Africa Outlook - - Contents - By Arif Chowdhury, Group Vice Pres­i­dent, TRANSSION

All the lat­est sto­ries from across Africa

The last week of Fe­bru­ary, 2018 saw the world’s lead­ing mo­bile minds con­gre­gate in Barcelona to set the agenda for the com­ing year in tech­nol­ogy. Across the four days of Mo­bile World Congress (MWC), more than 100,000 vis­i­tors from more than 200 countries, and more than 7,500 CEOs de­scended on Barcelona to hear the lat­est an­nounce­ments rang­ing from the world’s tech gi­ants to smaller, less es­tab­lished firms.

Hun­dreds of an­nounce­ments were made each day, with many of the key top­ics dis­cussed hav­ing an im­pact across the world, and notably in Africa. While the African mo­bile mar­ket is - in com­par­i­son to much of the world - less ad­vanced, there are huge op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­nesses and con­sumers alike to make a real dif­fer­ence in a rel­a­tively short pe­riod of time.

Dur­ing MWC more than 2,000 com­pa­nies show­cased their lat­est prod­ucts and ser­vices. Yet while there was a di­verse range of items on of­fer to con­sumers, three key themes stood out, which are highly rel­e­vant to African con­sumers.

The topic of 5G dom­i­nated, with its ar­rival in de­vel­oped mar­kets reg­u­larly men­tioned. The en­hanced con­nec­tiv­ity 5G will even­tu­ally af­ford will not only in­crease the speed of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and commerce, but, specif­i­cally for Africa, will en­cour­age the de­vel­op­ment of bet­ter data net­works in the short-term.

As mo­bile phone us­age con­tin­ues to pen­e­trate Africa, with more con­sumers own­ing phones than ever be­fore, there is a clear de­mand for en­hanced phone func­tion­al­ity at all lev­els of the mar­ket.

As such, TECNO, itel and Spice brand will launch phones later this year run­ning on the An­droidTM Ore­oTM (Go edi­tion) op­er­at­ing sys­tem. Through do­ing so, users will be given the op­por­tu­nity to own a highly ef­fi­cient, user-friendly phone, many for the very first time.

With more than 3.5 bil­lion peo­ple in Africa off­line, cost re­mains a clear driver of sales, par­tic­u­larly amongst first-time buy­ers. As such, providers must bal­ance prod­uct en­hance­ment with ac­ces­si­bil­ity, in or­der to en­sure they can reach con­sumers, oth­er­wise Africa will not see the mo­bile pen­e­tra­tion and the eco­nomic ben­e­fits this fa­cil­i­tates.

With MWC now over, and the talk­ing com­plete, it is up to com­pa­nies like our­selves to turn plans into ac­tions and con­tinue to push the bound­aries not only of who can own a phone in the con­ti­nent, but also what they can ex­pect it to of­fer them to en­hance their daily lives.

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