Smartphones Creating Economic Stability for Kenya

Modern day technology in this 21st century has opened borders to areas once thought to be unattainable by people living in Third World countries. However it is becoming apparent that technology is helping places around the globe to stabilize their economic situation in a very positive direction. An example of one such country is Kenya, whose people are not only grasping technology, but are adapting it to areas that were thought to be one of the last places in need of digital devices. What are these life changing digital devices? The answer is the smartphone.

At first mention, one would think that a person using a smartphone in a Third World country is preposterous, and that assumption would have been true until now. Today it is becoming more common to be traveling along remote areas such as the Rift Valley province of Kenya, and discover a Massai warrior in his full native dress clutching a smartphone. Yes, one can now witness Massai warriors standing amongst their cattle talking to friends and checking their Facebook pages.

Even the women of Kenya are finding many vital applications for smartphones, and this is where the economy is starting to evolve into an extremely efficient system. When husbands, sons and other relatives travel hundreds of miles to work or sell livestock in villages and cities, families used to have to scrape out a living until their loved ones would return with money earned while they were away. Some forward thinking women would save money to weather these leaner times, yet they had to deal with the stress and situations brought on by the vulnerability of carrying money in economically depressed areas. However with the use of electronic money services such as a company called M-PESA, many have greatly reduce the risks of carrying too much money, by relying on it to be held in electronic accounts. They also do not have to wait as long to receive their much-needed money, where they can have access to it anywhere in the country. M-PESA has created economic stability to families because their money deposits are relatively safe and can be accessed through their mobile phones. Even when there is uncertainty brought on by government elections, M-PESA appears to be more stable then physical banks in Kenya, which means that this new money processing system is becoming a key factor to the country’s economic stability. Yet none of this could have been possible until mobile phone services had been established and now, with the introduction of the smartphone, the people of Kenya are even more empowered to protect their interests.

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Although this embracing of today’s technologies has not gone without certain frustrations that would have never been experienced in the past. This was found to be the case when a cellular signal transmitter had been stolen from the tower in an area of Kenya where the understanding of how this type of technology works is still very new. The result was great frustration for the many who have become dependent on email, social media networks and even banking systems such as M-PESA. Although services were eventually restored within a couple of weeks, this was not without anguish experienced by the many who have become reliant on these technological services. Even with these technological bumps for Kenya, it is still clear that its people are adapting quite nicely to it and have begun to define new ways to use these tools to better their lives.

Technology or rather lack-there-of, has always been in discussion regarding the economic development of African countries, and one can only hope that technology will equate to more social and economical stability for the many nations of Africa. However until then, more remote regions of this fertile continent are eager to adapt to the technologies enjoyed by many in developed countries, and one would also surmise that Kenya will be one of the leading examples of Africa’s technological advancements.