A global village! That is what we all say the world has become. Could it be because everything that happens around the world is seen by everyone else in a matter of seconds? Or is it the relative ease at which many of life’s activities are now fulfilled by a few touches on a glass screen? The debate may never end but one thing is for sure; Mankind has benefited greatly from innovation and improvement in technology of Mobile Applications.
From the good old days of monochronic mobile devices to the more recent times of sophisticated smartphones, the mobile phone industry has seen a great transformation. Many of these smartphones are accompanied by ‘’special’’ tools called apps which are widely used across Europe, Asia and America. However, in the past few years, Africa has seen a revolution in the use of smartphones and mobile apps. Many of the apps that were previously only useful outside Africa have now gained prominence in the continent. How they became very useful in a very short period of time is a subject for another day. Simmyideas Tech Hub, Lagos based digital marketing company examines some of the top 5 mobile applications that changed Africa.
- Facebook – Maybe the most popular Mobile Applications of the 21st century, facebook has changed the continent is so many amazing ways. From being a simple platform where people connect and reconnect with their friends to becoming an important marketing avenue, the benefits are there for all to see. How else could an African artisan about 23 million miles away get his products and services seen by billions around the world? How would a small scale African dressmaker get that business mogul in New York to see her beautifully designed clothing? Facebook has changed the way Africans connect, network and do business. According to Forbes, facebook has grown it’s African user base to 170 million, 94% of whom use mobile to access the social network. Seven out of 10 internet users in Africa now log onto Facebook. This is incredible to say the least. If you are not on facebook, where are you?
- Google maps – Have you ever been lost trying to find your way to a job interview, wedding or business meeting? Showing up late because you just couldn’t find your way there can be very frustrating especially if you missed that interview, couldn’t catch the couple’s first kiss or even lost that business opportunity. In the past, this was very rampant in Africa especially with the uncomfortable yet irritating traffic situation in many parts of the continent. Along came the ‘’saviour’’ called google maps. This application simplified travel and made it easy to access almost every location in a matter of minutes. Drawing direct routes and indicating the fastest means to arrive at those destinations is just what Africa needed. Although many have argued that some coordinates are not accurate, google maps will almost always lead you to your destination or a few meters closer. It is no surprise that 57% of app users around the world use google maps.
- Jumia – When you think of purchasing a mobile device online in Africa, it is almost impossible not to think about Jumia. Being Africa’s number one online retailer is just an indication of how useful Jumia is all across the continent. Mobile devices are the best selling items on this dynamic ecommerce platform and it is for this reason that Jumia has the best prices for mobile devices on the continent. With some of the top brands in the mobile industry listed on Jumia, you will struggle not to find your preferred mobile device there. With the availability, diversity , affordability and quality, Africans now have a quick convenient and easy way to purchase their mobile devices. Previously, you may have had to walk several kilometres or travel quite a distance to access a mobile phone shop. Even when you finally do, the options may be limited and the price may be too high coupled with the uncertainty of it’s quality.With Jumia, you can now order for any item with a click of a button, pay for it, and have it delivered at your doorstep. With the influx of many low quality mobile devices in Africa, Jumia has revolutionized the mobile industry by assuring customers of quality, affordability and unlimited options. If you are in need of a new mobile device, then you need to download the Jumia app and watchout for the #JumiaMobileWeek which is a week long sales campaign where quality mobile phones from so many brands are sold at amazingly low prices. Everything you ever needed in a mobile device at the exact price you budgeted for. You cannot miss the biggest mobile sale of the year from March 19 to 25.
- Uber – Some years ago, vehicles were scarce in this part of the world. Only the rich and affluent could afford to buy them or even take public transport from one place to the other. Along the line came commercial and private taxis. These offered a bit more comfort and flexibility for it’s passengers because it didn’t have to do many stops and could go through the passengers preferred route. With the emergence of this transport mobile application, movement has become more relaxing, simplified and affordable. Just by putting in your location and destination, you can locate a driver who will pick you up and take you there safely. Professionalism is the hallmark of the uber service and Africa has benefited greatly from this. The comfort of being picked and dropped off safely is something that has helped many business executives become more efficient. WOrthy of mention also is the price factor. With a remarkable cost system, uber gives your more for less. The normal prices paid for trips to certain locations when using normal taxis are often higher than trips using uber. The affordability and convenience makes uber a unique yet beneficial addition to the app world. With over 1.8 million active users in Africa, this app has changed the way many Africans travel over short distances.
- Whatsapp – By far the most downloaded Mobile Applications of all time, whatsapp messenger is now the most used medium of chat communication in Africa. With the introduction of whatsapp voice and video calls, Africans now have variable means of communication. When mobile networks are down, whatsapp can be very useful over wireless internet connections. This application allows for file transfers, live status updates and group connections. Africans are noted for their desire to be united and undertake group activities. Whatsapp has contributed greatly to the attainment of this goal. Schools, churches, organizations and friend groups now connect on whatsapp through the group chats. Information and news updates are shared and received in a matter of seconds. Others who want to advertise also use the status updates, broadcast lists and group chat options to showcase their products and services to many other contacts. It is the most popular messaging up and is present in over 109 countries around the world. Nearly almost every African country uses whatsapp. South Africa leads the way as the African country with most whatsapp users with 49% of the population using this application. Since Jan. 2017, internet penetration in Africa has gone up by more than 20%, reaching more than 73 million more people. The continent also experienced the fastest growth rates globally and whatsapp has been one of the leading contributors.
Mobile applications are great and their importance to this wonderful continent called Africa cannot be overemphasized. These Mobile Applications however run on mobile devices called smartphones and a time is coming when they will become a prerequisite for sustainable social and business life in Africa. The future of smartphones in Africa is so bright because as the days go by, more updates are emerging together with some fantastic innovations. Africa is on the rise!