These apps were originally created with unique social, geographic and economic challenges in mind for communities in African countries. Turns out international users found value in them. Here are 12 African-created apps that were used around the world.
This app was important for anyone who takes medication regularly but especially for developing countries where legitimate meds can be difficult to verify. The app allowed you to message a verification number to its service, which then alerted the user to the authenticity of the medication.
City dwellers loved this app. It let you select a destination and the mode of transportation you’d like to take (metro, bicycle, bus) before providing you with easy-to-follow directions. The app was created by a Nigerian and former Wall Street analyst, Chinedu Echeruo.
Created by Somali fashion model Iman Abdulmajid, Iman Cosmetics marketed itself for women who struggle to find the right shade of makeup. The app allowed users to upload a photo of themselves and immediately receive Iman-selected makeup recommendations based on the user’s specific skin tones.
Kasha.mobi was like a secretary and security guard in one. The app allowed you to securely save passwords and login details, and even send any text message containing valuable information to storage, so you could then delete it from your phone. When users logged onto their Kasha.mobi app, they’d find all their information securely stored.
Zimbile helped small business owners and even individual content creators create a mobile-optimized website in just a few minutes. From there, the app helped users promote their site over several platforms like Google Plus and social media. The company prided itself on being so user friendly that users needn’t have technology knowledge to use it.
Afrinolly focused on Nollywood—Nigeria’s Hollywood—but film buffs of any kind could enjoy it. The mobile app let people watch trailers for upcoming movies, news stories on the film industry and interviews with major film industry players.
SlimTrader was great for any business but particularly useful for businesses that had limited access to banks or conventional methods of payment. The app allowed users to carry out e-commerce transactions through any phone that could connect to the Internet. The app even worked via SMS on phones that did not connect to the Internet. Through a simple series of text messages, a user could pay for goods or services.
Bookly aimed to improve literacy in South Africa but was ideal for any avid e-book reader. The app, built for Mxit, helped users build an entire digital library of e-books, providing book progress, bookmarks, and even allowing for gamification of certain books and links to purchases that might be inspired by the books.
Matatu was a two-player mobile card game based on a popular Ugandan card game. The goal was to play all your cards before your opponent did, which sounds simple, but there were plenty of ways to fall behind.
MPayer allowed businesses to manage both income and business expenses in real time through mobile devices. The app allowed businesses to keep track of customers’ specific payment methods and performances of their own products. Essentially it was a tool that showed how and where money was moving in and out.
My Social Mobile let users customize social media notifications in very specific ways, like getting an alert when specific users posted something or had been tagged in something, or when a status had been commented on.
This South African app offered users critical first aid information at the touch of a button. It included a voice-guided CPR walk-through, a GPS to map the nearest hospital and emergency phone numbers that could be contacted directly through the app.