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13 December 2021
The MEA region is ready for a super-app
Devices & appsMiddle East & North Africa (general region)
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is on the cusp of moving into super-app territory, a new report suggests, thanks to the confluence of smartphone penetration, demographics and a drive for financial inclusion.
Why it matters
The experience of China has shown how super-apps, which allow users to conduct multiple commercial activities from one location, can not only bring a previously unbanked population into the modern financial world but open up new ways of doing business.
Low-cost smartphones are widely available and super-apps require less bandwidth and data than multiple separate apps.
MEA has a fast-growing population, with younger members more likely to adopt new technology.
Many people excluded by the traditional banking approach can access financial services that leverage user data to assess creditworthiness or support payments.
Some contenders already exist
The development of a truly regional super-app, however, is currently hampered by diverse national policies and the lack of large data pools that extend beyond national boundaries. That said, several existing players could step up given the right conditions, including Careem (Dubai), Halan (Egypt), TemTem (Algeria), M-Pesa (Kenya), Gokada (Nigeria), SafeBoda (Uganda), Ayoba (South Africa).
Existing fragmented landscape continues with the rise of small, national super-apps.
Harmonised regional policies and enhanced infrastructure enable the growth of cross-border super-apps.