Of Cybersecurity, cashing in on Bitcoin . . . A busy week for Zimbabwe technology

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Aurra Kawanzaruwa
This week was a busy week in the world technology in Zimbabwe. Tuesday saw the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and Cyber Security’s Cyber Security Conference, under the theme “Cyber Security: Our shared responsibility”.

The consultative conference ran over two days. Its main purpose was to gather contributions to developing strategies that will assist management of cybersecurity, threats and mitigation.

Speakers included Engineer Sam Kundishora, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence and ZIMRA, to name a few.

The conference was relatively well attended with a number of noteworthy points raised. An interesting one to note was a call for a 5 percent Consumer Security Levy by the Information Society Initiatives Trust (ISIT), who were panellists at the event.

What difference would that make? The expected increase in tariff would fall within the gliding scale intended to obtain from January 2015. The “new” funds would support national structures and capacity building for cyber security.

Reuben Gwatidzo, the Director of ISIT posed that such a scenario would demand that both the old consumer levy into USF and the new money would or should have new trustees, and not the current arrangement of the Minister appointed POTRAZ board serving as Trustees.

“Trusteeship would be representatives drawn from different stakeholder’ communities. The impact is accelerated & community owned growth & direction of ICT take-up, under greater assurance of nation capacity to detect, deter, prevent & fight threats, and develop local & foreign inclusivity.”

Whether the conference will serve its intended purpose of being a catalyst for developmental change will be determined by the implementation of the information gathered.

Tuesday also saw Zimbabwe’s only ATM which dispenses squeaky clean US Dollars being installed at Golix headquarters at Batanai Gardens. It’s a Bitcoin ATM. To call this a game changer may very well be an understatement. Only 70 countries in the world have Bitcoin ATMs and Golix has just put Zimbabwe on that elite map.

The adoption of cryptocurrencies in Zimbabwe has been described as a ‘utopian’ discussion, but one can’t deny that the conversation just grounded itself in a comfortable wad of hard forex that you can buy or sell in a glass office along First Street, one of the busiest streets in terms of foot traffic in Harare.

The ATM is designed to make understanding Bitcoin a lot simpler for first time cryptocurrency users. Not too different from normal ATMs, the instructions are simple and with minimal assistance from Customer Support agents, the average Zimbabwean can very well walk away with a neat little fold of US dollars. Fintech at its finest.

The need for RegTech to take the forefront in national ICT discussions may now be more of a priority than ever before. Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Finally, Liquid Telecom has aimed for the sky and has officially launched their blue eyed dream project that Twitter nicknamed #LiquidAzure. Liquid Group Solution Provider Product Manager, John Shoko, said they have been selling Microsoft 365 cloud services and are now offering Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft recently signed a deal with Liquid Telecom as their partner to virtualize their cloud based services, using their local and international infrastructure running on their fibre back bone for seamless connectivity.

Approximately 535 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2030. And according to Liquid’s research, 50% of Africa’s population will be living in urban cities by 2030 due to the massive rural-urban migration going on across the continent.

Deputy Managing Director of Liquid Telecom, Martin Mushambadope gave the opening remarks at the launch event on Wednesday morning. He went on to unpack Azure for the benefit of businesses. He stressed that Liquid Azure’s main task is to position companies to weather the storms in technology as a result of IoT, Big Data and so on.

The Azure cloud is a hybrid cloud built in a manner that allows it to be structured once but that is adaptable to changing trends, meaning that it employs Artificial Intelligence (AI) to come up with the best solutions and needs assessments. This is important especially considering the most current paradigm shift in technology is AI.

So it definitely has been a rather eventful week for the country’s tech community which served a weighty portion of food for thought. Is cybersecurity going to find an effective footing in the current structures of management in our governing systems? Could Bitcoin actually become a tangible answer to the country’s dystopian currency situation? And could we be well on our way to transforming the way we open our country for business through access to the borderless global community online?

 

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