Connect with us


The Importance of GDPR Compliance for Nigerian Businesses



By Adebayo Sanni

The deadline for compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come and gone.


And while it happened without too much fanfare in Nigeria, companies that think they can ignore the legislation and maintain a business as usual approach are in for a rude awakening.


Any organisation (irrespective its size, industry or geographic location) that has dealings with a company or people inside the European Union (EU) must adhere to it.


Those not willing to do so, face fines of either 20 million euros or four percent of their global revenue.


Already, the past few weeks have seen a notable increase in emails from subscription lists mentioning data privacy and how the personal information of subscribers are stored and kept safe.


For cloud providers that have customers around the world, this is a significant piece of regulation. However, even a small start-up in downtown Lagos that provides a service to a person living in France must be compliant.


While a lot of focus is currently on companies inside the EU, it will only be a matter of time before ‘outside’ businesses and services are reviewed and audited.


Of course, the cloud provides many benefits to organisations that are required to be GDPR-compliant.


Not only does it provide a more secure platform, but the environment is robust and continuously updated to reflect the latest technology innovations.


This results in a smoother migration path when it comes to data security and management with GDPR in mind.

Changing behaviour

At 68 pages with 99 separate areas of focus, it is hardly surprising that many feel intimidated by the GDPR. For those providing cloud or ‘as-a-service’ solutions, there are four key requirements to consider – data security; rights of individuals; documentation and security audits; and data breach notifications.


But even before one can delve into the technical aspects of compliancy, the reality is that many Nigerian businesses need to change the way they view and use data. Certainly, the situation is not unique to the country with many others struggling to adapt to a new way of capturing, storing, using, and sharing data.


It all starts with consent and whether the user agrees to the kind of data being stored about them and what it will be used for.


This forces a re-think in the way data is collected. Companies should carefully review whether the information they collect about their customers are necessary and, if it is, how securely is it stored and protected from external systems.


The days of blindly sharing customer data and insights with third parties are a thing of the past. An important aspect of this is to make sure the language used in data collection policies is written in a way that the layperson can understand. So, no more hiding behind legalese or difficult to follow technical concepts.


Already, there is a groundswell of support to the mantra ‘your data, your property.’ Nigerian businesses must ensure they keep this in mind.


This is also where the critically important ‘right to forget’ component of GDPR comes in. A consumer can delete his or her profile at a business with the personal information needing to be wiped clear. Just consider the impact this will have on social networks.


Local guidance

Fortunately, Nigeria has the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill for companies to fall back on. Even though it is still awaiting presidential assent, the bill does provide organisations with guidance on data handling, collection, and use in the country.


Furthermore, compliance is not something that is done once and forgotten. Instead, decision-makers need to continually review and assess their data management strategies and policies. The GDPR is an ongoing concern that requires an integrated approach to data.


Fundamentally, local companies do not have the luxury of using disparate databases and systems any longer. They must all be integrated, with the data securely stored every step of the process.


Even though the deadline of 25 May is long forgotten, companies must review and assess their policies to ensure they do not fall foul of regulators. The cost of not doing so is too severe to ignore.


Adebayo Sanni is MD of Oracle Nigeria

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

Continue Reading


Bharti Airtel, Western Union, Partner on Real-time Bank Transfers to India, African Mobile Wallets



Western Union has teamed up with Bharti Airtel Ltd. to allow customers to send real-time payments directly to bank accounts in India as well as real-time fund transfers to mobile wallets in 14 African countries.

Users may transfer funds via Western Union to millions of accounts at Airtel Payments Bank, the banking subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, or direct funds through Airtel Africa, which has 15 million mobile wallet customers across the continent.

“The future of money transfer is about customer choice — allowing them to move money whenever, however and wherever they want,” Hikmet Ersek, president of Western Union, told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, according to a company release.

“Our platform cuts through the complexities of cross-border money movement and payments so millions of customers can access their funds in real time in a manner that suits their local infrastructure and preferences.”

Continue Reading


Jumia Looks to Services, Platforms to Halt Slide



Jumia Technologies, which last year became Africa’s first tech firm to list in New York, will focus on proving it can turn a profit after a bruising 2019, one of its co-founders told Reuters.

