Will African super apps help users?
Superapps in Africa, Stears

I was born and raised in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, a small East African country. In 2014, I graduated from high school and founded my first startup. Just a short walk down the road from where I lived, another small startup was taking off. The startup was Safeboda, a ride-hailing app. 


Key takeaways

  • Super apps are apps with many mini-apps within them. They are popular in many Asian countries including China and India, and amass millions of monthly active users

  • In Africa, a few startups especially ride-hailing platforms, have started mimicking super apps by incorporating other services in their apps but are yet to make a major impact 

  • With low-end smartphones and unaffordable internet, Africa might be the perfect stop for super apps. The startups building the super apps could benefit from the data they collect and become monopolies. 


Its drivers stood out with their orange helmets and vests. Most afternoons, I remember walking by their offices to kill time while musing about my startup.

Today, Safeboda looks quite different from the small startup in my neighbourhood. For one, it's no longer just a ride-hailing app but a super app. As a Safeboda user, you can pay nearly all your bills, send money, make deliveries, buy food at the market, and even purchase movie tickets. With one app, you can complete up to ten tasks. 

This is what we will focus on in today's story. Why have super apps grown in popularity abroad, and what trends can we expect to see in the African ecosystem? 

But before we do this, let's learn about the history of super apps. 

The term super app was first coined by Mike Lazaridis,

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Jonathan Ntege Lubwama

Jonathan Ntege Lubwama

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