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South African mobile operators announce new services to combat fraud

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South African mobile operators have unveiled new Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) services that will help checkmate and combat internet fraud in the country.

The move which is part of the global GSMA Open Gateway initiative will enable the operators to implement world-class Number Verification and SIM Swap, and will be available to all mobile commerce and financial institutions and developers to create new services to combat digital fraud and protect South Africa’s 47 million mobile subscribers.

Angela Wamola, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa of the GSMA, who announced the unveiling of the services, said it was in response to a series of complaints of digital banking fraud which saw a 24% surge in reported cases in 2022.

Banking fraud is a growing threat in South Africa, and mobile network operators are strategically placed to work with developers to help banks, financial institutions and commerce providers mitigate the risk and protect their customers,” she said.

“The availability of the two APIs to South African operators will equip enterprises with additional means of verifying that their customers are who they say they are and protecting them against identity theft, all while maintaining the user experience – and the GSMA’s.

“The new APIs ensure 100% privacy and will have important applications in sectors including banking, finance, insurance, and retail.”

Quoting a report published last year by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC), Wamola said the rise in banking fraud resulted in cyber criminals stealing over R740 million from unsuspecting victims, which was primarily attributed to the growing number of fraud cases related to banking applications and online banking.

“Given the alarming surge in digital banking fraud in South Africa, standardizing APIs by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) presents a promising avenue for mitigating such threats.

“They are also able to implement robust fraud detection and prevention mechanisms, bolstering overall resilience of digital banking systems against cyber threats,” Wamola emphasized.

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MTN, Vodacom remain South Africa’s most valuable brands— Report

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A report released on Tuesday by global brand valuation consultancy, Brand Finance, has rated telecom giants, MTN and Vodacom, as the most valuable brands in South Africa.

According to the report, MTN is still the standout company, maintaining its position as the most valuable South African brand, despite experiencing an 8% decrease in brand value to ZAR68.2 billion.

Part of the report noted that the telecommunications company has significantly “expanded outside of its home market and has a stronghold in Nigeria, which is now MTN’s largest market in terms of both user base and revenue.”

“On the other hand, Vodacom’s brand value increased 10% to ZAR43.9 billion in 2024,” it said.

“This secures its second place in the ranking, while also narrowing the gap with leading competitor MTN.”

The Brand Finance research indicates that the influence of majority shareholder Vodafone has bolstered Vodacom’s brand and market standing.

Although Vodacom operates autonomously and is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Brand Finance data reveals that Vodacom’s association with Vodafone enhances brand equity, cultivating recognition and trust.

“Amid the myriad of challenges that South African businesses are facing, our research highlights that now, more than ever, brand consistency is crucial in driving growth,” the report endorsed by Jeremy Sampson, Chairman, Brand Finance Africa, stated.

“For the past fifteen years, MTN and Vodacom have consistently maintained their positions as the top two most valuable brands and six of the top ten brands have stayed in the top ten.

“Leading brands like MTN, Vodacom, Standard Bank, and Absa have also nearly doubled their brand values since 2016.

“Time and time again, our findings underscore the critical need to prioritise brand investment as a strategic imperative, safeguarding companies’ brand as a valuable asset for the future,” it added.

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Nigerian healthtech startup Remedial Health launches app with digital POS, barcode scanner

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Nigerian healthcare startup, Remedial Health, has announced the launching of a new app with digital point of sales (POS) and barcode for neighbourhood pharmacies and Proprietary Patent Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) across Africa.

Co-founder and CEO of Remedial Health, Samuel Okwuada, who disclosed this in a statement, said the new “app comes with a digital POS terminal to support payment collection, virtual business accounts to receive payments.”

“It also has an in-built barcode scanner feature for recording product sales and store-switch functionality to enable the seamless management of multiple stores, as well as inventory management solutions for restocking and easily identifying short-dated products.”

Okwuada added that the app also offers comprehensive financial reporting to manage profit and loss, and data analytics to inform decision making.

“Neighbourhood pharmacies and PPMVs represent the frontline of healthcare delivery in Africa but they have historically been left to their own devices to figure out how to be efficient and profitable,” he said.

“Our mission is to empower these essential service providers with the tools they need to manage day-to-day operations and seamlessly run their practices effectively.

“We spent a lot of time interacting with our customers in the process of delivering this product and the feedback has been great.

“We are excited by the opportunity to get the app into the hands of pharmacies and PPMVs across the country to support their ongoing success, as well as the health and wellbeing of the nation.

“Our customers can also access same-day delivery and leverage inventory financing to minimise cash-flow friction for routine orders and maximise sales opportunities.”

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