Wednesday 17 February 2016

GUEST BLOG: The power of m-commence in Africa

There has been a huge amount of focus on mobile commence (m-commence) in Africa over the last decade. Businesses can now expect that most people will be surfing the internet through a mobile browser on their mobile phone, rather than simply sitting at home on a computer or laptop. So the potential for reaching audiences continues to grow, with the wider trend already being entrenched into consumer behaviour.

In the past decade, this trend has become more noticeable especially in countries like Nigeria, which has seen mobile phone usage surpass 70%, to just over 110 million people. As of 2015, worldwide mobile phone internet user usage was 52.7 percent, meaning over half of all internet browsing was over a mobile phone.

When comparing the use of internet on a computer, which lags behind by 30%, it is clear that use of internet through mobile phones has the bigger potential. There are now 650 million mobile users in Africa, which has made it one of the most fast growing markets, after Asia.

In order for businesses in Africa to make use of m-commence and meet the rising interest, the most important aspect is accessibility. For a long time, people in the West have been enjoying the benefits of using services easily online. African consumers have also quickly caught up on the trend and therefore businesses need to cater to this.

This rise in interest from a business point of view has been largely spurred by the expensive costs of using broadband across the continent, which has suffered through a lack of investment and therefore less availability for people to sit at home using a computer. The answer to this, has been to introduce higher speeds for mobile connections, although this has not arrived across the whole of Africa at the moment.

The expense of broadcast, alongside the fact that people have a much more intimate connection with their mobile phones, and love browsing on the go means that there is a huge gap for businesses to reach consumers and sell their services all day, every day.  

Nigeria remains to be one of the places in Africa developing and investing more than most in the m-commence world, and is certainly leading the way for other businesses across the continent. However, Nigeria has seen a huge amount of support through Government initiatives aimed specifically at developing m-commence. This has also recently been backed by high economic growth as the growing middle class in this country has been demanding more from businesses and what they can offer through technology.

To stay on top of the ever growing digital market, businesses need to constantly innovate. Perhaps in Africa some of the businesses may need to look towards more advanced markets in the West for inspiration and guidance. This is particularly important when considering secured facilities such as payment facilitations, which is a whole different subject in itself, best left to the experts. Where this world of m-commence takes us next, time will only tell. In short, it remains an exciting challenge and unique adventure with endless opportunities for all businesses in Africa.

This post was written by Stephanie Howel, International Marketing & Communications Manager, Arik Air. Arik Air ( is Nigeria and West Africa’s largest airline and operates mainly from two hubs at Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja.

Arik Air is looking forward to exhibiting at the Business Travel Show, to meet old and new customers, partners and other innovators in the industry. Connect with them via or LinkedIn ( and meet at the Business Travel Show - register now at

Stephanie Howell, marketing manager, Arik Air 

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