Beyond M-Pesa, Kenya’s market slow to scale mobile solutions
Friday, January 10, 2014
Kenya has emerged as the tech superstar of Africa, spurred by its mobile adoption, entrepreneurial spirit and forward-thinking regulations.
Mobile market penetration, for instance, stands at 71 percent, significantly higher than the 48 percent average in eastern Africa. M-Pesa provides financial services to 17 million Kenyans and innovators at m:Lab East Africa incubate new concepts such as M-Farm, the SMS-based information service and sales facilitator, which promises to revolutionize the way farmers engage with markets — critical for a country that relies on agriculture for 25 percent of its gross domestic product.
The Mobile Solutions team at the U.S. Agency for International Development is accelerating the adoption of market-based M4D solutions within USAID programs and across the broader international development community. We visited Kenya to discover firsthand what sets it apart. We asked ourselves, is Kenya as successful as we have heard? And is the tech revolution truly reaching Kenya’s base-of-the-pyramid consumers — those living under $2.50 per day?