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Glo Extends Voice SMS to Other Networks

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Glo Mobile has further made its exciting Voice Short Messaging Service (voice-SMS) more interesting by extending the service to other networks.
With the development, Glo subscribers can now send voice SMS to subscribers of other networks. Before now, the service was available for only Glo-to-Glo messages.
Glo Mobile had in February, 2006, become the first network in Nigeria to launch the service which allows subscribers to record and send a voice message to a recipient.
It is a “talk” and “listen” messaging alternative to the regular “type” and “read” service provided by short messaging service (SMS).
Globacom said the service was extended to other networks in order to give Glo subscribers more opportunity to enjoy its benefits.
Samson Isa, Globacom’s head, Value Added Services, explained that Voice SMS enables the user to add a personal touch to his message by recording his own voice, in his own language and sending it to a recipient who in turn is able to listen to the voice of the sender.
“With the conventional SMS, a subscriber ‘types’ and ‘sends’ his text message which is read at the receiving end, while the Glo Voice-SMS allows the user to ‘dial’, ‘talk’ and ‘send’ the recorded voice message which is listened to by the receiver,” Isa said.
“Glo Voice-SMS is one more demonstration of our commitment to meeting the changing needs of our customers. It adds a fun dimension to short messaging as it has the advantage of conveying the sender’s mood, passion and emotion along with the voice message, which the conventional SMS does not do,” he added.
He noted that the service is easier to use than SMS as the subscriber can effectively send a message without wasting too much time inputting text. It also offers the user the opportunity of recording his message in any language of his choice.
Glo VoiceSMS service is available to both prepaid and postpaid subscribers on the Glo network and will be quite useful to youths, students, businessmen, companies and people who find the conventional SMS cumbersome as well as people with reading and writing difficulties.
A Glo subscriber who wishes to send voice SMS to another Glo subscriber is required to dial ‘*’, followed by the recipient’s Glo Mobile number, and press call button to record the message. The sender has 45 seconds to record his message and is charged N5 per message on net and N10 for off net messages sent.  The recipient of the voice SMS receives a notice and is asked to dial ‘115’ to listen to the message free of cost.  However, to listen to stored message, he is required to dial 116 and is charged N3.
For the off net recipient, she/he listens to the VSMS by dialing 08050185000 free. “Subsequent retrieval of old messages will require the subscriber to dial 08050185100 and is charged his network’s regular calling rate for listening to old VSMS,” Isa explained.

 


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How Platforms and Payments are Driving Commerce in Africa

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Is cash still king? Perhaps, but the acceptance and use of digital channels across Africa are rapidly increasing, experiencing their highest adoption rate in history.

Currently, Africa is one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the world. According to Economist Intelligence, the continent will be the world’s second-fastest-growing major region in 2024, just behind Asia.

In the last decade, e-commerce has experienced phenomenal growth rates worldwide, with e-commerce sales projected to grow to USD 7 trillion globally this year. Across Africa, the retail landscape is undergoing a significant shift as contactless payments and mobile money become widely integrated. Consumers in many African countries are increasingly embracing these methods for transactions.

This SeerBit whitepaper explores Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), undoubtedly one of the smallest e-commerce regions in the world, but one with high growth potential.

The Rise of e-commerce in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a major digital transformation across Africa, with the demand for digital payments experiencing a significant and sustained rise. The result? Digital payments have become an essential feature in the continent’s financial landscape.

One of the most significant developments in alternative payment methods in Africa continues to be the rise of mobile money. The phenomenal growth of mobile money can be attributed to three key factors: increased access to technology, challenges in accessing traditional financial services, and the pandemic-driven rise of contactless payments.

This is particularly true in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 144 mobile money providers are at the forefront of transforming consumer transactions. Notably, key players such as M-Pesa (by Safaricom), MoMo (by MTN) and Orange Money dominate the market share, as reported by Statista.

Notably, the region boasts 171 active mobile money service providers, indicating the expanding influence and acceptance of mobile money in the African financial landscape.

The secret to Africa’s pivot to greater e-commerce sales has also been faster growth in B2B sales, which layers online sales onto the existing network of informal retailers in the region, rather than supplanting them. B2B e-commerce platforms in Sub-Saharan Africa are thriving because they have overcome consumer trust and logistics issues by working with and tapping into the informal markets, rather than working around these sales channels. This has allowed the B2B platforms to provide goods into remote regions, well beyond urban areas.

