A 24-year-old Ugandan; Brian Gitta, software engineer has won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, and becomes the first Ugandan to win the prestigious Africa Prize, and the youngest winner to date.
A 24-year-old Ugandan; Brian Gitta, software engineer has won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, and becomes the first Ugandan to win the prestigious Africa Prize, and the youngest winner to date.

The year it was 2018. We tired to do our best to cover all the breathing bit of tech news around Africa and the world at large, but couldn’t exhaust it all. With thousands of the news we reported throughout the year, our editor picked out 12, one each month that we thought stood up for us.

We thank you all for your continued support to reading our content, and we can do it this year as well.

Here are some of the stories that stood up in each month.

January: NITA-U addresses issues on the NBI – missing links project procurement process
The National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) came out to clarify that the recent media reports that allude to impropriety in the Missing Links bidding process are false and unsubstantiated.

Whilst ill-fated, the originators of the false news around the National Backbone Infrastructure, Missing Links Project, noticeably intent on downplaying Uganda’s progress in achieving widespread connectivity and significantly lowered internet bandwidth costs to Ugandan individuals and organizations over the last ten years (goo.gl/JFh63e).

Honorable mention: Facebook warned its users that it could offer no assurance that social media was on balance good for democracy (goo.gl/TCr7zi).

February: SpaceX successfully launched its first test satellites
SpaceX successfully launched and deployed its first two test satellites for Starlink Broadband Project, the rocket company’s own constellation of thousands of communications satellites that aims to provide worldwide broadband internet access by 2024.

If the project is successful, people around the world would get internet that’s about 40 times as fast as current satellite internet providers, even in very remote and rural areas (goo.gl/1c2kEp).

The latest SpaceX mission successfully deployed two test satellites for an upcoming communications network that could allow fiber optic-like internet connection anywhere in the world(Credit: SpaceX)

March: Facebook apologizes – Cambridge Analytica scandal
Facebook took out full-page ads in US and UK newspapers in recent days for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to issue an apology to its users following the company’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook was also forced to issue a statement defending its data-collection practices, following reports that users trying to delete their accounts were caught unaware of the amount of data the social network had on them (goo.gl/CRNSBS).

April: AgroCenta awarded 2017 seedstar global prize
Seedstars World, the biggest startup competition focused only in emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes crowned Ghana-based startup Agrocenta which is tackling food access and stock flow issues across Ghana communities, as Seedstars Global Winner 2017 winning up to USD$500,000 in equity investment and some unique growth opportunities (goo.gl/5JiCFe).

AgroCenta from Ghana was declared the overall winners of the 2017 Seedstar summit in Lausanne, Switzerland on 12th Thursday, April 2018. (Photo Credit: Seedstars Global)
AgroCenta from Ghana was declared the overall winners of the 2017 Seedstar summit in Lausanne, Switzerland on 12th Thursday, April 2018. (Photo Credit: Seedstars Global)

May: Fuzu launches in Uganda
Fuzu Limited; an online career development and talent management platform was set to launched in Uganda with an aim to satisfy the need for new innovative solutions that are focused on the job seeker, who they are, where their potential lies and how best their talent can be matched with the employment opportunities (goo.gl/mp52z3).

Edward Vaisberg - FUZU Chief Operating Officer takes a brief interview during the launch of its platform in Uganda on Thursday 17th, May 2018.
Edward Vaisberg – FUZU Chief Operating Officer takes a brief interview during the launch of its platform in Uganda on Thursday 17th, May 2018.

June: VeriSign reported 333.8 million domain names on the internet
U.S-based Internet and Communication company; VeriSign Inc. announced that Q1 of 2018 saw approximately increase of 1.4 million (0.4% over Q4 2017) domain names registered, taking their total number to approximately 333.8 million across all top-level domains (TLDs) with .com (133.9 million) and .net (14.4 million) TLDs having a combined total of approximately 148.3 million domain name registrations (goo.gl/aT2xEe).

Honorable Mention: Team Lead and Founder of Matibabu; Brian Gitta won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation an initiative of Royal Academy of Engineering—becoming the first Ugandan to win the prestigious Africa Prize, and the youngest winner to date – following its previous events. (goo.gl/reYLGg)

July: Uganda’s online service index improves
Uganda’s online service index improved from 50% in 2016 to 57% in 2018 which puts the country in High Online Service Index bracket. The Index is a component of the eGovernment Development Index which is a composite indicator measuring the use of ICTs by Governments in delivering public services at the national level. It examines how digital technologies and innovations are impacting the public sector and changing people’s everyday lives (goo.gl/Y3UcGC).

Honorable Mention: China and the Ugandan government launched a USD$12 million satellite television (TV) project in the central Ugandan district of Wakiso to benefit over 500 villages (goo.gl/UTYJiD).

August: Huawei 2nd biggest smartphone maker globally
Huawei surpassed Apple in the second quarter to become the second-largest global smartphone vendor for the first time, Gartner confirmed. This comes after a month when IDC reported that Huawei had overtaken Apple to become the second largest smartphone maker by shipments.

Overall, sales of smartphones to end users grew 2 percent in the second quarter of 2018 to reach 374 million units, the market researcher said (goo.gl/HFH7AK).

Honorable Mention: Uganda’s government commissions the national electronic payment gateway implementation (goo.gl/VqahuW).

September: Uganda most secure cyberspace in Africa
Uganda was ranked as the most secure cyberspace in Africa by Global National Cyber Security Index. Previously 2nd in the 2017 ranking, the elevation to the number 1 spot was exciting news for the nation.

The National Cyber Security Index is a global index which measures the preparedness of countries to prevent cyber threats and manage cyber incidents (goo.gl/f63L9W).

Honorable Mention: Qualcomm accused Apple of stealing its secrets to help Intel (goo.gl/oXW7Gw).

October: Smarter cities for better life
31st October was celebrated as World Cities Day—an opportunity to raise awareness of the trends and consequences of increasing urbanization and the challenges and opportunities urbanization brings to sustainable development.

It was also a chance to promote best practices, new ideas and partnerships between cities and different stakeholders (goo.gl/R7ign2).

November: Uganda’s government phasing out traditional passports for East African e-Passports
Uganda’s government said effective January 15 2019, the country will start issuing digital passports for its citizens. The newly introduced passports will replace the tradition passports.

Mr. Ofwono Opondo, the Uganda Government spokesman told media that the transition to e-passports is in line with the January 15th, 2021 deadline set by the six-member East African community to phase out traditional passport books (goo.gl/v81YFj).

Electronic Passport for Kenya. (Photo Courtesy)

Honorable Mention: Telcos implement 0.5% levy on mobile money withdrawals (goo.gl/zmyZsa).

New national broadband policy stir controversy; industry rears nationalization (goo.gl/5vcZgw).

December: 51.2% of the global population using the Internet, end of 2018
The ITU, United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), estimated that at the end of 2018, 51.2% of the global population, or 3.9 billion people, would be using the Internet. This was according to a new study published by the organization (goo.gl/46Nh45).

Happy New Year – 2019.