MEF Connects Nigeria – a view from the floor

Managing Director for Africa & Chief Communications Officer of Basebone James McNab shares his account of the recent MEF Connects Nigeria, held during Mobile West Africa 2015.

Nigeria is well documented as a rapidly growing economy and no more so in the mobile sector. MEF’s recent Global Consumer Survey showed Nigerian consumers see their device as an essential part of everyday life with bookings, scanning barcodes and location based surveys having all risen by half year on year. The study also identified a significant boost for health and fitness and medical apps.

The inaugural MEF Connects Nigeria event, supported by Basebone and Mozilla was held in April along side the popular Mobile West Africa 2015 conference at the Four Points by Sheraton in Lagos, Nigeria.

“Mobile is an integral part of a Nigerian’s life, be it from a social media perspective, as a tool to better oneself educationally or to have access to services that may not be readily available within communities.”

Attended by over 100 delegates including representatives from the major mobile network operators, MTN, Airtel, Glo and Etisalat, it was the perfect platform for delegates to discuss the hot topics from the conference, such as how will the mobile sector deliver educational services to the masses where by 2020, it is anticipated 3G will only represent 50% of the market? Or, how do we obtain consumer trust through mobile banking in the Nigerian marketplace? As well as the points raised in MEF’s Global Consumer Survey.

The event wasn’t solely about bringing together the attendees of Mobile West Africa, as part of our African Focus, our aim was to raise the profile of our global trade body in this highly exciting market -attendees were able to meet MEF CEO, Rimma Perelmuter, EMEA Board Vice-Chair Adia Sowho from Etisalat Nigeria and myself.

What surprised me most about attending the conference in Nigeria was the fact that mobile services are placed at the forefront of strategies to interact with consumers, something that isn’t the case in many developed markets. It was evident from the conversations I had that mobile is an integral part of a Nigerian’s life, be it from a social media perspective, as a tool to better oneself educationally or to have access to services that may not be readily available within communities. What was also paramount on the minds of those delivering services within the market is that there are many hurdles to overcome in terms of device type penetration or infrastructure, but services are delivered utilising the mechanisms available thus ensuring everyone has access. The event was a success as it brought the delegates from Mobile West Africa together to openly discuss the marketplace as well as develop new relationships.

MEF Connects Nigeria is just one example of our commitment to drive progress of the mobile ecosystem across the continent via  business facilitation and knowledge sharing. The Africa member steering committee meeting held during the day focussed on driving innovation around Education & Health and market entry facilitation for Nigeria. We invite all  forward looking companies committed to these thriving markets to join MEF and accelerate these exciting opportunities!

Bangalore-mefgf-300x136Next month on June 30th #MEFGF comes to Bangalore, India for the first ever MEF Global Forum Mobile First Markets. Speakers include senior execs from Etisalat NigeriaMozilla, Rovio, Twitter and Wikimedia, plus a selection of the hottest local start-ups. The one-day event focuses on the trends, consumer needs and success cases of rapidly growing mobile-first markets across South East Asia, Middle East and Africa. Find out more on the MEF website.

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