African Banks not offering desperately needed mobile solutions

In Africa, banking the unbanked remains a pressing need. Roughly 700-million Africans are financially excluded – denied economic citizenship.

Banked: Mobile banking apps favour urban people with access to smartphones, such as this customer of Sidian Bank in the Kenyan bank’s headquarters in Nairobi. Picture: REUTERSDiscussions on the issue raise the same question, time and again: why aren’t traditional banks offering mobile solutions to potential customers who desperately need them?

The American Bankers Association claims it costs between $150 and $250 to open an individual bank account through traditional channels. Over more than a decade, around the world, it has been proven that alternative, disruptive technology such as mobile and branchless banking can reduce this cost by more than 90%, while still complying with local regulations.

Vast parts of Africa remain unconnected. In countries where connections are offered, the cost of data is often sky-high and connections are typically available only in urban areas — not rural areas or the locations of the mass unbanked.

The view of some that unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) — also known as “quick codes” — is dead may well be misplaced.

App-based mobile banking certainly serves a purpose, but it is a far cry from meeting the needs of the mass market in terms of them becoming financially empowered and included.

Traditional banks across Africa need to rethink how they offer mobile banking to the masses — and quickly. The cost of data is out of their control, and shows no signs of being driven down.

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Mobile Apps That Are Saving Lives In Africa

Technology has an important role to play in African daily life, and in fact, some mobile apps that have been created contribute to saving lives.

Image result for mobile apps in africaMobile apps are easily accessible, often free or cost-effective, and can be used on the go.

Whether helping to enhance healthcare, assist with security or summon law enforcement, the mobile apps on this list have been designed specifically to deal with challenges and assist African communities with crucial elements of their lives.

Here are 12 mobile apps that are saving lives in Africa.

Medicapt

This app helps doctors to document evidence of sexual violence in the DR Congo, recording medical examination results digitally along with photos of injuries, which can be sent to police or lawyers as necessary, potential saving lives in the process.

Hello Doctor

Available in 10 African countries, Hello Doctor provides healthcare information that is updated daily, while providing access to healthcare advice via doctors who answer questions posed to them by users of the mobile application.

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WhatsApp hurting mobile revenue in African telcos want to fight back

Mobile revenue growth has declined in sub- Saharan Africa since 2013 and is expected to continue its downward trend until the end of the decade—despite a fast-growing subscriber base.

Image result for mobile apps in africa

Much of the drop has been attributed to the use of over-the-top (OTT) messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. With more subscribers showing a preference to chat and and make voice calls via these platforms, there’s an “increasing cannibalization of traditional voice and messaging revenues,” according to a new Mobile Economy report by the GSM Association (GSMA) trade organization.

At stake for Africa’s telcos is the significant capital investment made to build out mobile networks. The industry is expected to spend around $31 billion to expand across sub-Saharan Africa over the next four years, says GSMA.

Telco executives argue that to see a return on that investment, voice and SMS revenue growth will need to match or outperform previous years. “You can’t adjust your costs for building the same quality of network,” a senior executive at one of Nigeria’s main telcos told Quartz, referring to a problem of “voice transference” as more Nigerians use WhatsApp in particular.

Services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have been subject of debates by local mobile operators and regulators. Last year, Nigeria’s telecoms regulator claimed that amid diminishing revenues, OTT services overwhelm local operators’ networks and leave them with little incentive to invest and improve broadband capability. South African operators also have complained about OTT services freeloading on their networks.

“They don’t pay taxes, don’t develop infrastructure, they don’t even open offices and create jobs. They are undermining our industry.” complained a senior executive at one of South Africa’s largest mobile operators, who asked not to be identified as he did not have permission to speak publicly on the topic.

Local regulators keen to be seen as supportive of digital platforms favored by young people also do not want to discourage investors—or harm tax revenue—by ignoring the complaints of the phone companies.

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Top 5 Quality Mobile Application Development Tips

Are you looking out to develop mobile applications? Do you want your mobile apps to go viral?

Photo published for Top 5 Quality Mobile Application Development Tips - DZone MobileFollow these exceptional mobile app development tips to develop quality mobile applications that will build trust of your customers and get you more business:

1. Real-time Data Distribution

Mobile app users love to get the most updated information when using any applications. Considering various mobile applications such as movie tickets booking, flight bookings, etc. needs to fetch the latest data in each of their areas.

While developing mobile applications, take care of introducing different data distribution methods that allow your applications to send the latest information to your customers.

A slight mistake in booking can crash your app in terms of losing customers. I guess, no mobile app developers can take that.

2. Accurate Responsiveness

Responsiveness is something which you cannot compromise on your mobile applications. You cannot judge what mobile devices your customers will be using while accessing your mobile apps.

Don’t take that chance of losing the attention of your customers while switching the mobile devices. Their experience will decide on success or failure of your mobile apps. So, consider responsiveness as a top most priority while developing mobile apps.

You can ease your hassles of developing responsive mobile applications right while choosing the development platforms.

3. High Scalability

This is really interesting and very important factor while developing mobile apps.

Do you underestimate your mobile apps by limiting them to a certain amount of users?

I think you should work on developing your mobile apps with the highest scalability options. Imagine your mobile apps getting viral and more and more users are attracted towards downloading your apps. More scalability in terms of more usage, space, speed, databases, etc. needs to be introduced initially itself.

It will be a great experience when you don’t have to worry about your apps while they’re becoming more successful.

4. Cross-platform Accessibility

Well, while developing any mobile applications, we don’t know what will be the future requirements of your customers or end-users.

Why don’t we implement such a development platform that can reduce our headache of future implementations?

Recently, one of our enterprise application development clients wanted to develop an another version of their application in iOS. I must say, our development team played well at this. Thus, the cost and time to deploy was less. Our client was very happy and so were we.

5. Security Measures

When you develop enterprise applications that transfers business-critical information, we need to take care of the security breaches.

Appropriate user authentication has to be designed in such a way that ensures the security of any sensitive information or data that is being accessed via our applications.