Mxit's mobile technology pledged for education outcomes and systemic change

Mxit today announced that the company will donate all of its IP and technology assets to The Reach Trust – the independent Public Benefit Organisation initially established to improve lives using Mxit technology.

The organisational changes will not affect the mobile social network, and users will still be able to access and use all its services – especially on feature phones, where Mxit remains unrivalled.

After three years of extensive commercial innovation and through-the-line marketing efforts in key markets such as South Africa, Nigeria and India, the shareholders believe that essential Mxit assets can be used more meaningfully for social good in Southern Africa.  

Launched in 2005, Mxit was the first mobile messenger in the world – giving a generation of millennials the opportunity to engage with one another in a cost-effective way. Mxit currently has close to 100 million registered users globally, and recorded more than 17 million unique app downloads in 2014 alone.

Notwithstanding the prevailing popularity of Mxit in many emerging markets, the mobile social network has seen a steady decline in monthly active users. “Whilst Mxit overall has seen a decline in activity and engagement over the past 18 months, the use of services offered by The Reach Trust on Mxit has been stable and in many cases show an upward trend,” says Francois Swart, outgoing CEO of Mxit.

Since 2012, Reach has helped more than 10 million people to improve their lives through access to free services on their mobile phones. This ranges from life-enhancing education programmes and discreet text-based counselling, to daily activities that stimulate mental and physical development in the critical first 1 000 days of life. A good example of this is the Ukufunda Virtual School that was launched in partnership with the Department of Basic Education and UNICEF on Mxit in September last year. To date, more than 140 000 learners from 10 000 schools across the country have signed up for Ukufunda.

Reach will use key Mxit features such as the messaging service and the app publishing framework to sustain engagement with users, including more than 500 000 learners who continue to access educational apps on the platform every month.

Over the past 6 months, Reach has also actively expanded its offering from within Mxit onto other platforms, media and networks. They recently launched five Official Accounts on WeChat and will partner with others, like Facebook’s initiative, in Southern Africa in the near future.

The Trust’s primary focus for the next 12 months will be on education in South Africa. A number of projects are already underway, and a new flagship product aimed at high school learners will be launched in Q1 of 2016. Funding for the research, development and marketing of these projects will come from a community of local and global partners who believe in the transformative power of mobile technology. “With the power of mobile technology in the hands of almost everyone in the country, we believe that it is critical to extend and expand the access to mobile content and services to accelerate social and economic change,” says Andrew Rudge, CEO of The Reach Trust.