Mobile Web West Africa 2012 in View: How Big is Mobile Social Networking In Africa?

Mobile is disrupting how things are done in the world and this includes Nigeria. This is due mainly to the huge growth we see in the number of people owing mobile phones. For instance, the number of mobile subscriptions in Nigeria alone grew by 9% during 2011 to 95.2 million compared to 19% growth in 2010. So, we expect most people to use their mobile device more than anything. It is not only in the area of advertisement, like it is revealed by the work being done by InMobi.

While Mobile marketing agencies are playing their role at bringing businesses up to speed on how to leverage mobile, the social media front isn’t left behind. Facebook and Twitter may be very popular globally with lots of users, but in Nigeria and Africa, there are some other mobile social networks that are equally as popular with a huge amount of user base.

When Facebook recently acquired Instagram at $1billion USD, Tomi Ahohen, the Mobile Technology expert, presented a list on his blog on the Largest Mobile Social Networks Today by Size of User Base. There’s something impressive about that list. MXit, the mobile social network site out of South Africa has a user base of 50 million, which is the same number with Blackberry Messenger and Nimbuzz. Instagram that was acquired by Facebook has 30million [as at the time he put together the report].

What is MXit?

MXit is developing an ecosystem around their product. MXit has developer API and there’s a company who has recently generated some large user base by leveraging on the MXit API/platform. The name of the App is JudgeMe. It is a social discovery app developed by Motribe for MXit platform. Due to the huge user base of MXit, they were able to see quick growth; JudgeMe has attracted more than 400,000 users. A quick checks on MXit shows that there are other products that are leveraging on their platform.

So, if you will be at Mobile Web West Africa event, you don’t want to miss MXit story as it will be told by the CEO, Allan Knott-Craig. It will be interesting to know the company’s expansion plans and how you can take advantage of what the company has to offer.

It is worth pointing out, however, that the virtual currency being used by MXit users — Moola — isn’t available to Nigerian users yet. But I think it will be a matter of time before this becomes available in Nigeria. Beyond providing social networking service, MXit recently partnered with the University of Stellenbosch to provide free wi-fi to a low-income earning community in South Africa. This is definitely a noble venture and I am looking forward to this be replicated in other countries.

Another player worth mentioning

Another mobile social network that will be on stage at Mobile Web West Africa is Eskimi. Eskimi is a Lithuanian based company but has about 2.4million of its 5million users in Nigeria. Ayo Alli, Business Development & Sales Director, Eskimi will be speaking on how Eskimi was able to rise and grow in popularity in Nigeria.

In March this year, Co-creation hub host Vytas Paukstys, founder of Eskimi. He shared some statistics that awed many of the techies in attendance at the event. Most people were surprised to hear that a social network can grow this much in Nigeria and few people were aware of it. So, if you missed that event, here is another opportunity for you to learn more about what Eskimi is doing. Is there a thing or two we can learn from Eskimi? My answer is an emphatic “Yes”.

By the way, Ayo Alli was with in Nigeria until recently when he moved over to Eskimi to help build the business here in Nigeria. His Presentation is on the second day of Mobile Web West Africa and you must add this to your schedule for the event.

More reason not to miss the event. I understand the event is almost fully booked. Go the event page and register if you’re yet to do so. We will be on ground to cover every minor details of the event. More reason to stick around here and follow us on twitter. You can also like us on Facebook to keep track of our coverage of the event.

Photo credits: Social Networks –; Alan Knott_Craig Jnr. – Techcentral


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