Mobile phones continue to influence many sectors on the African continent. Within this transformation dynamic, LAfricamobile has chosen mobile as a digital solution that creates a strong link between businesses and customers. which earned the startup after raising $300 million in donations, to obtain ISO 27001 certification. In this interview with Socialnetlink, Malik Diouf goes into detail about his company’s activities.
Can you give us a brief overview of LAfricamobile?
LAfricamobile is a digital communications and marketing platform that allows businesses to effectively reach their customers on mobile. Concretely, our customers use our platform to send messages and interact with their customers by phone via SMS, via WhatsApp, via USSD but also via an interactive voice server, especially in African languages. LAM, today in terms of numbers, nearly 100 million messages were sent across Africa in 2021. LAM has more than 30 partner operators in 15 African countries.
Why the mobile phone as a digital solution?
In many African countries, users have at least two SIM cards. This means that a mobile phone has become necessary, for example, there is a mobile money transfer service that allows you to make transactions anywhere and at any place. I often joke with my collaborators that the telephone has become a basic need in Africa. By 2025, there will be over a billion phones on the continent. It is a goldmine for business development. Unfortunately, the latter does not take full advantage of this opportunity. This is why we are trying to understand why.
You know that in Africa, some have smartphones, while others have basic phones with a variety of operator options. Basically, it is a market with opportunities but very fragmented. With LAM, we decided to simplify everything. So we aggregate all relevant and useful technologies into our ecosystem.
Was LAM thus able to integrate businesses and residents into this ecosystem?
It is one of our characteristics. We do all this at an affordable cost. This is what allows us to take over African companies that do not necessarily have the means. We also do it comprehensively. It is important because we are in societies that have problems of our own. We are already integrating local languages. We also work with NGOs, because there is no point in texting people who can’t read. We have more influence with local languages.
This long-term business has enabled you to obtain ISO 27001 certification. Can you return to this certification?
Africans are often victims of blame in the context of work. If we want to participate in this new revolution by implementing our own, we must comply with international standards to prove and impart quality.
LAM is committed to this process. We respond to the problems of our societies while adhering to international standards. This is why LAM has received ISO 27001 certification, the most recognized standard in terms of information security for our customers’ data. This also gives us credibility. We just got it (note: 2022) but I have to say it’s a long process with professionals reviewing all of our work.
It has obtained ISO certification. But will African companies succeed in adapting to international standards?
This is the challenge we face in our ecosystem. There are many issues around us. I’m talking about the infrastructures of all emerging countries. Not only in Senegal. Obviously, this has an impact on the economic development of our countries. It brings additional difficulty to our business. But, those who are flexible and inclusive know how to find our idiosyncrasies while aligning themselves with these criteria.
Are you planning to stay in the African market or open up to other markets?
It is a matter of ambition and conviction. Our primary ambition was to solve some African issues. We realized that these problems go beyond the African continent. You find the same things in other areas. We started with Africa and will prove that it is possible. The ambition is to go to other emerging countries that will be able to use our solutions.