President Sisi to receive his Bahrain counterpart Sunday
Egypt to establish 7 new free zones to attract more investors
Seychelles studying rules to govern mobile money, cryptocurrency, internet banking
President Sahlework to Visit Kenya
Time is needed to upgrade sectors concerned by DCFTA, says UTICA’s Majoul
Parliament ready to welcome new MPs
Tourist Arrivals in Morocco Rose by 4.1% in March 2019
World Bank Approves $55 Million Loan to Empower Youth in Marrakech Region
The New Times – Rwanda
As the fifth edition of the Transform Africa Summit opens again in Kigali this week technological mavericks and tech firms from around the world are already packing their bags.
Today the summit has taken place in the bucket list of who-is-who in ICT and new technologies. High on the agenda will be the misuse of social media that seems to have caught many social media platforms on the wrong footing.
In these days of ‘fake news”, analytics of people’s behaviour, misinformation, spreading hate speech and fanning extremism, it is not free speech as some would want us to believe. Trolls have morphed into cyber terrorists and unless something is done, they will get out of hand.
In Rwanda we know what hate speech can lead to, we know its power if left unchecked. Even as we speak, there many groups out there who have made it their private vendetta, to attack Rwanda and its leadership, deny or trivialize the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and spreading the Genocide ideology.
So, it is welcome news that Rwanda is not lying idle and it is mulling ways to regulate social media, and as the minister in charge of ICT recently informed the parliament, it will be discussed at length during the summit.
Obviously, we should expect some opposition on the proposed regulation with some equating id to muzzling free speech, but we will live with it. The priority is to protect our people, at whatever the cost or numbers of feathers rattled.
The New Times – Rwanda
By: Allan Brian Ssenyonga
Starting from the 14th day of May to the 17th, people from around the world, but primarily from Africa will gather here in Kigali for yet another Transform Africa Summit. This year’s event will run under the theme, “Boosting Africa’s Digital Economy.”
Over 4,000 participants will interact during the summit trying to demystify, assess and come up with solutions aimed at guiding Africa’s digital journey.
For many of the development stages, Africa has found itself disadvantaged in one way or another and has had to play catch up with the rest of the world.
When it comes to digital solutions, Africa as a continent may have been late to get out of the blocks but the pace at which it has caught up with the rest of the world and even led in some instances has been nothing but phenomenal. The best way to view this transformation is by looking at the phones we now hold in our hands.
If I was writing this story a few years ago, I would probably use the word telephone or go for the later fancy smart phone. In case you hadn’t noticed, we have transitioned from telephones to smart phones and now to phones that we are actually better off just calling gadgets as we look around for a more suitable descriptor.
These things that we use to make calls and speak to people far away were once just called telephones and were basically used for – you guessed it right – telephoning other people. Those were the days when they had to be hooked to a wire in order to work.
Later on, the wire was made useless with the invention of the mobile phone. If this wasn’t the best thing to happen to Africa in recent years then I don’t know what was.
For now people could buy and use telephones, now called mobile phones without having to wait for the government to connect them to a land line. All they needed was a phone with a battery and a sim card and they were good to go.
The adaption of the mobile phones took off pretty fast making the landlines quite obsolete. The cost of getting connected to a mobile phone dropped so drastically that the first providers seemed like a cartel for getting away with what they charged back them. Anyone remember the infamous service fee?
From here we moved into the era of the smart phone. It was deemed smart because with the internet, it was able to do much more than calling. You now didn’t need a watch, calendar or even a map once you had a smart phone in your hands.
You could just log onto the internet and execute almost any task with ease. At the beginning smart phones were a thing for CEOs and other busy bodies. They cost an arm and a leg. Some still have price tags that make you doubt whether you really need two kidneys.
The basic feature phones survived extinction when Africans, or Kenyans to be precise, gave us a Mobile Money solution in Mpesa.
These small phones that we gave all sorts of funny names like Katorch, Kabiriti, Kabambe, Karashyaramye and others survived being condemned to history the moment financial power was placed on the sim cards. With their longer lasting batteries and a level of immunity from phone snatchers, they became the go to type of phone for those in the Mobile Money business.
Today’s phones are not just smart, they are a huge financial vessel allowing you to keep, move, borrow and receive money.
While smart phones opened up the world of computing, the mobile money revolution opened up a new world of financial services at the palm of your hands. Different sectors like banks have been forced to plug into this ecosystem in order to guarantee their own survival.
As I write this today, a sim card may be very cheap to acquire but it carries so much value that if a thief snatched your phone today, you would offer them a hug if they agreed to hand over your sim card and just take the phone itself.
