Planning a wedding or organizing a sightseeing trip with friends and family in Africa required the organizer to juggle smartphone apps to make plans until recently.
An app like WhatsApp would be needed for notifications and logistics, while crowdfunding activities could be done on a money platform like M-Pesa and rides to multiple sites might be organized through a ride-sharing app like Uber or Bolt.
All of these operations are now being integrated on African super apps, which seamlessly incorporate pay, mobility, commerce and communications services on one platform, according to a recent report spanning the Middle East and Africa.
According to a MasterCard and Economist impact assessment, a growing youthful, digitally savvy population, together with substantial investment in fintech and other innovative technologies, provides fertile ground for the creation of super applications.
“Africa has a young, digitally literate populace that is hungry for new technology and creativity. This dynamism can be seen all around the region, particularly in the introduction of super applications, according to the report.
“From virtual bazaar to one-stop-shop: The Emergence of Super Apps in Africa and the Middle East,” according to the paper, the continent already has at least five super apps in the works, with the potential for many more in the future.
Halan is an Egyptian fintech startup that began by offering users the option of the buy-now-pay-later financial services and has subsequently expanded to include microfinance, ride-hailing, and food delivery.
SafeBoda, a Ugandan ride-hailing company, has recently extended into super app territory, similar to its North African contemporaries, while Nigeria’s Gokada, a courier business, has begun allowing its users to mail packages, buy food, and hail cabs all on one platform.
MTN Group, a South African telecoms company, has bundled instant messaging with m-commerce trades executed via mobile phones, as well as entertainment, in its Ayoba super app.
According to the survey, Africa is following in China’s footsteps by utilizing low-end handsets to increase the penetration of super applications.
“The widespread availability of low-cost smartphones has encouraged many people to abandon desktop technology in favor of mobile apps… According to the report, “super applications provide a natural solution for preserving valuable storage and broadband.”
According to the survey, low-cost smartphones accounted for 85 percent of all handsets delivered into Africa in the first quarter of 2021.
Smartphone shipments into Africa increased 13.2 percent year over year in Q2 2021, according to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) quarterly Global Mobile Phone Tracker, released in August.
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