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Afrikaans MVNO launched

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A new mobile network recently launched in South Africa that is tailored for mobile users who prefer communication in Afrikaans.

BokSel is South Africa’s newest mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and was developed by pioneer mobile network enabler MVN-X, in partnership with the popular Afrikaans radio station Bok Radio. It is also the country’s first Afrikaans-language mobile service provider, and offers fully flexible packages on its www.boksel.co.za website, a user-friendly online platform in Afrikaans that went live today.

BokSel’s first customers will be listeners of Bok Radio, which has a strong following in the Western Cape, but the network is open to any mobile users in the country seeking a mobile network alternative that caters for their Afrikaans language preference.

Consumers who are interested in switching to BokSel can port their numbers for free.

How BokSel works

·         Create your profile on www.boksel.co.za and tailor your own package by choosing a bundle and data option.

·         To ensure that you are always connected, you can exceed your chosen bundle amount to a maximum of double your bundle’s monthly limit. This is your credit limit. For example, if your chosen bundle is R100, your credit limit will be R100 – that means you can spend up to R200 in total.

·         Out of bundle rates will apply if you exceed your chosen bundle amount: Talk at 79c/min; SMS at 60c; MMS at 70c; and Data at 99c/MB.

·         Your contract is month to month – you can upgrade or downgrade at any time.

·         Choose your bundle: Spend your bundle on anything you like – talk, SMS, MMS or data.

R49 Value Bundle             –              R0.79/min R0.60/SMS R0.70/MMS R0.99/MB

R99 Value Bundle             –              R0.79/min R0.60/SMS R0.70/MMS R0.99/MB

R199 Value Bundle          –              R0.69/min R0.60/SMS R0.70/MMS R0.99/MB

R299 Value Bundle          –              R0.59/min R0.60/SMS R0.70/MMS R0.99/MB

R349 Bok Onbeperk        –              R-.–/min   R0.60/SMS R0.70/MMS R0.99/MB

R499 Superbok                  –              1 000 mins 1000 MB 1000 SMS

·         Add monthly data to a bundle to take advantage of BokSel’s affordable MB rates:

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A real alternative for consumers
“All around the world there is a consumer trend towards serving customers in their mother tongue. With Bok Radio having such a loyal and engaged audience, it presented an opportunity to tap into this trend by providing Afrikaans-speakers with a mobile network that serves them in their home language and that offers some great value-added services in Afrikaans,” says Steve Bailey, CEO of MVN-X, which provides infrastructure and technical support to BokSel.

Bailey says the network is built on Cell C infrastructure, but MVN-X has provided a tailored technical backbone and professional customer support service in Afrikaans for the network.

Rennert van Rensburg, founder and MD of BokSel, says there are already a few thousand Bok Radio listeners lined up to sign up for BokSel. “We are tremendously excited about the launch of BokSel, and so are our Bok Radio listeners. They are a very loyal and engaged listenership and they already trust the Bok Radio brand. They are going to love BokSel. The BokSel team are ready to provide them with excellent customer service – in relaxed, friendly and courteous Afrikaans.”

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Seedstars seeks tech to reverse land degradation in Africa

A new partnership is offering prizes to young entrepreneurs for coming up with innovations that tackle the loss of arable land in Africa.

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The DOEN Foundation has joined forces with Seedstars, an emerging market startup community, to launch the DOEN Land Restoration Prize, which showcases solutions to environmental, social and financial challenges that focus on land restoration activities in Africa. Stichting DOEN is a Dutch fund that supports green, socially-inclusive and creative initiatives that contribute to a better and cleaner world.

While land degradation and deforestation date back millennia, industrialization and a rising population have dramatically accelerated the process. Today we are seeing unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land at 30 to 35 times the historical rate.

Currently, nearly two-thirds of Africa’s land is degraded, which hinders sustainable economic development and resilience to climate change. As a result, Africa has the largest restoration opportunity of any continent: more than 700 million hectares (1.7 billion acres) of degraded forest landscapes that can be restored. The potential benefits include improved food and water security, biodiversity protection, climate change resilience, and economic growth. Recognizing this opportunity, the African Union set an ambitious target to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.

Land restoration is an urgent response to the poor management of land. Forest and landscape restoration is the process of reversing the degradation of soils, agricultural areas, forests, and watersheds thereby regaining their ecological functionality. According to the World Resources Institute, for every $1 invested in land restoration it can yield $7-$30 in benefits, and now is the time to prove it.

The winner of the challenge will be awarded 9 months access to the Seedstars Investment Readiness Program, the hybrid program challenging traditional acceleration models by creating a unique mix to improve startup performance and get them ready to secure investment. They will also access a 10K USD grant.

