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Opera Making Massive $100 Million Investment in African Technology

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(Image: iStock/John_Kalapo)

Who remembers Opera? Not the fancy concert-hall singing, but the browser. If you are an American born after the 1990s you may not be as familiar with the Opera browser as with Safari, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer. Opera, which debuted in 1995 is still used by millions worldwide, especially in emerging markets. Opera just announced a $100 million investment over the next two years in Africa’s digital economy.

Opera is the dominant mobile browser on the African continent. It recently hit over 100 million monthly users in Africa.

The browser has only .48% of the browser market share in the United States:

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Browser Market Share

However, it has 3.55% of the global market share:

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Browser Market Share

And the Opera Mini browser is used by half of Africa’s population. Its adoption is fueled by tools that deliver low-cost data usage.

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The $100 million will go toward developing artificial intelligence that delivers Africans customized and localized content. The browser company says it will also reduce data costs by 90%.

The goal is also to grow African businesses. Working with African tech companies, Opera will bundle in third-party services that provide mobile payment and data features into the browser.

“Africa is a very important market for Opera. Nine of the top 20 Opera Mini user countries are from Africa,” says Richard Monday, vice president of Africa, Opera Software in a press release.

“We aim to invest heavily in Africa, to build a local platform and grow with the local business partners. This platform will expand the user base for content providers, e-commerce businesses, operators, OEM’s, and others to strengthen the African internet ecosystem.”

The investment will also create jobs. Opera already has offices in South Africa in Cape Town and Johannesburg. It’s opening new offices in Lagos, Nigeria, and Nairobi, Kenya. The goal is to hire 100 people in these offices within the next three years.

The company also launched a series of TV and radio ads for African audiences promoting the browser. The ads promote the Opera Mini browser and are currently airing in South Africa and Kenya and soon in Nigeria. View one of the ads below:

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