AfricaCom 2013: Day 1 Insights

 AfricaCom 2013: Day 1 InsightsAfricaCom 2013 kicked off in Cape Town today, bringing together African MNO’s, tech companies, vendors and the app community from Africa and across the world.

Here are a few insights from the MNO, music, apps and mobile money spaces at AfricaCom today.

1. 930M mobile subscribers in Africa by end of 2013 (Ericsson)
Each year at AfricaCom the number just keeps growing. With greater connectivity in less developed African countries coming on stream African ICT is set for a very bright future.
2. The most downloaded apps to date are banking apps
Not surprising but surely this has got to change soon with so many developers in Africa creating diverse apps in countries with so many unbanked people.
3. Cash is still king
Cash, not banks is the biggest rival to mobile money. In Nigeria, telecommunications companies are not able to gain the relevant banking licenses to launch mobile money services and have to rely on third parties to manage a platform. Val Amadi, senior manager of network rollout for Etisalat Nigeria, said if the country wants to reach the majority of the population, which is unbanked, then the regulators need to get the networks more involved in the process.Amadi said: “The operators are not allowed to roll out a mobile money service. The banks are still very small in Nigeria and the unbanked population is very big. The operators need to be brought much closer to the process.”4. Partnerships are key for mobile profitability in rural Africa
Marc Rennard, executive vice president for Africa, Middle East and Asia at Orange Group said “We have to build together an ecosystem, Operators share the view that we have to continue to invest in the rural areas. But, we have to figure out how to monetise data”.5. Spotify – an opportunity for African developers?
Spotify told AfricaCom today that they do not yet have a presence in Africa because it is a relatively new company and had to prioritise other markets first. Axel Bringéus, head of new markets for Spotify, has given no target date as to when it might go live but did note it would only go live in Africa once it is sure it can provide the same user experience as that enjoyed by regions such as Europe.  While this is understandable, this may be music to the ears of all budding African developers who might just beat them to it!
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