I have in the past one year written 3 articles (Article 1, Article 2 & Article 3) arguing why Mobile Operators should have entered the App space a long time ago. This is essentially because Kenya has proved itself to be uniquely innovative in developing mobile applications/solutions that actually work and generate revenue.
So when Zain lowered its call rates to all Kenyan networks it opened the pandora box placing mobile applications and data at the center of competition in the Kenyan Mobile Space.
Join Andrea Bohnstedt and Nyagaka Ongeri in this very insightful dicussion about Mobile Application, Data and Revenue Generation.
I would only add that individuals and companies need to find a way to mesh Mobile Service (like SMS) and Web Applications to allow Content Creation that would ultimately create advertising space on the Kenyan Internet.
That is what we at Whive.com have done.
Have a look at our live applications which all are all partly SMS Based.
I showcased Whive.com as an African social networking platform that is offering social networking tools to Kenyans in their colloquial languages.
I also showed for the first time our social networking Mobile App for Nokia.
This application will be available on iKatiba.com Kenya’s first Mobile App Store from this week. You can view the release dates here http://www.ikatiba.com. Also See our iKatiba facebook photo album by our fans here
I got a number of interesting questions from the community on use and business case for this applications and demonstrated that we need to innovate at the local level with global thinking.
Here are some of the tweets regarding this
downeym Looks like Whive.com will be a good competitor to
@naijaborn and @camerborn in west africa #BarCampNairobi
One of the challenges Kenyans and Africans face, which is also often talked about in forums such as the recent Mobile Monday (MoMo see here and here ) at the iHub is how to bridge the information gap within and between people in our Kenyan and African context.
Jessica Colaco has been a huge proponent of the mobile web and has suggested that users and developers need to get together to scale ideas into projects that can be fine tuned to meet the growing demand for information amongst the Kenyan people.
What we are proposing to do with Whiver.com is to extract conversations from our larger Whive.com platform and sort of go on a meet the people tour.
Ideas such as Jessica’s of connecting data to researchers as well as others ideas of connecting users to publishers/content providers is key and any platform that does this in our own local context should be encouraged.
Indeed developers in Kenya should not be lethargic when approaching social media but should come up with new ways of spreading the gospel of innovation and community. Think of Makmende use of social media as one such example.
In this regard we at Whive.com have come up with a platform (due to be on Beta to our users shortly) that will.
Show trending conversations in Kenya and Africa.
Allow one to many and many to many conversations.
Encourage community and innovation through our Free Ads gateway.
Published: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 21:42 on Depers.NL
Nairobi buzzes. A new generation of Internet innovators to attract the continent out of the gutter. “Without the Web, we were still stuck in that dark hole.”
“The light has entered,” said Aly-Khan Satchu, founder of the online financial architecture Rich in Kenya. “Long was dark. Then came the mobile phone and the Internet to Kenya. The revolution began. “
The last five years, the number of mobile phone owners in Kenya has grown from 15,000 to 17.4 million.
He can not only make calls and send text messages but also important, sometimes life-saving information to obtain, blogging, make friends, trade, banking, pressure on authorities. And, perhaps most importantly, inspiration to include online services and applications to design and create.
As the social networking site Whive. Founder John Samson Karanja wanted more than just a meeting place created for Africans. “We are hungry for information. On Whive (read: we-hyve) I want to encourage visitors to ask questions and sharing answers. “
Karanja, who with his Whive the first winner of the Innovation Fund of Nokia (Nokia Open Screen Fund), will be the web host visitors also in several local languages of independent information provided on various issues such as health issues, veeprijzen, or where and how a new company can register.
“Many people in rural areas not now know that if you fold a towel and a water filter used, the risk of cholera greatly reduced,” says Karanja. “In my mobile application they know that later.”
Karanja is a real cheetah.
In 2007 all Ghanaian economist George Ayittey spoke of the emerging young African cheetah generation, who find new solutions to old problems. Unlike the older generation hippopotamus, still muttering to colonialism and imperialism, cheetahs take matters into their own hands.
With the Internet, they have finally found a way to pull Africa out of the gutter. They devise innovative and creative applications that they run the world as hard as in the West.
