The most popular mobile application in Africa is WhatsApp. The list is likely to continue with Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Skype, Gmail, Google Maps and dozens of other apps created by the Big Five tech companies — Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google. But there are a lot of other highly successful and even life-changing apps being developed in Africa — some with millions of daily active users — that don't get enough of the spotlight.
This list showcases 10 popular mobile apps in Africa created by Africans, and not owned by one of the Big Five tech companies. The categories include farming, mobile payments, healthcare, entertainment and more.
M-Pesa ("pesa" means "money" in Swahili) is Africa's leading mobile money service with over 37 million customers operating across seven countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania. Safaricom, the largest mobile phone operator in Kenya as of 2016, launched M-Pesa in 2007. They provide a range of services like international transfers, loans and health provision.
As an ambitious social enterprise, iCow makes millions of Africa’s farmers more productive and prosperous by offering easy access to relevant knowledge and connecting them with other agricultural players.
FarmCrowdy is a digital agriculture platform that empowers rural farmers by providing them with seeds, farm inputs, training on farming techniques and a marketplace for the sale of their produce.
M-Farm provides a collaborative platform for the farmers to interact with cooperatives, specialists, suppliers and agro-vet stores to receive timely information about prices, weather and other agricultural aspects.
FlutterWave is building payments infrastructure to connect Africa to the global economy. They make it easier for Africans to build global businesses that can make and accept any payment in Africa and around the world.
Paxful is an Estonia-based peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange. The Paxful Bitcoin Wallet app makes it easy to send, receive and trade bitcoin on the go. We also recommend Redeeem for trading gift cards for bitcoin. :)
With more than 1 million registered users, Refunite is non-profit organization established with a mission to help refugees and displaced persons search for their missing loved ones and family. It is the world’s largest missing persons platform in Africa for refugees and displaced populations. They also manage LevelApp which helps refugees in Sub Saharan Africa build a pathway out of poverty.
MedAfrica is focused on increasing access to health related information and services in emerging markets. MedAfrica provides direct access to health-related content and services to save lives and build a healthy population. You can search, filter and view health information and local services as well as connect with doctors on the go.
GiftedMom is a leading mobile health information provider in Africa, serving the 400 million people who lack access to basic healthcare. They offer pregnant women and new mothers free access to health information and work to make referrals to ancillary healthcare services like lab testing and babysitters. Their mission is to prevent maternal and infant deaths.
The Nigerian movie and TV series app IROKOtv has over 6,000 Nigerian and Ghanaian films, along with a selection of Bollywood, Hollywood and Korean movies. It is available to users worldwide for about $2.50 per month. Users can even save shows to their local device and watch offline.