African countries are generally still classed as developing nations, but the rate of development has been on the increase in many parts of the continent in recent years.
One area where we have got significantly better in the last few years is in our technological advancements, with Kenya amongst the countries showing the way for the rest of the continent.
Several barometers can be used in measuring the technological advancement in a country; some of the most important being density of high tech companies, productivity and diversity of tech products, level of technological research and development within the country, mobile penetration, internet accessibility and affordability and financial inclusion.
Kenya has taken a leadership role in many of these facets, and is rated as one of the fastest-growing tech countries in the world.
Kenya’s big technological strides has earned her the tag “Silicon Savanna”- a sharp contrast to nicknames like “Nairoberry”, which were going around a few years ago in reference to the security issues in the capital city.
Now, Nairobi and other other big cities have become start-up havens, with hundreds of young tech businesses kicking off annually.
According to the 2021 Global Innovation Index, Kenya has the third most innovative economy in sub-Saharan Africa, behind Mauritius and South Africa; and ahead of Cape Verde and Tanzania. In the global charts, Kenya is ranked as the 85th most innovative economy.
Indeed, Kenya’s growth has had a positive effect on surrounding nations, with the likes of Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda also recording steady growths in their tech sectors.
With more people now owning mobile phones and being able to connect to the internet, the communication gap across Kenya has become significantly smaller.
Not only can people conveniently pass information to each other, manufacturers and service providers are now able to reach the Kenyan audience through mobile advertising means like social media.
As a result, there has been a big rise in online businesses.
The game changer has arguably been mobile money. Kenya is home to M-Pesa, a global giant in the mobile money industry. M-Pesa and other mobile money networks like Airtel have completely transformed financial inclusion in Kenya, sharply bringing down the number of unbanked Kenyans.
People can now conduct their day-to-day transactions without having to own bank accounts. They can send and receive money; and pay all sorts of bills by simply clicking a few buttons on their mobile phones.
One industry that has particularly benefited from all of these is the online betting industry, which is now said to be worth hundreds of billions of shillings.
There are now numerous betting operators in the country, with the best betting sites in Kenya all having M-Pesa and Airtel as part of their payment options.
From greater mobile penetration to better financial inclusion, Kenya has become one of the most advanced tech nations on the continent.
There is still a long way to go before the Silicon Savannah starts rubbing shoulders with their counterparts in the western world, but the East African nation is definitely on the right path.