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MTN in partnership with ayoba, Africa’s Super App, has reached an exciting milestone of over 10 million monthly active users. 2021 has been a fast-paced year so far for ayoba, who celebrated its second year in operation in May 2021.
The ayoba platform aims to harness growth in the African digital economy by breaking down barriers such as limited access to the internet and digital services, low smartphone penetration, lack of locally relevant content, and affordability.
“We celebrate this milestone and are pleased that through ayoba we can provide access to affordable communications, so that millions of people across our markets can enjoy the benefits of a modern connected life”, says MTN Group Digital and Fintech Officer, Serigne Dioum.
“MTN’s Ambition 2025 strategy is to drive digital and financial inclusion across Africa, via ayoba we intend to reach 100 million monthly active users by 2025, ensuring more people reap the social, economic, and developmental dividends of being online,” concludes Serigne.
In its two years of existence, ayoba has grown significantly and continues to be recognised by various bodies. In 2021, ayoba received the Best OTT Brand of the Year accolade at the Marketing World Awards and recently was awarded the Best Mobile App from Bonteh Digital Awards. Ayoba has also hosted two hackathons this year, with the aim of guiding young developers on micro-app development.
Commenting on the achievement, ayoba Chief Executive Officer, Burak Akinci said: “Our progress in 2021 has been considerable, growing in excess of 4 million users. This is a clear sign that the African market really enjoys ayoba, and we are here to stay. This growth is also due to the hard work of our team, and of course, the loyalty and enthusiasm of our users, who are always our first priority. We look forward to even bigger growth in 2022, as we see progress from the new features, content and general improvement that will be launching throughout the year.”
ayoba offers users access to digital and rich media services through channels, micro-apps, and payment solutions, embedded within a single African Super App. With over 180 content channels ranging from Sports, News, Music & Artists, Health & Wellness, Careers, Fashion & Beauty, Education and Travel – a huge increase from the 128 at the start of the year.
In addition, users now have access to a range of 35 micro-apps, including MTN Online School (SA) and MTN MoMo (Ghana), adding even more content to a deep and hyper localised offering.
We have also identified the gaps in our markets heightened by the pandemic, particularly in terms of the literacy of subscribers and through our education micro-app available in ayoba we have launched numerous channels with key strategic partners focused on specific areas of education ranging from entrepreneurial education to country-specific curriculum content for students, which include educational explainer videos on topics ranging from math, science, and the art of storytelling.
Ayoba users can send and receive encrypted messages in 22 diverse languages, share photos, videos, files, voice notes and even their location, and can also subscribe to live channels. Localised content is available through these channels that aim to entertain, educate, and empower communities.
Ayoba is available to MTN and non-MTN customers. MTN customers are automatically allocated free data to use the ayoba features including messaging, browsing, gaming, and listening to music. Customers can download the free app data at www.ayoba.me. In addition, ayoba lite is now also available for web access at web.ayoba.me which is proving to be popular with users who are short on space on their devices. Voice and video calls are excluded from the free data provisions.
 With the exception of Benin
MTN, in partnership with ayoba, today launched a dynamic media campaign entitled: ‘Life inside ayoba’ that will bring the African super app to life. The campaign brings together all the features of the super app including chat, voice and video calling, channels, music via playlists, gaming, micro apps as well as payment facilities in some territories.
The campaign highlights the simplicity and versatility of the app, and the advantages a user gains in using all its exciting features.
“ayoba is a strategic platform for MTN as it harnesses Africa’s unique digital ecosystem and context. We believe it to be a triple-play opportunity to advance free messaging, content distribution and e-commerce powered by an open platform. Made in Africa for the World, ayoba is highly localised and tailored for African and Middle East consumer needs. This campaign is perfect for our markets, it is vibrant and relevant and is sure to appeal to all who use it,” says Serigne Dioum, MTN Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer.
MTN Group’s digital revenue increased by 23.8%* in the six months to end-June 2021, supported by the greater uptake of services. In the period, instant messaging platform ayoba recorded 8.0 million monthly active users, an addition of 2.5 million since December 2020. It has now been integrated into 18 MTN markets.
