Safaricom has finally decided to listen to Kenyan developers (including myself) who have been shouting ourselves hoarse about the need for them to begin moving towards coordinating or collecting Kenya’s vast developer talent into one central location or platform.
They have done this by partnering with Strathmore University which is by far the leading institution in terms of training software and web developers. I know this because I was lucky enough to go there and get good training in this domain.
I am also one of the few who has been calling for this exact move (see here and here) not because I am the seer of Kariamandu but also because I have about 3 Apps if given the right environment and access to Safaricom’s data can make me move one step further from the poverty line.
In addition Safaricom cannot afford to hedge its future on voice it needs to move aggressively and decisively into the App cloud space where it can perpetually make the billions it so cleverly makes going forward.
Those of you who are now bubbling with excitement about this move can develop your ideas with us at http://www.spacekenya.com … We sign NDA’s to protect your ideas from the ever present hawks…
Safaricom has also partnered with Equity to create a new Banking Cloud App called Mkesho. If only Safaricom was as regional as Zain Kenyan applications would have a access to a larger market.
I rarely excited about start ups in Kenya because like many of mine they dont seem to get enough support from industry players and government. However just when you think innovation is dead someone somewhere unleashes a stunning and brilliant idea. This someone is Kenneth Ngetha 22, a 4th year student at the prestigious Strathmore University(i went there too!!!) in Nairobi, who has come up with an online gateway for making payment transfers to Kenya.
The system suitably named TULIPE solves the basic problem which is that in East Africa, (and Africa in general); E-Commerce Payments on the web are not well developed because of a low penetration of banking services (which means credit cards are not sufficient). However, there have been developments in the Mobile Money sphere and it serves the long tail of the unbanked. Tulipe aims to use this Mobile Money & Existing Bank accounts for online payments, as is the case with credit cards.
This brilliant idea is modelled on the US based PAYPAL.com which currently transacts billions of dollars every year in this way. Tulipe still on beta release has caught the eye of Kenyan investors who see in Tulipe a business model and solution that will help reduce the cost of transfering money to and from Kenya. This cost mostly brought about by thefts, delays and official corruption have been a major obstacle to doing business in Kenya.