A Wake up call for Ghanaian mobile app developers

My name is Arif Bin Yusuf. Since I joined Mobile Web Ghana, I have attended a couple of seminars organized by the following organization; Apps4Africa, TedXAccra and Mobile Web West Africa 2012. But the one organized by the latter which lasted for two days, from the 25th to the 27th of April was mind blowing. So far, this has been the biggest event in my life that has seen major players from all sectors of the Mobile Apps industry aggregating at one place.

Mobile apps development in Africa has taking on a new twist. In fact it now has a world of its own, moving at a speed I never thought possible. The event took place at the 5 star Oriental hotel located at Victoria Island, Lagos in Nigeria. The organization was superb. I was so happy to realize that there were people who were as much enthused about mobile apps development like I was.

Day one of the conference saw about eleven speakers address the gathering. A wide range of issues were addressed. Ranging from the “Analysis of the expansion of the sector across the key markets in Africa” to “Heralding the next stage of evolution for African music” of course through mobile apps. For me, meeting entrepreneurs like myself and sharing experiences, achievements and what lies ahead in the future was equally as important as the addresses delivered by the speakers.

Dinning with CE0s of companies I had only heard of was inspiring and definitely boosted my drive to achieve more than, I had planned to. As I spoke with these big players in the industry, one trait that I realized, was present in all of them was perseverance and focus. Conditions weren’t always smooth like they are now. Certain times it felt like giving up was the only option but, with perseverance and focus these guys have risen to be what they are now. Another thing that caught my attention was the number of mobile web applications compared to the sms applications that were presented at the conference. In my opinion more than 80% of the applications that were presented at the conference were mobile web. Thus sms based applications didn’t have much representation. The reason was so obvious; operating on a web platform gave one a wider platform to market his or her applications than the latter. With an expectation of about 735 million mobile phone users by the end of 2012. I think mobile web is the way to go.

The second day was even better. Attendees had familiarized themselves with each other. There were more exchanges of business cards, more connectivity. I loved this part the most. Indeed it was going to go a long way to help me understand the nature of business in other countries that I had not been to. In business expanding once wings is surely another good way of increasing profit. Hence, the need to look beyond Ghana. Meeting other entrepreneurs with a lot of experience in the industry who gave me insight on how to successfully launch and market my app in their country to make maximum profit as much as possible was incredible.

Mobile advertising platforms like InMobi, VServe and Twinepine all of which I came to know of at the conference actually gave me a sense of how wide I can publicize my app. Since these networks operate on a wider platform. It was funny to learn that Nigerians have almost exhausted their short codes. This gives a sense of how deep Nigerians are exploring the app world. Despite their constant struggle with power supply, they are still optimistic about the future. It amazing how most of them are now turning to Ghana to take advantage of our industry. Which to a large extent hasn’t been tapped into.

In my opinion I think it’s a wake up call for us Ghanaian’s to take the industry seriously and make good use of it as much as possible. If in such a short while they have almost exhausted usage of it 160million plus population, then the 24 million Ghanaian’s would be exhausted in a much shorter time. In my opinion, we in Ghana have a lot of opportunities to grab and make better use of before others come and grab them. The Mobile Web West Africa seminar although lasted for just two days, It impact will last forever.