Karibu!

Skype & Kenya

I just thought of one benefit that high speed internet services will bring to Kenyans on both sides of the Atlantic:

Free internet calling using medium’s like Skype.

Right now, if I want to talk to someone in Kenya using Skype, I have to pay a fee on my end.  However, if that person in Kenya acquires high speed internet services and downloads Skype (which is free), we’ll be able to talk to each other for free and even use the video conference option and look at each other while talking.

I’m beginning to think that the biggest benefit of high speed internet in Kenya will be it’s ability to free entrepreneurs from the shackles of government bureaucracy and corruption.

You won’t have to get a license to start a store or get stuck paying rent at a brick and mortar place in downtown Nairobi (just do it online).

You won’t have to get a license to broadcast information (just do it online); You can make your own videos and post them on a blog, you can create your own podcasts and effectively start your own on-line radio station.

The geriatrics in government will never be able to figure it out.

Poor Lucy.  She doesn’t know what’s about to hit her. What’s she going to do? launch midnight raids against annonymou (rumour mongering) bloggers?

21 comments for “Skype & Kenya

  1. Marc André
    October 23, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Yes I enjoyed it as well. I think the dialectics might come with the territory and it might be politically influenced. But hey, I’ve read something interesting.

  2. Phil
    July 29, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I have enjoyed the above conversation pretty much.Both Noni and Faisal are savvy but they could have had a more better exchange without getting emotional.

  3. : :!: :!: :!:
    July 5, 2010 at 8:25 am

    :oops: :mrgreen: ;-) :| :x :roll: :lol: :grin: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!: :!:

  4. Anonymous
    April 16, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    “You won’t have to get a license to start a store or get stuck paying rent at a brick and mortar place in downtown Nairobi (just do it online).

    You won’t have to get a license to broadcast information (just do it online); You can make your own videos and post them on a blog, you can create your own podcasts and effectively start your own on-line radio station.

    The geriatrics in government will never be able to figure it out.”

    You really are hypocritical just like the kenyan govt you forget things you say in previous posts. You are always condeming theft most govt offices are plagued with yet at the same time you are the one talking about evading taxes and acquiring licences.

  5. noni
    March 31, 2009 at 2:11 am

    You are right KE, that is what am talking about find a way around your problem. But lets not say its all doom and gloom here in Kenya. In fact opportunities are great and the greatest opportunities lies where no one else sees them.

    Well the Indians are cheap because there is great competition even amongst them but be wary of the cheaper ones, their work is wak. Someone told me software shops in some cities in India are like the way we have clothes stalls here in Nairobi. Also there is a language barrier thing. But it all comes to the complexity of the project. If it is a simple project, let the cheap Indian do it,but for a complicated website please be wary.

  6. kenyanentrepreneur
    March 30, 2009 at 11:30 am

    noni: So its useless to wait for when things get perfect to make anything substantial.

    Yes, this is a very good point. People shouldn’t just sit around and wait for things to get better without trying. So, yes, always, always try.

    However, I would be afraid of filing anything with a government office because you don’t know who will grab that form, delete your name off it, steal it….you just don’t know.

    This is where I think kenyans in the diaspora and kenyans in kenya could link up. Technology is borderless. You no longer have to confine your inventions to Kenya. If you know someone in America or Europe, link up with them and have them file the patent for you in those countries and you’d still be able to use the technology in Kenya.

    I must say though that I tried to hire a Kenyan web designer once and he was going to charge me $50 dollars an hour, which was ridiculous. So, I told him that the Indians were charging $10 dollars an hour and asked why he couldn’t bring his price down, but he refused.

    After a short back and forth discussion with him, I began to realize that the people in Kenya are not paying attention to the technological advancements abroad and you could easily do this by just logging onto the internet and reading and they’re very rigid.

    The Indians however, are really on it (& I’m talking about individual young indians who are trolling the net to find out what American clients are looking).

    In fact, I’m currently looking for an Indian college student from one of the ITT”s to do some stuff for me and as soon as I email them, they’ll respond immediately. They don’t waste time.

