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Nigeria PC market crash

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Official PC shipments to Nigeria fell 57.1% year on year in 2016 to total 156,511 units, according to the latest figures compiled by International Data Corporation (IDC). 

This means the market has now fallen to its lowest levels since IDC started tracking it in Q1 2008, with factors such as unstable exchange rates, poor economic performance, and the steady rise of refurbished gray market imports causing a decline that has been ongoing since 2013.

“Nigeria’s currency – the naira – has been losing considerable value against the U.S. dollar for a number of years now,” says Babatunde Afolayan, a senior research analyst at IDC West Africa. “To make matters worse, the government excluded IT products from accessing foreign currencies at the interbank rate, pushing channel partners to obtain foreign currencies from the unofficial market, where rates are typically 40–50% higher.”

The country’s poor economic performance goes hand in hand with the tumbling value of the naira, with low crude oil prices and ongoing militant and terrorist activities further compounding the issue. Afolayan says such factors have significantly weakened the purchasing power of end users, resulting in low demand for PC products.

“Both commercial and consumer end users have been prolonging their PC lifecycles beyond what is generally considered normal,” he says. “And in cases where new purchases are being made, commercial end users are typically opting for cheaper models while consumers are increasingly opting for refurbished products. An additional challenge is that channel partners are no longer stocking units to meet future demand; PCs are now ordered on a need-to-supply basis, and only after orders have been fully paid.”

The import of refurbished PCs – primarily from the UAE, the U.K., and China – is proving particularly challenging for official channels, with such products comfortably outnumbering official shipments of primary PCs. “At the same time, the volume of gray market imports is steadily increasing,” says Afolayan. “One of the main reasons is the lower price points at which resellers can purchase products from gray market sources, giving them better profit margins than official channels.”

The government is continuously trying to improve the country’s economic performance and has implemented various strategies aimed at increasing the purchasing power of end users. Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria is considering the inclusion of IT products for interbank rates when it comes to accessing foreign currencies.

“Such efforts are expected to drive a recovery of sorts in Nigeria’s PC market,” says Afolayan. “We anticipate a leveling off in 2017 as foreign exchange rates stabilize and IT decision makers begin to renew spending as most of their products will have passed the end of their lifespans. IDC forecasts that this relatively flat growth in 2017 will be followed by a much stronger year-on-year increase of 59.9% in 2018.”

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Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards

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The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.

The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”

Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever AwardShe has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).

The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:

SPORT

The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognitionAge cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.

Click here to see who won the awards for data journalism , CSI/sustainability and photography.

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Cons exploit Telegram ICO

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Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.

In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.

Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.

The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.

Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.

“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:

  • Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
  • Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
  • Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.

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