M4Change Nairobi


The Mobile Tech for Social Change camp (m4change) was held last Saturday (June 27 2009) at Strathmore University, Nairobi, and was staged by @afromusing and @jessicacolaco

More presentations and pictures are at the Wiki page, and these are my notes from attending a brief part of the talk on mobile applications in the morning

– With regard to mobile applications e.g. MPesa, (developers should) just create them, and let users sort themselves out e.g. a credit society that has 4 managers who are signatories, each one enters one (secret) digit of the society mobile PIN# to enable a mobile transfer transaction
– Wanahabari is a text to mobile application for journalists
– You can buy prepaid electricity via mobile phone in Rwanda
– Alternatives mobile browsers to opera include skyfire and mobileXL
Safaricom is buying out leading developers in Kenya who may develop applications that compete with them (is that a bad thing?)
– While there is demand for Safaricom to avail an API for Mpesa, it is owned and controlled by Vodafone (UK)
– If you have an account at Consolidated Bank of Kenya and others, you can use a mobile phone to transfer money from your bank account to your Mpesa account
Fibre mirage?
(i) The cost of last-mile connectivity in Kenya is still high e.g. one example cited was a quotation from a leading ISP in Kenya for $10,000 to extend the fibre just 300 metres
(ii) Even though fibre can make speeds more than 17X faster today, the ISP will only make gradual increments of 2X every few months to fool customers that they are always upgrading/improving
– There is no adequate consumer protection group/lobby in Kenya to agitate for better services. The communications commission of Kenya (CCK) regulator does not respond to consumers complaints
– Only Safaricom has a 3G license in Kenya (the cost is astronomical) and so far only deployed in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu
– Safaricom has developed Mpesa bulk payment/transfer systems. An example given was to enable payments to farmers in Mt. Kenya region
– A great resource for mobiles in development is the CGAP site (World Bank)
– M-pesa heralds a shift from branch-based banking to agent-based banking with examples (at CGAP)
– Safaricom partnership with Western Union to enable transfers from the UK to be sent to recipients mobile phones. Still being tested with Safaricom employees, but will probably be as expensive as a regular western union transfer.

3 thoughts on “M4Change Nairobi

  1. Anonymous

    how much does it currently cost to have high speed internet service in kenya, on a monthly basis and how much is this cost supposed to go down once the cable arrives?

  2. Anonymous

    For ApI integration, since Mpesa is a Vodaphone product, what about Zap? Has there been any progress.
    This is the missing link to facilitate eCommerce in Kenya.

  3. MainaT

    Mpesa is a new channel for all the banks. Banks need to compete with it or they’ll lose their transaction income

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