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HomeNewsWhy Whatsapp chatbots are rising in popularity in southern Africa

Why Whatsapp chatbots are rising in popularity in southern Africa


The increase in appeal of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s synthetic intelligence-powered conversational chatbot, has actually brought much attention to the abilities of chatbots.

Formerly relegated to assistants on organization sites, ChatGPT has actually revealed that chatbots can do a lot more. One location which is revealing the substantial capacity of chatbots is WhatsApp.

Whatsapp lacks a doubt the most popular app on the continent, a title it has actually accomplished due to its low information use and capability to be supported even on the most inexpensive smart devices.

In South Africa, the pattern is no various. According to statssince 2020, 96% of web users in the nation usage WhatsApp, making the channel the most popular social networks platform in South Africa. With 23 million users in 2021, it is forecasted that user numbers will strike almost 28 million by 2026.

It is this mix of elements that have actually made some designers in the area gravitate towards producing WhatsApp chatbots rather of, state, mobile apps. The pattern has actually seen a number of fascinating usage cases being taken into the marketplace.

TechCabal talked to designers of 4 of these chatbots to learn more about their choice to construct them, the traction they have actually amassed, their usages cases and a lot more.

Fivvo Pay

Fivvo Pay is a chatbot commerce option that allows business owners to offer and market their organizations to ever-growing users on messaging platforms. The service looks for to automate the sales procedure for town organizations.

“We’ve been functional for near a year and approximately date, we’ve negotiated a volume of deals totaling up to over R700,000,” stated Bruce Mkhaliphicreator of Fivvio Pay.

The chatbot has the capability to incorporate with Shopify, enabling shopkeeper to flawlessly obtain their shop stock on Whatsapp through a basic plugin. To attend to the obstacle of making shipments in areas, where last mile shipment logistics can be a headache, Fivvo Pay has actually partnered with Uber to streamline this procedure.

“To resolve the shipment issue, what we needed to do, with every town that we go to, would be to get people who have motorcycles, bikes, and form a shipment business for them. And after that they would run it and after that we simply utilize our platform for them to get orders and provide them. Now we are really incorporated into Uber such that we can scale much more quickly throughout the nation,” included Mkhaliphi.

Furthermore, Fivvo Pay has actually incorporated ChatGPT to make it much easier for clients to location orders through automation or “fast checkout”, supplying much required benefit. Getting the word out about the chatbot has actually shown to be a difficulty for Fivvio Pay.

“Marketing is a huge expenditure for us at the minute, since we are bootstrapping and do not have any funders or anything like that. To resolve this difficulty, we count on the merchants to really market the item to the consumers and though the method has actually not captured on like wildfire, it has actually shown to be efficient,” stated Mkhaliphi.

Meeticks Africa

Meeticks Africa is a suite of 3 items, all using the WhatsApp chatbot API. The very first one is an ecommerce market that links customers to suppliers and providers. The 2nd item is what Bashanganyi Magwapeco-founder of Meeticks Africa, calls “Google Forms over WhatsApp.” It permits the production of several types over Whatsapp, from consumer assistance, client feedback, to fundamental kinds for information entry.

The 3rd item is an edtech chatbot which provides bytesized lessons to users. “We call it micro knowing. From those bite-sized knowings, we believe it’s simpler for individuals to get fundamental details. We ran an education project on plastic waste however it might be education about brand-new items for corporates. It might be utilized for internal training. Essentially, it’s bite-sized knowing and the concept was to not bore individuals with long lessons when they can take it bit by bit,” included Magwape.

All the items are totally free for end users and Meeticks makes its cash by availing its audience to prospective marketers, the majority of whom are corporates.

“So for instance, through our edtech platform, we have 1500 users. We can go to individuals who offer education services and state, get access to all these users and then we make cash from our partners who desire to access these users for their service. If a business desires to run a study, we can enable them to utilize our users as participants at a charge,” stated Magwape.