That sim card is not just for communicating but also for transacting business and more importantly it is your primary digital identity. Even your email address and so many online services are anchored on the phone number that you possess today. With so much becoming digitalised, the real transformation keeps happening right there in your hands.
The New Times – Rwanda
By: Kenneth Agutamba
Two vital meetings are taking place in Kigali this week; Transform Africa Summit (TAS), and the African Public Relations Association (APRA) conference. One conversation seeks to find ways of boosting Africa’s digital economy while the other, to change how the continent is perceived.
What is clear is that a lot of important conversations are ongoing in Africa yet most of them are not getting the visibility they require in regional and international press. Most of the time, the continent is in the news more for naughty reasons than for positive developments.
Changing the media narrative on Africa therefore, as its communication strategists wish, calls for engaging the world beyond the continent to highlight positive developments such as the Smart Africa initiative. The challenge for everyone is to walk the talk at many of these meetings.
It is also important to assess the present situation to inform actions to shape the continent’s future. This calls for research, an area that has chronically struggled to find financing from African governments and corporations; the attitude towards research financing has to change.
Fortunately, the agenda to influence positive change on the continent is not a lone effort; countries such as USA, whose perception of the continent we seek to change, appears to already be supporting its own domestic efforts to engage more with Africa and the rest the world.
One such effort is one by Michelle Van Gilder; ‘The Africa Narrative’ a global initiative harnessing the power of arts, media, entertainment, business, education, and philanthropy to engage the world in new stories of Africa aimed at changing the way Americans perceive Africa.
Supported by the University of South California’s Annenberg Lear Center’s Media Impact Project, the initiative seeks to broaden awareness on Africa and its 54 nations through research, communication campaigns, and collaborations with partners from Africa and the US.
To get started, the initiative commissioned a survey to determine how Africa is portrayed in American media; the team analyzed over 700,000 hours of television news and entertainment and 1.6 million Twitter posts over a month’s period.
The content analysis monitored three key words; Africa, African and names of any of the continent’s 54 nations; the findings only provided evidence of what we have always known.
Commenting on the survey’s findings, project lead Michelle Van Gilder said; “there is an emerging movement — often led by African diaspora entertainment figures — to bring authentic African storytelling to American and global audiences. But clearly, there is opportunity for a much broader contribution in expanding African narratives.”
In its headline findings, it was noted that out of almost 700,000 hours of programming, there were only 25 major scripted storylines about Africa. ‘stories about Africa rarely appeared on U.S. television: a mention appeared once in every five hours of TV programming and viewers were seven times more likely to see references to Europe.
The survey further found that, only 13 percent of entertainment storylines that mentioned Africa included an African character but 80 percent of the roles were minor and when African characters did appear, 46 percent spoke 10 words or less. Only 31 percent of African characters were women.
Overall, the survey found that ‘viewers were more than twice as likely to see negative depictions of Africa than positive ones in major storylines about Africa.When references to Africa were not neutral, they were more likely to be negative than positive in both Twitter conversations and entertainment programming.’
The researchers also found that 43 percent of mentions of Africa appeared on national or local news dominated by politics (32percent), followed by crime (16 percent) while business and the economy accounted for just 8 percent of news coverage.
Of the 5 topics tracked by the survey, on twitter, (animals, corruption, crime/terrorism, Diaspora and Poverty), crime/terrorism had the most mentions with South Africa and Nigeria the countries most associated with the topic.
It was also found that of the continent’s 54 countries, five nations grab the bulk of attention in American press. These are— Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Seychelles and Congo— accounting for almost half (49 percent) of all mentions of any African nation, although there is variation by type of content.
Encouragingly, the research uncovered some rich sources of storytelling andidentified African characters that have emerged in recent years in Hollywood scripted entertainment that counter stereotypes historically associated with Africans. One of them is the erudite Nigerian moral philosopher Chidi on NBC’s ‘The Good Place.’
Others include Dayana Mampasi, a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer turned CIA agent played by South African Pearl Thusi in Quantico, an ABC series that ran from 2015-2018.
Through her initiative, Michelle Gilder wants to see more of such productions, portraying Africa in a more positive light, breaking with the decade’s long narrative that highlighted negative stereotypes while ignoring the more progressive part of the continent.
“We want to encourage a number of stories that mine the rich and diverse cultures and histories of Africa — including in children’s programming — and develop more scripted content that doesn’t focus on crime and negativity on the continent,” said Gilder.
As Africa’s communication strategists meet in Kigali this week to discuss ways of improving the global media narrative on Africa, initiatives like Gilder’s can be counted on as an ally.