Our goal is to reach 19 million monthly active users by the end of this year and 100 million by 2025, leveraging MTN’s existing base to scale up quickly and then grow as an OTT player in new markets.
The ayoba TV campaign is supported by radio, localised to each broadcast territory, as well as outdoor, print and on-ground activations. The message is simple – ayoba has everything you need.
“There is a need to go above the line to raise the awareness of ayoba. We strongly believe that our app will appeal to many in Africa and the Middle East and provides digital solutions to the day-to-day life of the consumer. In building the campaign we looked at what unites our African users, rather than what divides them. We had to show users that they can find everything they need in our all-in-one app. This approach has brought us a textured and innovative campaign, and we are very proud of it. We are excited to launch the campaign with the full support of MTN,” says Burak Akinci, Chief Executive Officer of Simfy (ayoba).
2021 has been a busy year so far for ayoba, which celebrated its second year of operations in May 2021.
ayoba is accelerating not only digital inclusion but also financial inclusion, with MTN MoMo integrated into ayoba in select markets including Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon and Congo Brazzaville. ayoba recently received the award for Best OTT Brand of the Year at the Marketing World Awards 2021. This adds to the 2020 win for ayoba at the Africa Digital Awards for Best Mobile Application in November 2020
MTN Group today announced the appointment of Burak Akinci as Chief Executive Officer of Simfy (ayoba), reporting to the MTN Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer Serigne Dioum and responsible for the super app ayoba.
Effective 1 September 2021, Burak joins Africa’s leading mobile operator from Turkcell, where he was CEO of BiP, an instant messaging platform with millions of users across 192 countries. Burak, with over 20 years of experience in marketing, digital businesses and technologies, led the build-out of the BiP platform, which has more than 30 million users. In his new role, he will be based in Cape Town.
“We are thrilled that an executive of Burak’s calibre is joining us. His appointment accelerates our work to build the largest and most valuable platforms as we target greater digital and financial inclusion across the continent,” said Dioum.
Commenting on his appointment, Akinci said “I feel honoured and very excited to join MTN family and Ayoba. I believe in the digital vision for Africa driven by MTN and I am confident that, with this great team, we will build the best communication platform and super app of Africa.” At the end of March 2021, MTN had 5.3 million monthly active ayoba users across 20 markets and a plan to grow this to 100 million in 2025. We aim to capture more than 10% of the gross merchandise value of the digital economy in our footprint as we move beyond the traditional telco-led Mobile Money (MoMo) offering with ayoba, which is an OTT (over the top) service that does not require users to be MTN subscribers. We are also targeting 100 million MoMo users by 2025, up from 46.6 million at end-March.
As people everywhere ramp up their usage of instant messaging, more and more are choosing ayoba. MTN Group is proud to partner with this unique instant messaging platform localised for the needs of consumers across Africa.
Launched in 2019 to improve access to affordable communications, ayoba is active in 17 MTN markets, and is also available to download onto Android smartphones in numerous other markets from Google Play and via the ayoba website www.ayoba.me as an over-the-top (OTT) offering.
All the content available on ayoba channels is curated and reviewed to ensure that its 100% family friendly and safe for younger users. A team of editors checks every post on ayoba content channels before it goes live across over 100 content channels and 120 games.
Ayoba has also recently launched an in-app assistant, Aya, to guide new users on how to use the instant messaging app. Aya appears automatically in the app and can run a variety of interactive tutorials for key features within ayoba.
Ayoba users can send and receive encrypted messages, share photos, videos, files, voice notes and even their location, and can also subscribe to live channels. Localised content is available through these channels that aim to entertain, educate and empower communities.
Since 2020, as COVID-19 spread across the world, ayoba’s daily lifeline data allocations on MTN’s networks in most markets allowed users free connections with family and provided them with zero-rated access to credible information through special COVID-19 channels.
10 REASONS TO USE AYOBA:
- FREE TO USE: ayoba is free to use. You need data to send messages and files to your contacts, but if you are on the MTN network, you will get free data every day to use the app.
