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Time To Imbrace To Embrace Local Apps

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Time To Imbrace To Embrace Local Apps

It has been hailed as a transformative moment, one that will bring algorithmic precision to the decisions we make and automate virtually every aspect of our lives, from switching on the lights to predicting what food we want to eat.

African countries notched a 12%-growth in active social media users to 191 million last year, according to a report by global digital agencies, We Are Social and Hootsuite. Of those, mobile users accounted for 172 million, most of whom used only two Facebook-owned platforms: WhatsApp and Messenger.

With the exception of a few countries, WhatsApp was easily the most popular platform across Africa, while Facebook Messenger was mostly used across North Africa, Somalia, and Eritrea.

In recent weeks, WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy sparked public outcry, after Android and iOS users received an in-app notification about its new policy, which allows WhatsApp to share certain data with Facebook – an option that users previously had a chance to opt out of.

Users of the Facebook-owned popular messaging app were initially given a deadline of 8 February 2021 to accept the updated terms of service in order to continue using WhatsApp, which has about two billion active users globally.

The new terms led to scores of frustrated users across the globe boycotting WhatsApp, moving to rival messaging apps like Sasai , Telegram and Signal.

It is why Sasai,an all-in-one messaging, social media, entertainment and payments app must now be considered with the seriousness it deserves.

The app, introduced less than two years ago, has been downloaded in more than 180 countries and is already available in over 50 African languages including Swahili, Hausa, Shona, Zulu, Yoruba, Igbo and Ndebele, among many others.

Its chat function offers your conventional social media messaging functionalities, including peer-to-peer instant messaging, group chats and both audio and video conferencing – what it calls Sasai TeamTalk –  for up to 20 people. This is already a big plus compared to WhatsApp, which currently offers group calls for only 8 people.

Sasai’s explore function is probably one of its most exciting services, with features such as Moments and Sasai Watch among the explore options.

Sasai Moments allows users to post and share videos, audio notes, pictures and user location tags, among other features. It employs user-generated content. The feature can also be used to showcase sales products and services which can in fact be bought using the app’s payments feature.

Sasai Watch, which some users have called Africa’s own YouTube, allows content creators to upload their content directly on the platform, including musicians, celebrities, sports personalities, entrepreneurs and ordinary people.

A real trump card Sasai that has over other social media apps is its payment platform, which allows users to pay for goods and services online. With the Sasai Wallet, users can pay buy goods and services and pay. They can also link the wallet to their bank banks, or to credit cards such as MasterCard, The can also send money across Africa using Sasai Remit.

Sasai has also raced to incorporate the Africa CDC Travel Pass on to its services, positioning itself as a relevant go-to app at a time the world is battling a Covid-19 pandemic.

The Travel Pass is an online healthcare data management platform that, among other things, captures and securely shares Covid-19 test information for ease of travel across national borders. Aware of the furore around WhatsApp’s impending privacy policy changes, Sasai – which has end-to-end encryption and boasts of financial transaction-grade security on its platform –  has recently been telling the world that the privacy of its users is its priority and, in a cheeky one liner, that “What happens on Sasai, stays on Sasai”.

When not expelling tech wisdom, Rutendo feeds on good stories that strike on all those emotional chords. She loves road trips, a good laugh, and interesting people.

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