Internet helps Africa via remittances and VoIP, by Danny O’Brien

Friday, May 6, 2005 is a site run from the east African country of Kenya. It looks similar to a flower delivery website, or perhaps a mini African Amazon.
It sells online an elaborate range of goods for delivery – 40 roses, a crate of Tusker beer, or a mocha chip cake. You can buy monthly shopping certificates for Kenyan and Ugandan grocery stores, mobile phone airtime or a petrol card.
MamaMikes doesn’t look like the internet transforming life in Africa. It looks like a pretty standard e-commerce site, down to the awkward mix of colours and fonts. But it’s part of an online ecosystem that has a direct effect on the daily lives of Africans – even Africans that never use a computer.
A customer (typically in the US or Europe) goes to the site and picks from the list of products, which are basically gift cards. They give the recipient details, and businesses in Kenya and Uganda fulfil the orders.
The orders can be gifts for special occasions, but they can also be lifelines.
Story found here.

Source: Irish Times