- CHAT NOW: Instantly send and receive text and voice messages with any of your contacts.
- SECURE: End-to-end encryption means that messages in a conversation cannot be read by anyone else.
- QUICK CONNECT: Use your existing address book to quickly and easily connect you with your contacts.
- CHAT WITH EVERYONE: Send SMS text messages with anyone in your contact list, regardless of whether they’ve installed ayoba or not. If the contact to whom you send a message does not have the app, the message will be delivered by SMS. That contact can then respond by SMS and the response will come back into your app. This is a unique technology.
- GROUP CHAT: The more the merrier. Set up group chats to easily communicate with friends and family in a single chat.
- SHARING IS CARING: Share videos, images, audio, and other files with your contacts.
- LET’S MEET: Share your real-time location with your ayoba contacts.
- CHANNELS: Consume all content across various categories ranging from news, sports, music to entertainment and much more, all within the ayoba app. We have over 30 content channels live in Nigeria including Pulse for entertainment and the MTN YelloStar competition.
- LISTEN AND PLAY: We have a free music service in the app so you can listen to trending songs on our fantastic playlists. We also have games that you can play, such as BattleShip, Pinball, Solitaire and more. New content is added every day.
The app supports over 20 local languages spoken across MTN’s markets, including isiZulu, isiXhosa, Pidgin, Yoruba, Swahili, Hausa, French, Arabic, Portuguese, and English. At the end of June 2020, ayoba had two million active users.
In November 2020, ayoba was named the ‘Best Mobile App of the Year’ at the Africa Digital Awards 2020, acknowledging Africa’s first super-app, which offers users free instant messaging, mobile commerce and interactive entertainment.
MTN Group today announced that its instant messaging platform, Ayoba has reached 1 million monthly active users. Ayoba is an advanced communications application localised for African and Middle East consumer needs, under an independent Over the Top (OTT) brand with unique features for MTN customers. The app supports many local languages spoken across the MTN markets including isiZulu, isiXhosa, Pidgin, Yoruba, Swahili, Hausa, French and English.
MTN, together with its partners, is driven to improve access to affordable communications to ensure that people in its markets can reap the social, economic and developmental dividends of being online. Ayoba underscores this goal to bring more people into the digital world by providing them with affordable and simplified digital communication services.
Commenting on the milestone, MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter said, “We believe that our customers in Africa and the Middle East deserve a communication platform that expresses our unique voice, honours our rich identity through local languages, and addresses our customers’ specific needs and challenges by offering a data-included offering for MTN users, Mobile Money transfers (coming soon) and locally relevant content via channels.”
The platform which was launched earlier this year is now operational in 8 MTN markets, namely: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo Brazzaville, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Afghanistan and South Africa. Ayoba is also available across multiple markets on the Google Play Store and via the Ayoba website www.ayoba.me as an OTT offering.
As part of continuous efforts to enhance its offerings, Ayoba will be adding more features in the future. “Ayoba is also working on building an open digital platform that will enable third party innovation. This will ensure that we offer a rich diversified experience on the platform, enabling us to deliver more value to our users, empower local developers and create local experiences that are optimised for local communities,” explains David Gilarranz, CEO MTN Digital.
Some of Ayoba’s key features and offerings are:
- Local languages: Ayoba is available in the top local languages in the markets where the offering has launched.
- Chat now: Users can instantly send and receive text and voice messages with any of their contacts regardless of device type or network.
- Security: End-to-end encryption means that messages in a conversation cannot be read by anyone else.
- Chat with everyone: Users can send SMS text messages with anyone in their contact list, regardless of whether they’ve installed Ayoba or not.
- Channels: Users can subscribe to Channels for locally relevant content across various categories.
- Money transfers: Users will be able to make and receive payments via Mobile Money (coming soon).
Gilarranz adds that in addition to the number of exciting innovations on the cards Ayoba plans to expand to the rest of MTN’s markets, and other territories across the globe. Before the end of the year, Ayoba will go live in Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Benin and Rwanda.