While the mobile companies have realized the importance of the mobile audience and use it for generating income through advertising and product auctioning most of the African governments are still sleeping to utilize the opportunity. The individual companies have been advertising through cheap mobile ads and have been able to reach millions of users through mobile phone.
The worldwide mobile messaging market is worth US$202 billion in 2011, rising to $310.2 billion in 2016. Asia Pacific generated the highest mobile messaging revenues in 2011. In 2011, the main contributors to messaging revenues were SMS 63.5 percent; MMS 15.3 percent; Mobile email 16.2 percent and mobile IM 5.0 percent this is according to Portio Research of February 2012. What is Africa’s position on this?
While the total global ads spending is US$ 5,333 Million only US$ 172 Million is coming from Africa this means that only 3% of the total ads spending to mobile ads and services globally comes from Africa. This is so disappointing putting in mind the number of mobile users in Africa. “Out of every 100 people, 65 have some form of mobile connectivity” according to Peter Lyons, GSMA's director of spectrum policy for Africa and Middle East when he was explaining the status of mobile penetration on BBC’s focus on Africa Programme.
The Revenues that is generated by the Mobile advertising industry globally between (2010-2012) is US$ 20,610.0 Million while Africa has been grouped in the group of the rest of the world sharing US$ 2,761.7 Million revenue the actual figure for Africa is not known but logically is still too small comparing to the opportunity that African mobile users possess to their governments and stakeholders.
Kenya is among the leading countries in Africa who at least utilizes the opportunity that comes with the mobile technologies. Kenya is at the forefront of mobile money transfers, with 8.5 million users and several projects to utilize the opportunities that come with mobile technologies things like M-Farm, M-Health and others.
The mobile industry in Africa is booming and a catalyst for immense growth, but there is scope for far greater development. If our governments decides themselves to commit in mobile technologies it will help to promote so many other sectors in our community and reduce spending in funding some other projects which collects money unnecessarily from our governments.
The governments could have used mobile phones to create social awareness in our communities. Instead of spending millions putting road side ads to create awareness on the effect of (HIV) AIDS they could have a centralized database which send SMS to mobile phones telling people about HIV (AIDS) because SMS is among the most basic features which available in mobile phones. This is just an example on how the mobile phone could be used to impact the community and cut down cost in some of the government’s projects.
Government spends a lot of money gathering data and information manually from people billions of Shillings have to be injected into projects so that they can reach even remote areas and villages but believe me the mobile phone can just do that for them.
The Kenyan government's abolition of the 16% general sales tax on mobile handsets in 2009 has resulted in handset purchases increasing by more than 200%. What does this mean when you gave the chance for people to have mobile phones on their hands means that you will have a chance to not only get the revenue from the business but the opportunity to reach more people when you want to provide services to them.
There have been so many projects going on some of them are effective while others remains on papers on the use of mobile technologies to impact community. The most recent one is the Tigo Kilimo in Tanzania while almost 75 percent of Tanzanian’s are farmers we expect them to have the opportunity to cultivate the products and practice agriculture in the most efficiency way that was the aim of Tigo Kilimobut can it be successful without a complete government support and public awareness programmes? People needs to hear it from the government themselves that why most of the mobile initiative to impact the communities fail because the government are either not taking them seriously or they don’t believe in mobile technologies to impact the communities.
Now, if the problem seems to be solved meaning that by 2015 we expect to have 36 million mobile subscribers in Tanzania comparing to the total population of about 45 million it means the government can reach almost 72 percent of Tanzanian. The questions that emerge how the government is prepared to use this opportunity? It expected there will be more than 735 million subscribers by the end of 2012 in Africa. Is the continent prepared to use the opportunity?Sources: BBC News Africa, Mobithinking.com