2009 has been a great year for Kenya’s technology scene, first with the worldwide buzz about the world first fully deployed mobile payment system Mpesa [Read: Article 1 | Article 2] to the success of homegrown crowd sourcing software Ushahidi which in recent days has been received a grant to further develop its Open Source software.
Focus should now shift to structuring the industry along similar lines to that of Silicon Valley and other technological hubs around the World. Kenya has thousands of semi and fully trained software developers and analysts who would be better served by a community oriented approach to managing the IT industry.
This has thankfully began through ICT based social movements such as Skunkworks, Ushahidi, TEDxNairobi and other initiatives which have become more prevalent in 2009. One hopes that these movements will push the Government to fast track the structural framework and finance needed to kick start true innovation in this country.
Business Licensing, Patenting and other key industry protections need to be enforced by an efficient Judicial system to attract idea generating individuals from neighboring countries to our HUB.
The next step is to solidify this gains by building technology parks such as the planned Athi River Park that should get a budgetary allocation in 2010.
The arrival has of fiber optics in Kenya has been hailed as a great first step (VOA Interview about cable MP3) towards reaching our technological goals. But how much of this capacity will be used for production rather than consumption remains to be seen. This calls for shifting education goals towards making young students techies rather than mind controlled zombies on the internet(@pambazuka).
Below are some(not all) of the impressive projects we have seen in 2009 in Kenya.
- Ushahidi.com: Crowd sourcing mapping solution
- Whive.com: Web and Mobile Social Movement
- Zuqka.com: Magazine social network
- Yu.co.ke: Mobile social network
- Babawatoto.com: Ecommerce platform
- Gotissuez.com: Troubleshooting social tool
- Uzanunua.com: Ecommerce Business to Business platform
- majibu.com: Question answer platform
- Kenyahub.com: Social networking platform
- infoafricanow.com: Amazing African online directory with 8000 entries already.
And hundreds of other great sites…
If i have left out any Kenyan project out there please add it in the comments section below and explain what it does.
God Bless Kenya.