There’s a huge void for ‘Made in Nigeria’ apps – TECNO Mobile Apps’ Chief

Although Nigeria currently has the highest Smartphone penetration rate in Africa with about 41 percent, the country is still far below in the usage of mobile apps compared to the rest of the world. In fact, since the surge of mobile apps almost a decade ago, Nigeria has remained an under-performer in mobile apps business. This is from a research carried out by Google Play store Top overall charts where only 16 local apps broke into the top 100.

Speaking to MARKETING EDGE in Lagos, Oye Akideinde, the GM, Operations – Mobile Apps for TECNO Mobile Limited explained that while the Nigerian mobile app environment has allowed for apps to become a part of our daily activities, many Nigerians haven’t taken full advantage of its benefits. He said: “The mobile apps business in Africa as a whole is laden with huge potentials. It is sad to note that even though the global mobile app market is worth nearly $30 billion, Africa (Nigeria inclusive) has barely a share in this. There is such a huge void for apps ‘Made in Nigeria for Nigeria, Africa and the world’.”

With more than 40 billion mobile apps being downloaded and used across the globe annually (more than 100 million downloads a day) and despite the steady rise of Nigerian apps, the TECNO manager revealed that sadly, Nigerians prefer foreign apps to local apps as much as the international apps.

He stated: “The opportunities for the mobile app business in Nigeria are huge as the growth in Smartphone usage continues to rise. As long as App developers can create killer apps like ‘Boom Player’ that solve problems, appeal or are very useful to Nigerians, adoption of local apps will grow in tandem with the Smartphone growth.”

Furthermore, Akideinde said that the appeal of Mobile apps is because of the diversity of their uses adding “There’s an app for that’ reigns true as there are pretty much apps for everything and anything you can think of – music, entertainment games, education, information services, news, social media, chatting, religion, healthcare, food and transport. Developers just simply need to start providing local apps for basically everything,” he said.

However, Akideinde is of the opinion that monetization and revenue generation may also act as a driving force to grow more localized apps as most of the current local apps depend on revenue from ads. He said: “Payments for services have remained a bottleneck for local apps. Across most of Nigeria and even Africa, credit and debit card ownership levels remain extremely low, and the usage of these cards is even lower due to cases of fraud. Google Pay usage is also low in Nigeria. The most popular payment gateway is Premium SMS or Direct Carrier Billing via Telcos.

“In a country, where over 97 percent of the mobile lines are pre-paid; it’s a preferred option for app developers to have payments deducted from the user’s airtime as the conversion rate is said to be higher.”

Nevertheless, the Nigerian mobile app environment can still be explored since demanding users crave for a constant supply of problem-solving apps, says Akideinde.

“Over 30 percent of Nigerians using featured phones have switched to TECNO and other android Smartphones, whether high end or low-end prices and in turn, this makes them, users of mobile apps. This has allowed Nigerians to jump right into the digital era by accessing cheaper and affordable data rates and easy access to social media and other app downloads,” he added.

In August, founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg visited in Nigeria for the ‘Facebook for Developers’ Workshop’ for Nigerian engineers, product managers and partners. The event was expected to help the software engineers build better applications and monetise them more effectively. While in Nigeria, he visited ‘Summer of Code Camp’ at the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in Yaba, which is dubbed the ‘Silicon Valley of Nigeria’ where young developers learn how to code and develop their solutions while looking for mentors and investors.

Some mobile apps built by Nigerian developers include Life Bank which makes blood available when and where it is needed in Nigeria. Invented by Temi Giwa, Life Bank saves lives by mobilizing blood donations, taking inventory of all blood available in the country and delivering blood in the right condition to where it is needed.

Another is Jobberman which is Nigeria’s number one recruitment site keeping people informed about the latest jobs in Nigeria. It was founded by the trio of Opeyemi Awoyemi, Olalekan Olude and Ayodeji Adewunmi.

Balogunmarket founded by Olayinka Oluwakuse enables people order things directly from Balogun Market which is one of the largest in West Africa – using whatsapp.

Boom Player developed in line with TECNO’s mission to allow users ‘experience more’ is a lifestyle and entertainment app with a focus on music. It allows music lovers access a huge catalogue of music and videos from African and International artists.


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