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Where is Mobile Usage Growing Fastest in Africa? Part 2

BBM / 02.11.15 / Matthew Talbot


Nigeria and South Africa are #2 and 3, respectively, on the list of countries with the highest rate of Internet use, according to a recent survey.

The news isn’t surprising to us at BlackBerry, as we’ve been doing business in both of these countries for years. This is the second post in a series of two that shares some insights into these markets. Read the first one, about Nigeria, here.

Rainbow Nation

The Republic of South Africa, like Nigeria, has a young population, with 49% under 25 (CIA World Factbook). Income inequality is high, which presents two different markets for mobile. The country’s strong economy ($350 billion), relies on platinum, gold, chromium, and other mineral mining. After the relatively peaceful transition to majority rule in the 1990s, South Africa has maintained a stable political climate.

Enthusiasm for Mobile Technology

There are more cell phones than people in South Africa. The country has a 133% mobile penetration rate, 90% of which is unique, meaning that only 10% of adults don’t have cell phones and many have more than one. Most South Africans—95%—use the mobile Internet daily.

Why is mobile so popular? Three reasons: messaging, banking, and shopping. Messaging is the crowd favorite, but the country has also been a pioneer in mobile banking, drastically increasing the number of adults with bank accounts in the last 10 years. South Africans’ comfort with the technology is now leading them to shop via mobile more, and develop their own unique services as well.

The Rainbow Nation is ready for mobile services. As messaging is already the #1 reason South Africans pick up their mobiles, there’s no better place to offer them services.

Read my full analysis of South Africa’s mobile market on LinkedIn.

Matthew Talbot

About Matthew Talbot

I am the Senior Vice President - Emerging Solutions at BlackBerry. I have extensive International Management, Sales and Marketing background in Mobility and Cloud technologies, Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Content in both a “Start-Up” and Public company environment. This includes stints as a senior executive at SAP, Sybase, Mobile 365 and others.