Africa is full of opportunities, and with a need to create something truly African, a number of mobile app developers have taken up the challenge. Here are ten of the best mobile apps developed in Africa, for Africans:
Although not strictly an app, Zimbile helps small businesses enter the online world in a flash. The website allows businesses and individuals across Africa to build fast loading, mobile optimised websites in app form in a few easy steps.
The company prides itself on helping you (even if you have no technical knowledge) build a mobile website in mere minutes.
“We have been looking for a meaningful way to get involved and contribution to the mobile internet boom taking place across Africa,” Zimbile says on their website.
Once created, websites can be marketed through popular channels such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, ensuring customers stay in contact and provide valuable feedback. “Zimbile was not only created for small businesses, but also for any individuals who have local content to share with the world,” the site adds.
Films are a huge part of African culture, and a number of them have been shot and produced here as well. Nigeria’s film industry is one of the largest on the continent, affectionately known as Nollywood.
With the Afrinolly mobile app, users will be able to watch movie trailers of these films, with a strong focus on Nollywood. It also provides users with in-depth news and interviews with some of the biggest stars, not only from the movies, but music as well.
The app is well designed, loads quickly and is very easy to navigate. Users can also submit film reviews.
The app also sports a Share button, so users can share interesting articles and movie trailers with friends. It is a great app for any movie lover — an African version of IMDb.com
Platform: Android, BlackBerry, Nokia
Mocality is Kenya’s largest business directory. The app allows users to find relevant local businesses in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret and Nyeri, with more cities being added every month.
Providing users with locations, users can also access contact details along with offered products and services.
The app sports a clean design and loads rather quickly, which is important for the fast-paced world of commerce.
As mentioned earlier, business is a vital part of keeping Africa afloat, so any app or website driving commerce is a welcome sight. SlimTrader enables users to carry out e-commerce transactions, like buying or paying for goods and services via SMS or WAP.
“By enabling purchases via mobile, SlimTrader hopes to relieve the burden associated with everyday transactions,” the company says.
The app is ideal for users struggling with cash or bank payments and it is incredibly easy to use.
“Merchants partner with SlimTrader and this enables them to conduct business via mobile sites that work on WAP phones or via SMS for users without internet access. Users can then search, reserve or pay for goods and services either via the mobile sites or through a series of SMS messages between the user and the merchant,” SlimTrader explained.
Platform: WAP, Text-based
Developed by Kola Studios, Matatu is a two player card game originating from Uganda. The objective of the game is to play all the cards before the opponent- and the first one to do so wins.
It is a lot harder than it sounds as there are many opportunities for opponents to ruffle a few feathers of non-vigilant players.
Luckily the app comes with a set of rules and an explanation on how to play the game so new players will quickly understand what needs to be done.
The playing area of the app is clearly designed and thoughtful layout makes for an enjoyable experience.
Together with supporting local business, shoppers should have no problem paying for goods in a convenient way. MPAYER is just such an application, as it helps users manage their cash and mobile money payments.
“MPAYER is tailored for businesses and organisations that would like to accept and manage cash and/or mobile money payments with [the] need for real-time customer feedback,” the site says. The app lets users accept payments in real-time, giving customer feedback and integrates into any financial system in real-time. “We just make your business faster and your customers happier,” it adds.
Social media is one of the fastest growing trends worldwide, and Africa is no exception. Staying in touch with friends, family and business contacts is vital. My Social Mobile ensures users never miss another social media notification.
The service offers voice alerts whenever a new notification is received from the pre-selected social media websites. In terms of Facebook, users can set it up to receive alerts whenever selected friends update their status, users are tagged, friends comment on status updates and a lot more.
Security and peace-of-mind is very important to all internet users, especially if they make use of online banking. The Kasha.mobi app allows users to secure their data, providing services to store passwords and login details.
It saves any text message (SMS) at a secure location, so users can safeguard information contained in a text message. Users will be able to save their M-PESA, yuCash and ZAP messages by simply forwarding the text message to kasha.mobi after joining. To retrieve messages, log into the mobisite and follow the links. “We store your messages in a safe and secure database which only you have access to,” kasha.mobi writes.
Another great app developed specifically for the African market is M-Farm. The app allows local Kenyan farmers to get up-to-date information on crop prices and farming-related matters. “It is a transparency tool for Kenyan farmers where they simply SMS 3535 to get information about the retail price of their products, buy their farm inputs directly from manufacturers at favourable prices, and find buyers for their produce.”
In Kenyan farming, getting accurate prices is a valuable asset. Users are also able to request prices for five major towns in Kenya. Being SMS-based is also a big selling-point, as not a lot of farmers have access to reliable internet connections.
With Africa having its share of bad eggs, users and consumers can never be too careful when it comes to products and services. M-Pedigree is a great application helping users determine the authenticity of their medication. As a non-profit based in Ghana, they “advocate for the development of strategies to fight counterfeiting. We work with technology providers worldwide to bring relief to patients at risk of counterfeit medication in developing nation,” they wrote.
When customers buy a pharmaceutical product, a verification strip can be scratched off to reveal a number. When this number is texted to M-Pedigree, the response will alert users to the validity status of the medicine bought. The platform has also been endorsed by the Kenyan government.
To see a list of our Top Ten Business Apps, click here
Charlie Fripp – Online editor