Kenya considers banning TikTok again

March 22, 2024
5 min read
Photo by Franck on Unsplash

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Victoria from Techpoint here,

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • Kenya considers banning TikTok again
  • ANKA shuts up its marketplace 
  • Hormuud Telecom launches 5G in Somalia
  • Kenyans can now track their passport status

Kenya considers banning TikTok again

Photo by Franck on Unsplash

Remember this? TikTok ban in Kenya? 

Quick recap: Bridget Connect Consultancy signed a petition, calling for TikTok's closure over its alleged promotion of explicit content and other shady activities in August 2023.

What’s new? Kenya's Interior Ministry is slamming the brakes on TikTok for government officials to keep sensitive data and Kenyans' security safe. 

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki spilled the beans to parliament, saying the National Security Council is sweating over social media threats, including TikTok.

They're mulling over whether to ban public officials from using TikTok to safeguard sensitive data. Even though there's no official policy yet, they're considering putting the brakes on TikTok for government use.

The move comes after concerns were raised about TikTok's content and its potential risks, especially for young users. Some folks are pushing to shut TikTok down altogether, arguing it's exposing youth to explicit content and even fueling crime.

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Consequently, the social media platform teamed up with the African Union Commission's Women, Gender, and Youth Directorate (WGYD) to spread the word about staying safe online among African youth and parents.

But it's not just about the content. Kenya is also eyeing TikTok's compliance with data protection laws. If TikTok doesn't play ball, the government's ready to crack down.

ANKA shuts up its marketplace


ANKA, an Ivorian Software as a Service (SaaS) eCommerce platform, has shut up Afrikrea, its Africa-focused marketplace that sold African-inspired products.

Moulaye Taboure, ANKA's CEO and Co-Founder, pointed fingers at inflation costs and payment problems for pulling the plug.

However, the startup is keeping mum on whether this spells the end for ANKA's SaaS eCommerce platform or if it’s pivoting into something new.

This move is a tough blow, especially considering it raised $5 million in equity and debt just last September, adding to the $6.2 million they secured in 2022.

Since its inception in 2016, ANKA has pulled in a total of $13.5 million in investments, aiming to grow its product and expand into Nigeria, Kenya, and the US.

The company boasted impressive stats, like 1.5 million social media followers and $50 million in transactions across 175 countries. But alas, with platform traffic soaring to 1 million monthly visitors and half of their sellers venturing into online sales for the first time, it still wasn't enough to keep the lights on.

Before the ANKA makeover in 2021, they were known as Afrikrea, a hotspot for African-made and inspired goods. But with many African economies taking a beating post-COVID-19, and foreign investors giving the continent the cold shoulder, startups like ANKA are feeling the pinch.

Hormuud Telecom launches 5G in Somalia

Hormuud Telecom

Somali telco Hormuud Telecom just rolled out 5G in eight spots across the country, including Mogadishu and Kismayo. 

It’s also hooking up existing 4G customers with free upgrades and offering an unlimited data plan for 20 bucks a month, starting yesterday, March 21, 2024.

With 4G already covering about 70% of Somalia, Hormuud's aiming to bump that up to 88% in cities and 70% in rural areas. 

And Hormuud's not alone in this 5G race. Somtel, another big telecom player, beat them to the punch back in January.

But this isn't just about faster Netflix streaming. According to Hormuud's CEO Ahmed Yusuf, it is about stepping up and providing better overall service. It's all about moving forward and embracing the digital age.

This 5G rollout is just one piece of Africa's tech evolution puzzle. Namibia is also getting in on the action, with Mobile Telecommunications Company and Huawei collaborating on a 5G trial. 

Kenyans can now track their passport status

A picture of a man sitting in a restaurant holding is phone.
Image by Freepik

Kenyans, if you applied for a passport through eCitizen and are still waiting or have yet to receive it, there is good news! You can now check the status by texting your eCitizen application reference code to 22222.

For many, 2023 was a nightmare, with long delays in obtaining government documents such as IDs, Police Clearance certificates, and passports. 

But hey, the passport wait is about to get shorter! The Directorate has acquired two brand-new high-speed passport printing machines, which will be operational by April 2024. 

And to top it off, the government has beefed up its data security with extra servers.

But that's not all! It’s also sprucing up its facilities to handle the surge in clients. The motto? Passports issued on a first-come, first-served basis. And guess what? If you've got a pending application for a 34-page booklet, you can upgrade to a 50-page one online through eCitizen. There is no need to shuffle down to an immigration office for that.

Besides, Kenya just got a shipment of 112,700 fresh passport booklets, including 92,400 50-page and 20,300 66-page ones. It’s even expecting more 34-page booklets in April 2024.

So, what's the takeaway? Kenyans, get ready to apply and receive your passports within a maximum of 21 days. Smooth sailing ahead!

In case you missed it

What I'm reading and watching  


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  • 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.
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Have a fun weekend!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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