Kenya: The Tech Rebounds
In the past two weeks, events have taken place that truly reflect the advancements in technology and social media.
The role of bloggers and influential ordinary (I don’t know why “ordinary”) Kenyans social media in Kenya is slowly being appreciated. For this reason, two of the highest ranked government officers invited tweeps and bloggers to different forums where they were to represent the Kenyans on social networks and the blogosphere. There was the #DinnerWithPM and the #VPmeetup. I was lucky to secure an invite to the Vice President’s meetup. Whatever went on in these meetings(informal) is another matter altogether but the most important aspect is that finally our local politicians are starting to see the importance of the many a times anonymous and little known personalities behind widely popular blogs and Twitter accounts. This in itself presents the dynamics brought about by the increased usage of social media amongst the citizenry to pass information amongst themselves without relying on traditional information sources like newspapers which normally stick with strict media ethics (of course for public good and protection of reputations).
Airtel Kenya CEO Rene Meza left for Vodacom TZ to work in the same capacity in a company owned by Vodafone UK, the parent company of Safaricom Ltd, Airtel Kenya’s main competitor. How this will affect the local telecommunications sector is yet to be seen. However, the issue of inconsistency and unpredictability at Airtel (Kencell, Celtel, Zain) is what comes to mind in light of the latest developments.
Just days after the Communications Commission of Kenya, CCK, backed out of a plan to switch off all counterfeit cellphones, President Kibaki ordered the switching off of all unregistered SIM cards. Now that this is a presidential directive, I hope CCK, working with the service providers will move in fast and not only switch off all unregistered SIM cards but also the counterfeit cellphones (read China phones).
With Kenya’s expected digital migration, plans are underway to have set top boxes made in Kenya and specifically at the University of Nairobi. This will be a big leap because it will not only lead to a decrease in set top boxes’ prices but it will also be an avenue for students to learn a lot as regards emerging technologies.
The Business Insider released its widely acclaimed Top 100 startups to watch out in 2011 and beyond. Two were from Kenyan developers. Pesapal and Ushahidi made it to this coveted list. Kudos to them. It is also very encouraging to local developers. We can toil knowing that at the end there’s hope.
Orange Kenya, after several false starts, finally unveiled its long awaited 21 Mbs 3G network. I am yet to experience it thus I am forced to imagine it was a Nairobi only launch and a complete roll out to other parts of the nation is coming up. I hope so.
Samsung is getting bigger and bigger in Kenya. This is demonstrated in its two high profile product launches in Nairobi over the last two weeks. It unveiled locally both the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Samsung Galaxy S 2. Even though the devices are targeted for the high end market, they are the best that there are in terms of devices running the Android operating system.
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About echenzeStudent of life, social media enthusiast and blogger. I love gadgets, isn't that obvious? When I'm not on my Droid reading something or tweeting, I'm hunched over my computer doing my classwork and checking out the latest in tech. Basically, I have no life besides gadgets :)
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