1. APIs: a bridge between mobile operators and start-ups in Africa- Especially
(a) Monetisation: Start-ups must understand their path to monetisation and also the monetisation path for mobile operators;
(b)Support: Start-ups need to seek external support in understanding how mobile operators work and how to work with them. This will help them reach out to the right people within the operators and to craft the right value proposition; and
(c) Product Differentiation: Operators are keen on propositions that are unique and will give them an edge in the market. This differentiation should be reflected when reaching out to them.
Barriers that still prevent start-ups in their markets (Rwanda and Kenya in particular) to fully realise the benefits of operator APIs. These barriers include:
(a) Operator’s maturity in the management of APIs (e.g. clear and actionable documentation);
(b) Lack of access to stable sandbox environment;
(c) Difficulty in identifying the API ‘point of contact’ within the mobile operator;
(d) Integration issues with some APIs (often requiring to connect through a VPN); and
(e) Lack of standardised APIs across markets.
Check the infographic and also the web link to see a detailed report on how useful APIs are between mobile operators and start-ups in emerging markets.
According to the article on GSMA website, there are around 15,000 APIs, with 40 new ones created every week. Salesforce already generates 50 per cent of its revenues via APIs, eBay generates 60 per cent, and Expedia 90 per cent. Welcome to the new API economy.
An API, or Application Programming Interface, is what allows software programs to “talk” to one another and reach a broader audience. APIs are what allow you to share a news article on LinkedIn or send your location on WhatsApp using your smartphone. APIs are also what allow a farmer in Senegal to check crop prices via SMS (MLouma) or a student in the Philippines to pay for their bus ride using their mobile airtime credit (Bustayo) . Services like these are powered by the APIs of local mobile operators.