Ugandan Billionaire Ashish Thakkar Launches Whatsapp Rival Mara Messenger


As it stands, Whatsapp, Tango, Viber, Line, Telegram amidst a thousand other messaging apps aren’t enough. Ashish Thakar the Ugandan billionaire has put it upon himself to challenge Whatsapp’s dominance in Africa with his new messaging app “Mara Messenger”. According to Forbes, the app was launched in Dubai at an informal event. The App is targeted at all Africans across the world.

The app that is available for Android and Blackberry will let users instant message with themselves, share locations, doodle on images and broadcast information to groups. Other features like voice memos and video features are said to be arriving soon. Ashish told Forbes that his App is tailor made for the African continent;

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“The launch of Mara Messenger marks the dawn of a new era in Africa. For the first time, we will have a truly home-grown messaging platform that is tailored to the individual cultures of the continent. Our plan is to roll out Mara Messenger in multiple languages, across multiple devices, making it accessible to anyone and everyone across Africa and the world through the touch of a button”

Most people will definitely say that Mara messenger is too late to stand a chance to compete in that arena. To that, Ashish believes that the new features he termed as “never before seen” have crafted redefine instant messaging as we know it, giving Mara messenger a competitive advantage over other messaging apps.

This comes at a time when the app economy is a hot debate in Africa with questions like can an African build an app that can succeed globally and commercially? Ashish has so far launched the Mara mentor (Online mentorship platform connecting entrepreneurs) and  Mara Online (apparently a Skype competitor) whose actual impact we are yet to see.
We instantly downloaded the app but attempts to register an account proved futile as the app times out before the code assigned can register. We tried getting the code via the call feature but that still did not work for us. Evidently from our preliminary reviews, the App suffers from horrible user experience although we can’t yet make our final verdict since this is version 1.0.

Download the app here for Android and Blackberry and let us know what your experience is.

  • Jemimah

    Am interested in experiencing the “tailored to the individual cultures of the continent”. I hope it is not just a selling point.
    Africans can surely build apps, they just need to stop copy pasting and build apps that actually are useful to their fellow Africans

  • As of today i have installed and registered on galaxy s4 well and has been updated of yesterday to 1.1.1 ready for lollipop be ready to dump whatsapp soon.

  • Sam Wakoba

    I want a product tailored for the global market. Am a global citizen not some culture-prisoner out of nowhere. Like Facebook is Facebook in Berlin and Bujumbura and tailored for the global market. The African selling point is an NGO-mindset.

  • joshmut

    The app is “tailored for Africa” but was launched in Dubai? TF?