Mobile operators in Africa are leveraging the rapidly growing smartphone market by opening up their APIs to third-party developers, according to a new report by GSMA. This move provides local businesses in the market with new and lucrative opportunities to reach consumers via mobile channels like messaging apps, mobile billing, and location-based services. In return, mobile operators are generating more revenue as these consumers increase the amount of time they spend on their devices.
There are now 300 million mobile web users, equivalent to about 25% Africa’s population. This region will only see greater growth as mobile phone availability increases. A greater supply of users means a greater need for connectivity and services throughout all of Africa, which creates the need for more open APIs that offer expanded services.
Looking ahead, mobile opportunities in Africa will grow in line with the expansion of the mobile ecosystem. Already, mobile-related services generated 6.7% of Africa’s GDP in 2015. Therefore, an expansion of mobile services through more open APIs will create more mobile opportunities for users and increase overall mobile-related revenue. Africa’s smartphone market is expected to triple, from 226 million smartphone users in 2015 to more than 720 million users in 2020.