‘Innovation’ is a buzzword in the tech industry that’s often overused and sometimes misused. In Africa however, innovation truly abounds.
You’ve heard a lot about the mobile-money transactions now helping millions send and receive money with just a few taps on their phone. Did you know that one of the earliest and most successful mobile-money innovations was developed in Kenya? M-Pesa was launched all the way back in 2007.
Seen those “Please call me” messages which allow subscribers with no airtime to request a call-back from their contacts? They were pioneered in Africa and are now used by operators across the world.
Whether born out of necessity or created to entertain, African innovation on the mobile web is suitable for anyone, wherever they are and whatever they do. We at Opera pioneered data savings and this week we’ve been spending that data to download and enjoy some of the best Africa has to offer.
Check out some of our favorite African apps:
Think of WumDrop as the Uber of deliveries. With South Africa’s currently unreliable postal service, this innovative app provides an option for cost-effective courier services through your phone using drivers already located close to where you are and where your delivery needs to go.
This fun and innovative app hails from Kenya and was created in response to the low availability of books for children. It uses text, voice and images to tell stories, with an emphasis on local languages.
Developed in South Africa, the app allows you to pay for merchandise anywhere and anytime without even taking out your wallet. You can use your phone to pay for products at the store via a QR code or a “snap beacon” that works over Bluetooth.
Afrinolly is a Nigerian-developed app that provides African entertainment enthusiasts a long list of Nollywood movies, trailers, music videos, short films and concerts. Afrinolly won the Google Android Developer Challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa.
As many of the videos on Afrinolly can be quite heavy on data usage, we used Opera Max for Android and saved a ton.
Today, Africans are creating locally-relevant apps that are fun, useful, engaging and increasingly popular. Unfortunately, they often bring high data costs and on slow networks the experience is hindered.