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Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by payuka, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. payuka

    payuka JF-Expert Member

    Sep 13, 2010
    Joined: Jun 17, 2010
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    Mambo ya Teknologia hayo kwa wenzetu wakenya......

    By Vanessa Vermeulen

    "Look at this; this 4GB iPod costs 75 euros at the Dutch online Apple Store. And now look at this Kenyan webshop: here, the same iPod costs 108 euros." We're in Nairobi, at the office of Agosta Liko, founder of the new African online payment system Pesapal. It is the fifth example of major price differences between online shopping in Holland and Kenya.

    Paying takes seconds
    Liko is annoyed. Africa is almost completely cut off from the online consumer market. Most Africans don't have a bank account or creditcard that make online payments possible. Thus, most Africans can't buy anything online. "Western companies don't focus on Africa," Liko concludes. "They don't realise they lose a lot of money this way. The latest films, music and games now appear in bootlegs on the streets. But of course most of us don't want illegal garbage. We want quality films and music too."

    This inspired Liko last year to develop a payment system tailor made to Africans; online payments with the popular mobile banking system. Liko connected the mobile payments to the internet and called it Pesapal. It works like this: the web vendor registers at Pesapal, and leaves a phone number to which the payments can be made. The buyer, who also registers, wires the money to the number and receives a text message confirmation once the money has been received. A matter of seconds. The goods can be followed with a track and trace tool and the web vendor can check the latest status of all the transactions online.

    Hysterical about heels
    For the time being Liko focuses his Pesapal on Kenya and on the online consumer market. In future he wants to make Pesapal available for the rest of the African continent. He wants to include travel organisations, hotels and event organisations. Then services like school fees and insurances will follow, and salaries and microcredits will be made possible too.

    People are starting to get to grips with the new concept of e-commerce. Like Fabguru, founded by Cynthia Muyoti. "My girlfriends went hysterical when they saw my new heels from London," Muyoti says. She opened up a webshop and started selling shoes and also bags, bras and panties. On her Facebook page she has 1665 fans, who closely follow her latest collections.

    Making money

    The African version of Ebay, Zeeduka isn't as succesfull as Fabguru yet. The site, which went online in January of this year only sells four products a month, pretty much all dvd's of the popular Kenyan standup comedian Churchill. "We are now developing a campaign to make people aware of e-commerce and the possibility of selling goods from person to person," Zeeduka moderator Sabastian Wafula says. "We visit shops and encourage them to put their goods online. Once Kenyans realise what they can buy and sell on the internet, they will automatically catch on to the idea of ecommerce."

    Liko too is convinced it is a matter of time before ecommerce catches on. He hopes the Apples, Ebays and Amazons of the world will then realise there's a lot of money to be made on the African continent. " We don't want their corporate sustainable money," Liko states. "We just want to participate. At the same price as you guys."

    Buying with your mobile phone - a matter of seconds | Radio Netherlands Worldwide