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In Uganda, you now need about $19 a year to be on social media

Millions of people in Uganda now have to pay to use popular social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter as new rules come into force

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Millions of people in Uganda now have to pay to use popular social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter as new rules come into force.

In late May, the Ugandan parliament passed legislation that introduced a tax on the use of the so-called Over The Top (OTT) social media platforms offering voice and messaging services.

As of Sunday, users are required to pay 200 shillings a day (about $0.05) to access any of the more than 60 such OTT platforms.

This translates into about $1.5 a month and $19 a year, in a country where millions live on less than $1 a year.

The government says the measure will bring in much-needed revenue to turn the country into a middle-income one by 2020.

But social media users say the tax violates their right to freedom of expression, will deny people business opportunities and leave Ugandans even poorer.
Human rights activists argue the tax is in bad faith and say they are preparing a constitutional challenge.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 32 years, has spoken dismissively about social media users and said the tax was aimed at dealing with the consequences of online “gossip”.

Critics have previously accused the government of evoking questionable incitement laws, relics of British colonialism, to silence dissent.

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Angola inaugurates new satellite control centre for ANGOSAT-2

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Angola has inaugurated its first satellite control centre with the main task of monitoring the activity of the country’s satellite, ANGOSAT-2.

While inaugurating the Centre on Friday at the Funda area of Luanda, the southern African country’s capital, President João Lourenço said the fully equipped centre with technical and technological means will be maintained by its technical experts with the help of Russia after the launch of the ANGOSAT-2 in October last year.

“With the launch of this satellite and its commissioning, Angola will win in all services, so we will improve our telecommunications and our social communication and will also benefit from this important project,” President João said.

“Therefore, further investments to ensure that our telecommunications contribute to the development of the country and the services of our economy, not just of Angolan society, will continue to be made.

“It has been said here that in terms of fibre optics and therefore cable transmission and investment that we are making today to connect Angola to the neighbouring country, specifically the DRC,” the President added.

The Satellite Mission and Control Center, according to local media, is an intelligent infrastructure with multiple engineering advantages, capable of guaranteeing the tracking, monitoring and operation of satellites.

Angola had, in December 2017, launched its trial satellite ANGOSAT-1 alongside the Russian rocket, but it was soon to be lost after it had lost control as soon as it entered orbit.

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Egyptian e-sports platform, GBarena, buys Tunisia’s Galactech, for $15m

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Egyptian e-sport startup, GBarena, has acquired the Tunisia-based online tech platform, Galactech, in a swap deal worth $15 million.

GBarena which is the leading Middle Eastern e-sports platform, gounded in 2016 by Mustafa Zaza and Bishoy Mesdary, in its bid to create an online gaming community the connects gamers with tournament organisers and customers, said in a statement on Friday that its quest to provide its customers with a platform where they can manage their tournaments through fully automated processes informed its decision to acquire the Tunisian firm.

Galactech, founded in 2019 by Houcem Maiza and Houssem Zouaghi, has over 200,000 active users and with the acquisition,will support GBArena’s plans to expand into the GCC, including Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Tunisia, and the Middle Eastern esports industry.

The acquisition marks a milestone transaction for GBarena in anticipation of closing its Series A later this year, with participation from investors in the US, Singapore and the MENA region.

“Our goal has always been to provide our users with an unparalleled e-sports experience, no matter where they’re located in the world. With our acquisition of Galactech, we can now ensure that our users from North Africa will have access to identical features and content they have come to expect from us while providing them with extensive opportunities for growth and development within the esports community,” CEO Samer Wagdy said.

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