[South Africa] Gauteng Taxis to go Cashless

Digital payments of minibus taxi fares are set to be rolled out to the industry across Gauteng. The card-based project, which is backed by the Gauteng provincial government and headed up by TaxiChoice Association, will be introduced to the Johannesburg, Pretoria and Mabopane route.

The new method of collection will involve commuters using what looks like a regular bank card or quick response (QR) code to pay for their taxi fare.

Jotham Msibi, TaxiChoice Association’s executive chairman, said that the project is planned to allow for better control of cash in the taxi industry.

“The initiative is compliant with payment regulations and is a level-four banking standard, operating on the same platform that banks are using,” he said.

“This system is making use of a very high technology system and the same system can be used for buses and trains, to make public transport efficient, reliable and safe,” Msibi added.

Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi said that the initiative was a smaller part in the greater goal of public transport commuters being able to use one card for all forms of transport.

“The standard that must be striven for is ‘one province — one ticket’ in line with the national electronic fare collection regulations,” he added. “We want there to be one electronic card with no problems. This is a disruptive technology that needs to be used to our advantage but we must take our time,” Vadi said.
He said the initiative also intends to make taxi transportation safer for commuters.

“Now that the driver does not need to collect and count taxi fares he can be focused on driving,” he said.

The taxi digital fare collection system is owned and being implemented by FairPay.

TaxiChoice, which is the commercial arm of the South African National Taxi Council, or Santaco, is currently the sole shareholder in FairPay, with Curve Group Holdings as the technology partner.

“We believe in connecting people to opportunity and this project represents a leap ahead for the South African taxi industry. Through the use of digital technology, we can assist millions of hard-working people to be more connected, more informed and lead better lives,” adds Fred Baumhardt, CEO of Curve Group.

The first phase — the Johannesburg, Pretoria, Mabopane route — is set to be rolled out in February 2017, whereby commuters will be able to load their FairPay cards via point-of-sale devices and via kiosks at taxi ranks.

These services are also planned to be available in selected retail stores.

Vodacom Launches New Digital Payment Service

Vodacom customers can now buy airtime, data bundles and SMS bundles through the My Vodacom mobile application using Masterpass, the global digital payment service from MasterCard. To make a purchase, customers simply load their payment card information into the secure app, select “pay with Masterpass”, and enter in their bank PIN to complete the purchase.

The Masterpass vision is to support all forms of commerce in order to address the widest range of merchant experiences and consumer needs. Masterpass speeds up and simplifies the buying process as payment card information – including card details from both MasterCard and other payment networks – is only captured once, meaning that consumers do not have the repeated hassle of entering these details each time they want to complete a transaction. This checkout process creates a seamless purchase experience, supported by the highest levels of security.

“Consumers want to shop and pay in a way that suits their lifestyle. Whether it’s in-store, online or on-the-go, the payment experience needs to be simple and fast, while being safe and secure. This is the first Masterpass in-app feature to go live in South Africa, enabling consumers to make everyday payments like airtime top-up without having to leave the app,” says Mark Elliott, Division President, MasterCard, South Africa.

Masterpass currently supports Vodacom’s Express Recharge, a USSD (SMS-based) platform that enables customers to buy airtime and data using their debit, cheque or credit cards via their mobile phones.

“At Vodacom, we’re always looking for innovative ways to improve our customer experience. Integrating Masterpass into My Vodacom is part of the payments innovation journey Vodacom is driving to make in-app commerce as safe, easy and convenient as possible,” says Steve Briggs, Executive Head of Digital Product and Operations at Vodacom. “With so many of our customers now using smartphones, it makes enormous sense to make it as easy for them to pay for airtime as it is to check their social media feeds.”

Another key benefit of Masterpass is that it uses multiple layers of security, ensuring the users personal and payments details are protected. Unlike other solutions, each Masterpass transaction classified as an Authenticated Mobile Transaction by South African banks, ensuring that consumers enjoy the highest protection from fraudsters.

