GSMA Shortlists Yabx for GLOMO 4YFN Impact Awards
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
GSMA has shortlisted Yabx, a fintech venture in digital lending, for the GLOMO 4YFN (4 Years From Now) Impact Awards 2021.
Yabx is the only Indian startup to be featured among the finalists for the 2021 edition. The company was incubated by Comviva Technologies, the global leader in mobile financial services and one of the largest mobile wallet technology providers in the world.
Its vision is to simplify financial access to the over two billion unbanked populations in the emerging markets of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It leverages technology and analytics to reduce the cost of delivering financial services, thereby bringing banking services to the underserved.
The firm’s digital loan products range from $15 to $5,000 and can be used by individuals and small businesses for payment of utility bills, school fees, smartphone finance, working capital need, etc.
These loans are extended based on individual credit scores, determined by leveraging advanced analytics using thousands of data points generated from an individual’s mobile usage such as GSM, mobile money, call data records (CDR) and social data.
Speaking on the nomination, Rajat Dayal, Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Yabx said, “Our nomination for GLOMO 4YFN Impact Awards 2021 is a testimonial of our cutting edge offerings to create credit models using alternate sources of data.
“We have executed the credit score of over 150 million creditworthy, yet, underserved borrowers across 15 countries. We process in excess of 100 billion data records in a month across our partner networks.”
“Yabx has created new credit risk models, based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Over the years, Yabx has built up a fairly extensive global footprint, spanning Asia, Africa and South America.
“We are enabling banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) to create a profitable, unsecured portfolio in markets where credit bureau coverage is limited. Our focus is on innovating new products to ensure end-to-end management of the workflow pertaining to small-ticket loans,” further added Rajat.
Yabx works with alternate data sources (Telecom, MFS, Merchant networks, PoS, etc.) to create behaviour models which have accuracy similar to the output of the Credit Reference Bureaus.
This helps banks under-write a new to credit population which did not have access to credit as a result of the traditional policies of banks.
Further, collaborating with customer networks helps significantly reduce customer acquisition costs for the banks.
The 4YFN Impact Awards is the GLOMOs category aimed to find the best digital startups around the globe that are making a sustainable impact in the world, leveraging disruptive technologies to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The winners will be announced on Wednesday, June 30 at Fira Gran Via, MWC Barcelona.
Stakeholders Anticipate Emurgo Africa’s State of Web 3.0 in Africa Report
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
All is now set for unveiling the State of Web 3.0 in Africa report by a dynamic blockchain technology company, Emurgo Africa.
The study, the first on the continent, aims to fill a knowledge gap by examining the potential of these technologies to advance social and economic development in Africa.
It presents a detailed view of the current landscape and prospects of Web 3.0 technologies in the region, featuring real-world use cases, possibilities and obstacles connected with their adoption.
It was gathered that work explored various aspects of Web 3.0, such as decentralized finance (DeFi), blockchain technology, digital identity, smart contracts, and data privacy.
It also looked into the regulatory environment, infrastructure, and access to technology in the target nations, identifying areas for development that will facilitate the growth and adoption of Web 3.0 technologies.
The chief executive of Emurgo Africa, Mr Ahmed M. Amer, while commenting on the reports, which would be released on June 23, 2023, at a media conference in Nairobi, Kenya, said, “The future of Web 3.0 technologies in Africa is bright, with the potential to drive unprecedented social, financial and economic development across the continent.
“This report emphasizes the critical importance of collaboration between stakeholders, policymakers, and regulators in fully realizing the transformative power of Web 3.0 technologies in Africa.”
Expected at the unveiling are industry leaders, policymakers and the press, as well as key figures from prominent blockchain investors, developers and ecosystem players, including NODO, CVVC, GreenHouse Capital, PwC and Cardano.
Web 3.0 technologies are gradually becoming popular in Africa, and this report by Emurgo Africa will highlight the rapidly-evolving landscape, providing an in-depth analysis of their impact, opportunities, and challenges and offering recommendations for fostering growth and measurable impact.
The system can potentially bring transformative change to industries such as trade and industry, financial services and lending, supply chain management and logistics and healthcare provision and accessibility.
Factors such as regulatory clarity, infrastructure development, and collaboration between stakeholders will play a significant role in these technologies’ widespread use and successful implementation.
Key findings from the report include the immense opportunities for the African continent through the adoption of Web 3.0 technologies, a staggering 1,668 per cent increase in investment in blockchain technology in Africa between 2021 and 2022, and the crucial importance of collaboration between industry stakeholders, policymakers, and regulators in fostering an environment conducive to the growth of Web 3.0 technologies.