With concerns to scaling, the difficulty is getting residents to help with service advancement. According to Magwape, Meeticks is growing as it’s simple to set up in any other nation.

“All we require is a business and a Whatsapp number, and we have the ability to strike the ground running instantly.”

Digify Africa

Digify Africa is a youth-led organisation based in Johannesburg that provides totally free digital abilities to the youth, students, teachers, females, and business owners in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.

To supply Africans with ingenious methods of knowing, Digify Africa has actually established numerous WhatsApp chatbots. Kitso, which suggests understanding in Setswana, is a WhatsApp knowing bot produced to gear up instructors, moms and dads, and students with the abilities to browse the web area much better. Lesedi, suggesting light in Setswana, provides users digital abilities such as digital marketing, accessing services online, and so on. According to Digify Africa, Kitso and Lesedi have 300 million messages integrated, and 500,000 students visiting them.

Digify Africa has actually likewise released into the marketplace an extensive digital knowing option provided through WhatsApp chatbot that supplies students with access to a wide variety of digital abilities and training chances making use of ChatGPT

“Digify Africa has an objective of attempting to utilize digital abilities and the chances in the digital economy to empower generally youths to attempt and develop their own incomes, produce tasks, produce companies, and, you understand, live a sort of sustainable, dignified life with digital abilities, you understand, assisting them accomplish those objectives,” stated Gavin Wealecreator and CEO of Digify Africa.

The chatbots’ primary objective is to attempt to reach youths in Africa who might have restricted access to information and innovation, especially in South Africa, where information is pricey and youths do not constantly have a laptop computer or a good smart device for mobile apps.

Digify Africa has various collaborations which it utilizes to scale their chatbots items. They partnered with Meta to develop Kitso, which primarily teaches web security to young individuals. The chatbot belongs to a program called LizweLam, which has to do with assisting primarily high school students to remain safe online.

The other collaboration is with the Department of Education, to attempt and reach teachers and instructors. Through the Lesedi chatbot, the collaboration looks for to impart standard digital literacy to anybody in the nation and beyond.

“We are actually attempting to scale these chatbots to reach a million students in South Africa. We are likewise attempting to incorporate them into a wider system that we’re constructing where users can sign up with at a fundamental level and advance to intermediate training, advanced training, and all the method to a few of our other programs that help users to enter a task or, self-employed profession or entrepreneurship,” concluded Weale.


After finishing with a chemical engineering degree in 2004 and doing stints in business up until 2017, Bertha Kgokong chosen to endeavor into software application advancement. Through her business Tati Digital Software Development, she has actually produced many items consisting of MobileGPTThe chatbot uses a large range of services, consisting of producing images and files such as company strategies, cover letters, and resumes.

The service provides a complimentary 24-hour trial duration, after which users need to pay a membership charge of $20 to utilize it. According to Kgokong, the reception of the chatbot has actually been absolutely nothing except remarkable.

“A great deal of individuals that have actually attempted it have actually simply resembled, this is fantastic. Individuals enjoy the benefit of having such a service on their mobile phone. We are getting like a number of thousand signups a day so I absolutely see this growing and ending up being a big service,” she kept in mind.

According to Kgokong, the difficulties she has actually dealt with consist of having her accounts prohibited as an outcome of attempting to promote the item on social networks platforms.

“The quantity of pushback that we received from platforms when attempting to promote the item has actually been worrying. I have actually had my accounts suspended on Google, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Twitter when attempting to promote MobileGPT. It makes it tough for us to get the message out there about our item,” included Kgokong.

Kgokong more states that she sees chatbot innovation like MobileGPT being commonly embraced throughout numerous markets consisting of education as individuals progress notified about its benefits.

With expert system chatbots getting traction and ending up being more traditional, it will be fascinating to see how business like Fivvo Pay, Meeticks Africa, Digify Africa, and MobileGPT utilize this momentum to scale.

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