• The Konza Technopolis technology hub also known as Silicon Savannah aims to attract outsourcing, software development, data centres, disaster recovery centres, call centres and light assembly manufacturing industries.
"Kenya is on the move. Africa is on the move". This tweet from Barack Obama could not be more accurate. In Kenya, ideas are teeming and a vibrant start-up scene is foreshadowing the Africa of tomorrow, the country is leading the way in technological innovation.
The Konza Technopolis technology hub also known as Silicon Savannah aims to attract outsourcing, software development, data centres, disaster recovery centres, call centres and light assembly manufacturing industries. It also includes a university campus focused on research and technology as well as hotels, residential areas, schools and hospitals. A science park, convention centre, shopping malls, hotels, international schools and hospital facilities are also expected to be part of the project. Major international digital companies have already offered their support and cooperation. Microsoft, for example, will develop a research and innovation centre to train software developers and will connect schools, hospitals and rural homes to a broadband internet connection. Another important project is Vision2030, which aims to raise up above the poverty line a population that lives half of the time below it, thanks to new technologies.
Digital innovation to improve daily life
Like many countries on the continent, Kenya does not have an optimal physical telecommunications infrastructure. So the country has gone straight into the digital age. Four-fifths of its 44 million inhabitants have a mobile phone, a rate similar to that of industrialised countries. Often ingenious and resourceful, innovative entrepreneurs have developed a plethora of mobile solutions to solve all sorts of everyday problems.
Less playful than Candy Crush, these applications are much more useful, like MedAfrica, which puts good health practices at the fingertips of millions of people, in addition to providing the location of the nearest medical facilities. In the agricultural sector, which is strategic because it accounts for 75% of Kenyan workers, small farmers can find out the latest market prices thanks to SMS messages sent by MFarm. By consulting iCow, they can find a wealth of information to optimise milk production. The M-Kopa app allows 200,000 households to benefit from solar energy and to pay for this electricity by the hour via a smartphone.
Mobile payment: a leading sector
Mobile payments are one of Kenya's leading sectors. More than three quarters of the population pay via a phone according to Pew Research. The phone has replaced cash and credit cards for many everyday purchases, for paying for energy and even for entertainment, especially online games. In Kenya, people use their phones to pay but also to be paid: for petty trading, to pay back friends or to collect winnings from gambling or betting. To find out more, view the highest payout online casino. As a result, payment security is a major concern and it is therefore no coincidence that Barclays and MasterCard, both aware that the future of banking services is also being played out in Africa, have chosen to set up an "innovation lab" in Nairobi.
In this sense, these banking networks have only followed the example of IBM, which opened its first research centre in Africa in Nairobi, giving Kenya the status of leader of the high-tech revolution on the continent. "Africa has millions of entrepreneurs who are experts in their markets and are now looking for technology support," said Nick Nesbitt, IBM's general manager for East Africa. Supported by a government that is fully committed to new technologies, this laboratory aims to train future talents.
As you can see, technological innovation is well and truly present in Kenya, and it is intended to meet the needs of the population. This dynamism is attracting more and more foreign companies and investors.