Article from Tech Center

Norwegian Web browser developer Opera Software has said it plans to invest $100m over the next two years in Africa. Part of that money will be used to establish offices in Kenya and Nigeria.

“Africa is a very important market for Opera. Nine of the top 20 Opera Mini user countries are from Africa,” said Opera Africa vice president Richard Monday in a statement. The browser has proved popular, in part, because of its compression technologies, which help conserve users’ data.

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“We aim to invest heavily in Africa, to build a local platform and grow with local business partners,” said Monday. Opera now has more than 100m monthly users on the continent.

Some of the planned investment is being used to develop a news engine, with compression technology, for African readers.

“To bring more first-time Internet users without the fear of high data costs or lack of locally relevant content, Opera is investing in developing a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence engine for smartphone users that will ensure content discovery is at the heart of the browser,” the company said.

“Opera users in Africa will get fully personalized and localized content delivered to their browser, the entry point for their Internet experience, while the data usage can be reduced by up to 90%.”

It said it is working with 47 African publishers covering 107 websites on the initiative.

In addition, the company said it wants to grow its partner base in Africa to integrate value-added services, mobile payments and data bundling into its browser. “This will grant consumers access to quality content and services, giving them the ability to transact more easily on their mobile devices. The range of services to be added over the next 12 months will create a content and services hub…”

Opera Software’s offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town will soon be complemented by new offices in Lagos and Nairobi to support business and product development. The plan is to hire around 100 people to staff those offices over the next three years.