Kenyans’ love for
smartphones fuels mobile app development
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyans’ increased use and adoption of
smartphones has fueled the development of home-grown mobile apps
to perform various tasks.
From paying fare and electricity bills to borrowing money,
hailing taxis, and searching for a house, Kenyans have apps that
help them solve nearly every problem.
The number of apps developed locally has been on the rise in
the last a few years as east African nation citizens embrace
smartphones in droves.
About 67 percent of mobile phones sold in Kenya are
smartphones, according to online firm Jumia, with Kenyans using
the phones to access the internet.
The smartphones for Kenyans are the devices of choice in
accessing the internet, beating tablets, laptops and desktop
As of September 2018, the total number of active internet
subscriptions stood at 42.2 million, up from 41.1 million in
June, according to the Communication Authority of Kenya.
Of the total, the number of mobile internet subscriptions was
41.8 million. App developers are, therefore, leveraging on the
popularity of smartphones to solve Kenyan problems.
Commercial banks in the east African nation are among the
leading developers of apps as they push their services online.
Kenya Commercial Bank, Barclays Bank, Equity Bank and
Cooperative Bank, among others, all have mobile apps that enable
Kenyans to check their bank account deposits, transfer money and
borrow at the click of a button.
The banks are recording roaring success with the apps as the
number of borrowers more than double.
In the transport sector, one of the latest apps seeks to help
Kenyans stop the habit of public bus conductors failing to give
"Save your change in M-Koin and pay fare using it without any
worries," Sidian Bank, the developers of the app, said on Friday
in an online promotion.
Still in the public transport sector, travelers going
upcountry from Nairobi or vice versa can now be linked directly
to private motorists heading to the same routes through an app
The app links drivers who have empty seats with passengers
looking for convenient, faster and safer rides.
Drivers on the app, however, do not make profit since Kenyan
laws prohibit non-public transport vehicles from carrying
passengers for gain.
Boniface Githinji, CEO of Sematime Ltd, the developers of the
mobile app, noted that they came up with the service to enable
travelers to get safer riders, especially during peak seasons
when public transport vehicles become scarce.
With so many apps are coming up in Kenya, the only reason
some stand out and will be downloaded by smartphones users is
because they are helping solve a problem or adding value in the
lives of users, according to Mercy Rop, a digital marketer at
Rop categorizes the apps being developed in Kenya and other
parts of the world as utility apps, discovery apps, social
connection apps, gaming and branded applications.
"App users are leveraging on the high penetration of
smartphones, focusing on mobile applications which add value to
the consumers’ lives while enhancing the long-term engagement,"