To address this, Qwili has developed a hybrid hardware-software product consisting of a smartphone and a digital sales ecosystem. Levels of smartphone penetration in Africa are deceptively low. Since Qwili started in 2020, we discovered that access to reliable smartphones and therefore also the mobile internet is very low, even though some statistics suggest that it is relatively high. A purely digital product looking to access the Sub-Saharan African market is therefore invariably severely constrained by this lack of fundamental "infrastructure". Qwili developed a quality, affordable smartphone to address this gaps for its target user, namely, micro merchants, who use these devices a POS systems.
Qwili also develops an operating system for its devices, of which the central feature is a sales portal (also a downloadable app for non-Qwili phones). Qwili micro merchants use this sales portal to sell value-added services such as airtime, electricity and pay TV subscriptions for a commission. This enables them to generate additional income and it enables the end consumer to access products they otherwise might not have access to or would need to incur a large cost to access with ease.