Mobile is opening up many opportunities across the entire continent.
Though internet penetration is very low and most homes do not include a computer, m-commerce is starting to take off in Africa as a growing number of people can connect online through smartphones.
In that continent alone, there are 695 million subscribers to mobile service
This technology is providing Africans with an easy and accessible way to connect with one another, conduct business, and share information. More recently, some innovative organizations from Africa have discovered unique was to maximize the potential of m-commerce and data sharing, which has changed the communication and business environment in the continent.
For example, SlimTrader is one of these cutting edge African companies leading m-commerce.
That e-commerce firm was founded by Nigerian, Femi Akinde, with the mission of simplifying the goods exchange process and broadening the African online marketplace. In this effort, Akinde and the team at SlimTrader developed the mobile technology called Mobiashara, which allows its users to send text messages in order to make product purchases.
It functions by providing the user with the inventory and information of the retailer and combining that with access to MTN and M-PESA mobile payment providers, among others, so that making a purchase is as simple as the press of a button.
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At the moment, SlimTrader has a number of partnerships with various retailers, and that with Aero Airlines is helping to grow the m-commerce trend of using smartphones to purchase plane tickets.
Another example of an African m-commerce company that is growing the use of smartphones for shopping purposes is Umuntu Media. This host website was founded by Namibia native, Johan Del, a year and a half ago. This service offers its users information such as local news, employment listings, and country- and region-specific directories for the areas that it services.
It took Umuntu Media only 18 months to establish portals in nine different African countries. iNamibia, its Namibia portal, is now the largest local website within that country. This website has expanded both in its e- and m-commerce forms, and now has goals to expand much further into both environments.