Business Implications Of Kenya’s Mobile & Internet Convergence
Singularity – A hypothetical moment in time when artificial intelligence and other technologies have become so advanced that humanity undergoes a dramatic and irreversible change
OK. So we are no where near a real singularity in Kenya using the above definition but we most certainly have a very significant convergence happening with mobile and Internet technologies. According to the Communications Authority’s (CA) Q1 2015/2016 sector report that came out yesterday (and you can download here), Kenya now has 88.1% mobile penetration as well as 74.2% Internet penetration. What is interesting to note is that 99% of ALL broadband Internet access in Kenya is mobile according to the CA which amounts to 6.3 million mobile subscriptions or 14.7% of ALL mobile Internet users in Kenya.
The trends described above paint a very compelling picture that businesses need to take note of going forward. For one thing, we are now faced with a scenario as a country where mobile and the Internet are collectively the single largest digital ecosystem. There is NO media that is as big as mobile and the Internet combined, going forward. Couple this with the fact that Kenya now has 27.7 million money subscriptions according to the same CA report and you have the perfect trifecta for digital commerce.
As far as digital business is concerned, every business in Kenya needs to ensure that they take advantage of the trends outlined above, as follows:
Its Time For Businesses in Kenya To Invest In Mobile Apps
Given the rise of inexpensive smartphones and affordable mobile Internet in Kenya, the time is right for businesses to invest in the development of mobile apps that enable them to connect with consumers going forward. Kenya is well-known for being an early adopter market in Africa when it comes to leading edge technologies so this represents a golden opportunity for the first movers.
Connect Digital Business To Safaricom’s M-Pesa API
Safaricom’s M-Pesa is by far the most popular mobile money service in Kenya. What is even more exciting is that earlier this year Safaricom upgraded the M-Pesa platform and it now has an API that enables businesses to integrate their services (and mobile apps) for M-Pesa transactions. Businesses have generally not (yet?) taken full advantage of this opportunity but the numbers do not lie. Having a fully integrated mobile app or e-commerce enabled website with M-Pesa payments is the logical way forward.
Ensure Digital Business Channels Are Mobile-First
As businesses spread their footprint to a myriad of digital business channels, the inherently mobile-first nature of Kenya’s digital ecosystems means that any initiative MUST be designed to make mobile a first class citizen in customer facing service delivery. The numbers are overwhelmingly in favour of mobile in Kenya and therefore this requires a mindset where less can be more given that mobile experiences have to be incredibly user-friendly and streamlined to maximise engagements and sales conversions. At the most basic-level, Kenyan businesses need to have mobile optimised or mobile responsive corporate websites.