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Africa’s next Steve Jobs

Amidst the negative reports that seem to conveniently always do their rounds globally every single day, in my book Africa still remains one of the richest continents in the world if our natural resources are anything to go by. There are a lot of success stories that hail from our continent and I must admit each time I stumble upon an African “success” story I hold a celebration in my head. This usually involves fireworks, loud cheering, fist pumps, the works. My pick this time is a young mind, who was described by Forbes contributor Mfonobong Nsehe as ” a serious challenger in the highly competitive smart phone business”.

 

Meet the genius

30-year-old Michael Akindele is a Nigerian native specialising in application development. His co-owned company SOLO, a digital content and Smartphone company, has developed what is now a range of Africa’s first smartphones. Powered by Android, the phones allow you full access to the Google Play store including Blackberry Messenger (BBM). With  Africa being the second biggest mobile phone market after Asia and SOLO getting the global nudge from International media, I anticipate the likes of Apple and Samsung have quite a challenge ahead.

 

Strategy

SOLO has come up with about 80 hotspots that allow users to stream, download and store both Nigerian and international movies, TV shows and other general entertainment for up to two weeks on their mobile devices. The phones are bundled with up to 20 million songs licensed from Sony, Universal and Warner. It is estimated that Nigeria has  about 120 million mobile subscribers out of a population of 170 million, only 12.7 million make use of smartphones. That’s a lot of room to penetrate the market.

Even though the market focused on at the moment is mainly Nigeria, there is no doubt that once they venture into the rest of the continent the reception will be a positive one. And because most of Africa loves Nollywood movies the numbers in sales will certainly be something to smile about.

 

His vision

In an interview with Forbes when asked if SOLO would go beyond Nigeria, Michael Akindele responded, “The vision for SOLO is an emerging markets play. Our goal is to expand beyond Nigeria and establish SOLO as an Africa-wide brand offering consumers access to the best content and services on the mobile platform.”

For a peak of what SOLO has to offer, go ahead and take a look here.

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