“Our current economic system does not meet the growing need to improve our society ecologically and socially,” says Saskia Werther, Program Manager at the DOEN Foundation. “The problems arising from this can be tackled only if a different economic system is considered. DOEN sees opportunities to contribute to this necessary change. After all, the world is changing rapidly and the outlines of a new economy are becoming increasingly clear. This new economy is circular and regenerative. Landscape restoration is a vital part of this regenerative economy and social entrepreneurs play an important role to establish innovative business models to counter land degradation and deforestation. Through this challenge, DOEN wants to highlight the work of early-stage restoration enterprises and inspire other frontrunners to follow suit.”

Applications are open now and will be accepted until October 15th. Startups can apply here: http://seedsta.rs/doen

To enter the competition, startups should meet the following criteria:

  • Existing startups/young companies with less than 4 years of existence
  • Startups that can adapt their current solution to the land restoration space
  • The startup must have a demonstrable product or service (Minimum Viable Product, MVP)
  • The startup needs to be scalable or have the potential to reach scalability in low resource areas.
  • The startup can show clear environmental impact (either by reducing a negative impact or creating a positive one)
  • The startup can show a clear social impact
  • Technology startups, tech-enabled startups and/or businesses that can show a clear innovation component (e.g. in their business model)

Also, a specific emphasis is laid, but not limited to: Finance the restoration of degraded land for production and/or conservation purposes; big data and technology to reverse land degradation; resource efficiency optimization technologies, ecosystems impacts reduction and lower carbon emissions; water-saving soil technologies; technologies focused on improving livelihoods and communities ; planning, management and education tools for land restoration; agriculture (with a focus on precision conservation) and agroforestry; clean Energy solutions that aid in the combat of land degradation; and responsible ecotourism that aids in the support of land restoration.

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The dark side of apps

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Mobile device security threats are on the rise and it’s not hard to see why. In 2019 the number of worldwide mobile phone users is forecast to reach 4.68 billion of which 2.7 billion are smartphone users. So, if you are looking for a target, it certainly makes sense to go where the numbers are. Think about it, unsecured Wi-Fi connections, network spoofing, phishing attacks, ransomware, spyware and improper session handling – mobile devices make for the perfect easy target. In fact, according to Kaspersky, mobile apps are often the cause of unintentional data leakage.

“Apps pose a real problem for mobile users, who give them sweeping permissions, but don’t always check security,” says Riaan Badenhorst, General Manager for Kaspersky in Africa. “These are typically free apps found in official app stores that perform as advertised, but also send personal – and potentially corporate – data to a remote server, where it is mined by advertisers or even cybercriminals. Data leakage can also happen through hostile enterprise-signed mobile apps. Here, mobile malware uses distribution code native to popular mobile operating systems like iOS and Android to spread valuable data across corporate networks without raising red flags.”

In fact, according to recent reports, 6 Android apps that were downloaded a staggering 90 million times from the Google Play Store were found to have been loaded with the PreAMo malware, while another recent threat saw 50 malware-filled apps on the Google Play Store infect over 30 million Android devices. Surveillance malware was also loaded onto fake versions of Android apps such as Evernote, Google Play and Skype.

Considering that as of 2019, Android users were able to choose between 2.46 million apps, while Apple users have almost 1.96 million app options to select from, and that the average person has 60-90 apps installed on their phone, using around 30 of them each month and launching 9 per day – it’s easy to see how viral apps take several social media channels by storm.

“In this age where users jump onto a bandwagon because it’s fun or trendy, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) can overshadow basic security habits – like being vigilant on granting app permissions,” says Bethwel Opil, Enterprise Sales Manager at Kaspersky in Africa. “In fact, accordingly to a previous Kaspersky study, the majority (63%) of consumers do not read license agreements and 43% just tick all privacy permissions when they are installing new apps on their phone. And this is exactly where the danger lies – as there is certainly ‘no harm’ in joining online challenges or installing new apps.”

However, it is dangerous when users just grant these apps limitless permissions into their contacts, photos, private messages, and more. “Doing so allows the app makers possible, and even legal, access to what should remain confidential data. When this sensitive data is hacked or misused, a viral app can turn a source into a loophole which hackers can exploit to spread malicious viruses or ransomware,” adds Badenhorst. 

As such, online users should always have their thinking caps on and be more careful when it comes to the internet and their app habits including:

  • Only download apps from trusted sources. Read the reviews and ratings of the apps as well
  • Select apps you wish to install on your devices wisely
  • Read the license agreement carefully
  • Pay attention to the list of permissions your apps are requesting. Only give apps permissions they absolutely insist on, and forgo any programme that asks for more than necessary
  • Avoid simply clicking “next” during an app installation
  • For an additional security layer, be sure to have a security solution installed on your device

“While the app market shows no signs of slowing down, it is changing,” says Opil. “Consumers download the apps they love on their devices which in turn gives them access to content that is relevant and useful. The future of apps will be in real-world attribution, influenced by local content and this type of tailored in-app experience will lead consumers to share their data more willing in a trusted, premium app environment in exchange for more personalised experiences. But until then, proceed with caution.”

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