Last month I wrote a post, Explosion in African Mobile Browsing about the rapid adoption of the mobile web in many African countries. Opera Mini Traffic from the continent is up 180% since the beginning of the year, Admob reported huge gains from several African nations and I’ve seen 88% growth in African traffic to wapreview.mobi in the last three months
I took that as a cue to try and find some African mobile news sites to add to the WapReview Mobile Directory and YesWap.com mobile portal. A few minutes with Google’s mobile search yielded a number of hits. Here are the top ten. All are filed in the News/International/Africa folder of the directory and portal.
The Standard (eastandard.net/m) is Kenya’s oldest newspaper (founded 1902). The Nairobi based daily has full-length news articles from the paper’s News, Business and Sports sections as well as an editorial page, columnists and letters to the editor. Most stories are illustrated by a single news photo. The images are not re-sized, and at up to 350px in width increase page size beyond the limits of some phones.
Breaking News Kenya (breakingnewskenya.com) A Dallas, Texas based news blog which gathers stories about Kenya and Kenyans from a variety of sources. The mobile edition was created using the wp-pda WordPress plugin and allows readers to comment on stories.
Daily Nation (mobile.nation.co.ke) – The largest newspaper in Kenya and East Africa. The paper was featured in the 2000 documentary film titled The Daily Nation. The paper’s text only mobile site uses small page sizes and should work with any phone. There are about 30 full length articles from the News, Politics, Sports and Business sections of the paper’s PC web site.
The East African (mobile.theeastafrican.co.ke) is a weekly news magazine by the same publisher as Daily Nation. It covers news from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. The site uses the same basic design as its parent with 20 articles evenly divided between News, Business, Op/Ed and Magazine sections
The Daily Trust (dailytrust.com) This Nigerian daily newspaper’s mobile site has about a dozen top stories, local and international weather forecasts and a currency converter. All stories have a reader comment form and most are illustrated with a single image. The site’s usability is hampered by it’s slowness.
Nigeria Best Forum (nigerianbestforum.com) A Nigerian online community created using the Open Source Simple Machines Forum software which automatically generates a mobile formatted version. NBF is an active (1600 concurrent users) and lively forum where Nigerians and expatriates discus everything from Africa’s richest men to the politics of gun ownership. There is also a very active job board, another for Love and Romance and tech boards including several on mobile phone topics.
This is Zimbabwe (sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe) A political and news blog published by Sokwanele, a pro democracy, pacifist group opposed to the current dictatorial administration of President Robert Mugabe. This is Zimbabwe provides an alternative to the country’s state controlled press.
Zimbabwe News ( feedm8.com/zimbabwenewsrssfeeds A digest of news from and about Zimbabwe gathered from a variety of international sources. The mobile site is created with the free RSS to mobile service FeedM8.
Mail and Guardian (m.mg.co.za) Published in Cape Town, the Mail and Guardian is a major South African daily paper. The paper’s site is a full-blown news portal with coverage of sports, technology, personal finance, autos and entertainment. In addition to the main news site, the Mail and Guardian also publishes a family of mobile sites on specialized topics including Thought Leader (m.thoughtleader.co.za ) which features blogs, opinion and analysis, Sports Leader (m.sportsleader.co.za), Tech Leader (m.techleader.co.za), The Guide (m.theguide.co.za) – an entertainment directory and The Teacher (m.theteacher.co.za) with news for teachers. Unlike the text-only main site, these sites include images.
Cape Business News (wap.cbn.co.za) published in Cape Town South Africa, this site offers stories on South African business trends and opportunities plus an events calendar and and a five day Cape Town weather forecast. The site’s user interface is rather quirky with only today’s top three stories on the front page. However if you open the last story and hit the link labeled “Back” at the bottom of the page you can get to the prior days’ articles.