Nov 27

Kenya, a digital heavyweight on the rise

With its 44 millions citizens, an internet access rate above 90% and 31% of its economy supported by e-payment methods, Kenya is becoming a heavyweight of digital economy in Africa next to South Africa and Nigeria and way ahead of some countries with similar demographics such as Cameroon or DRC.

According to a recent report from Global Tech Media WeeTracker,the country in which startups have raised the largest amount of funds is Africa during the first semester of 2018 is Kenya. This dynamism is an indicator of the forward march that Kenya has been undertaking towards a new age where the economy is powered by ICTs. Mark Zuckerberg’s 2016 visit at Nairobi’s IHub was a key moment revealing the dynamism of the Silicon Savannah’s tech community.

Kenya has indeed reached a leading position on the digital scene in East Africa and everywhere on the African continent: the pioneering country of mobile banking birthed the now giant operator M-Pesa and has seen many startups such as WeFarm flourish. The incubators and tech labs sprinkled over Nairobi and its surroundings are indicators of a local startup culture. From the 2000s onwards, the country has prioritized ICTs and the digital economy in its agenda.

In 2000, the Kenyan government liberalized the ICT sector

Located in East Africa, the fastest growing African regional economy, Kenya benefits from a strategic location.

In 2000, the Kenyan government contributed to improve the environment for ICT companies and entrepreneurs which stimulated local innovation. The country wne from second to third generation of mobile phones and is now on its way to adopt the Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. From 2000 to 2009, the growth rate of the ICT sector has reached an average of 23% and investment in the ICT made up about 1% of the GDP growth rate. The country is now an East African leader in terms of ICT and has ambitions for the improvement of its business ecosystem, giving way to an impressive effervescence of ideas and initiatives. One of its major assets is its population: the country benefits from a dynamic, creative and tech-savvy youth.

One of the murals adorning the streets of Nairobi, symbolizing the capital city’s creativity

Nairobi and its smart city dreams

The origins of an African success

Seedstars has recently published an infographic on Kenya’s ecosystem. Aside from those we’ve already mentioned, many assets are pointed out in the document: the involvement of public authorities in the improvement of infrastructures and the dynamism of the private sector’s investment in the local startup environment. There are now more than 1200 business angels and investment funds in Kenya and the government has invested about 140 millions US$ in local startups.

 

Seedstars infographics about Kenya

Spotlight on some key projects:

WeFarm

Having acknowledged the isolation many farmers cope with on a daily basis, the startup WeFarm offers an alternative to Internet crafted for farmers. The service is an SMS-based solidarity network allowing farmers to exchange valuable advice about crops, cattle or productivity. This peer-to-peer network works for digital inclusion and life conditions improvement for farmers.

#application mobile #peertopeer #empowerment

Nairobi intelligent traffic system

The Kenya Urban Roads Authority has launched its Nairobi Intelligent Transport System(ITS). The service is one of the first smart traffic monitoring system in Africa. It aims at regulating road traffic through the use of video surveillance and sensors as an e-police overviews the process. The authorities aim at reducing traffic congestion through ITCs and therefore at improving daily life for urban dwellers.

#smartcity #smartmobilité #transports intelligents

For more information about groundbreaking African initiatives, visit our “projects” webpage.