They seek each other out in brand new reception, like the iHub and iLab, where you can get help and advice for your innovative idea into a business. They are encouraged to establish partnerships and encourage others to also participate.
It is true that social thought that cheetahs of Kenya unites in a strong, homogeneous group, which together with lifts to new Internet applications to find solutions to poverty.
There is MapKibera, the largest slum in Africa online maps, or Shujaaz, a free comic that mobile phone provider Safaricom is distributed and where the reader is urged to SMS solutions to problems such as racial hatred.
But perhaps the most successful initiative so far is Nairobits that young people between 17 and 24 years from Kibera learn to design and develop websites.
Web designers and developers are very popular in Kenya since its creation in 2000, Nairobits hundreds of young people from the slum through the course at a paid job helped. “Without the Internet we are still stuck in that dark hole,” says director of cheetah Nairobits Mark Kamau, who himself grew up in Kibera. “We had no prospect of something even came close to a career.”
The Internet, the distance between the slum dwellers and the suits and Mercedes cars from downtown Nairobi virtually eliminated. It transforms from a disadvantaged African continent where everything goes slow, to a continent that joins the online revolution. Or, as Aly-Khan Satchu of Rich says: “Suddenly we drive a Ferrari. It is our moment, and it comes only once.
Kenya Technology Scene Buzzing
Read more about Stefanie’s and Jaap’s work in Africa in their website TriplePMedia.nl
Article By: Stephanie VermeulenPhotos by: Jaap van ‘t KruisPublished: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 21:42 on Depers.NL
I must say i am happy with the Safaricom Wireless connection of late. The speeds are now comparable to some connections i have used in more advanced economies.
I have been able to do Skype calls and even watch Youtube Videos Ocassionally.
Now that Safaricom has opened up its PAY BILL Mpesa gateway i also see the prospects of monetizing Whive.com Kenya’s fastest growing social network so its now double smiles from me
However the PRICES need to be comparable to the more competitive parts of this world. The bandwidth still costs a small fortune…
So all i am asking Safaricom Executives and top decision organs to have faith in Kenyan Developers (PesaPal/ipay et al …) to make things work and develop the e-commerce eco system in this country in rapid time.
It was sad to hear that the Safaricom Maestro Micheal Joseph is leaving the company this year, i hope he will consider mentoring us at places like *iHub_ and local universities.
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, and thank you for coming to my presentation, which is about mobile/web technology and social progress in East Africa. As you have heard i am John Karanja the Founder of Whive.com a web and mobile social media platform for Africans.
On my first slide, there is an overview of the 6 main points of my talk. Let me go over them so that we are on the same page from start to finish.
Where are we with regards to mobile/web technologies and social progress in East Africa?
Where are we going?
How can we get there?
How long will it take to get there?
What do we do when we get there?
How do we remain competitive in the global market?
So let’s consider my first point Where are we?
East Africa has 3% Internet use and between 30-40% telephone use. So there is a huge gap between access to mobile and web technologies.
10,000 KM of fibre optic cable throughout Kenya for example. The rest of the region is following this example to provide the crucial backbone for internet growth.
East Africa also has on the one hand a AVERAGE 70% literacy rate in both English and Swahili which is good but on the other hand a poverty rate of 50% which is an undesireable obstacle to future growth.
This mismatch between our literacy and poverty rate has to be addressed because this region has a potentially large market of about 120 million people, 60% of whom are under 24 years of age.
Now let’s move on to my next slide where I pose the question, where are we going?
Would we not like to see 100% web and mobile coverage?
Universal Literacy will enable us to achieve 100% web & mobile coverage and this in turn will help achieve Universal Banking (e.g. MPESA). Equity has identified a niche whereby the will be banking the unbanked through Mpesa thus becoming the largest network of Mpesa in East Africa.
If we achieve these goals this will allow us to deploy more web and mobile solutions such as social networks (Whive.com) to more people, which in turn will enhance social connectedness.
One of the central keys which will be pivotal to the cost effectiveness of services will be to achieve the goal of universal banking through services such as mpesa. This will allow for the efficient flow of capital and ease of business transactions.Reduction of corruption because systems reduce the number of loopholes for corrupt practices.
