Uganda mobile economy heads towards $12.5 billion

In Summary

September 24, 2018—The mobile economy in Uganda was valued at $12.26 billion as of March 2017 […]

September 24, 2018—The mobile economy in Uganda was valued at $12.26 billion as of March 2017 as such companies as Jumia and other new entrants have turned the services industry on its head with ever more convenience at cheaper costs for consumers.

Every day, the African tech-sector is creating new disruptions tailored-made for the socio-economic conditions prevailing on the continent.

For many Ugandans, the mobile phone is not just a communication device but also the primary channel to get online, as well as a vital tool to access various life-enhancing services. According to GSMA, mobile adoption in the African region has grown rapidly in recent years: overall subscriber penetration reached 44% in 2017, up from just 25 pc at the start of this decade. A report by Jumia earlier this year indicates that 77 pc of their website visitors use the mobile phone to log in.

Joyce Akello has been trading on Jumia for close to two years now as a home-and-living retailer. It’s been life changing for her and her family. She remembers when she was earning UGX300,000 ($78) a month at an unsatisfying job. She said, “I now make at least UGX800,000 (nearly $210) in sales per week on Jumia, and have grown to open up my own shop.”

Officials at Jumia Uganda said, “Juma provides world-class, affordable and convenient online services to consumers in Africa that help them fulfill their basic everyday needs. We help them “save time and money.”

Today, Jumia Uganda has over 500 vendors selling on its platform. These range from large businesses like Anisuma (who might employ two to three people to manage their Jumia sales) to SMEs (who typically employ one). These people are managing their online stores and dropping off products with Jumia.

Access to mobile connectivity has proven vital in empowering consumers and driving economic growth. The technology enhances access to many essential services, including education, health and utilities, while also enabling business models that support the efficient and sustainable delivery of key services through mobile-based platforms such as mobile money.

Good-paying work has come with some of Africa’s tech innovations, such as SafeBoda, which has more than 6000 licensed motorcycle-taxi riders in Uganda and has recently opened up a riders’ academy to offer professional training to boda boda riders. This goes a long way in reducing road accidents and supporting safe movement of passengers in Kampala and other areas.

Every day, the African tech sector uses some of the most basic mobile technologies in the world to create new disruption. A rising generation of technologists, coders and entrepreneurs are stepping up to solve some of our continent’s most pressing problems.

Entirely new industries around payment solutions, crowd-sourcing and entertainment media are springing up in tech hubs in Kenya, Nigeria and other countries.


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