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But we don’t know why exactly.

That’s because the media briefing to officially announce the partnership between Naij, a Nigerian online news forum, MTN Nigeria and developers of the Opera Mini web browser will hold next week.

Guest speakers at the launch event are: Goke Olaegbe, country group head, Naij; Richard Monday, VP Africa, Opera Software and Damilola Runsewe, Enterprise Marketing Manager, MTN Nigeria.

“This is the first time in Africa that a brand, an internet company and an operator have partnered in this way”, the press release said.

More details about the partnership will be revealed during the media briefing. But we have a few theories.

Opera needs to stay relevant in Africa

Opera is clutching at straws and trying to stay relevant in this market. Over the past couple years, its market share faces a severe threat from UCWeb at the low end, and Google Chrome a the high end. As data gets cheaper, Opera Mini’s ability to render bandwidth friendly web experiences via its compression technology is less and less a compelling value proposition. Perhaps latching on to a high growth, high traffic website is one way to reclaim the attention of users once again? It will likely need to do even more of this sort of partnership.

MTN is here for the clicks and visibility

MTN likes to associate with anything that has lots of traffic, and will likely be zero-rating access to Naij.com via Opera mini. Yes, it’s a peculiar number of hoops to jump through just to consume Naij content, but it could be worth it. Of recent, Naij has diversified into video content, and this partnership might be the way it’ll be able to serve that content without fearing that data costs will be a barrier — provided they are MTN subscribers of course.

Naij is the biggest winner in all of this

It’s a little something called the Mathew effect. Naij has spent a shit ton of money acquiring traffic via all means known to the business — Facebook ads, adwords, SEO, the works. When you reach a certain size, people begin to take notice, and the Mathew effect kicks in — basically, when you have a lot, more stuff will be given to you. In Naij’s case, they are already have enough traffic (9 million uniques / >70 million pageviews each month) that they rank 16th on Alexa’s Nigerian totem pole. They are about to get a great deal more.

If I had to bet whose idea this was, I’d bet it was Naij’s. Because, traffic. And said partnership will only result in more traffic for Naij. An absolute homerun.

This is all theoretical, of course — we’ve asked their official representatives for comment.

We’ll know the actual details during the official announcement of the partnership come the 18th of January.

Photo Credit: roboppy via Compfight cc

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