Kenya’s Silicon Savannah Pushes More Products Digital

  • 9 out of 10 Kenyan adults own a mobile device
  • Kenya’s government wants e-services to help tackle corruption

Kenya is mostly credited with drawing millions of unbanked people into the formal financial sector. Now the country is pioneering a new path beyond digitizing money where non-tech companies can use the Kenya’s robust infrastructure.

Why This Matters: Silicon Savannah, the nickname for Kenya’s fast growing technology sector, has grown past moving money and data over mobile networks. Now product-based companies from farming to pharmaceuticals are the new big tech companies in the region.

Kenya has been able to easily move beyond digital money to other types of businesses. This is primarily due to the high smartphone penetration in the region where 9 out of 10 adults own a mobile device.

As for farmers, they currently have poor logistics for getting food to markets where people can buy their products. Kenyans spend on average $0.47 of their income on food, according to the World Economic Forum. By going digital farmers can create a marketplace that cuts out layers of intermediaries.

When it comes to pharmaceuticals companies inefficiency raises the price of drugs, often beyond the ability of ordinary Kenyans to afford them. This industry going digital not only cuts out the middleman, it also decreases the risk of fake medicines entering the supply chain.

Situational Awareness: Customers and regulators seem to embrace the mobile payments ecosystem which makes it more mature in Kenya than on the rest of the continent. The Kenyan government has stated that one of the best parts about moving to e-services is that it also helps tackle corruption.

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