VIDEO INTERVIEW: Alpesh Patel, CEO of African mobile player Mi-Fone, said that its strategy for the region is based on “aspiration within reach”, arguing that “you’ve got to be realistic about the consumers’ pockets”.

“Apple is nice, everyone wants Apple, but it’s $700. An average guy in Kenya or Africa that is earning less than $200 per month, he wants Apple, but unfortunately he just can’t get one – it’s called aspiration beyond reach,” the executive said.

“I think the big brands are doing very well in western markets, I think that Africa is an emerging market – people do have hopes and dreams, but they’ve got to start somewhere,” he observed.

Mi-Fone was established in 2008, and Patel said the company’s strategy is not based solely on shipment volume. “Because we are 100 per cent African owned, we also have a social message behind our brand, which is about empowering the people at the bottom of the pyramid,” he said.

“We don’t have any ambitions to be the biggest, we want to be better than who we were yesterday. As long as we keep improving our offering, I think that at the end of the day the products, the user experience, is going to be key to basically separating the men from the boys,” Patel noted.

Watch the video interview here.