Nairobi is Africa’s first city to adopt Uber cash, mobile money

Uber officially announced that everyone in Nairobi can now pay using cash and mobile money starting today, after the successful conclusion of a two month payment pilot.

Nairobi is one of the fastest growing cities internationally for Uber following the launch of the cash test pilot.  It showed there was huge pent up demand for the Uber service as new rider sign-ups and referrals increased five fold.

The Kenyan capital is the first city in Africa and only the second city in the world to be able to pay for an Uber trip by cash, following a similar test in Hyderabad, India that commenced on 12 May 2015. Read more

Mobile phones have transformed life in Africa

Image from gettyimages

Image from gettyimages

Africa claims to be the “mobile phone continent” of the world. More than half of the population owns a mobile phone, while landline telephones have rarely existed on the continent. It’s estimated than just two per cent of all Africans have a landline, while in the US, 60 per cent are still connected to a landline.

It was predicted that at the end of 2014 nearly 600 million Africans owned a mobile phone, and it’s this mobile phone generation who are causing a surge in entrepreneurship.Considering that in 2000 just one per cent of the African population owned a mobile phone, it becomes evident that this increase is staggering. While disparity still exists here, mobile phone usage is helping to even out the playing field a little – for example in 2014, 92 per cent of adult Tanzanians sent a least one text. Read more

Battle between Africa’s mobile phone companies and banks is a boon for financial inclusion

A battle for supremacy

New mobile products coming into the market promise to deepen financial inclusion even further. Equity Bank are introducing Equitel, its telecoms unit, that will allow customers to access credit loans, perform cross border money transfers and send and receive money from other commercial banks, reports Reuters.

Equity is one of the biggest banks in east Africa and since the soft launch of Equitel in October of last year, the service has attracted a millions subscribers. The bank aims to increase that figure to 5 million by year’s end.

“We are removing barriers of financial inclusion, we are targeting telecoms to compete on data, SMS, voice and all levels of money transfer,” James Mwangi, Equity Bank’s chief executive officer said at the product’s launch. Read more

GES2015: US govt pledges support for Kenyan wireless internet provider

The US government’s development finance institution, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC),and Microsoft have signed an agreement with Kenyan wireless internet provider Mawingu Networks Ltd that will pave the way for possible funding to the tune of $4million towards the company’s free Wi-Fi project.

The Project is aimed at helping people living off-grid and in rural communities across Africa access affordable Wi-Fi.

OPIC president and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield is currently in Nairobi for the 2015 Global Entrepreneur Summit, and signed the OPIC mandate alongside Antony Cook who is Microsoft’s head of legal and corporate affairs for the Middle East and Africa. Cook served as a witness to the mandate between OPIC and Mawingu.

“The development potential from creative private sector organisations like Mawingu captures the spirit and promise at the heart of this week’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit,” said Littlefield.

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