WhatsApp has launched a new developer tool, the WhatsApp Cloud API, to help all businesses integrate WhatsApp Business into their backend.
The WhatsApp Business API has been around for a while. launched in 2018it was WhatsApp’s first revenue-generating product, allowing pre-approved businesses to reply to customer messages.
Sidebar: An API is an application programming interface that allows different computer servers to talk to each other. So you can use different applications on Slack or add Zoom meetings to your Google calendar. The WhatsApp Business API allows verified businesses to integrate WhatsApp into their websites, allowing customers to order, make inquiries, or simply contact businesses via WhatsApp. It is also different from the WhatsApp Business app which can only be used by 1 user. The WhatsApp Business API can be used by multiple users in a company.
Prior to last week, companies wanting access to WhatsApp’s Business API had to apply through one of WhatsApp’s partners, and the thorough process could take days to weeks.
Last week Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of the WhatsApp Cloud API, a free version of the Business API now available to all businesses, large and small.
Image source: Respond.io
The CEO also announced new premium features for the WhatsApp Business app. These include the ability to manage chats across 10 devices and customizable click-to-chat links.
Zoom out: This is great news for all small businesses. With the WhatsApp Cloud API or the WhatsApp Business App, they can now connect with customers on apps that almost everyone is already using.
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Nigerian fintech unicorn OPay has announced a partnership with the global payment service provider Mastercard.
The partnership will enable OPay customers to access global online platforms with their OPay e-wallets, which will be linked to Mastercard’s virtual payment solution. This means small businesses can access
Across the continent, OPay reportedly has over 15 million active users with a monthly transaction value of $3 billion. This number will increase as users can now use their OPay e-wallets to pay at more global online sites.
Both companies state that the partnership aims to “grow the cashless ecosystem and advance digital financial inclusion for millions of people in Nigeria, other African countries and the Middle East”.
“As the leading fintech in the Middle East and Africa, we are excited to partner with Mastercard as we continue on our journey to advance financial inclusion and help open the global economy to more consumers and businesses in the Middle East and Africa. said Yahui Zhou, CEO of OPay.
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TC INSIGHTS: MOBILE APPS, MORE USERS
In the early days of the internet, web applications were commonplace. Most online tasks required users to open websites or online portals to access digital services. With low cell phone penetration, open websites or online portals were the only option available to people.
But with the rapid increase in smartphone usage, particularly in emerging markets like sub-Saharan Africa, the era of accessing digital services via open websites is over and mobile access to digital services is becoming the norm. Data from GSMA shows that by the end of 2020, around 495 million people in Africa would have subscribed to mobile services, representing 46% of the continent’s total population. With over 40% of the region’s population being under the age of 15, young consumers who own mobile phones for the first time will continue to increase, driving the growth of mobile access to digital services.
According to a report by AppsFlyer and Google, Africa is currently experiencing a growing mobile app market. Between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, the report found that total installs on the Google Playstore increased by 41%. Nigeria showed the highest performance with 43% growth in mobile apps installed on the Google Playstore, followed by South Africa and Kenya with 37% and 29% growth respectively.
Amid a surge in African consumer spending, more people than ever are accessing goods and services online, with the number of online shoppers using Android and iOS devices growing by 55% and 32% respectively in 2021. Likewise, more and more companies are turning to mobile apps to reach new users and diversify their many offerings.
Sectors such as e-commerce and fintech continue to experience rapid growth as more consumers, particularly non-tech savvy shoppers, access these services through mobile applications. For now, mobile apps remain the easiest way to attract new users, and with the emergence of super apps and more startups springing up across the continent, mobile app usage is set to continue growing in the years to come.
Rama Afullo, Apps Lead for Africa at Google, added: “While it is clear that mobile device adoption is increasing, there is still room for growth in app marketing as many marketers are still in the early stages of their app maturity . Leveraging app promotion and engagement tools like Google’s App Campaigns, employing analytics and measurement tools, and working with mobile measurement partners like AppsFlyer will help companies looking to expand their user base, increase customer value, and further improve the user experience , to be of vital importance.”
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