Cross-border transactions have also played a key role in driving e-commerce. They make up more than half of all e-commerce transaction volumes in Sub-Saharan Africa. A portion of these cross-border volumes in SSA come from consumers accessing the rising domestic African e-commerce players across local borders, such as Jumia (Nigeria), Kilimall (Kenya), and Takealot (South Africa). Domestic e-commerce provision in Sub-Saharan Africa is only just beginning. Nevertheless, it presents an opportunity for Sub-Saharan Africa to develop its own big hitters in the market and enhance the continent’s connection to the rest of the world.

Challenges to e-commerce Growth in Africa

Uneven connection across the region
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more than a billion people, a large proportion of whom live in low-income and lower-middle-income countries. This huge population is not uniformly connected to the internet and there is some evidence that not all users are utilising their connectivity to its full capacity.

High inflation subduing consumer spending
Rising inflation means that individuals have less discretionary income and tend to spend less money on splurges or “luxury” products. Price becomes the leading factor in decision-making for many consumers. Across Africa, this may also mean looking to brick-and-mortar retailers and informal markets which mainly trade in cash to secure goods at lower prices.

Functionality limits user adoption
According to The State of Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems In Africa – SIIPS 2022 report, functionality pain points erode trust.

The lack of inclusivity translates into sub-optimal usage. Consumer research in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, the DRC and Egypt suggests that many end-users use digital payments only for limited use cases, such as sending and receiving money between friends and family. Consumer payments to merchants remain under-digitized: only 44 percent of individual respondents make P2B payments digitally.

The Role of Payment Platforms
Across Sub-Saharan Africa, a digital payment revolution is quietly unfolding. Fueled by the surge in mobile phones, the drive for financial inclusion, and the push for digital transformation, alternative payment methods are rapidly gaining much welcomed traction. Traditional banking infrastructure often struggles to reach the vast unbanked and underbanked populations, but these innovative solutions bridge the gap, offering financial services to a dramatically wider segment.

For example, according to the Global Findex Database (World Bank), in the region only three percent of the population has access to a credit card, while mobile phones have proliferated quickly, with a 75 percent penetration rate, making alternative payment methods a perfect match for the specific needs of Sub-Saharan Africa.

As Aida Diarra, senior vice-president and head of Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa puts it, “The fact that there are 261 million people today that do not have access to financial services – and combine the fact that there are less than two million businesses that accept digital payments – it creates an environment where innovation has to play a role to drive financial inclusion and commerce across the continent.”

Sub-Saharan Africa is now considered the global epicentre of mobile money, due to its 48 percent of global share of registered accounts. In 2022, this region had 763 million mobile money accounts, out of the 1.6 billion accounts worldwide. Furthermore, this trend has spiked with the high registration of new accounts in 2022, as the area was responsible for 59 percent of all new accounts registered globally.

Mobile money services have gained widespread adoption across the continent, with countries like Kenya and Ghana leading the way. In Kenya, for instance, mobile money platforms have revolutionised the way people transact, with transactions made via mobile wallets equivalent to a significant percentage of the country’s GDP. This success can be attributed to high mobile phone penetration, limited traditional banking infrastructure, and the affordability and convenience of mobile money services.

As the e-commerce sector becomes increasingly competitive, retail businesses need to adjust their approaches to include providing more value propositions for their main audience, localised e-commerce solutions and engaging more with a younger generation of consumers.

Conclusion

Sub-Saharan Africa’s payment landscape is undergoing a dynamic transformation, driven by innovation, alternative solutions and vibrant new market players. However, a critical gap remains. The infrastructure, regulations, and overall payment ecosystem haven’t fully matured to support the optimal development of payment services and remittance flows across the region.

Despite this, e-commerce in Africa is well underway. Estimates suggest about 264 e-commerce start-ups are operational across the continent, active in at least 23 countries. This indicates a significant potential to create new jobs – as many as three million by 2025. These jobs will be directly in online marketplaces, supporting services and spin-off economic activity.

 


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FG Unveils Roadmap for Africa’s Digital Trade Revolution Under AfCFTA

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The Federal Government on Friday unveiled a comprehensive strategy to lead Africa’s digital trade revolution within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The strategy is part of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to harness trade as a catalyst for economic growth and continental cohesion in line with AfCFTA objectives.

To this effect, Vice President Kashim Shettima said Nigeria is in a unique position to spearhead the continent’s technological transformation.

He made the observation while delivering the keynote address during a Stakeholders Summit with the theme, “Digital Trade in Africa: The Renewed Hope Strategy,” held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“We are in a vantage position because we are the continent’s largest ICT hub, and as such, we must lead the way to the future of this peculiar wave of the Industrial Revolution.

“Our collaboration must prioritize comparisons of our policy initiatives to those of developed economies and fine-tune them to sustain our place and fast-track our growth,” the Vice President stated.