Jeremy Hodara said the company aims to capitalise on its payment platform and infrastructure network and to boost revenue from services for third-party sellers on its online marketplace.

“We’re going to be extremely disciplined and very focused on our path to profitability,” Hodara told Reuters at the company’s office in Lagos.

Jumia, which hit a peak value of close to $4 billion, has seen its shares fall by nearly 70% since its IPO last April.

They tumbled after short-seller Citron Research cast doubt on its sales figures, which dealt a major blow to investor confidence.

Late last year, it shut its e-commerce service in Cameroon and Tanzania and halted food delivery in Rwanda. Hodara declined to say whether more markets could face the axe.

Its third-quarter adjusted EBITDA loss widened to 45 million euros, up nearly 27% from a year earlier, and as it burned through cash, analysts warned that raising more could be a challenge.

“Clearly it’s a bit uphill, but I think in the end if investors believe they’re going to make money on the story, they’re going to buy into it,” said Sarah Simon, senior analyst at Berenberg. “But they have to prove themselves.”

Hodara declined to comment on whether Jumia planned to seek more outside cash, but said that as the business scaled up, costs would come down. Improvements to its algorithms were also helping, he said.

JumiaPay, the company’s online payment platform, is a key part of the growth plan, Hodara said. The company is interested in making it and its logistics network available to third-parties, even those not selling on its e-commerce platform.

Jumia has tested this on a small scale, but said widespread access – where, for example, an individual could drop a package at a Jumia hub in Lagos and have it delivered to a friend in Nairobi – could come eventually.

“We have a very significant footprint of physical locations across the continent where we can inject packages and parcels and distribute it. That’s unique,” Hodara said.

Continue Reading


Konga Has Grown 8 Times Over, Prince Ekeh Tells CNN



Konga, Nigeria’s foremost e-commerce giant, has made significant strides which have positioned it as the clear leader in Nigeria’s highly competitive e-commerce market. The foregoing was disclosed by Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, co-chief executive officer of Konga, in a chat with Cable News Network (CNN), global news medium, last week.

Konga Has Grown 8 Times Over, Prince Ekeh Tells CNN

Prince Ekeh was speaking to CNN Marketplace Africa on the sidelines of the first Creative Africa Exchange weekend held in Kigali, Rwanda from the 16th-18th January 2020.

The Konga CEO was one of the speakers at the event which brought together over 1500 participants from 68 countries and over 250 exhibitors.

He disclosed that Konga’s omni-channel structure which sees it taking a percentage of the retail outlay in the online (formal) and offline (informal sector), self-owned tech-driven  logistics solution, Kxpress through which it handles deliveries to customers as well as external parties, state-of-the-art regional warehousing facilities which enables it retain inventory in diverse states and locations in Nigeria as well as sound knowledge of the Nigerian business terrain are factors that have placed the company in front.

‘‘Konga is best positioned as the leader in the Nigerian e-commerce market. We are not just an e-commerce company but we run an omni-channel model with over 30 physical stores spread across Nigeria. So, we are closest to the people. Also, we are seeing huge growth in the business and in our customer base. Between last year and this year, the business grew by almost eight times,’’ he enthused.

Equally important, the Harvard alumnus based the foregoing on Konga’s strategic business ideals. Prince Ekeh affirms that the company is run efficiently and with transparency and integrity.

‘‘The key is growing your revenue while being able to manage your costs. That is the only way for sustainable growth. In the last year, we have been able to grow revenue by eight times but we have also been able to reduce our costs by 65%. That is quite huge.’’

Sharing his thoughts on how Konga is creatively resolving the challenge of logistics which has hobbled other players in the market, Prince Ekeh noted that the company had relied on its deep understanding of the Nigerian terrain – a factor which he emphasized has distinguished Konga in the marketplace.

‘‘The starting point for us was identifying the problem. There is a huge problem in Nigeria where the informal market is so huge, so massive; in fact, almost 98% of the market. This means that people don’t have access to quality products; they don’t have access to quality after-sales services.

