WhatsApp has launched a new developer tool, WhatsApp Cloud API, to help all businesses integrate WhatsApp business into their backend.
The WhatsApp Business API has been around for a while. Launched in 2018, it was WhatsApp’s first revenue-generating product, allowing pre-approved businesses to respond to client messages.
Sidebar: An API is an application programming interface that allows different computer servers to speak to one another. It’s how you can use different applications on Slack, or how you can add Zoom meetings to your Google Calendar. With WhatsApp Business API, it allows verified businesses to integrate WhatsApp with their websites so clients can order, raise inquiries, or just contact businesses using WhatsApp. It’s also different from the WhatsApp Business app which can only be used by 1 user. The WhatsApp Business API can be used by several users in a business.
Before last week, businesses that wanted access to WhatsApp’s Business API would have to apply for it through one of WhatsApp’s partners, and the thorough process could take anywhere from days to weeks.
Last week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of WhatsApp Cloud API, a free version of the Business API that is now available to all businesses, big and small.
Image source: Respond.io
The CEO also announced new Premium features coming to the WhatsApp Business app. This includes the ability to manage chats across 10 devices, and customisable click-to-chat links.
Zoom out: This is great news for all small businesses. With either the WhatsApp Cloud API or the WhatsApp Business App, they can now connect with clients on apps almost everyone already uses.
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Nigerian fintech unicorn, OPay, has announced a partnership with global payments service provider Mastercard.
The partnership will allow OPay customers to access global online platforms with their OPay e-wallets which will be linked to Mastercard’s virtual payment solution. This means small businesses can access
Across the continent, OPay reportedly has over 15 million active users with a monthly transaction value of $3 billion. This number will be seeing a boost as users can now use their OPay e-wallets to pay on more global online sites.
Both firms state that the partnership aims to “grow the cashless ecosystem and advance digital financial inclusion for millions in Nigeria, other African countries, and the Middle East”.
“As the leading fintech in the Middle East and Africa, we are delighted to be partnering with Mastercard as we continue on our journey to promote financial inclusion, helping to open up the global economy to more consumers and businesses across the Middle East and Africa,” Yahui Zhou, CEO of OPay, said.
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TC INSIGHTS: MOBILE APPS, MORE USERS
In the early days of the internet, web applications were the day’s order. Most online tasks required users to open websites or online portals to access digital services. With low mobile phone penetration, open websites or online portals were the only option available to people.
But with rapid increase in smartphone use, specifically in emerging markets such as sub-Saharan Africa, the era of accessing digital services via open websites is gone and mobile access to digital services is becoming the norm. Data from GSMA reveals that about 495 million people subscribed to mobile services in Africa by the end of 2020, representing 46% of the continent’s entire population. With over 40% of the region’s population under the age of 15, young consumers owning a mobile phone for the first time will continue to increase and drive the growth of mobile access to digital services.
According to a report by AppsFlyer and Google, Africa is currently experiencing a growing mobile app market. Between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, the report found that overall instals on Google Playstore increased by 41%. Nigeria showed the highest performance, with 43% growth in mobile apps installed on Google Playstore, followed by South Africa and Kenya with 37% and 29% growth respectively.
Amid an expansion in African consumer spending, more people are accessing goods and services online than ever before, with the number of online shoppers using Android and iOS devices growing by 55% and 32% in 2021 respectively. In the same vein, more businesses are increasingly turning to mobile apps as a way of reaching new users and diversifying their numerous offerings.
Sectors like e-commerce and fintech continue to experience rapid growth as more consumers, especially non-tech-savvy shoppers, access these services via mobile applications. Currently, mobile apps remain the easiest way to acquire new users, and with the rise of super apps and more startups springing up across the continent, mobile app usage will only increase in the coming years.
Rama Afullo, Apps Lead for Africa at Google, added, “While it’s clear that mobile adoption is increasing, there’s still room for growth when it comes to app marketing, with many marketers in the nascent stage of their app maturity journey. Taking advantage of app promotion and engagement tools like Google’s App Campaigns, using analytics and measurement tools, and working with mobile measurement partners like AppsFlyer, will be key for companies looking to grow their user base, drive customer value, and continue improving the user experience.”