Why is Kenya so Optimistic about Mobile?

By November 21, 2013Featured Post, MEF Africa

joOn Monday evening last week during AfricaCom in Cape Town, Africa’s largest tech and telecoms conference and exhibition, MEF co-hosted the Mobile Monday Jamboree. At what is widely known as the AfricaCom networking party and with over 1000 industry representatives in attendance, MEF launched the first report of a three-country African Growth Market Study on mobile content and commerce. MEF Africa General Manager Jo Crawshaw was at the launch and shares her impressions of the event.

The key findings from the first of our series of reports showed the optimism of industry leaders towards mobile content and commerce revenue growth in the region after a third of respondents saw mobile end-user revenues rise more than expected last year. Perhaps unsurprisingly in a market with highly developed mobile money and m-banking offerings, mobile money was found to be the main source of end-user revenue at 53% followed by social networks (37%) and mobile commerce (30%).

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The results also revealed that mobile payments are considered by far the greatest opportunity for market growth at 87% followed by mobile advertising and rising smartphone adoption with business confidence in decline with traditional downloadable content such as ringtones and perhaps surprisingly games.

Over the rest of the week, the AfricaCom agenda was packed with topics that had debates flowing and saw various MEF members exhibiting, notably MTN, Mahindra Comviva, Spice VAS Africa and Vodacom. This year, the three-day conference saw exciting sessions on everything from regulatory evolution and infrastructure sharing to cost efficient networks and apps for the African market.

MoMocrowdAs mobile money and rights management in digital music are key areas of focus for MEF Africa, it was interesting to discover the varying attitudes of industry players in these spaces. The mobile money stream covered the usual suspects of interoperability and customer service, as well as regulation and cross-border transactions, whilst discussions on digital music centred on piracy and the revenue split between the key parties in the ecosystem. We’re looking forward to delving deeper into both of these areas with MEF Africa members. We’ll be opening discussions with stakeholders from across the mobile ecosystem with a view to finding solutions to problems and ways of working for the good of the industry as a whole.

Jo Crawshaw is General Manager for MEF Africa and is based in Johannesburg. You can contact her here. The survey for South Africa and Nigeria is still open and needs your input, please get involved. MEF Members can download the Kenya report in full for free, and an executive summary is available for non-members – for more information visit the MEF website.

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