The IRON List - December 19, 2018

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Industry: Careless management of data, power and influence continues to hurt Africa significantly more than the rest of the world.

Facebook, the social media firm that has been under scrutiny for Russian trolls in the 2016 U.S. election, was caught allowing firms like Netflix and Spotify to read and sometimes delete Facebook users’ private messages.

While the havoc caused by this company is lambasted continuously in North America and Europe, its reach is not limited geographically.

The carelessness of Facebook and other social media platforms can have greater consequences in Latin America and Africa, where, for example, Facebook is the primary source of news for the public. This was evident during Kenya’s 2017 presidential election, and tragically in Nigeria, where ethnic violence was incited through the use of Facebook propaganda campaigns.

Facebook began a fact-checking campaign with the non-profit organization Africa Check, but it’ll take enforcing stronger government regulations to hold this international firm accountable - or the rise of African entrepreneurs creating new platforms to safeguard against abuses.

There is an African-owned social media platform, but its current status is unclear. DotAfrica was created in 2017 by South African activist Mandisa Khanyile, and was slated to be a “censorship-free”, “pro-black” platform to compete with Facebook. 2,000 users subscribed before the site launched in 2017, but as of now its seems the site is still in beta.

Research: Brookings Institution reports 4 key approaches to data security in Africa.

According to the firm, African countries need to act fast to implement the following security controls to protect themselves from ongoing cyber attacks: design and deploy cyber resilience; develop cybersecurity skills; protect data integrity; and integrate cyber risks awareness into the decision process. Read more about its recommendations here.

Opportunities: You can start your own social media platform, if you have the time and passion for it.

There are a number of opportunities to support African entrepreneurs in building new businesses to advance industry in Africa. Applications for the Harambeans 2019 program are now open, and you should apply. More details will be on Karfi’s website, under “The IRON Lists”.

Networking: You’ll need mentors to guide you through the entrepreneurial process.

Currently, the highest ranked country for ease of doing business in Sub-Saharan Africa is ranked at #25 - the majority rank at 80 or below. To create something sustainable on the continent, you’re going to need all the help you can get.

If you have an idea for a business, but have no one to give solid advice for planning, the IRON Series Webinar may be right for you. It’s a set of monthly conversations with entrepreneurship experts providing practical advice on sectors in Africa and the Diaspora. Subscribe to win a 1-on-1 consultation session with one of our experts: