News/ Current Affairs

Ethiopia rejects locally developed Covid-19 tracking app, other African countries bought it

A mobile application which will collect locations of individuals infected with Covid-19 and with whom they may have been in contact with named Covid19 Ethiopia developed by the local taxi hailing service company called Zay Ride is rejected by three Ethiopian ministeal offices while two other African countries bought it, the company’s CEO Habtamu Tadesse expressed disappointedly on his LinkedIn page.

COVID-19 apps are mobile software applications designed to aid contact tracing in response to the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic, i.e. the process of identifying persons (“contacts”) who may have been in contact with an infected individual.

Habtamu Tadesse, CEO, Zay Ride

Numerous applications were developed or proposed, with official government support some territories and jurisdictions. Several frameworks for building contact tracing apps have been developed. Privacy concerns have been raised, especially about systems that are based on tracking the geographical location of app users.

Less intrusive alternatives include the use of Bluetooth signals to log a user’s proximity to other cellphones. On 10 April 2020, Google and Apple jointly announced that they would integrate functionality to support such Bluetooth-based apps directly into their Android and iOS operating systems.

In China, the Chinese government, in conjunction with Alipay, has deployed an app that allows citizens to check if they have been in contact with people that have COVID-19. It is in use across more than 200 Chinese cities.

In Singapore, an app called TraceTogether is being used. Additionally an open source digital contact tracing protocol, BlueTrace, was developed.

The Czech Republic has launched a Singapore-inspired tracing app called eRouška (eFacemask). The app was developed by local IT community, released as open source and will be handed over to the government.

North Macedonia launched “StopKorona!”, a Bluetooth-based app to trace exposure with potentially infected persons and provide a fast response to healthcare authorities. The app was developed and donated by a Macedonian IT company.

Ghana launched “GH Covid-19 Tracker App”, an Android and IOS app equipped with location tracking technology to provide detailed information about people who have been at the same event, location, country or other defined locations in order to provide accurate information to health authorities overtime to know who to screen and provide needed assistance. The app was developed by the Ministry of Communication and Technology and Ministry of Health. As of 14 April 2020, the app was awaiting approval by the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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