  7. noni
    March 30, 2009 at 2:55 am

    @faisal

    Its good you are making effort in overcoming obstacles and my intention was not create an impression that things are perfect. But your earlir comment my discourage someone from making any effort to better their lives buy utilizing their skills. So its useless to wait for when things get perfect to make anything substantial.

    @KE
    The law is there and some people use that Law, but someone needs to make the effort to inform people( the masses) this Law exist. I have seen several talk shows from people from KIPI trying to provide information about the LAW, but more needs to be done. About how effective it is, am not a lawyer so I cannot advice you how good that law is. But if you are make something, it will be advisable to make that law work for you by patenting your invention and seeking advice from that institution (KIPI) or get a lawyer who knows about industrial property laws of kenya rather that resigning yourself to fate.

  8. kenyanentrepreneur
    March 29, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    SoftwareDevelopers: What do you think Kenyans would sell online if the postal issue were fixed?

    You mean sell to Kenyans or sell to westerners?

    faisal: Am in the process of providing online services to fellow kenyans.

    What kinds of services will you be providing?

  9. KE
    March 29, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    noni: Yes, we have intellectual property laws but the masses are not educated on that and I can’t confirm to you how effective that law is

    Now, Noni, what are you talking about? The law is supposedly there, but you can’t confirm how effective it is? :roll: If a “law” is on the books, but nobody is implementing it, then it’s all but useless.

    noni: For you information the government is trying to encourage local software developers. Infact a certain percentage has been set aside by the state to be procuring software from local developers. Whether is policy is being effective you be the judge but that is not a gesture of goverment that is hostile to local software entrepreneurs

    Really? :shock: What have they done? set up a VC fund to give capital to these aspiring software developers?

    There is a reason that software programs are developed in countries that enforce the rule of law. People have to know (at the outset) that their sweat and hard work will not be stolen by the government or anyone else and without this assurance, they will not create (or if they are smart, they will leave the country and develop the software in a place that respects their intellectual property rights).

    So, yes, maybe they are people working hard at developing software programs (who knows) – but until they start making money, nobody will bother them. The problems arise when people start hearing about how much money your making.

    This happened to someone I know. He tried to set-up a call center and as soon as Telkom Kenya found out about it, he was accused of running an illegal business and his internet connection was cut-off.

    The same thing (he told me) happened to the Kencall founder, but since he went to school with kibaki’s kids, he was able to use that connection to get his license back.

  10. faisal
    March 29, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Am in the process of providing online services to fellow kenyans. So i know all about “going around obstacles” as you saying it . What am against is you putting your head in the sand and saying we dont have a problem in our country.
    Most of the problems are not obstacles or challenges but pure stupidity and a culture of stealing thats proving hard to eradicate.

    During the election violence We saw how East and Central Africa depends on kenya. We are a power in our region. Is the goverment using that advantage? When 80% of the budget goes to financing the goverment that pretty sums it up.

  11. noni
    March 29, 2009 at 7:36 am

    @faisal

    If am full of crap then go to US embassy and start applying for a visa to immigrate if you have not done so and stop wasting your time discussing any issue concerning Kenya. You think by blogging and emitting negative verbal diarrhea you are going to change anything about your own personal life or this country? Challenges will always be there but if you keep seeing them as obstacles you will never achieve anything tangible and worthy for yourself or community.

    Otherwise you should be thinking on how to go around those obstacles.

  12. SoftwareDevelopers
    March 28, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    There are some developers in Kenya who have gained international attention,particularly when it comes to developing software for mobile phones.
    Some references:
    - http://allafrica.com/stories/200809180945.html
    - http://www.youtube.com/user/allafricaglobalmedia
    eg DotSavvy, Symbiotic Media

    Starehe is becoming pretty famous for producing topnotch developers. Cannot find the reference now, but Google and consulting firm Accenture are just 2 of the largest US firms that intend to make use of local developers. A local developer also developed software that has been incorporated into SAP – one of the largest software providers in the world. Think I got this at Business Daily, but you may want to look it up.

    Our postal services are terrible, but that’s what caused private competition in the west, so i don’t see why some enterprising Kenyan would not start our very own DHL. What do you think Kenyans would sell online if the postal issue were fixed?