Currently Vodacom customers can access Masterpass in-app payments on Android devices through the My Vodacom app.

Source: Itnewsafrica

More African Countries to Automate IP Registration

Following a successful trial in Kenya, Microsoft is handing over the source code for an online intellectual property (IP) registration system to IP authorities across Africa, including the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO).

The system was first developed and tested by Microsoft 4Afrika, through their IP Hub initiative, and KECOBO in June last year. The ready-to-scale and proven model will now be shared with authorities in 18 countries across Africa, in collaboration with COMESA, to support their commitments towards IP protection.
“The system that KECOBO was privileged to pilot worked well during the trial. KECOBO saw over a 100% jump in registrations in the June – October period when the system was running,” says Edward Kipsigei, CEO of KECOBO. “As a result of the test, KECOBO will shortly commission a fully online registration system based on the prototype. My office highly recommends the adoption of the system by those states that will benefit from the source code. At KECOBO we remain ready to share our experiences with other IP offices.”

The online registration system replaces the traditional manual process of submitting paper-based forms, making the registration of IP fast, accessible and more efficient. The countries within COMESA whose IP authorities will receive the source code from Microsoft include: Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“This is good news to our region given that all our member states are covered,” COMESA Secretary General Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya said. “Specifically, it will bolster our science, technology and innovation programme to further the COMESA regional integration agenda.”

“Every country in Africa is committed to accelerating its economic growth and becoming globally competitive. Because we live in the information age, a critical aspect of achieving this is the monetisation of IP,” says Louis Otieno, Corporate Affairs Director of Microsoft 4Afrika. “We created the online registration system as a way to jump-start this process and help close the structural gap. To now ensure its sustainability, we look forward to seeing local IP authorities own the process and the technology, which will only require minor customizations on our end.”

IP protection, including patents, trademarks and copyrights, are essential for small businesses to get ahead of their competitors, generate investment and ultimately bring their ideas to market. However, many innovations in Africa do not come to fruition due to of lack of knowledge about, and red tape around, registering IP.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), resident applications for patents in various African countries are still low. In 2014, there were 752 patent applications in Egypt, 132 in Kenya, 14 in Zambia and only 5 in Rwanda, compared to over 280,000 in the U.S. and 19,000 in the United Kingdom. At the same time the registration of copyright in many African states has not taken off and this data is not taken into account in economic surveys.

“When the registration process becomes more accessible, fast and reliable, it also becomes more attractive. With the online system, we hope to see the number of copyright and other IP applications rise in the coming years,” adds Louis.

Source: Itnewsafrica

SA backs open-access Internet plan

South Africa’s cabinet approved a policy proposal backing “open and shared networks” in its attempt to provide all citizens with better access to Internet services by 2030.
The policy is intended to increase competition between providers by allowing access to telecommunications infrastructure, government communications said by e-mail on behalf of the department of telecommunications & postal services.

“This new regime necessitates a revised licensing framework to accommodate more players and open up the market for more competition,” the department said.
“The new policy environment of open and shared networks will enable competition to be focused at the service level, enabling multiple service providers to provide high quality and innovative products and services to South Africans at affordable rates.”

South Africa’s government allocated R2,5bn to roll out broadband networks across the country over the next three years, telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele said last month.
Providers such as Telkom, MTN and Vodacom should collaborate on rolling out infrastructure, he said.

Vodacom and MTN have spent billions of rand to build South Africa’s largest networks and gain a competitive advantage over rivals in the past 20 years. A policy of open access may mean them sharing this infrastructure with other carriers.

Vodacom is reviewing the paper, spokesman Byron Kennedy said by text message. MTN spokeswoman Bridget Bhengu didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Radio frequencies will also be subject to open access, according to the policy. Previously mobile spectrum has been assigned to individual carriers that pay for exclusive rights to use it.

“The new spectrum management regime set out in this policy encourages that licensees work together as far as it is practicable,” the policy said.
SOURCE: Techcentral