Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Kenya Cell Phone Usage

03.01.2011 – While on my flight down to Nairobi, I was reading through my travel magazine, and on the last page, there was an investing advertisement with a map of the world, and on Africa, it says “Will cell phone use in Kenya lead the way for mobile banking worldwide”.  Even though I know IBM is beginning a new relationship with a large cell phone vendor in Africa, I am baffled that Kenya, with insufficient infrastructure for roads much less IT, would even be considered at the forefront of the cell phone technology market.  Walking down the streets of Nyeri, I am bombarded with advertisements for M-Pesa from mobile phone provider Safaricom.  During our market research, we ask the citizens on the street, when was the last time they used the post office to transfer money, and half did not even know the post office provided such a service.  But when asked about M-Pesa, they were already using the service and loved it.  Basically M-Pesa is digital currency through your cell phone.  You rarely have to carry paper currency as a Safaricom customer, and through M-Pesa, you can pay for almost anything from items at the grocery store to water bills.  The cost additional cost to use M-Pesa is fixed at 30 shillings (or 4 cents).  I can even sit across from a colleague and at any time during the day, and transfer money to his account with my cell phone.  To load your M-Pesa account, all you need to do is take paper money to one of the multiple providers or have your bank directly transfer funds, and your account is credited.  With such efficiency and ease, it is no wonder that the money transfer services offered by the Postal Corporation have been on the decline, and we must now help them to react to this market phenomenon.  As I think back to the advertisement, I can picture this service skyrocketing in the near future and really affecting the global banking environment, and hopefully cut down on costly ATM fees.

No comments:

Post a Comment