We reported just a short time ago about the new BlackBerry retail store opening in Nigeria and it seems that the BlackBerry market in Africa is getting stronger day by day. BlackBerry holds the top spot not only in Nigeria but also in the whole of Africa. Clearly in some parts of the world RIM are not doing as well at the moment so it is vital that the Canadian company keep on supporting BlackBerry 7 for a considerable time to come after BlackBerry 10 is launched.

There are more than 170 million people living in Nigeria, which is Africa's most populous nation and one in six Africans are Nigerian. Like here in the UK where I live, BlackBerry smartphones are hugely popular with the youth market and in Nigeria 40% of the population is under the age of 14.

"This is the China of Africa, this is the place to be," says Olu Akanmu, chief marketing officer for wireless carrier Airtel in Nigeria. "The market is competitive, but the potential is extremely huge."

With Android smartphones becoming cheaper and cheaper the Google OS is certainly a growing threat even in the emerging markets but the problem Google clearly has is that the people of Africa have the BlackBerry addiction. Sure, with a BlackBerry 7 device you may not be able to do all the things you can on an Android device or an iPhone app wise, but what we can do is have the best communication device in the market, with a glorious hardware keyboard giving us not only quick and easy access to our emails and BBM but also fantastic social networking integration.

Until September of this year the RIM team that covered Nigeria were actually based in Johannesburg which is 4500 km away, but due to the boom in the popularity of BlackBerry in Nigeria RIM now has its own dedicated office in Lagos.

With Nigeria's carriers, such as Airtel and MTN, RIM has negotiated low-cost, monthly data plans like the 30-day, BlackBerry Complete plan that costs only 1,400 Naira (less than $10). Even cheaper, at 1,200 Naira, is a BlackBerry Social plan that gives access to BBM, Facebook and Twitter.

Dayo Olutunfese, a Lagos tech blogger, notes that a monthly BlackBerry plan is roughly one-tenth the price of regular Internet plans. "Internet access is still expensive in Nigeria, but with BlackBerry you can have access to the Internet, 24 hours a day," Mr. Olutunfese says. "The price (of the device) is still on the high side for the everyday Nigerian, but believe me - everybody wants a BlackBerry in Nigeria."

So while much of the worlds press are having a dig at RIM due to its sales figures, just remember that in many parts of the world business is still booming for RIM and that isn't going to change any time soon! 

Souce: The Globe and Mail via RIM