This Week In Tech by Nosa Alekhuogie
To support small retail businesses in Africa, Google has offered 1,000 scholarships to business owners who wish to participate.
The company, in a statement, said the initiative was part of a month-long observance of International Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMB) day this month.
The initiatives include the Shopping Small Business Summit, a one-hour virtual training session to assist SMB owners in developing skills and resources to compete online.
Google also teamed with Coursera, a well-known open online education provider, to create an online career certificate course for SMEs in digital marketing and e-commerce. The certificate program is the most recent in a succession of efforts to train people for entry-level jobs.
“E-commerce presents an opportunity for small businesses in Africa to reach new customers and grow. Through the digital marketing and e-commerce career certificates, specialised training and 1000 scholarships, we want to be able to assist small businesses in Africa gain the expertise to connect online, expand their customer base and scale up,” said Google Country Director for West Africa, Juliet Ehimuan.
Ehimuan added, “The topics would include e-commerce trends and digital marketing, and the programmes marking International SMB day this month underline Google’s commitment to ensuring that small retail businesses across Africa have access to the digital technologies, tools, and training they need to prosper and be more resilient.”
According to her, this month also sees the debut of ‘Local Opportunity Finder’, a new tool that evaluates a Google Business Profile and makes personalised recommendations for changes.
The tool evaluates changes or recommendations that a business owner might make to enhance how their business profile looks to consumers in Google Search.
She also said the free, one-week-long Hustle Academy in June would focus on essential skills to help them build the skills they need to grow.
Amazon is Secretly Recruiting in Nigeria
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has been quietly recruiting salespeople and engineers in Lagos.
According to reports by the Rest of World, this hints at an expansion of its streaming and cloud computing businesses in Africa’s largest economy.
The company has also hired a major advertising agency to work on its first push for Prime Video subscribers in Nigeria.
The tech giant has also reportedly expanded its Prime Video streaming service to Nigeria in 2016 as part of a global rollout. Many local businesses have used its Amazon Web Services (AWS) product for several years. However, the company does not have a physical presence in the country or much of sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa.
The company has made increasing investments in Nigeria over the past year, with Amazon Prime Video securing key deals with Nigerian studios and advertising three roles for its Nigeria Originals team based in London.
“We have no changes to share with regards to the location of our teams or on expansion plans for other Amazon businesses. We are investing in the region, and this is what the advertising campaigns represent,” Amazon said in a statement.
Africa has become an important growth area for streaming services, with Disney+, Netflix, Amazon, and South Africa’s Showmax competing for subscribers. Amazon has not released viewing figures for Prime Video in Africa, but it has been estimated that the company has 600,000 subscribers in Africa.
Amazon is also looking to expand its AWS cloud business in Nigeria. AWS, which has had roots in South Africa since around 2004, is the world’s largest cloud computing platform, and companies across Africa are using its services. It has become an increasingly widely used platform in Nigeria for many start-ups and large firms, despite not having an in-country data centre or office.
Tech Giants Subscribes to EU’s Voluntary Code in Fighting Disinformation
Meta, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft have announced they will be implementing tougher measures against disinformation under an updated EU code of practice that could hit them with hefty fines if they fail to do so.
The code includes measures preventing adverts from being shown next to fake news content. According to reports, companies will not push ads and make money on fake content. There are also requirements for more transparency on political ads, such as adding labels, reducing manipulative techniques like automated bot accounts, and giving users tools to recognise and flag up false information so it can be taken down.
Under this code, the signatories agree to do more than tackle deep fakes, fake accounts, and political advertising, as non-compliance can lead to fines of up to 6 per cent of the company’s global turnover.
Sanctions may also include banning companies from Europe.
Speaking during the news conference, EU industry chief, Theory Breton said, “if there is the consistent flouting of the rules, we can also think about stopping their access to our space of information.”
Aside from the big companies, the EU expects around thirty bodies to sign the code of practice, and this year so far, online platforms, including tech companies and advertising bodies, have committed to the updated Code of Practice on disinformation, doubling the number of signatories from a year ago.
Internet Explorer Shuts Down After 27 Years
Microsoft Corporation has shut down its support for Internet Explorer after 27 years.
The future of the search engine will be Microsoft Edge, which is faster, more secure, and more modern, Microsoft said.
However, IE could not maintain its position, and its user base started to decline drastically as other competitors released new browsers with better user interfaces, faster internet speed and smoother performance.
Microsoft Edge Programme Manager, Sean Lyndersay, said that the future of Internet Explorer on Windows 10 lies in Microsoft Edge.
“Not only is Microsoft Edge a quicker, more secure, and more contemporary browsing experience than Internet Explorer, but it also addresses a crucial concern: compatibility for older, legacy websites and applications,” stated Lyndersay.
Internet Explorer mode (IE mode) is incorporated into Microsoft Edge, allowing users view older Internet Explorer-based websites and applications directly from Microsoft Edge.
With Microsoft Edge capable of taking on this and other responsibilities, the Internet Explorer 11 desktop application has been discontinued and phased out of support for certain versions of Windows.
Flutterwave Appoints New CFO
Flutterwave has appointed Oneal Bhambani as its new chief financial officer (CFO).
In the announcement made by the company recently, Bhambani joins Flutterwave from American Express, where he served as Vice president, CFO and Head of capital markets of Kabbage, a fintech platform offering credit, banking, and payments solutions.
The appointment follows Flutterwave’s Series D funding round in February 2022, when it raised $250 million at a valuation of more than $3 billion.
In the new role, Flutterwave says Bhambani will help the company’s expansion with “best-in-class discipline, operational controls and financial rigour.”
“His record of operating finance to enable scale and innovation with listed company standard financial controls will help us accelerate our growth as we continue to meet the needs of our expanding global customer base,” said founder and CEO of Flutterwave Olugbenga Agboola, commenting on the Bhambani’s appointment.
He added. “I am also looking forward to working with Oneal on deal-related initiatives, given the number of inorganic opportunities we are seeing in today’s market environment.”
Flutterwave enables businesses worldwide to expand their operations in Africa and other emerging markets through a platform that enables cross-border transactions via one API.
Tech Personality of The Week
This week’s tech personality is the Co-founder and CEO of Co-Creation Hub, Olatunbosun Tijani.
Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) is Nigeria’s first open living lab and pre-incubation space designed to be a multi-functional, multi-purpose space where work to catalyse creative social tech ventures take place. The HUB is a place for technologists, social entrepreneurs, government, tech companies, impact investors and hackers in and around Lagos to co-create new solutions to the many social problems in Nigeria.
At CcHUB, Bosun has led social technology projects, including Lagos Innovation Hotspots, i-HQ and has driven the growth of social innovation using technology, producing initiatives and businesses that have influenced; the environment, fiscal transparency, e-commerce, Healthcare, education, wellness and transportation.
He also prompted the visit of Mark Zuckerberg to CcHUB on his first-ever visit to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2016.
New Africa Magazine named Bosun as one of the 100 Most Influential People on the continent. In 2019, Co-creation Hub acquired Kenya’s iHub under Bosun’s leadership.