Mobile phones are transforming African businesses

Posted on August 19, 2014 09:12 am

Africa is in the midst of a revolution where mobile phones are upstaging laptops and tablets to emerge as the device of choice for Internet connectivity. With the convenience and accessibility offered by mobile phones, Africans user experience is undergoing a dramatic change. Especially with its ease of use interface, mobile is almost ubiquitous in today’s Africa. To be precise, the African market is a huge contributor to the global mobile boom with the region contributing to around 600 million active mobile subscriptions in the year 2013 alone.  As the technology wave catches on, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria are slated to be the next big mobile commerce markets and it’s only a matter of time before mobility trend shapes the future of Africa’s overall business landscape.  What’s more, customers become more demanding when it comes to their business expectations around mobility. With an ever growing young population entering the workplace, there is clearly a need for business apps to move to the mobile to harness productivity and business efficiency of this young demographic.

While the need to go mobile is entering boardroom discussions in African businesses, what is pending is charting out a mobile roadmap. Businesses in Africa can convert their complete suite of apps at one go and mobile network operators like MTN, Safaricom and Vodacom are leading that front. A well thought out roadmap can however help prioritise their portfolio.  Starting with the most critical apps that can deliver the most value at the beginning, businesses in Africa seems to have moved into a ‘Mobile’ mindset that teaches them to think of mobile at the inception stage of a new application or solution as well as consider the use case when developing the mobile app. Indeed, if African businesses adopt a long term vision that the future is mobile, they can translate this into crucial brainstorm sessions at the initial product development stage to ensure mobile experiences are integral to all their applications.

Contador Harrison