During a time when the gaze of the world’s technology lovers is firmly on technologically developed areas such as North America, East Asia and Europe, the notion that one of the least developed areas on the planet, Africa, could soon be producing some of the hottest upcoming technology and gadgets is a rather strange thought. The fact is, however, that there are a variety of new and upcoming African additions to the technology market that are going to change the face of the continent, and perhaps beyond.
On a continent where the vast majority of transactions are completed via cash or mobile phone, the idea of Amazon-like delivery services seems a distant possibility. Despite the lack of credit and debit card capacity in African countries, however, companies are stepping in to the online realm, taking advantage of the current climate. Jumia is akin to Amazon, yet delivers good within the Nigerian cities Lagos and Abuja via motorcycle to customers, payments being made with cash on delivery.
There are an estimated 750,000,000 SIM cards in Africa, many African people having their own mobile phones with call and SMS capacity. mPawa takes advantage of the current state of the African telecoms market, matching employers with potential employees that have the correct skill set. The service does work via online, but can also be used via SMS.
South African technology companies Mint and CZ Electronics have teamed together recently, aiming to produce Africa’s first smartphone. The company, once a subsidiary of Alcatel, is aiming to produce an affordable, top-quality smartphone that will contain a dual core processor, camera, HD screen and Wi-Fi/3G/4G connections. Soon, Africans everywhere will be able to watch videos on Youtube, acess and get involved with social networks such as Facebook, and play online games on providers such as Springbokcasino in complete security. It’s likely all of these sites will be poised for a huge amount of growth as the African online market booms.
In countries where the majority of payments are made via mobiles, shop owners everywhere are cottoning on to the trend and the possibilities that go with being able to conduct payments in a mobile manner. Kopo Kopo is a Kenyan start-up that allows consumers to make payments via their mobile phones at any store or merchant who has signed up to the service.