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The Growing Importance of Privacy Amongst Customers and How Businesses Should Cater to it

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By Kehinde Ogundare, Country Manager, Zoho Nigeria | Veerakumar Natarajan, Country Head – Kenya, Zoho Corp

Privacy is a growing concern for technology consumers worldwide. While there was a time when that may not have been the case for countries like Nigeria and Kenya, that’s no longer the reality. As connectivity becomes more affordable and ubiquitous, Kenyans and Nigerians have become increasingly tech-savvy and conscious regarding how much data they share with technology companies and what the latter are doing with it.

Kehinde

In the face of these growing concerns, companies operating in Africa need to be mindful of the increasing privacy mindset of their customers. Aside from regulatory compliance, companies should actively demonstrate that they care about their customers’ privacy concerns in order to build and sustain trust and to show they’re taking a proactive approach to protect their personal information.

The importance of regulatory compliance

The first step any company should take to safeguard their customers’ privacy is ensuring they’re compliant with all of the relevant laws and regulations. In countries like Kenya and Nigeria, data protection regulations are relatively new.

The Data Protection Act of 2019, enforced by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC), regulates data protection in Kenya. The act expressly prohibits organisations from processing personal data if their consent has not been provided first. Each organisation must have a data controller and/or a data processor whose responsibility is to prove they’ve obtained consent before processing a person’s data.

Nigeria’s Data Protection Act, meanwhile, was signed into law in 2023. The act governs both manual and automatic data processing. The act also established the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), which is an independent body that governs data protection and regulation in the country. In addition to defining sensitive personal data as including an individual’s genetic and biometric data as well as their race, ethnicity, and health status, among other things, the act also provides specific grounds for the processing of this sensitive personal data. According to the act, such data can be processed where consent is provided or where processing is necessary for social security or employment laws.

Both of these laws are in line with similar laws and regulations around the world, such as Europe’s GDPR. That means they’re not only a good place for Nigerian and Kenyan businesses to start for compliance, but they also help businesses gain good footing when it comes to protecting customer data should they start operating internationally.

Beyond compliance

Companies should, however, view regulatory compliance as the bare minimum when it comes to meeting their customers’ privacy needs. Given the parlous state of privacy protection across many African countries, going above and beyond with customer privacy can be a positive differentiator for companies that get it right.

Among the initiatives they can undertake in this direction are investing in data center security to minimise the collection of data, requesting permission from customers while collecting sensitive information, and ultimately reducing their reliance on selling user data for revenue gains. Another initiative that organisations can implement is implementing multi-factor authentication if they require customers to log in to an account to access their products and services.

Another aspect that businesses should pay close attention to is which technology vendor they work with to run their internal operations. Businesses should ensure the third-party tech tools they deploy within their IT infrastructure also come with strong data privacy and protection controls, and the corresponding vendors also practice transparent data collection practices. Should one of these vendors fall victim to a cybersecurity breach, the customer data of the organisations using it could easily fall into nefarious hands.

Businesses should, therefore, ensure they make use of software providers and vendors that are, themselves, compliant with all the relevant privacy laws and regulations, and offer a comprehensive set of security measures and procedures, including controlled user access, enterprise mobility management (EMM) integration, IP restrictions, and secure integrations.

Riding the positives of proactive protection

While there are many negatives associated with data protection failures, including reputational damage and legal punishments, it’s also important that organisations understand the positives associated with proactive data protection.

High up on the list of those positives is building trust. Customers who trust the companies they buy from are more likely to be loyal in the long term, make repeat purchases in the future, and act as evangelists to others. At a time when customers are increasingly concerned about data privacy, building that trust is more difficult, but also more rewarding than ever. It, in other words, is something worth investing in.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

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Under my Watch, NBC will Follow Due Process- New DG

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Charles Ebuebu, new director general, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has promised to follow due process in the regulation of broadcast stations in the country.

Under my Watch, NBC will Follow Due Process- New DG

The new NBC boss made this known in an exclusive interview with Channels Television on Monday after a meeting with Dr John Momoh, chairman, Channels Media Group.

Ebuebu, who replaced Balarabe Illelah as director-general of NBC last October following his appointment by President Bola Tinubu, promised to end any arbitrary sanction on media stations in the country while not sparing consistent wrongs by defaulters.

He said the NBC Code will be reviewed to facilitate an enabling industry that allows operators thrive.

Ebuebu said, “There are two sides to a coin: one one hand, there is a perception that the NBC has been overreaching in the applications of sanctions. It’s been said that we did not follow due process and all of that.

“Basically, the takeaway for me is that, it has been an arbitrary process. Now, part of my training as a lawyer is the fact that we will definietly put together a transparent process. I don’t want to particular details. It’s still in process but I can assure you (that) there is going to be a change in that perception, it’s going to be transparent so much so people will be allowed to speak, they will be allowed to defend themselves.

“The issues will be analysed based on the code. We are going to have a code review where all inputs will be taken in and that will address that perception.

“Now, on the other side of it, it’s sort of strange to have a policeman who cannot issue a fine. of course, the case is in court and I can talk about its legality or otherwise.”


