Technological giant, Cassava Fintech International yesterday launched its super application, Sasai, an African-market-centered app that integrates chatting, payment and gaming needs for users and is already earmarked to shake the unparalleled market dominance of Facebook owned Whatsapp on the continent.
The app will leverage on additional features outside just chatting as it also seek to proffer a variety of other digital solutions for Africa’s growing market.
Skeptics have however been quick to sweep aside the idea of having a home grown application dislodging a global giant like Whatsapp in usage but there could just be some marrow in flirting with this idea after all.
Firstly, the app offers a wide range of solutions. For instance, it is now possible for users of other telecommunications service providers in the country such as Telecel and NetOne to link their mobile lines with Ecocash services through this application.
Ecocash is undoubtedly Zimbabwe’s widely used mobile money transfer platform and being able to facilitate users of different service providers to converge on the country’s biggest mobile money platform is a major breakthrough.
Simply put, with Sasai App users are no longer restricted to an Econet line in order to transact using Ecocash.
Secondly, cognizant of the prevailing economic conditions in the country, a much cheaper way of making people communicate and transact will be attractive.
Sasai will be issuing its “Chubhandurubhanduru” promotion so as to offer much affordable bundles for users, particularly at a time when Whatsapp bundles across all three networks in the country are now expensive.
Already, bundles for Sasai start from as little as ZWL$ 1.
It is the same case with bank charges which are exorbitant.
‘We are in there because the traditional players are charging exorbitant fees which makes it even difficult for our Diaspora to remit 50 pounds for instance when they are charged 20 percent fee,” Cassava CEO Eddie Chibi told delegates at the launch.
With Sasai spread across the region and users able to receive money from anywhere on the globe via mobile money transfer platforms, this offers a very cheap way of remitting funds back home for the US$ 65 billion remitted annually across the continent.
However experts do not anticipate a migration from well-established apps in the region like Whatsapp, but rather envisage a scenario where the apps can be used interchangeably.
For instance, local users of Whatsapp already use Ecocash’s Sosholoza to send, receive and transfer money from their mobile wallets to and from banks on the app and this means Sasai will have to offer an extra incentive to lure customers.
“It’s not going to be an easy task to break the dominance of Whatsapp in the region but Sasai can be able to attract customers only if they offer home grown solutions outside communication because you can’t beat Whatsapp at that,” tech writer, Toneo Rutsito weighed in.
“What makes an app great isn’t the number of features it has but the number of people using it. There should be an extra reason for people to migrate to it. For example I feel there isn’t any app better than Telegram in terms of functionality but Telegram doesn’t have as much people as Whatsapp. So it’s about meeting the needs of users,”
“For me that’s the major break-through but there should be a reason why I should use the inner payments. For example if I get to buy my data bundles cheaper, transfer money using the app at low rates,” added Rutsito.
But for Sasai just like China’s WeChat, the QR code scan when making payments at super market or paying bills will raise the bar for digital users in both the local and regional markets.
But for Sasai it might not be dislodging Whatsapp as the flagship social media platform any time soon which drives their innovation, but one thing for certain the app is set to revolutionize the scope of social media apps, from not just being platforms of leisure seeking but also an essential component of economic convergence.