  13. faisal
    March 28, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    noni,

    Sorry to tell you this but you are the one who is full of crap. Can you order anything online from abroad and expect to get it in your postbox? Dhl or fedex is too expensive.How can you trade with the world when your postal services is not trustworthy? The goverment your talking about is nothing but a bunch of thieves. I dont know which kenya you living in but its not the kenya i know.

  14. noni
    March 28, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    @KE
    Don’t make me laugh. You are full of crap. The laws may be weak here but that is not to mean we don’t have rule of law . Yes, we have intellectual property laws but the masses are not educated on that and I can’t confirm to you how effective that law is. You must have left Kenya during Moi days when even posting something negative about the government you feared for your life lest they tracked you via IP address. Now you feel sorry for the ones you left behind in this ‘sorry lawless country’. Let me burst your bubble, there are a growing software developers in this country and the problem is not the government but kenya being a small economy the market is small and lack of channels to market and sell their creations to a global market. I would say anyone not creating software because they fear the government or waiting to go to US or wherever as being stupid. Anyway, many do sell their software development services offshore already.

    For you information the government is trying to encourage local software developers. Infact a certain percentage has been set aside by the state to be procuring software from local developers. Whether is policy is being effective you be the judge but that is not a gesture of goverment that is hostile to local software entrepreneurs. I challenge you to weigh your thoughts before posting anything even though its your blog. This will create a more meaningful and intelligent discussion. And personally I just hate the negativity of Kenyans like yours , it is as if they are paid to be like that.

    I repeat, you are full of CRAP!!!

  15. kenyanentrepreneur
    March 27, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    noni: or imagine a software developer selling his software or online service through the internet

    I doubt you’ll see any software developers in Kenya because there’s no rule of law in that country and without the rule of law, you have no intellectual property rights. Why would you put your hard work into something knowing that the government can just come and steal it from you? This is why Africans don’t create anything (unless they move to America or Europe).

    It’s funny you mentioned curios because in America, they just don’t sell well, but I’ve seen other Kenya arts and crafts that are quite good and those could sell if they were priced competitively, but like I said in a previous piece, in order to conduct ecommerce across borders, you must, must, have an honest and efficient mail system.

    I currently sell things on-line and I specify that I will only ship to America, Canada and Europe.

    ** How efficient are UPS and Fedex in Kenya?

  16. noni
    March 27, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Can still use skype even now from Kenya to call. Been using it even some corporates use it. The voice clarity though its not clear (well, its almost like using VOIP on my cellphone), I guess its because of bandwidth issues which will be eliminated once the fiber becomes operational.

    You are right, we need a mechanism to tap into outside market through online payment systems.

    Imagine the curio sellers who make their networks with tourist in Kenya. When the tourist go back he may log in into the curio seller website and buy some more stuff and even refer his friends to the website to buy the stuff. Or imagine a farmer selling his fresh produce to a trader in dubai or imagine a software developer selling his software or online service through the internet. We can create lots of jobs, businesses, end poverty and even create many millionaires right here.

  17. Utamaduni
    March 26, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Faisal,

    Thats why Africa needs to get united. Raw materials are not evenly distributed.

    Africa pretty much has most raw materials. If they were united they’d be a major force in world production.

  18. faisal
    March 26, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Ke,

    We dont produce much to sell to the outside world. I think anybody who wants to benefit from this high speed internet should provide online services to kenyans.

  19. kenyanentrepreneur
    March 26, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    faisal: How can we get bucks from kenyans through online ventures.

    Shouldn’t the question be, how can Kenyans use the internet to sell their goods to people in other countries. i.e. expand their customer base outside of the borders of Kenya.

  20. faisal
    March 26, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    How can we get bucks from kenyans through online ventures. Am talking about small biz that can be started by one person. I know lots of kenyans dont have credit cards but we have mpesa.

    I think safaricom can figure out a way to pay online services with mpesa. Things like buying bus or train ticket online and paying by mpesa, how cool is that :grin:

    Share more ideas plz.

  21. Gianluca
    March 26, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Ke

    I have Skype but the Messengers do almost 90% of what Skype does.

    The only thing messengers don’t do is call cell phones or land lines. Many Kenyans have messengers and it will be same.

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