Hello world!Kenya Calling

Shakers and movers are meeting at the apex of affluence at the pristine town of Davos, Switzerland. I would like to think that they will spare a few minutes before lunch or during their coffee breaks to talk about the digital divide experienced in Africa.

Poverty is an emotive topic but answers to this my lie on the effective use of ICT.

Since the entry of the mobile phone, Africa has changed and is literally jumping stages of technology.

From mobile banking to mobile money transfers; indeed there are more mobile phones than bank accounts in the streets of Africa.

Seen as an aspiration gadget the mobile phone has become part of the character of most users in Africa.

Africans had been primarily been placed as technology stylists but now through their various innovations, young Africans are making a business out of this gadgets.

Take the youth of southern Africa, multimedia phones such as the Nokia 3250 music express are being used by disc jockeys to stir up dance hall moves and grooves.

Up in rural Kenya way before the arrival of mobile money transfers (Safaricom M-Pesa and Celtel Sokotele) airtime was a known currency. Since a larger population of the user are on pre-paid programmes or as known in the western world as pay as you go, buying airtime credit of Kes 200 or $3 a person is able to transfer this amount to a relative who ends up using it for household things from the local grocery.

It is indeed exciting times in Africa on wireless front; 3G is just months away mobile phone makers are releasing more user friendly gadgets that have access to GPRS.

Safaricom of Kenya has now officially launched free email services to its 7million plus subscribers. Latest statistics from the communication commission of Kenya CCK has about 1.5 million Kenyans as internet users. What will the Safaricom and Google deal on email services entail?

Probably not much since a great chunk of mobile users have entry phones that can only call and text. So until affordable entry phones with WAP facilities are in the market then we still have to wait for an internet explosion in Kenya and the rest of Africa. Three out of every five African get their first internet experiences through a mobile phone.

So 1+1 =???

And if there are any sceptics out there say that Africans have no time for the World Wide Web; then please take look at the astronomical performance of Safaricom Kenya Limited.

During its formative years Michael Joseph the chief executive of Safaricom was predicting a healthy subscriber base of at least 100,000 now he is chocking with over 7 million customers, accolades of being the most respected company in East Africa with profit that can finance the Rwandese budget. Talk about our ‘peculiar calling habits’

Information Communication and Technology is opening up Africa like no other thing. How people use this technology will ultimately be the key to poverty alleviation.

May be next year the shakers and movers should troupe down to Nairobi they may be surprised on the solutions.

Hey we are now the eighth largest mobile market in the Middle East and Africa region. How did we get there? Call someone in Kenya and strike a conversation. We like talking

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