Building Distributed services for Health and Agriculture for example Brookside has developed a mobile distribution system for monitoring milk distribution.
Only 10% of Kenyans are insured we need to develop these systems for them.
Now How can we get there?
This can be achieved through Crowd sourcing and social mapping tools (e.g. USHAHIDI).
I suggest using existing Networks both Social and Digital (e.g. Mobile social networks like Whive.com can be utilized by existing social groups such as small investment clubs).
Building Digital villages for capacity building.
Increased competition in the ICT sector. Incentives for SME’s involved in ICT (e.g. Tax incentives and access to affordable technologies).
Universal Primary Education in Basic Computing Skills. Youth are most creative. Rwanda is doing it so can we!
Where is all this money going to come from to achieve this almost utopian dream. The Money to do this is in the pockets of Kenyans(Stock & Bond Markets, Private Equity and Venture Capital) .
How long will it take to get there?
Starting the journey is the hardest part!
India achieved recognition in software development in 10 years.
Kenya is already earning a 1/5th of what India earns annually!!!
Which means in essence we can compete with India in software development.
More Social/Tech gatherings and building capacity for research in order to solve local problems and meet the computing needs of people throughout the region. e.g. This can be done through incubation centres such as iHub and ICT parks such as Sameer Business Park will be crucial in the short term.
Concept ideas such as Malili Technopolis which is a city being built in Athi River modelled on Malaysian and Egyptian Digital cities will attract interest in this region in the long term.
How do we remain competitive?
Laying a stable foundation will enhance future growth.
Technologies to connect villages (fibre optic, WI-MAX and 3g networks) are essential.
We have to get the youth into the electronic and digital sectors at the higher levels of education. This is because our Youth are the wealth of our nation and we should offer them Better employment opportunities.
Expanding our own markets by localizing software (Whive.com).
Increasing competition in ICT sector to get best prices possible(Regulation and Licencing such as CCK).
Research, map social problems as they exist now to monitor social progress in the future (Ushahidi).
Conclusion Just to recap my 5 main points…
We need to assess where we are, our strengths and our weaknesses.
We need to determine what we would like to achieve.
We need to analyse what technologies and policies to implement to achieve these goals.
We need to define a time line to achieve our desired goals.
We need to establish how we shall remain competitive through giving incentives to SME’s and regulation to establish fair trade/play.
Have a look at www.Whive.com to see our social media project.
Download this presentation at www.JohnKaranja.com More content and analysis is available on the same website.
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.
Whive.com is about to launch the first swahili social network that will allow millions of Africans who speak Swahili to access the social networking platform. These will enable these people to interact with each other for both business and social purposes. You can preview the new Swahili Network at this link [Whive.com Swahili].
Please see the mobile network being used by hundreds of Kenyans to send SMS.
This is bound to increase the creation of Swahili Content and improve communications amongst a people who have been in the dark technologically.
My friends, I discovered some really nice tips on Smartbiz which i thought i should share with you. I really think Safaricom is still the best Stock to acquire as the company has a lot of growth prospects. Anyways without further ado here are the tips. What do you think?
The Nairobi Stock Exchange showed signs of recovery from a prolonged bear run (persistent fall in share prices). Most counters were up on the back of renewed investor confidence in the market, but this was short-lived as prices went on the low towards the end of the week.
Here are some stocks to watch according to analysts at Emerging Africa Capital, the Nairobi-based investment consulting company:
Access-Kenya: The counter inched upwards with demand rising, but at some point the market having no supply. The counter is a good buy for the short to medium investors.
Total: With the company having successfully bided for the assets of a rival marketer, expect action on this counter as punters take up positions. Good stock for speculative buyers.
KCB: The counter continued dominating the market with the volumes moving up. The price is up but still discounted. This is a good buy for the medium to long-term investors.
Safaricom: The mobile phone company has announced half year results, with profit before tax up a marginal 2.2%, which have generated interest on this counter.
Equity Bank: The counter remains a value stock owing to the current low price. With sound fundamentals, the counter is expected to continue drawing savvy investors, especially for sort-term gains as this has been a highly speculative stock.