop in Joburg with its first Africa cloud data centre.
Microsoft's new baby will be in Kosmosdal, near NTT's Johannesburg 1 data centre.
The tech behemoth made a big splash yesterday with newspaper ads announcing its plans to set up camp in Kosmosdal, Gauteng. It’s still in the baby steps phase, so there are no deets yet on how big this new place will be.
You should know this: Microsoft was the first to bring large-scale cloud computing to South Africa, followed by Amazon Web Services and Google.
The company, which plays the teamwork theme song well, indicates it’s excitement to work with the locals to make this data centre dream a reality.
With 30 years of experience in South Africa, Microsoft is on a mission to turbocharge the tech scene and involve everyone in the digital revolution. This new data centre is its next big step towards making it happen.
In case you missed it
- TD Africa becomes Starlink’s authorised distributor in Africa
- Telecel Group secures $20 million to expand its operations in West Africa
- M-Pesa agent has been accused of withholding over $2,000 in mistaken deposit
- Remoteli partners Pathways to empower footballers with tech skills
- Kenyan lobby group takes the country’s first-ever crypto bill to parliament
What I'm reading and watching
- Microsoft’s next big AI push is here after a year of Bing
- How You Will Die On Every Planet
- Antarctica vs Sahara - Could You Survive 1 Year In Extreme Temperatures
- Application for the Innovest Afrika accelerator programme is open. Apply by February 14, 2024, here.
- Kenyan startups focused on embedded finance, future fintech, SME productivity tools, and content like local gaming and mobile advertising can apply for Safaricom’s Spark Accelerator programme. For more information, check this out.
- The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is looking for an editor to support the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship. Apply here.
- Application for the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) Class of 2025 is now open. Check out the one-year, fully sponsored, graduate-level programme in tech entrepreneurship here before March 18, 2023.
- 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.
- Explore this website to find multiple job opportunities in Data that align with your preferences.
- 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 fantastic Thursday!
Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.