African Wireless Communication Yearbook 2022 – Article by Renaud Ganascia

Our sales director, Renaud Ganascia, was featured in the trade publication African Wireless Communications Yearbook 2022. In the article, Renaud discusses Digital Virgo's place in the alternative mobile payment ecosystem in Africa with the benefits and challenges that comes along with it. The demand for more inclusive payment methods will continue to grow on the continent to allow for payment of digital content and services, to start.

Over the last year, Digital Virgo has expanded its African operations by identifying key issues that have allowed our teams to offer solutions to companies. These partnerships have expanded the reach of Direct Carrier Billing and have allowed Digital Virgo to analyze the current state of mobile payments in Africa. Through these means, it is clear that Africa can lead the mobile payment industry into the future especially with Direct Carrier Billing and other alternative payment methods, as it is a largely underbanked continent. The future of Africa can be directly tied with the expansion of mobile payments as it provides the reach that other payment methods can’t.  These methods have the capacity to touch rural and unbanked people. Digital Virgo intends to continually grow and expand in Africa, seizing on the opportunity to make key partnerships and offer solutions, through mobile payments and content distribution.

Digital Virgo is proud to be a multi-cultural and international company that spreads from Lyon, France to Cape Town, South Africa. Digital Virgo’s footprint is global, with our 12 local teams in Africa being key to our success.  Digital Virgo Africa has been able to make key deals in the region through identifying how our clients and partners can reach new users and grow their revenue. Our solutions are supporting the growth of these companies on the continent.  By bringing together the premium content and the Direct Carrier Billing payment method, Digital Virgo can fulfill the appetite for better cross-border expansion and engagement.

Our teams truly understand what clients and partners need in their payment and content solutions. Our motto of “Think Global, Act Local” sets the standard for how we tackle all our partner and client obstacles. There is no one size fits all, especially for a continent that boasts over 1 billion people with an 85% mobile connection rate. Mobile payments are the solution to reaching many that have traditionally been neglected by the financial sector. The rise of digital content, whether it’s entertainment, educational or interactive media, proves that Mobile Operators and Merchants need solutions that will allow them to reach new customers, retain current users and grow their revenue.

The past year, has seen our teams in Africa, reach new heights with their range of partnerships. Digital Virgo award-winning success case with YouScribe, bringing literacy through the largest digital library to mobile devices has been the jewel in our expansion in Africa. By using an integrated mobile payment, YouScribe is now available in 10 African countries including but not limited to Burkina Faso, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The reach of YouScribe is continuing to grow with 4 other African countries expected to be able to access this content in 2022. In just 1 year, YouScribe had more than 650 000 subscribers, that’s a 50% growth. Our team also integrated more than 150 local editors to deliver local, relevant content to subscribers.

One of the biggest growths has been in gaming and the eSports industry. An industry that has provided €2.53 billion in revenue this year from Mobile gaming alone with that expected to grow by more than 32% in 2025. This industry is supported by a community of over 233 million players with a growth expectation of more than 26% by 2025. Africa is becoming a dominant force in this sector, with Egypt leading the way.  

Digital Virgo is also celebrating its recent partnership with Etisalat Misr, the Egyptian Telecom company and an eSports platform. Egypt is currently one of the African countries with the highest revenue in Mobile Gaming. To leverage this, Digital Virgo Egypt created strategic partnerships with Anubis Gaming, World Champion eSports team based in Egypt and GB Arena, the top eSports tournament creators in Egypt. This was key to working with Etisalat as our team brought the best Egypt has to offer in eSports. Our premium content focuses on creating, supporting and engaging by delivering the latest local, international news and events to Etisalat Misr subscribers. Also, making it possible to learn from the best eSports players with premium educational content.

Digital Virgo has also worked with leading global games developer, Garena, to expand its mobile battle game, Free Fire, to Inwi and Maroc Telecom subscribers in Morocco.  Digital Virgo has been able to show the strength of Direct Carrier Billing when reaching mobile gaming audiences to Telecom companies as well as Merchants. Mobile payments have been at the heart of an internationalization strategy to an underbanked continent that has over 1 billion mobile connections.

Through the past year, Digital Virgo has kept its finger on the pulse of Africa and has worked hard to create partnerships to deliver solutions. As the world looks to Africa, Direct Carrier Billing continues to grow, and mobile payments are evolving. Digital Virgo is looking to the future for payment solutions that can flourish with the ever-changing ecosystems in Africa. The game changing, Mobile Money can provide the next step in this journey. It has already been used for cross-border payments including developing businesses, access to government aid, and bill payments according to a recent GMSA report.  Digital wallets are already setting the standard for financial inclusion in Africa and its effect continues to grow exponentially in the post Covid-19 era. Although there are some hurdles to implementing Mobile Money such as access, lack of knowledge, and regulations. This payment method can open doors for many that have been left out of traditional financial ecosystems.

From payment methods to the content that people consume, new methods of distribution are constantly being developed. The demand for digital content continues advancing from streaming services to eSports. The question is what will be next, can we look to the Metaverse and the rise of virtual reality? It may be too early to say what impact this will have on Africa, though there is no doubt that Africa will be leaders with its ever growing and evolving technological landscape.

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