A short trip to the Google Play developer site and looking at the supported countries for Merchant Account registration will leave one concerned about the support for African Countries, with only Egypt and Nigeria being supported in the whole region. In the rest of the countries, one can only purchase apps, not sell.
The main motive for anyone developing an app is to generate revenue somehow. On Google Play, one needs a merchant account to be able to receive payments. Since it is impossible to register a merchant account, developers in Africa have been left with the option to either give out the app, or make their own fancy way to get paid. The result is a lot less developers signing up and engaging in android application development, as there seems to be no financial benefit at the end of the tunnel.
To try and get attention, Gedion Moyo, a Zimbabwean developer, has started a petition on Change.org for Google to recognize African developers, and give them opportunities to make money with their applications.
You can read the full text of the petition below, and follow the source link to sign:
Whilst I applaud efforts made by Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, Mark Zuckerberg and others in their philanthropic works, I am greatly dismayed by a lack of support from Google for African Software Developers to monetize their apps on Google Play!
Currently, only developers from Nigeria and Egypt are allowed to open a Google Merchant Account. A Google Merchant Account is needed if you want to get paid when people download your “app” on the Google Play Store.
We are not asking for donations, only asking to be allowed to work and get paid for it!
Please Google, allow us this opportunity 🙂
In part, this has fueled the lack of localized apps in many African countries. If you are interested in developing in Africa, or would like to see more applications coming out of Africa, go on and sign the petition.
The developers have already set up a Facebook page, African Software Developers and a blog Business Case for African Developers to help build a case for the African Developers. To follow the story, you can follow either the blog or the page for updates.
Sign this petition, and help spread the word. Save the African software developer community.