Mobile Money and Other Kenyan Tech Trends to Watch Out for in 2016
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
If there is one tech lesson we (hopefully) learned in 2015 is that the average Kenyan knows what they want and will go the extra length to glean the most value at the best possible price. We saw consumers emerge big winners in 2015 at the height of mobile data wars, the digital migration tussle, mobile manufacturers introducing smarter, cheaper smart phones in the market and financial institutions customizing mobile services.
So what predictions can we make in 2016 in the B2C tech space? One thing is for sure, consumers will continue to dictate what’s hot and what’s not. However, we are unlikely to see blockbuster out-of-the-box innovative offerings in 2016. Instead, startups and corporations will consolidate on gains made in 2015 and expand services on existing platforms and technology.
Mobile money across Africa
As more countries in Africa adopt mobile money and partnerships are created between operators, it will be easier, faster and cheaper to send and receive money across borders. Towards the end of 2015, MTN Rwanda, MTN Uganda, and Safaricom partnered to introduce cross-border transactions. Airtel, with operations in 17 African countries, extended its mobile money transfer service. Airtel subscribers can now send and receive money to any of the 17 countries through a community of network operators.
The Kenyan Government is keen to push the One-Network-Area concept which will harmonize data and mobile money charges in Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda, further pushing roaming charges down. We will not be surprised if, by the end of 2016, mobile money will be the most pervasive money transfer system in the continent. This will definitely boost regional trade. Meanwhile, mobile money interoperability apps and services are coming up across the continent.
2016 is the year we will fully appreciate the integration of mobile money, social media, e-commerce, and e-banking. We have already seen how companies are using multiple channels to interact with customers. In 2016, the big goal will be to provide an end-to-end mobile solution where consumers can engage and transact with minimal navigation. This is now a reality considering there are more resources available for developers like the M-Pesa API. E-commerce and Fintech industries will be the clear winners of this integration.