Weekly digest for 30 July 2021

KEY READING FOR THE WEEK

This week’s main story is about the next technology frontier: augmented reality (AR). In its second quarter earnings call the 28th of July, Facebook said it was spending billions on AR research and development. Facebook’s idea is to create an immersive virtual world where you can “teleport” into different experiences. Of course, AR comes with a set of challenging regulatory issues. In a recent report, Deloitte highlights some of these, mainly around privacy and copyright. For example, if AR glasses are used as you walk down the street, do individuals have the right to refuse to be recorded? One of the solutions put forward by Deloitte is to start the process of figuring out these challenges through the adoption of “soft laws” – essentially industry codes of conduct that can test which approaches are likely to be successful. RIS has recommended a similar approach to building digital trust in its work for the African Union. In that work, RIS recommended voluntary codes of conduct, and the creation of standards in specific industries, that are initiated by companies and not by governments. Companies have skin in the game and the role of government is to facilitate the adoption of codes of conduct that will work in Africa. The alternative, a top-down approach of governments’ dictating compliance, is not a workable solution.

OTHER WEEKLY NEWS FROM AROUND AFRICA
  • Angola: Africell has been granted tax and customs exemptions. In exchange, Africell has committed to covering at least 60% of urban areas within 8 years.
  • Nigeria: SIM registration has been extended for a sixth time to October 31, 2021. Surprise, surprise!
  • Zambia: ZICTA has launched a public consultation on 5G spectrum to get feedback on bandwidth requirements and allocation process, amongst other issues.
  • Tanzania: The head of the Tanzania Mobile Network Operators Association said that new mobile money taxes resulted in a 45 decline in mobile money transactions.
  • Congo: SIM card registration rears its ugly head again in the Congo, where Airtel and MTN are facing sanctions for non-compliance.