‘‘So, we identified this problem when we came into the market. What we hold ourselves on is integrity and making sure that we are supplying quality products and as quickly as possible. We had to look internally and invest in a logistics platform for ourselves. So, we built a logistics platform working with franchisees in local areas. If you understand the dynamics of local villages in Nigeria, most people know each other. As long as we had the name and the phone number of the person who requires the product, someone in the local village knows that person. So we partnered with local people and empowered them to deliver to the last mile for us.

‘‘Today, we have built Kxpress, our logistics platform, to the point where we are not only delivering for Konga but for other partners. That’s where you begin to add value because not only Konga has that problem. A lot of people have the same problem. People who sell on social media have that problem too. So, we are building a platform not just for ourselves but for the entire industry. With that, we are able to scale much quicker.’’

Quizzed by the CNN’s Eleni Giokos on Konga’s expansion plans, Prince Ekeh disclosed that the goal is to dominate Nigeria, which the company has all but achieved, before expanding to other African countries.

‘‘Nigeria is one of the largest markets in Africa. We are looking at consolidating in Nigeria and ensuring our customers get the best services and then rolling out across Africa. If you are able to scale to the point where you can solve a lot of the problems in Nigeria, it makes it easy to take on other markets outside Nigeria. Definitely, Nigeria is the focus for now. That’s where we started and that’s where we hope to scale and once that is done, we can begin to expand to other African markets.’’

Continuing, he stated: ‘‘We have a lot of things going on. We are also adding a lot of business units. We recently launched our travel business in February 2019 and also have a Central Bank of Nigeria-licensed mobile money platform called KongaPay. We also have KXpress, our logistics business. We are a platform and as a consumer, we want to connect you to all these different services we provide. We also plan to roll out a lot more services so that our customers stay within that platform as we continue to grow the customer base.’’

Incidentally, there has been a lot of talk about foreign players such as Amazon and Ali Baba eyeing a share of the potentially money-spinning Nigerian e-commerce market. However, Prince Ekeh welcomed the development, even as he held that no one understands the Nigerian market better than Konga.

‘‘I love the competition because the market is huge. Competition is good. It keeps you on your toes. I mean, Nigeria has over 200 million people and the informal market is still like 98%. That means, all the big players in the market are only sharing just like 2% of the potential of the industry. As the formal market grows, we also see the pie growing which means more revenue for all of us. I think the market can still accommodate more players.

‘‘I should know my market better than anyone else. The funny thing is, when the foreign players come into the market, they face exactly the same problems. They face the crazy Lagos traffic; they face the bad roads and bad infrastructure. So, we all have to face the same problems; which we have experienced all our lives, so it’s a bit easier to adapt and just like what we did with the logistics problems, it’s easier for us to find those innovative solutions,’’ he disclosed.

On how Konga is adding value and transforming lives, Ekeh took pride in giving others an opportunity like the one he was privileged to have.

‘‘Luckily, I was privileged to go to school abroad. I returned and I had access to funds. What keeps me up is how do I provide the same opportunity to people under me. In a way, I am doing that with Konga. I will give you an example. We have a seller that started off selling on our platform. She had a small shop in Balogun Market in Nigeria, which is a huge market, but like with very tiny shops. So, she was struggling at that point in time. She started selling on our platform and today, she has about 13 stores and her children now school outside the country. That’s huge and all we have done is just provide her a platform to sell her products. She has access to the whole of Nigeria.’’

Ekeh, who stated that Konga is a technology company, described Africa as the new frontier of prosperity in the 21st Century, even as he threw some light on the trends shaping commerce in the current age.

‘‘I think Africa has so much opportunities. It was Jack Ma who once said that Africa has the potential to become the next China but what we need is great minds to come in to the continent and invest in businesses and look for innovative ways to solve African problems.

‘‘When you look at Africa, we tend to skip trends. Africa skipped the Personal Computer trend and went straight to mobile. So, I feel like Africa might skip the e-commerce trend and go to social commerce. We see a lot of people buying products from Instagram, from Facebook, from various social platforms. And at Konga, our goal is not only to be an e-commerce platform. Our goal is to be an engine for commerce and trade in Africa. As much as our focus is e-commerce with physical stores, we are also venturing into social commerce. Anywhere we find our consumer, we try to play in that space as much as possible,’’ he concluded.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2017 Communication Week Media Limited.