Insight to the mobile phone revolution in Africa. A superficial view on Africa’s mobile telephony market, and how people of the continent use its potentials.
Africa has experienced an incredible boom in mobile phone use over the past decade. Currently it is the second largest market in the world (after Asia – China itself has 500M+ subscribers), and the fastest growing one. 96% of mobile subscriptions in Africa is pre-paid. Mobile penetration rate is more than 60%, A 2005 London Business School study found that for every additional 10 mobile phones per 100 people in a developing country, GDP rises by 0.5%.
In the west, we have been adapting mobile phones to be more like our computers: the smartphone could be described as a PC for your pocket. In Africa, where a billion people use only 4% of the world's electricity, many cannot afford to charge a computer, let alone buy one. This has led phone users and developers to be more resourceful, and African mobiles are being used to do things that the developed world is only now beginning to pick up on.
Africa's mobile operators and banks have been quick to realize that while 60 percent of Africa's population has no access to banking facilities, over 50 percent of the adult population in Africa has access to a mobile phone, which makes the move to mobile-banking a natural transition. Mobile banking was not a new invention, it existed in many countries before like Norway or Japan, but it did not have such a seismic effect. Banks tried to shut down mobile banking first, but now they’re in the game too, and Africa is now being considered as the ’Sillicon Valley of Banking’.
Foot soldiers. E very minor and remote village has at least one building. 8.5 million users in Kenya use mobile devices to help manage their finances (out of 40M)
Mobile networks can also be used to spread vital information about farming and healthcare to isolated rural areas vulnerable to the effects of drought and disease. A company leases smartphones to local farmers so that they can receive information – seasonal weather reports, planting advice, disease diagnostics, market prices – and pass it on to their neighbours. (also receiving feedback from farmers who registered, and pass it to agricultural organisations and food programmes) Text > pictures > (education) videos Can receive weather reports, harvest prices, information about fertilizers, etc. +medical information to patients Contribution to social media (see it’s role in the Arab Spring).
Mobile phones are more than just a handy way of communicating on the fly; they are the way of life.
Doing it differently
DOING IT DIFFERENTLY What Do Mobile Phones Mean in Africa?Laszlo Balla 19.03.2012
Agenda• Market Overview• Handheld Contrast• The (re-)birth of Mobile Banking• What Makes It Feasible?• Future Opportunities• Issues• Conclusion 2
Handheld Contrast What do you use your mobile for?Developed Countries Developing Countries in Africa 4
The (re-)birth of Mobile Banking• 60% has no access to banks• 50% owns a mobile phone Mobile Banking• Need for storing money, paying bills, sending money Banks tried to shut it down first. Today, Africa is the ‘Sillicon Valley of Banking’. 5
What Makes It Feasible?• Affordable devices• Low rates• Agressive recruitment strategy• Kiosks• High coverage (even in remote villages)• Transfer money by text messages• Customized services 6
• Rise of mobile internet usage• Utilization of smartphones: Agriculture Health care Education 7
Issues• Unreliable network coverage in rural areas• Technical background at operators• Inter-operability of mobile banking solutions• Charging of smartphones 8