From the Editor-at-Large
Here are a couple of stories that we covered this week.
Zimbabwe continued the trend of hiking and then immediately lowering the cost of data, with the country's ICT minister issuing a statement directing POTRAZ, the country's telecoms regulator, to suspend a tariff increase directive it had issued two days before.
A project piloted in Senegal and four other countries to share knowledge and best practices in biodiversity management is expected to boost biodiversity conservation through exchanging experiences online.
Radio is still an incredibly strong communication channel in South Africa, seeing as it's the most accessible medium for many people in both urban and rural areas. Kyle Findlay had a look at the listenership stats for top radio stations in the country, which regularly draw audience sizes in the millions.
Kenya's Communications Authority hinted at shutting down the internet 'in case things got out of hand' during elections which will be held in August, but only as a last resort. The Authority has acquired equipment worth US$9.6 million that will be used to monitor mobile phones and the activities around them.
We also looked at a project helping local healthcare workers in Nigeria's Kaduna State to monitor stock levels of essential medicines and track the spread of disease using smartphones.
What stories caught your attention this week? Any thoughts on the stories we covered? Let us know at [email protected]
Eric Mugendi // Editor-at-Large
Facebook announced a new project that 'seeks to establish stronger ties between the social network and the news industry' to tackle problems such as the spread of fake news, and how to better monetize news content.
The social network is collaborating with news organizations and publishers to 'equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age'. This project appears to be driven in part by the social network's role in the spread of fake news - unsubstantiated stories appearing to come from legitimate sources.
The Amazon Project is a 13-week television series for Nigerian startups and entrepreneurs that will select ten of Nigeria's brightest entrepreneurs and business ideas, who will compete for 10 million naira (US$32,000) in seed money and incubation support for a year.
Uber announced a new platform through which they will share anonymized data collected from trips, aimed at helping city planners identify trouble spots and keep the traffic flowing. Dubbed 'Uber Movement', the service is initially available in Washington, DC (USA), Manila (Philippines) and Sydney (Australia), with plans to "gradually roll out to everyone" in the coming weeks.
After a successful launch in Rwanda delivering blood and other essential medical supplies, Zipline's fixed-wing drones will be tried out in Tanzania. The new trial is being funded by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and implemented by the Ifakara Health Institute in Dar-es-Salaam, which specialises in treatments for malaria, HIV, tuberculosis as well as neonatal health issues. It is estimated that deliveries made using the UAVs could help in over 50,000 births a year, cutting down the waiting times for delivering life-saving medicine from 110 minutes to 19 minutes.
And The Drone Strike That Wasn't
Damage on a Linhas Aereas de Moçambique (LAM) plane flying from Maputo to Chingozi Airport in Tete Province was initially thought to have been caused by a collision with a drone, but the country's Civil Aviation Authority attributed it to 'structural failure'. Tete Province has extensive mining operations, and there is a coal bed right underneath the Chingozi Airport.
Mozambique does have drone regulations which state that drone operators must "not fly drones near airports or in areas where aircraft are operating". However, according to witnesses on the ground, drones are routinely operated without regard for the aerodrome and aircraft traffic.
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