This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
in Kenya the National Health Insurance Fund reduced its administrative costs from 60% to 32% by automating its claims processing, accessing real-time data and tracking payment processes
The M-Pesa system is quite reasonable when it comes to fees; around 2.5%, as compared with 20% or more for the other transfer systems it has largely replaced… But the cost of the data provided by Safaricom and other mobile operators can be another story… SMS text messages cost little individually, but globally add up to 150 billion dollars per year, or more than global music, videogames, cinema box office, and internet content revenues combined… Texts serve as the emails, letters, telegrams, and often telephone calls of the developing world, all rolled into 160 character missives… For many poorer Kenyans and others in the developing world, communication is now among the major expenses after food and shelter.
There’s an ATM across the alley. But Marteenie tells us that even for the less than half of his customers who have a bank account, the minimum of around $12 is more than most people want to draw out in cash. M-PESA lets them buy things in the 25 and 50 cent ranges. These could be a few minutes of airtime, or an individual packet of laundry powder, or a fresh tilapia like the ones we saw in the hands of the subsistence fisherman
Bitange Ndemo, the top civil servant at Kenya’s Ministry for Information and Communication has a grand plan to put the whole of Kenya’s government online. “If we ..automated the procurement systems, we would raise another $1bn [£624m]. We would gain far [more] than going out there to look for money from donors.” Mr Ndemo believes that IT has the power to change life in Africa as radically as steam changed life in Europe in the 19th Century. “[There is] a new industrial revolution that is coming in this digital age,” he says.
Mr. Kariuki regularly sends out tweets about missing children and farm animals, showing that the power of social media has reached even into a dusty African village. Lanet Umoja is 160 kilometres west of the capital, Nairobi.
“There is a brown and white sheep which has gone missing with a nylon rope around its neck and it belongs to Mwangi’s father,” he tweeted recently in the Swahili language. The sheep was soon recovered.
Mr. Kariuki said that even the thieves in his village follow him on Twitter. Earlier this year, he tweeted about the theft of a cow, and later the cow was found abandoned, tied to a pole.
When a man in his late fifties in Mr. Kariuki’s village fell into a pit latrine in December, the village administrator’s tweets mobilized area residents and saved him.
Mr. Kariuki’s official Twitter page shows 300 followers, but the former teacher estimated that thousands of the 28,000 residents in his area receive the messages he sends out directly and indirectly
Farmers register with one of 30 solar-powered weather stations, each covering a 15–20 kilometre radius, and purchase insurance when buying seeds and fertilisers. Kilimo Salama uses data from these stations to calculate the severity of droughts — or excessive rainfall. Eligible farmers then receive payouts via their mobile phones.
In March, it paid out US$3,135 each to more than 1,200 farmers for losses after lack of rain, and more than 1,400 farmers received US$9,230 each in September because of prolonged droughts that caused crop failure.
Earlier this year, the Chinese firm Huawei unveiled IDEOS through Kenya’s telecom titan, Safaricom. So far, this $80 smartphone has found its way into the hands of 350,000+ Kenyans, an impressive sales number in a country where 40% of the population lives on less than two dollars a day
A whopping 99% of the internet traffic in Kenya is done via mobile operators, meaning 3G, Edge or GPRS.
In May, Safaricom took it one step further, partnering with Equity Bank and offering M-Kesho, an interest-bearing savings account, to all M-Pesa users. Subscribers can now use their cell phones to transfer money from their M-Pesa accounts — using Safaricom’s existing network of nearly 20,000 licensed card vendors — into their M-Kesho accounts. M-Kesho users are also able to access mobile microinsurance and microloan products. By registering SIM cards that double as individualized account numbers, Equity Bank is seeing 8,000 new customers each day, and its CEO, James Mwangi, recently predicted that, in mere months, Kenya “will be the most-banked country in Africa and the developing world.”
11% of Kenya’s GDP was shifted through Mpesa in 2009, and the company expects that to be around 20% this year.
Mpesa is used by 9.5m people, or 23% of the population, and transfers the equivalent of 11% of Kenya’s GDP each year… More than 17,600 retailers have signed up as M-PESA agents—far outnumbering Kenya’s 840 bank branches.
Three years ago, there were 2.5 million bank accounts in Kenya, out of a population of 39 million. Today, there are close to 8 million bank accounts (of which 4.5 million are with Equity Bank) plus a further 9.5 million M-PESA accounts. One third of M-PESA accounts are held by people that are otherwise unbanked
Today 49% of all banking accounts in Kenya are mobile phone banking accounts, and more than half of the South Korean population already use credit cards or mobile payments on their phones