On Thursday 9th of June 2011 I gave a speech on our Whive.com platform on how we are contributing to the Vision2030 development plan for Kenya at the NaiLab Nairobi (@nailab). Here is the written transcript on some of the remarks I made.
The Internet has made the World a global village, that is digitally connected where information flows from one corner of the globe to the other in real time. However, unfortunately for Africa it accounts for only one percent of the World’s Internet activity. The good news is that this is changing fast, with the tremendous efforts by African Governments such as Kenya’s Vision 2030 plan, which has already led to the arrival of fibre optic connectivity to our shores in June 2010.
This new connectivity to the global Internet networks has resulted in an unprecedented explosion in broadband availability and development of local applications to service the digital needs of Kenyans. Unknown to many Kenyans, the popular and ubiqitous service known as M-Pesa sits on a “cloud” service based in Europe and is now connected to Kenya using fibre optic broadband cable that lands off the shores of Mombasa. This has allowed for the rapid expansion in mobile money use and applications.
As such, Kenya being a leading mobile technology innovation hub is the perfect place for us to launch our Internet Service Whive.com which aims to connect Africans by proving localized and contextualized communication and information applications.
Indeed Whive.com is a social media platform that offers SMS, Facebook, Twitter and Mobile Applications that are built specifically for local use within the Kenyan and African context. This has mainly been achieved by the integration of local languages and use case during development of these applications. In particular, Whive offers a variety of important services namely:
Group and Bulk SMS services
This services allows organizations to send short messages to grouped contacts using a bulk messaging system. We already have 600+ organizations using this service.
We also have SMS, Text and Banner based advertising products for our 12,000+ individual subscribers on our web, mobile and native applications. Here sponsors advertise their products on each SMS sent through our network and these users send this SMS for free.
Importantly, Whive differs from other platforms because we are localizing our mobile applications to meet the needs of the diverse Kenyan and African communities. We have done this by making the application available in local vernacular, which include Swahili, Sheng, French and English. We will be rolling out our SMS application in other colloquial languages.
Whive is seeking to help the Kenyan youth with our Classifieds application. This application currently offers jobs and other essential information to this cohort that has been largely ignored for a long time within society. Recently Whive won the Vision 2030 ICT Award for the youth, gender and vulnerable groups sector. This achievement has emboldened us to do even more and as a result we plan to expand this service by developing a fully fledged Swahili social networking application to expand this service across our borders to the East African Community.
This new application will also form a basis of lingual translation services of key Kenyan languages for up to 10,000 Words. This will ensure that we continue to preserve our rich cultural heritage presently as envisioned in the New Constitutional Dispensation.
At Whive.com we believe that if we succeed in digitally connecting the youth to the opportunities the Internet has to offer we will as a country continue to benefit from the explosion of ideas and the utilization of talent that is plentiful in our country. In addition we will be able to meet the goals set in the Vision 2030 plan that aims to reduce illiteracy, poverty and bring our people to a middle income status by the year 2030.
Additionally Kenya will be recognized as a leading technology hub not only in Africa, but also across the world earning ourselves a prestigious leadership position that is rightfully ours.
In conclusion I would like to invite you all to join www.Whive.com where we are Connecting Africa.
John Karanja is the Founder and C.E.O of Whive.com.
This article was first featured on Business Daily on 10/06/2011 as part of the Vision 2030 Supplement.