A new promotion dubbed laptop ni lazima [Swahili for a laptop (computer) is a must] brings together two corporate titans of Kenya – Safaricom and Equity bank. The former is the dominant mobile phone company in Kenya, while the latter is Kenya’s fastest growing bank for the last 5 years, albeit at a slowing pace.
Equity Bank has a history of financing some unusual loans and some of the ones posted on twitter last week include:
@PeeKayW not to forget cow/bull-fattening loans from #Equitybank Uganda – typically during dry season, repaid when it’s wet & prices are back up @wakabz Equity finances weddings, boda boda motorcycles. worst deal ever was 2 use nakumatt as a cash point. no member shops in nakumatt
With the financing of laptops that range from a basic Acer Aspire netbook [1kg 1.6ghz 512mb 8gb flash storage] that costs 20,000 shillings ($267) one is able to pay just 700 per month ($9/month) over two years at a flat rate of 8%. Terms to qualify for loan include having an account with Equity Bank (business owners, must have operated for 6 months), or if salaried, you salary must pass through an Equity Bank account.
For Safaricom their goal is to enhance revenue, with the cheap laptop package, now made even easier with financing from Equity Bank. Safaricom hopes to re-sell over 100,000 laptops per month through the program, all hooking up these new laptop owners to their data network as each laptop comes with a free USB modem.
With its money transfer m-pesa platform and its 3G internet offering, it competes against western union and many local internet service providers (ISP’s), commercial bank’s, and other smaller companies. Entrepreneur kahenya wrote …the African here is thinking Google moved into this line of business, here, crap, there goes that idea and likewise for Safaricom to enter an arena may signal a gloomy outlook for several small vibrant companies. From cyber cafes, the post office, ring tone providers, travel agents, today – and tomorrow it could be banks whose expensive mobile applications are not being taken up as fast as M-pesa, the dealers who helped Safaricom grow to where it is today, or any developers of any profit minded mobile business application whose line Safaricom may choose to venture into.
Ashoka: Innovators for the Public are hosting Tech 4 Society, a conference exploring technology, invention and social change, in Hyderabad, India, in February 2009. Find out more about the conference here. This blog post is an entry in their competition to find the official blogger to travel to and cover the event