The Future of Online Privacy and Personal Data Protection in Africa

African experts are gathered for two days (19-20 February 2018) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to contribute to the development of the African Privacy and Personal Data Protection Guidelines. The meeting, facilitated by the African Union Commission (AUC) and supported by Internet Society, explored the future of privacy and data protection and provided some practical suggestions that African states can consider in implementing the Malabo convention provisions related to online privacy. The guidelines are aimed at empowering citizens, as well as establishing legal certainty for stakeholders through clear and uniform personal data protection rules for the region.

The expert meeting comes amidst growing concern across the world on the need to prepare for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will be enforced on 25 May 2018. The expert meeting is rather focused on creating general principles for African member states in developing good practices now and in the future. The project, a partnership of the AUC and the Internet Society, comes as a follow up to the recommendations of the Africa Infrastructure Security Guidelines, developed in 2017 to assist speed up their adoption and subsequent ratification of the Malabo Convention.

Both the Heads of States Summit in January 2018 and Specialized Technical Committee Ministerial meeting endorsed the development of these guidelines as a way to strengthen the capacity of African states to deal with emerging issues in the digital space.

The African privacy and data protection landscape is still nascent with only 16 of the 55 countries having adopted comprehensive privacy laws regulating the collection and use of personal information (C Fichet, 2015). The African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection  is considered an important first step aimed at creating a uniform system of data processing and determining a common set of rules to govern cross-border transfer of personal data at the continental (African) level to avoid divergent regulatory approaches between the Member States of the African Union. Now that a continental framework is in place, there is a need for more detailed best practice guidelines on personal data protection to assist countries in the process of domesticating the Malabo Convention into the national laws.

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Internet Society

How Digitalization Connects Rural Farms In Africa

One benefit of digitalization is that it offers people more information about where food comes from and how it is processed. While this information is useful for individuals to make informed food choices, it also has benefits for improving agribusiness in rural areas and creating methods to better feed the world. In particular, Internet of Things (IoT) technology can be used to improve agribusiness in rural Africa and around the world.

Digitalization has enabled every part of the food supply chain to be connected. This includes rural farmers, such as smallholders in remote parts of Africa. With the IoT, enterprises are able to gain information from the farms, no matter where they are located. This method provides benefits to the local community, shares the food’s supply chain to the end consumer, and promotes sustainability.

Improved technology has helped remote African smallholder farmers connect to the global food supply chain. For example, rural farmers in developing countries (who wouldn’t otherwise have the means) can now access information on prices, agricultural methods, weather updates, and other data. On the other end of the supply chain, companies can trace their products origins and paths. This helps them improve processes, ensure quality, and pass information on to end customers.

An SAP white paper, Value Creation in the Digital Agribusiness Network, shows how rural farming in Africa greatly affects the world. On the continent, sub-Saharan Africa’s agriculture industry employs 65% of Africa’s labor force. Globally, Africa’s agriculture affects the world. For example, 80% to 90% of global cocoa production originates in 5 to 6 million smallholder farms.

IoT has created the means to connect rural farmers to a broader value chain. In an article for Cleanleap, David Kariuki reported that IoT has created major advances that manage the effects of weather on agriculture in Africa. He explains that most of the arable land in sub-Saharan Africa is dependent on rainfall and affected by climate changes. But IoT provides information that can account for weather changes and improve practices. For example, it can use sensors and data sharing to improve knowledge on moisture levels of the soil, water predictions, and other important information that affects crops.

For Analytics Center, Emre Yayici explained that IoT creates more efficient and less expensive farming methods. Technology can help remote farmers cut down on water theft, reduce the need to hire farmhands to monitor crops, and better use small amounts of land. Yayici noted that IoT has made it easier for farmers to track conditions such as humidity levels and soil moisture and to better use water during droughts.

As the world has become more connected, it’s increasingly important to use technology to streamline the ways people work together. Technology and IoT have been creating better processes in agribusiness around the world and helping connect the supply chain. While these advances help businesses run better and improve quality and profits, they also provide changes that could better feed the world’s population. This is increasingly important with difficult growing conditions, changing weather, and an increasing global population.

Learn how to bring new technologies and services together to power digital transformation by downloading The IoT Imperative for Consumer Industries. Explore how to bring Industry 4.0 insights into your business today by reading Industry 4.0: What’s Next?


Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

Water shortage in South Africa drives schools to adopt smart meters

Water shortage in South Africa spurs adoption of smart metering

Schools in South Africa are deploying smart water metering technology in a bid to tackle drought conditions. 

South Africa’s Western Cape is experiencing a serious drought following three successive years of dry weather. A lack of rainfall has forced local authorities and corporate giants to come together to save water where they can and deploy smart metering technology. Schools are the first target.

The smart meter technology has been developed by Stellenbosch University’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Once connected to a municipal water meter, it provides a live feed to an application via cellular, NB-IoT or Sigfox connectivity.

Information on water usage is made available through the app and sent via email as part of a daily report. Notifications of unexpected events, such as burst water pipes, can be sent by SMS and email.

Professor Thinus Booysen, whose team developed the technology, has pointed out that developing an awareness of water use in real time is often enough to bring about substantial savings.

Reductions as high as 68 percent were observed in a pilot project at a primary school. The associated savings per month equal the salaries of two junior teachers.

