I completely agree with you. I was simply trying to point out the barriers to adoption for people in low income regions. There have been many initiatives to still lower those economic barriers but it is still a factor.
Even though the investments like mobile and talktime are inevitable, it is very important to understand the benefits of this kind of technology. There are endless possibilitis of business transactions with this mobile money transfers.
@Nemos - Will keep you posted about my upcoming travels =). There is a possibility I may be in sub-Saharan Africa again in the not too distant future.
You're right in talking about cell phone penetration... I don't know exactly what it is for Kenya, but I know in Ghana, in West Africa, that number is already above 80%. Mobile phones, more than laptops or other computing devices, has revoluntionized developing countries and is empowering people to start moving out of extreme poverty.
@prabhakar_deosthali - This is my understanding of how it works as well. It's based on account balances or added money and isn't at all a credit card. Two things you mentioned were also top of mind for people I spoke with - being able to conduct business at the roadside and no longer having to carry cash. Like most developing countries, Kenyan roads are still tough to travel on (one of my colleagues got three flat tires in the same day), so being able to get everything handled quickly off the main highway is critical. Also, because of safety issues, not having cash handy, makes people less of a target for robberies.
@Jennifer...as i have not used the airtel money till now, most of the information that i have collected is through website. The concept is quite similar to having debit card or internet banking account. Though if require cash then you need to first transfer money to bank a/c and then go to nearby ATM. But otherwise it seems as convienient as other bank a/c. The only downfall seems to be a bit higher tranaction cost. More info on: http://airtelmoney.in/wps/wcm/connect/airtelmoney/airtelmoney/home/faqs/faq
syedzunair, @Bolaji - The banking situation and money-transfer situations in the developing world always fascinates me, regardless of whether it's in Africa, Asia or Latin America. It's amazing to me that I still have to beg Western colleagues not to write/send/rely on checks, an arachic system dating back to, what, the late 19th Century? Good grief. I know it's complicated to change, but the slowness at adapting is equaly frustrating.
Wale Bakare - Agreed. Nairobi seems to have "tech hub" potential, based on some conversations I heard recently. Of course, there are still lots of issues to deal with (saftey and corruption immediately come to mind), but it will be an interesting place to watch. And, yes, on Ghana - that's another place on my radar screen.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.