How Internet Access In Kenya Is Boosting The Economy

Well, internet access in Kenya is no longer a luxury like was the situation a few years back. It is incredible to see that almost half of the Kenyan population have devices that have access to the internet. This shows that Kenya is not being left behind in the evolution of technology. Research has shown that more than one million people access the internet on a daily basis in Kenya. A  report published by US-based cloud services provider Akamai in 2016 placed Kenya first in Africa in its analysis on in countries and regions in the world. Despite the challenges of access in some parts of the country, the internet has had a huge impact on people’s lives both socially and economically.

According to the 2016 report released by Communication authority, Kenya’s mobile penetration increased from 89.2 per cent to 90 per cent. The report further indicated that there was growth in mobile subscriptions which had been driven by proliferation of mobile data services such as m-commerce and m-banking services as well as handset affordability. Kenya is a tech savvy nation and this is evident from the kind of innovations that have emerged from this nation. For example, Kenya prides itself for the brains behind the M-PESA platform which enables people to send and receive money from anywhere in the country using their mobile phones. The greatest outcome from this I believe is the integration with banks and merchants. Internet banking has taken the Kenyan market with a bang. You can open an account, check balance and transfer cash from your bank account to your M-PESA account online as long as you’re connected to the internet.  And now every other business is coming up with an app where customers can access products and services at the touch of a button.

The world has become a global village because of the internet. This means increased border-less communication among people and therefore enabling trans-border transactions. Jumia for example, like many other e-commerce platforms in Kenya like Kilimall and OLX have reaped big with the evolution of technology and the internet. It’s so easy to get almost everything at the click of a button. Right from mobile phones, house hold electronics, gym equipment, cooked food, clothing to beauty products like make up and weaves. Do you know that Jumia is the 4th most visited site on the internet in Kenya? It has created over one thousand jobs in the country. The OLX app is also one of the apps that help people sell things that they have already used and no longer feel the need to have them. It provides a platform where buyers and sellers can meet, and therefore gives both parties an easy time when transacting.

The mother of them all is the online access to government services which were once only available physically. For instance, the filing of the Kenya revenue Authority returns was initially done at the KRA offices country wide but now you can be able to file your returns using the i-tax portal. Then there is the e-citizen portal which enables you to access different government services like renewing of driving licenses, application for passports and certificate of good conduct among other services. Another big score goes to the county government of Nairobi which has a portal for paying parking fees in the CBD. The above have brought about the much desired convenience that lacked in the past like how people used to renew their driving licenses or file returns. If you were in business, it meant you had to set aside a whole day or so to attend to the above obligations costing you that entire day.

Lastly, the internet access in Kenya has led to the emergence of new business innovations which are enabling people earn money globally. Yeah, I am talking about social media managers, Influencers, bloggers and other internet-based careers. This has forced over 95% of businesses to have an online experience in that they have websites and even social media accounts which help customers and potential customers get access to the goods or services that the business offers conveniently. Internet businesses are border-less meaning your customers may come from far beyond Kenyan borders. Stay-at-home mums are doing writing jobs for clients both in Kenya and abroad. All this made possible due to the widespread internet access in Kenya.

Broadband adoption and better speeds are the key to unlocking the power and opportunities the internet can bring in this country. Remember this can be applied in all sectors of the economy like Agriculture, entertainment, education, construction among others. Internet is now and is the future. Good access to internet in Kenya will increase the number of transactions carried out in a short period of time in turn boosting the economy.

Is Kenya confident and ambitious enough to step into the future?



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