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How New UK Funding for Tech Entrepreneurs will Boost Livelihoods in Developing Countries

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Andrew Mitchell, UK’s Development Minister has announced new UK funding for innovative mobile phone technology will help change lives in developing countries around the world.

He noted that harnessing AI technology to provide real-time agricultural advice to farmers in Nigeria and pay-as-you-go solar powered fridges are just some of the ways UK-funded mobile technology is improving livelihoods globally.

At a speech at Mobile World Congress last week, Minister Mitchell announced the UK is providing £37.3 million of new support for the Mobile for Development Programme, to help more people access mobile and digital technologies to find new opportunities and boost their livelihoods.

The programme, which the UK funds in partnership with UK-based mobile industry association GSMA and the private sector, has already benefitted more than 94 million people and focuses on women and girls, climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience and scaling up innovative solutions.

Minister for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell said: “Mobile technology has the potential to revolutionise the lives of the poor by helping tackle the effects of climate change, creating jobs and boosting opportunities for women.

“The Mobile for Development programme has already benefitted more than 100 million people, and the UK’s new announcement aims to up the ambition, reaching 110 million additional people, including 60 million women.

“Together the worlds of development and mobile tech giants can be a powerful force to unlock opportunities and prosperity and meet the UN Global Goals.”

UK funding has previously helped scale up a digital hub in Pakistan, BaKhabar Kissan (BKK), which provides accurate weather forecasting data to farmers to help them make critical farming decisions such as the timing of seed sowing, irrigation, and fertilisation. With the help of this programme, BKK has almost doubled users from 6.6 million to 12.4 million.

Another innovative business, Ensibuuko, is providing digital skills training to help community saving groups in rural Uganda keep up with the latest digital products and services where previously they relied on paper record-keeping. Since gaining funding, Ensibuuko has benefited over 236,000 members of rural savings groups, 60% of whom are women, providing them with digital skills training.

John Giusti, President of the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation, said:”For more than a decade, the FCDO and the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation have worked closely in partnership to drive socio-economic and climate impact for the most underserved populations through digital innovation, and to date our partnership has improved the lives of more than 127 million people.

“Today’s renewal of our partnership will further amplify our joint impact by leveraging the power of digital and emerging technologies to support innovation, improve access to opportunities for women, and tackle the effects of climate change for the most vulnerable.”

With the increase in climate crises around the world, the need for new solutions to help vulnerable countries adapt is growing and mobile technology can make a big difference to people’s lives.

At Mobile World Congress, GSMA also announced the grantees for its Climate Resilience and Adaptation Fund which is funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. This fund is designed to test and scale up new technology to combat the effects of climate change in countries throughout Africa and Asia.

Some of the projects being funded include one using AI-powered satellite imagery to help smallholder farmers increase their yields and another to reduce food waste via an online grocery platform.


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Omniverse Summit 2024: Climate Action Africa Reiterates Commitment to Climate Innovation Agenda

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Climate Action Africa (CAA), a leading social enterprise focused on environmental sustainability, reaffirmed its commitment to fostering an inclusive climate action ecosystem at the ongoing Omniverse Summit 2024.

Alice Eze, Chief Operating Officer of Climate Action Africa and Olatubosun Alake and Commissioner, Innovation, Science and Technology, Lagos State at the Omniverse Summit 2024 that held in Lagos, Nigeria.

Co-founded by Innovation Support Network (ISN Hubs) with support from GIZ/Digital Transformation Center Nigeria (GIZ/DTC Nigeria), the Omniverse serves as a meeting point for diverse stakeholders across sectors, including development partners, public entities, regulatory agencies, academia, startups, finance professionals, media, and the creative industries.

As a key participant at the four-day event, Climate Action Africa has reaffirmed its commitment to being at the forefront of driving climate innovation for a sustainable future. The organization emphasized the need to integrate environmental sustainability models, technology, and community-driven innovation to address climate change challenges.

Emphasizing the pivotal role of innovation in identifying and scaling solutions to address the imminent climate crisis in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, Alice Eze, Chief Operating Officer of Climate Action Africa, said: “Our participation at The Omniverse Summit 2024 reflects our conviction that fostering innovation is crucial in discovering and amplifying solutions to address the imminent climate crisis, not only in Africa but also globally.”

Climate Action Africa’s participation includes thought-provoking discussions on offering climate-resilient solutions, engaging exhibitions, active involvement in deal room discussions, and cultivating strategic partnerships towards the upcoming Climate Action Africa Forum 2024, among others.

Climate Action Africa remains dedicated to engaging with critical stakeholders and advocating for a multi-stakeholder approach to addressing climate change challenges. The organization’s presence at The Omniverse Summit 2024 reflects its commitment to this collaborative approach, which is essential for knowledge exchange and shared solutions to navigate the complex climate challenges facing the African continent and its communities.

L-R: Alice Eze, Chief Operating Officer of Climate Action Africa and Olatubosun Alake, Commissioner, Innovation, Science and Technology, Lagos State at the Omniverse Summit 2024 that was held in Lagos, Nigeria.

 

 


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