Opera to spend $100m to ‘grow African digital economy’

Opera Mini

Opera Software is a mainstay of the African mobile scene, with its Opera Mini browser being used by people across the continent thanks to data-saving features.

Now, the company has announced that it plans to spend US$100-million to “grow the African digital economy”.

“The company will use the investment to speed up internet adoption in Africa and strengthen the internet ecosystem with local partners,” read a press release sent to Memeburn.

So what does that actually mean?

An AI-driven recommendation engine

Well, the company has decided to build an AI-powered recommendation engine into its mobile browser.

“Opera users in Africa will get fully personalised and localised content delivered to their browser, the entry point for their internet experience while the data usage can be reduced up to 90%,” the company explained.

“On the other hand, Opera is now working with over 47 top tier African publishers covering 107 web sites on this initiative.”

It’s not the only way Opera will be spending its US$100-million though, as the company is “planning to seek local partners to integrate value-added services, mobile payment and data bundling into its browser product”.

Opera has seen its marketshare slide as the likes of Google Chrome step up — could this deal be the boost it needs?

Opera vice-president for Africa Richard Monday elaborated on the deal.

“Africa is a very important market for Opera. Nine of the top 20 Opera Mini user countries are from Africa,” says Monday.

“We aim to invest heavily in Africa, to build a local platform and grow with the local business partners. This platform will expand the user base for content providers, e-commerce businesses, operators, OEMs and others to strengthen the African internet ecosystem.”

The company says it will be opening offices in Lagos and Nairobi, in addition to its Cape Town and Johannesburg offices. The browser firm adds that it expects to hire 100 new people for these offices over the next three years.



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