Thursday, 9 August 2012

How Kenya became a market leader for Mobile Money transfer

 When I bought my first cellphone handset in way-back in 2000,  I was among the first lot of middle income Kenyans to own a mobile phone

 Then, Kenya was a laggard in adopting mobile telephony. We used to queue to make a call  at those phone booths owned by dear old Kenya telecommunication Corporation. To own a Telephone fixed line handset then was like owning ..well. It was not easy. You could wait in the queue of applicants for years. And you had to bribe every one  in the technical department to get a line.

I personally waited for four years for a  line-becauseI refused to bribe. What the fellows at telecoms did not realise is; they were killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

Then, we used to be regaled with stories of how Market women s in Uganda and Tanzania were doing business using their Mobile phones. Those are the times I was embarrassed to be a  Kenyan- except of-course when Paul Tergat, Catherine Ndereba, John  Ngugi and Paul Ereng were out there winning gold medals for Kenya.

Then the Mobile phone finally reached Kenya and we embraced it whole heartedly. To date, just 12 short years later, there are more mobile phone handsets in Kenya than there are adults. And we lead East Africa in this respect. By the end July 2012, there  were close to 30 million handsets in the country, never mind that an estimated 4 million of these are Mark Juma Mtambo (that is, fakes).

Five short years ago, Safaricom Kenya launched the mobile Money transfer, called M-Pesa. And I am proud that five year later this invention is a success story. It is the gist of the story from the world bank below.

The story says that in, addition to David Rudisha, Cheruiyot and all those guys who can do a Rudisha, M-PESA is a  gold medalist in the world. Well I am now proud to be a Kenyan.
To read the story Go to this link

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