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African opinion leader bases a column on LIRNEasia’s systematic review on mobile impacts

Dr Bitange Ndomo is perhaps one of the most prominent voices on African ICT policy. Suffice to say he has 102,000 Twitter followers. In his latest column, read by many more than who get the hardcopy version in Nairobi, he says thus: For example, a systematic review conducted by Rohan Samarajiva, Christoph Stork, and Nilusha […]

Book on M Pesa launched

The story of M Pesa in the form of a book. Launched as a simple money transfer service, M-PESA has evolved to a full payment service which now includes payment services and the Lipa na M-PESA service which is targeted at SMEs. Since launch last year, Lipa na M-PESA has so far recruited 36, 749 […]

Ten things you need to know about M Pesa

I know. Kenya is not in Asia. And M Pesa is in Kenya. But I read this nice blog post and figured that readers of LIRNEasia might appreciate learning a bit more about M Pesa. Few initiatives in microfinance, or for that matter in development, have been as successful as M-PESA: 3 and a half […]

Mobile money

I saw this lament and my first thought was, she does not live in Kenya, but in backward New York. A truly mobile wallet — one that would let you easily pay for restaurant meals, subway rides or beers at a bar with a quick wave of your cellphone — has long been described as […]

Mobile payment is easier in Nairobi than New York

Earlier we highlighted how India is learning mobile banking from Kenya. Recently the Economist said, “Paying for a taxi ride using your mobile phone is easier in Nairobi than it is in New York, thanks to Kenya’s world-leading mobile-money system, M-PESA.” This world-leading mobile-money system of Kenya is a great example of unintended consequence. It […]

What to do about unregistered SIMs?

We have consistently argued that human beings must be associated with, and be accountable for, SIMs. The imperatives of the Budget Telecom Network Model cause companies (or more, the thousands of resellers who actually interact with customers) to give away SIMs without too many controls. Therefore, one must be judicious in enforcing the rules. We […]

20 km away with your freedom: A government servant who does not believe in concentrating power in government

It’s a rare government servant who does not believe that his prime directive is not that of giving all possible power to his government. Refreshing. But Dr Ndemo had indicated he would not support the inclusion of internet in the ITU regulations even before he left the country for the conference. “Why would we want […]

Who signed ITRs and who did not?

In the morning there was a report that the great Asian democracy, India, had not signed the ITRs. Now it looks like it did. Looks like poetic babus played a double game. Kenya’s brave lone stand is extraordinary and can be explained by what it has to lose if the Internet ceases to be seamless, […]

Where will the Asian mobile innovation hub be?

The Economist carries a good piece on the innovation/entrepreneurial boom in Kenya centered around the mobile. There should be such a place in developing Asia. Where? In 2002 Kenya’s exports of technology-related services were a piffling $16m. By 2010 that had exploded to $360m. To its boosters, Nairobi is “Silicon Savannah”. However, it differs from […]

Governments are the principal barrier to mobile money

Hard truth about why the successful mobile payments model pioneered in Kenya has failed to spread. However Kenya’s success has yet to be replicated much elsewhere. More than half of all the world’s mobile-money transactions are handled by Safaricom. Mobile money is popular in one or two chaotic countries, such as Sudan and Somalia, but […]

Airtel innovating m-based transactions in Africa, not Asia

Curious why they are not using simple m payments. Also curious why Africa? Standard Chartered Bank and MasterCard have developed a solution that will allow people in the East African nation to make online purchases with their cellphones, obviating the need for a credit or debit card. The service, called PayOnline, will soon be expanded […]

Kenya’s President does not like low telecom prices

Usually politicians like low prices. But the Kenyan President dislikes them so much that he could not wait for the Task Force established by the Prime Minister to examine a decision by the “independent” regulator to lower mobile termination rates, an esoteric wholesale price determined by technical methods. I have not looked at the Kenyan […]

Electricity-telecom nexus

Writing a piece on the technological challenges that had to be overcome to increase connectivity in the 49 least developed countries (LDCs) recently, I was struck by how many words I devoted to electricity, both on the need for keeping down the costs of network equipment and for powering handsets. In the old days, we […]

Crowdsourcing work through mobiles

Intriguing idea reported by the Economist about breaking down work into small chunks and getting people to send it back using their mobiles. The polling feature developed for LIRNEasia by Respere could fit into this easily, though Eagle may have done that in his application. Mr Eagle hopes txteagle will do its bit by mobile […]

CHAKULA features an e-interview with LIRNEasia’s CEO

CHAKULA is a newsletter produced by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). Named after the Swahili word for ‘food’, it aims to mobilise African civil society around ICT policy for sustainable development and social justice issues. The latest issue features an e-interview with LIRNEasia’s CEO Rohan Samarajiva, but it is not the only reason why […]

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