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Airtel Africa partners with WebEngage to enhance digital customer management, driving personalised experiences and boosting engagement across Africa. (Image source: Airtel Africa)

Internet

Airtel Africa enhances digital engagement with WebEngage

Airtel Africa, a prominent telecommunications group with over 150 million subscribers in 14 African countries, has teamed up with WebEngage to enhance its digital customer base management

As Africa’s second-largest telecom provider, Airtel boasts over 60 million data users among its total customer base. Committed to bridging the digital divide and fostering financial inclusion across the continent, Airtel delivers mobile money, entertainment, and digital services to all its users.

How is digital engagement enhanced?

Through this integration, Airtel aims to closely monitor user activities and offer highly personalised services, thereby boosting customer retention and engagement. The partnership will extend to Airtel Money, Smart Cash in Nigeria, and Airtel TV, ensuring seamless and tailored digital experiences across various platforms, including Web, App, in-app, Meta, Google, and traditional channels like SMS and email.

Airtel Africa’s group senior vice-president: digital & product, Priya Thakoor, stated, “With a massive rollout completed within three-month timeframe, WebEngage’s CDP is now observing more than 600 user actions across all 14 markets and consistently building an actionable digital profile list. More than 30 highly personalized customer journeys are live, engaging more than one million subscribers and resulting in over 30% conversions.

Our objective is to improve CLTV for every customer with highly targeted offerings across channels that meet their individual needs. We have built a foundation of digital customer base management with WebEngage for My Airtel app, driving customer engagement and deeper product penetration into mobile money and adjacent digital services. It must be stated that in all this we ensure complete customer privacy.”

Hetarth Patel, vice-president - growth markets (MEA, Americas, APAC), WebEngage, said, “We are elated about this partnership with Airtel Africa to transform their customer value management. With our advanced customer data platform, cutting-edge analytics, generative AI, and personalided capabilities, we will help them achieve 1:1 customer engagement on owned, paid media, and digital channels. There are numerous use cases we have planned to increase app usage, retain users on digital properties, and improve CLTV. Our on-ground customer success teams based in Nairobi and Dubai will work hand-in-hand with Airtel OpCos and Group to accelerate this execution.”

This collaboration signifies a larger trend of digital transformation within the telecom industry, where companies are evolving into technology-driven entities by collaborating with innovative solution providers like WebEngage. Telecom companies are leveraging their deep insights into customers’ non-linear journeys and setting benchmarks for exceptional customer experiences across all channels, both traditional and digital, as well as paid, owned, and third-party media.

WebEngage is a distinguished player in the MarTech (marketing technology) SaaS sector worldwide, serving over 800 clients across various industries such as retail, education, finance, food and beverages, media and publications, and healthcare. Its partnerships have led to significant improvements in customer experiences, operational revenue, and digital transformation. With Airtel Africa, WebEngage anticipates a substantial impact both financially and socially.

Standard Bank’s MVNO service has attracted over 300,000 mobile customers, offering significant value with bank fees converted into Airtime based on customer engagement with bank products and services. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Mobile

Standard Bank Connect launches MVNO with MTN

Standard Bank has unveiled a collaboration with MTN to launch a new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), enhancing coverage for its customers in South Africa

Under the bank’s telecommunications strategy, the service previously known as Standard Bank Mobile will be rebranded to Standard Bank Connect, featuring fresh data and voice packages. “We are excited to collaborate with MTN and the opportunity to provide our customers with a range of newly differentiated mobile plans. The transition will be gradual, where we invite our customers to join us on our pilot program, helping us to build meaningful services together and experiencing Standard Bank on MTN’s wide network,” stated Kartik Mistry, executive head of Standard Bank MVNO.

Enhanced connectivity solutions

Since its inception in 2018, Standard Bank’s MVNO service has attracted over 300,000 mobile customers, offering significant value with bank fees converted into Airtime based on customer engagement with bank products and services.