Nigeria, Others Break Pledge Not to Impose Internet Restrictions
By Adedapo Adesanya
A new study showed that Nigeria was among those that pledged to uphold free Internet according to a 2021 United Nations resolution but yet imposed restrictions.
The UN resolution on human rights on the internet aims to protect and promote human rights online, but some supporting countries have broken their word, according to a study by Cybersecurity company Surfshark, analysing UN countries’ stances in the 2021 UN Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution on the promotion, protection, and enjoyment of human rights on the internet.
It was conducted by comparing countries’ stances with data from Surfshark’s Internet Shutdown Tracker, Surfshark was able to identify 5 African countries that claimed to support the resolution but “broke their word” by imposing internet restrictions.
On Nigeria’s end, it had one ongoing restriction at the time of the resolution’s adoption but has had no new restrictions since then.
Nigeria had banned Twitter a month before the adoption, and the restriction lasted until January 2022.
The federal government suspended Twitter on June 4, 2021, after it removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional secessionists.
The FG told the nation’s telecommunication companies to block access to users in Nigeria, leading users to fall to the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). It was not until January 13, 2022, that the suspension was lifted.
Other African countries that supported the 2021 UN resolution but “broke their word” were Sudan, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Somalia.
The report noted that Sudan has “broken its word” the most in Africa, with nine internet disruptions that took place after the country supported the 2021 resolution, the first one happening amid the 2021 military coup.
Burkina Faso comes in second, with four restrictions since the resolution’s adoption in 2021. The country’s 2022 restriction on Facebook is still in place today. Mauritania and Somalia both had one internet restriction since supporting the resolution. Mauritania restricted mobile internet amid a prison riot, and Somalia had an internet blackout after the parliament voted to remove the prime minister.
Speaking on this, Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, Surfshark spokeswoman, said, “In today’s world, internet shutdowns have become a major concern. Authoritarian governments frequently employ them as a means to manipulate the public and stifle free speech. The UN resolution on human rights on the internet aims to make countries openly condemn these shutdowns and other ways of restricting online speech.”
“However, it’s concerning that even though 5 African countries publicly supported the resolution, they still imposed internet restrictions. It’s important to promote an open and accessible internet and pressure countries to uphold their commitments regarding human rights online,” she said.
Nine countries from other continents also “broke their word”: India, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Russia, Brazil, Armenia, Indonesia, and Ukraine.
Surfshark’s Internet Shutdown Tracker reveals that there were a total of 58 internet disruptions in these 14 countries during or after the adoption of the resolution.
India stands out as the country that has “broken its word” the most, with 19 internet disruptions since the resolution’s adoption in 2021, adding that if it included the Jammu and Kashmir region, this number would be even higher.
The Human Rights Council convenes at least three regular sessions annually. The upcoming 53rd session is scheduled for the summer of 2023.
“While the agenda of the specific resolution is currently unknown, Surfshark will keep an eye out for any updates regarding upcoming UN resolutions on human rights on the internet,” the firm noted.
WhatsApp to Roll Out Screen-Sharing Feature for Video Calls
By Adedapo Adesanya
WhatsApp is rolling out a new feature that allows users to share their screens during a video call.
According to WABetaInfo, a WhatsApp reporting blog, this screen-sharing feature is not available to all users yet but is already available to some beta testers who have installed the latest WhatsApp update from the Google Play store.
It could be part of a play to make the company get more acceptance for work meetings and compete with the likes of Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.
Last September, the Meta-owned platform rolled out a new feature that allows users to share a direct link to a call. It also allows up to 32 users during a call session. However, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom allow for large numbers on a call. The first two can take up to 100, while up to 300 people can be on a single Zoom call.
With the soon-to-be-available feature, when users are on a video call, a new icon will be available on the bottom toolbar that will enable users to share everything on their screen with other members of the call.
WhatsApp users will be able to stop screen sharing at any time and will only be enabled with the consent of the sharer.
While the feature is currently only available to Beta testers, WABetaInfo said that it will become available to more users over the coming weeks.
However, “This feature may be unavailable on old versions of Android, screen-sharing may not work in large group calls, and the recipient may be unable to get the content of your screen in case they are using an outdated version of WhatsApp,” read the WABetaInfo post.
Screen-sharing functions have been available on online video conferencing services such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom for a while.
The blog also announced that WhatsApp is working on releasing a username function in an effort to facilitate more private communication.
These are the latest in a string of new features available on the Meta-owned messaging application.
WhatsApp recently introduced a feature that allows users to edit WhatsApp messages for up to 15 minutes after sending them.
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