Living in Kenya during the last decade means bearing witness to explosive growth in mobile technology and services. Kenya has led the global stage in leapfrogging outdated technology and reimagining how to communicate, access entertainment, and provide financial services. Here we highlight a few mind-blowing facts that reflect these trends.
FACT #1: MORE SIMS THAN PEOPLE
Today, there are more active SIM cards in Kenya than there are people. The fact that dual-SIM functionality is commonplace keeps carriers on their toes and prices competitive.
FACT #2: M-PESA TO THE WORLD
M-PESA may be Kenya’s hallmark innovation of the decade. With countless attempted copycats around the world, abundant academic studies, and thousands of visitors who marvel at our ability to pay through our phones, Kenya has made history with this technology that we now take for granted.
FACT #3: SMARTPHONE TAKEOVER
There has been a dramatic shift from feature phones to smartphones in the last decade, as lower-cost smartphones have been introduced and digital access becomes increasingly important to be economically successful and stay connected. Today, nearly everyone over the age of 16 in Kenya has easy access to a smartphone.
FACT #4: SMARTPHONES BIGGER THAN YOUR HEAD (ALMOST)
Mobile phones have gotten big and expensive, as people increasingly use them as an all-in-one phone + camera + music player + laptop + TV + book.
FACT #5: PHONE VS. BOYFRIEND
While much of the above should be hailed as progress, that doesn’t mean there is nothing to complain about! Nearly two-thirds of people who are coupled up think their partner spends too much time on the phone. (Don’t ask us how 10% of people don’t have an opinion on their partner’s phone use…)