“Consistently voted SA’s Best Network, MTN is delighted to partner with Standard Bank, a trusted brand in South Africa and across the African continent. Our aim is to create shared value by placing our partners at the centre of all we do whilst for fulfilling our vision that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected life. To this end we are committed to providing a proven, quality digital network and affordable mobile and network solutions,” expressed Quintus de Beer, Chief wholesale officer at MTN South Africa.

Standard Bank has introduced two primary connectivity packages to further its mission of connecting communities: the Connected Circle and the Connected Gigs Plans. The Connected Circle Plans are designed for customers who need both voice and data services, with tiers such as Connected Circle Starter, Lite, Plus, and Pro. These plans offer unlimited calls to certain community numbers and come with bundled data, enhancing connectivity flexibility.

The Connected Gigs Plans are tailored for those prioritising data, presenting substantial data packages at attractive rates. These plans also allow the purchase of airtime for voice and SMS.

Adding to the customer benefits, selected Connected Circle and Connected Gigs plans include up to 50% monthly discounts on tech accessories, thanks to Standard Bank’s collaboration with Dress Your Tech.

“Standard Bank Connect represents a significant step forward in our commitment to providing our customers with end-to-end connectivity solutions that are tailored to offer more simplicity, more value and greater flexibility,” Mistry highlighted. 

Namibia Spaceport approved by Eos Capital, led by Q-KON Namibia, to boost satellite communication, enhance digital inclusion, and foster economic growth. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Satellite

Namibia greenlights Spaceport initiative by Q-KON

The Namibia Spaceport project has received approval from Eos Capital, managers of the Namibia Infrastructure Development and Investment Fund (NIDIF) 

Spearheaded by Q-KON Namibia, this innovative initiative signifies a major step forward for the country.

The project, known as the Namibia Spaceport, while not a traditional spaceport, will serve as a crucial hub for satellite communication networks, providing ground infrastructure and advanced services to global satellite operators. It will offer the following select services:

1) Ground Gateway Terminal Hosting: This involves providing essential infrastructure for hosting Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation Ground Gateway Terminals. It includes land for antenna farms, civil works, fiber connectivity, power supply, facilities monitoring, equipment hosting, infrastructure services, and on-demand first-line support services.

2) Earth Observation Downlink Services: The project will facilitate the downloading of crucial data and images from orbiting satellites, enhancing earth observation capabilities and scientific research. Additionally, it will provide access to high-resolution satellite images in schools and universities, serving as a valuable educational resource. Students can utilise these images to analyze changes in land use, monitor deforestation, or study the impacts of climate change on various ecosystems.

3) Tracking, Telemetry, and Control (TT&C): The Spaceport will play a vital role in the African network of TT&C stations. These stations monitor and control satellites orbiting over the continent.

Fostering Namibian Innovation

“We anticipate announcing the next steps in the coming months,” remarked Dr Dawie de Wet, CEO of Q-KON.

Namibia’s minister of information and communications technology, Emma Theofelus, stated, "The Namibia Spaceport represents a monumental stride towards harnessing the vast potential of space technology for the growth of Namibia and Africa’s communication capabilities." She also noted that this project is a key component of Namibia’s National Space Science and Technology Policy, which was launched in June 2021.

“The project shows Namibia’s commitment to space exploration, innovation, and sustainable development. With a strategic focus on collaboration, capacity building, and technological advancement, the Namibia Spaceport will make our country a worthy player in the African space arena,” Theofelus explained.

Frederico Van Wyk, chief investment officer of Eos Capital, emphasised that approving the Namibia Spaceport project highlights their dedication to enhancing digital inclusion and connectivity throughout the country, promoting economic growth and innovation in Namibia. This investment aligns with NIDIF’s broader strategy to develop the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in the nation.

“This landmark initiative aligns with Eos Capital’s mission to facilitate strategic investments that propel Namibia into the future and earn positive returns to investors,” Van Wyk added.

"Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow," articulates MTN's vision of fostering a world where all young individuals are equipped with the necessary tools to excel. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Commerce

MTN's Initiative: Bridging education gaps

MTN Group celebrated its 30th year by expanding their volunteer programme to “30 Days of Y’ello Care

This special campaign, called “Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow,” aims to help students in less privileged areas get better education.

In 2024, marking three decades of MTN's establishment, this initiative symbolises the company's enduring pledge to utilise its resources for the collective good. Nompilo Morafo's articulation of the campaign's theme, "Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow," articulates MTN's vision of fostering a world where all young individuals are equipped with the necessary tools to excel.

“The theme – Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow, embodies our passion for creating a world where every young person has access to the tools required to reach their full potential,” said MTN Group chief sustainability & corporate affairs officer, Nompilo Morafo. “The 2024 campaign targets educational inequity, reflecting our deep-rooted commitment to empowering communities. It’s about fostering the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders who will shape their communities and the global landscape for years to come.”

Scheduled from June 1st to 30th, 2024, the "30 Days of Y’ello Care" initiative will witness the collective efforts of MTN employees as they endeavor to significantly enhance accessibility and quality of education for marginalised communities.

Africa Data Centres & DPA SA pioneer solar farm for sustainable data solutions in South Africa. (Image source: African Data Centres)

Power

Africa Data Centres & DPA SA lead South African data sustainability

Africa Data Centres, a division of the Cassava Technologies group, has announced the commencement of construction for a solar farm in the Free State in partnership with DPA Southern Africa 

remarked Anna Collard, senior vice-president content strategy & evangelist Africa at KnowBe4. (Image source: KnowBe4)

Security

KnowBe4 report: High phishing risk in Africa

KnowBe4, the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, has released its 2024 Phishing by Industry Benchmarking Report 

The report measures an organisation’s Phish-prone Percentage (PPP), indicating how many employees are susceptible to phishing or social engineering attacks

This year’s report reveals that untrained employees in Africa have a higher PPP at 36.7% compared to the global average of 34.3%. This suggests that employees in African countries are more likely to fall for phishing attempts. The increase from the previous year’s figures highlights the significant linguistic, cultural, and economic diversity across the continent and the substantial cybersecurity challenges faced by African countries.

KnowBe4’s analysis covered 54 million simulated phishing tests involving nearly 12 million users across 55,675 organisations in 19 different industries. The study established a baseline PPP, indicating the click rates on phishing tests by employees who had not received KnowBe4 security awareness training.

While PPP rates varied significantly across different sectors and countries within Africa, the report demonstrates the effectiveness of combining simulated phishing tests with security awareness training. African organisations that consistently implemented training and testing saw a marked reduction in their average PPP to 22% within the first 90 days, and further down to 5.9% after one year of continuous efforts.

These improvements are slightly higher than the global average, which saw a reduction to 18.9% after 90 days and 4.6% after one year of consistent training and testing. This indicates that, at least theoretically, employees in African countries are more prone to cyber threats, underscoring the importance of focusing on mitigating human risks to bolster cybersecurity.

Transforming cybersecurity culture

Despite the challenges faced by African countries and their organisations, the significant decrease in PPP over three and twelve months shows notable progress. This improvement demonstrates that changing cybersecurity culture involves breaking old habits and adopting more secure practices. As employees internalise these new behaviors, they become ingrained, evolving into standard practices that shape organisational culture and create a workforce that naturally prioritises security.

"Cybersecurity challenges in Africa require a combination of regulation, guidelines and security awareness training. Particular focus is needed on threats like deepfakes used for political manipulation, especially ahead of major elections in various African countries," remarked Anna Collard, senior vice-president content strategy & evangelist Africa at KnowBe4. "More public-private partnerships are essential to build capacity, address the skills shortage, and improve resilience in the digital world. Investing in Africa’s youth and providing cybersecurity training opportunities can fill the skills gap and also address youth unemployment."

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