Senator Shettima outlined key components of the roadmap to include implementation of AfCFTA’s Digital Trade Protocol and the development of expansive technical talent hubs.

The plan, according to him, also focuses “on enhancing digital infrastructure investments, promoting disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship, and ensuring the alignment of multiple government agencies to support digital trade initiatives.”

The VP stressed the need for strong synergy between the public and private sectors in implementing the AfCFTA’s Digital Trade Protocol, just as he assured that the federal government remains committed to investing in digital infrastructure and human capital development to drive the process.

He continued: “Our collaboration must prioritize comparisons of our policy initiatives to those of developed economies and fine-tune them to sustain our place and fast-track our growth. For a sector upon which all others rely to survive, digital technologies hold the nation together, and we cannot afford to slow down.

“Our programmes, from the Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) to the ongoing intervention to train 3 million technical talents by the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, to the Outsource to Nigeria Initiative (OTNI), are lifelines in our digital economy.

“They offer us an avenue to not only maximize our potential but also commit to the adoption of the Digital Trade Protocol within AfCFTA,” VP Shettima further explained.

Earlier in his remarks, Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijjani, said the Tinubu administration is investing significantly in every aspect of the digital trade protocol, with a view to harnessing opportunities in the country and continent at large.

He explained that through innovative policies and programmes such as the 3 Million Technical Talent (3MTT) programme, data protection policy and improved investments in digital infrastructure, the administration is equipping the country’s young population for the opportunities of the present and future.

Underscoring the significance of technology in trading across the continent, Dr Tijjani said opportunities that exist within the single market area are unprecedented and could best be harnessed through effective collaboration and networking facilitated by digital technology.

In his welcome address, the Special Assistant to the President on ICT Policy, Dr. Salihu Dasuki Nakande, thanked President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima for their commitment and dedication to the Renewed Hope Agenda, which he said has laid a solid foundation for the digital transformation journey in the country.

He said their continuous support has led to the discourse on digital transformation which will equally lead to a prosperous Nigeria.

Quoting the Vice President in his address at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, Dr. Nakande said, “Looking ahead, there is a need for speed and cohesion among African countries, the idea of AfCFTA must be revived and there is no hope in keeping waiting in this world, we must act swiftly and together ensure that the AfCFTA succeeds.


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Cybersecurity Firm Uncovers Scams Targeting Olympic Games Fans

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The first in-person Summer Olympics since the lifting of pandemic restrictions is set to begin on July 26, attracting millions of sports enthusiasts.

Kaspersky experts have noted a surge in scamming activity surrounding the event, with fraudsters targeting users’ money and data.

To understand how scammers are exploiting viewers’ interest, Kaspersky experts analysed Olympic-related phishing websites and identified the main schemes currently in use.

Fake Tickets

With the Olympic Committee warning of fake ticket offers and news of a UK swimmer’s family being scammed out of £2,500 while attempting to purchase tickets for the Paris Olympics, Kaspersky’s telemetry confirms that fraudsters are actively crafting phishing websites.

These sites offer tickets for Olympic competitions at exclusive prices or claim to have seats for sold-out events. This well-tested yet effective fraudulent scheme has resurfaced during many Olympic seasons, and Kaspersky’s experts expect such websites to proliferate during Paris 2024 events.

In this scenario, users fill out a data form and transfer both their personal information and money to scammers. As a result, they may receive invalid tickets or, more likely, nothing at all, leading to financial loss and their data being sold on Dark Web forums.

Fake Corporate Giveaways

Many organisations host giveaways for their employees, partners, and customers during major events. Recently, Kaspersky experts uncovered a fraudulent page impersonating a French bank, falsely promising a chance to win event tickets.

Employees are enticed to fill out a form with personal details, including their Internet account login credentials and passwords. This allows fraudsters to infiltrate victims’ corporate resources and potentially spread malicious content further.

Fake Merch Stores

Kaspersky experts have also discovered fraudulent online stores selling merchandise such as shirts, uniforms, accessories, and more. Needless to say, those who were enticed by these offers never received the items they ordered.

Special Cell Phone Plans

Fraudsters have set up phishing websites offering a free 48 GB data package for all networks. These sites entice users to provide personal information, such as phone numbers and payment details, under the guise of activating the data package.

Once submitted, this information is harvested for malicious purposes, leading to potential financial loss and privacy breaches.

“During major events like the Olympics, the sheer volume of offers can be overwhelming and deceptive,” says Anton Yatsenko, security expert at Kaspersky. “Scammers prey on the excitement and urgency people feel, making it crucial to approach every offer with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Take the time to verify the authenticity of offers and protect your personal information. Your vigilance can be the difference between enjoying the event and falling victim to a scam.”


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