For Africans. this is a serious issue. Africa is home to the world’s fastest growing economies and youthful population who are increasingly tech-saavie.
It is also home to the world’s most expansive telecommunications market – with 477 million unique mobile subscribers and 272 million internet users.
For a continent beset with political and socio-economic challenges, messaging platforms have helped to build youth engagement, grow businesses and also mobilize the populace for social action.
But more importantly, the demand for African tech nerds to get a look-in in terms of innovation has been a common refrain.
With the new Whatsapp policy shaping up, the emergence of Supfrica therefore comes as a huge relief.
Supfrica is the invention of Hassan Hafiz Bakarr-Kanu, a Sierra Leonean based in the United States.
This cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) service allows users to send text messages and voice messages, create voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other media.
In fact, it has most of the features of Whatsapp. But unlike the former, Supfrica has some key qualities:.
- Video, Messaging and Voice calls are faster, audible and cheaper than Whatsapp
- Messages can be sent to 20 contacts at a time, unlike Whatsapp that allows only 5 contacts
- It allows for the creation of a group and the addition of unlimited number of members (which beats Whatsapp which is limited to 257 members per group)
- Works with 2G, 3G and 4G technologies without scrambled voice or video calls.
- Allows update and viewing of contacts statuses/stories.
Supfrica collects data and information (through third party products) called Log Data.
This Log Data may includes device Internet Protocol (“IP”) address, device name, operating system version, the configuration of the app, the time and date of use of the Service, and other statistics.
Supfrica was released on Google Playstore on December 11, 2020.
Within 72 hours, it garnered over 100,000 downloads as Africans at home and in the diaspora rushed to have a feel of “Africa’s answer to Whatsapp.”
Already, users have expressed satisfaction with the app, but have sought for improvement especially regarding third party sharing.
“Due to the incredible response and the massive download of our Supfrica application during our BETA testing, we have now updated it to active mode. You will no longer experience a malfunction on both the Supfrica voice and video calls and other features. All reported issues has been swiftly taken care of by our Tech giants Techfrica. The app will time to time updated. Don’t hesitate to suggest new ideas to improve more on the app as we treat all suggestions seriously. Thank you all for your enormous support.”Hassan Hafiz Bakarr-Kanu,, CEO Techfrica
It appears Bakari-Kanu’s app is already attracting interest for collaboration.
O’Plerou Grebet, 21-year old Ivorian digital artist who has been creating imojis that reflect African cultural elements has expressed readiness to work with the Sierra Leaonean inventor to give the Supfrica app a bigger African image.
The launch of Supfrica coincides with the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on January 1, 2021.
Invariably, it means Surpfrica has a lucrative market of 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc that is the largest free trade area globally since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Butt there’s more.
Africa’s mobile industry has contributed a staggering $155 billion to the continent’s GDP in 2019 alone with an projected increase of $184 by 2024
The number of active SIM connections are expected to hit one billion in 2025 with Subscriber numbers topping 634 million people.
Indeed, this could be Africa’s moment to make a frontal push for tech dominance – and Supfrica could be that vehicle.