ICT Clinic (Punch Newspaper)

The impact of super apps in Africa [ICT Clinic]

Technology changes very quickly! This is a popular saying in the world of technology and this also applies to apps. Years ago, what was popular were straight-forward, single purpose apps that served its users; it became the trend such that we witnessed the unbundling of popular apps by giant tech companies.

Today, super apps are becoming popular today, particularly in Asia. These apps usually serve as a platform for a number of activities such as financial services, entertainment, ticket sales and lots more. These apps serve as a one-stop-shop to solving the problems of the upwardly mobile individuals, who relies on it for their daily activities.

A few days ago, India’s Paytm announced a Series G injection of $1bn in a bid to expand and scale further. This is coming a few weeks after another Africa-focused rising super app announced a $120m funding to help it expand in Nigeria and across Africa. That announcement caused some excitement and fear within the ecosystem.

So, what exactly is a super app? It is an all-in-one multi-purpose mobile app that has aggregated services on one platform.

The uniqueness of super apps includes the integration of other apps and exciting experience that saves users ample time. Considering the potential impact of super apps on the African ecosystem, it is worthy to take a quick look at its effect on the other regions of the world where it has been extensively used.

For the past two decades, the generation of apps springing up has virtually been a single-purpose app. As the name implies, they are designed with an easy-to-navigate user interface, as well as solving just one main challenge for users. These apps were designed with architecture that is scalable enough for global expansion such that no changes would be required. However, in the last five years, China has produced super apps for its highly dense population, basically, leveraging technology to impact its ecosystem.

Coming down to the African continent, sometimes in October 2019, a Nigerian-based fintech platform launched a consumer-based platform for commerce, payments and other financial services all in one app.

Unlike Asia, the term super app appears to be relatively new in this part of the world, however, the business model on which the super app will run has not quite worked in Europe and in the United States.

Africa, however, offers a perfect fit environment to make the business model above work. As service delivery on the continent tends to be more mobile-driven and customer-focused, super apps may take over the future in Africa’s digital economy, as will be discussed in subsequent paragraphs.

With the population of the continent, reaching over one billion, Africa appears to be the fastest developing market for consumers. Reports from Brookings Institution on Africa’s consumer market potential indicates that by 2025, the rate of consumer expenditure would have grown to $2.1tn.

We can, as well, draw some similarities, between Asia and Africa most importantly, a huge population growth with increased mobile adoption. Africa has a young population that has a high growth rate and is also willing to embrace new technologies.

According to GSMA, sub-Saharan Africa alone, will witness a growth of 440 million handsets, in the next eight years. With more handsets, — Finish Reading on the Punch

About the author

Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr

CFA hosts Tech Trends on Channels Television, writes the ICT Column in the Punch Newspapers & also blogs on cfagbata.com.

CFA currently serves as the African Regional Director of Founder Institute.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.