Read more: South African team brew up Guinnux IoT operating system

The Smart Water Meter Challenge

With a pressing need to save water where possible and technology able to make it happen, corporations and schools are coming together as part of the Smart Water Meter Challenge.

Retail giant Shoprite founded the initiative and is one of 59 companies to sponsor water meter installations in schools across the Western Cape. So far, 325 schools have been funded; their progress can be viewed via a live dashboard.

Cape Town’s education minister Debbie Schäfer recently visited the Hector Peterson Secondary School in Wallacedene, where 38,000 litres of water has been saved this year.

“I think this is very exciting,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see such practical initiatives being developed in our everyday life. It’s hugely important for us to save water, especially in a crisis.”

“For those who can afford this device, my plea is that they please look into this and please be receptive to saving water at their schools.”

“If the Shoprite/Cape Talk challenge is successful, this could save up to 10 million litres a day – if these schools achieve the savings Hector Peterson Secondary School did.”

Read more: IoT and drones save rhinos from poachers in South Africa

Smart meters aid behavior change

According to Professor Booysen, the new smart water meters function both as a community driver and a useful tool that enables engineers to spot and deal with serious problems, fast.

“Smart water metering not only aids behaviour change due to increased awareness about water consumption‚ it also assists with the prevention of water losses due to leads that would otherwise have gone unnoticed,” he said.

Read more: Teralytics claims mobile network data lowers cost of tackling climate change

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Internet of Business

PodM2M Connects TAHMO IoT Weather Monitoring Systems to Remedy Chronic Hunger in Africa

PodM2M Connects TAHMO IoT Weather Monitoring Systems to Remedy Chronic Hunger in Africa

PodM2M Connects TAHMO IoT Weather Monitoring Systems to Remedy Chronic Hunger in Africa

PodM2M1 has today announced that it is providing its resilient “Best Signal” IoT connectivity solution to the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO), a socially driven network of 20,000 connected weather monitoring stations every 30km across the African continent, to accurately measure previously undocumented weather systems.

One in four people in sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished. A lack of climatic information across this vast continent makes it difficult to plan a cropping strategy which would go some way to remedying the chronic hunger. Using a combination of weather pattern data and predictive computer models gathered by TAHMO, farmers in Africa can more efficiently plan their crop cycles, improve water productivity by up to 26% and plant more crops, with the risk of failure due to drought or flooding severely diminished.

TAHMO’s requirements for transmitting climate data across a huge distance, from different countries and in an extremely patchy coverage environment made choosing a sufficiently resilient IoT connectivity solution difficult, as many multi-network solutions are not able to transmit data efficiently across borders, and many operators are simply not present in the areas of Africa that benefit from TAHMO’s system.

Pod’s Best Signal Multi-Network SIMs connect to the best available signal on device start-up, and automatically switch networks in case of signal loss. This provides the TAHMO team with the resilient connectivity they need to measure weather systems across multiple countries without risk of losing valuable data. Thanks to Pod’s coverage in 185+ countries and over 600 networks, TAHMO has no problem collecting results from all the countries their devices are present in, and is assured of receiving the best possible coverage in Africa, as well as in US and European partner bases.

Rebecca Hochreutener, TAHMO Operations Manager, immediately recognized the advantages of PodM2M’s specialist remote and mission-critical IoT SIM cards; “Although connectivity in Africa is not always simple, PodM2M has been able to provide reliable services and a very good and responsive support team,” she commented.

Charles Towers-Clark, Managing Director of Pod Group added:

“TAHMO´s application is an excellent example of how the IoT can vastly improve standards of living and help to resolve some of the world´s most complex problems. We are extremely excited that our specialist mission critical connectivity is helping to make this project possible.”

1PodM2M (a division of Pod Group) is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) specializing in global, mission critical connectivity solutions for the M2M/IoT market

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IoT Business News

SolarNow and Eseye, Enabling IoT to Change Lives Across Africa

SolarNow and Eseye, Enabling IoT to Change Lives Across Africa

SolarNow and Eseye, Enabling IoT to Change Lives Across Africa
The Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting positively on the lives of millions around the world – potentially none more so than those in Africa.

SolarNow and Eseye are today announcing an IoT partnership, powered by AWS, to provide connected solar energy to communities in East Africa.

Social business SolarNow provides solar powered equipment, appliances and financing solutions to remote or off-grid locations in the region. The system uses Eseye’s global AnyNet Secure SIM to provide secure cellular connectivity and delivers data onto the AWS Cloud. The partnership has enabled SolarNow to move from a non-connected to a connected product offering and to take full advantage of the benefits of IoT, with better system oversight, enhanced security, remote divice management options and improved client communication.

Willem Nolens, CEO at SolarNow, says:
“This new level of capability is another key step in our continued mission to build the best relationships with our customers. Meanwhile, global roaming capabilities alleviate any concerns over connectivity, so we can continue to drive the growth of solar as a central energy source across East Africa.”

Paul Marshall, Chief Customer Office at Eseye, says:

“SolarNow has fully exploited the tools to make IoT easy – a move which is not only pivotal for the company’s future growth, but also for the future of customers it serves. The power of connected technology to solve issues and truly change lives across Africa, by enabling service provision for even the most remote or disempowered members of its communities cannot be underestimated.”

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IoT Business News