Mobile Money And Oil Make Kenya Sexy
The two comments below were found in two articles published in the Financial Times last week. ''The truth is that with M-pesa Safaricom has created something of a parallel currency system'' ''If Europe = yesterday, the stuff that’s going on in Kenya right could very well = the future.'' The World Bank has established that there are approximately 60 million mobile money users in the world, which means that almost one in three is a Kenyan.
This is a remarkable situation. It means that at our average per capita income, we have the highest financial inclusion rate anywhere in the world. And with the arrival now of the information century via the mobile internet, anyone with an internet enabled phone can participate in the c21st. This is a grass roots stimulus of a miraculous nature. If you were seeking an optimal way of igniting your human capital then I would argue the mobile phone has been a silver bullet. Safaricom has a 'network' advantage but the innovation has seeped out with banks now launching innovative mobile banking products. Have a look at KCB's mobi banking suite, for example. The mobile money phenomenon has given us a unique opportunity to pop us over the global radar and re-invent ourselves as a hub of innovation.
Tomorrow, I am taking myself off to Olkaria in the Rift Valley [I love that drive along the rim of the Rift Valley down towards Naivasha, the view is like a blow in the solar plexus] where Kengen will officially launch the country's largest geothermal power project ever undertaken in the country's history on Monday. Today it produces 210Mw, which makes Kenya the largest geothermal producer in Africa. Kengen managing director Eddy Njoroge said the US$1.3billion project for the development of 280 megawatts of geothermal power will be officially launched by president Mwai Kibaki. "The project will increase KenGen's total output by 25 percent and will raise geothermal contribution to KenGen's total electricity capacity by 35 percent," Njoroge said in a brief statement on Saturday ahead of the launch. E-Money [has happened], geothermal energy [is happening], crude oil [will happen] are all contributing to quite an aphrodisiac.
This week Michael Froman, assistant to Obama and deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs said; "The trends are all headed in the right direction, and increasingly U.S. and international companies and investors are making sub-Saharan Africa, and East Africa in particular, a priority." And our runners have not showed everyone a clean pair of heels in London yet. The stock market closed at a 12-month high Friday and has gotten bullish and frisky.