Kenya is a hotbed of innovations like the M-pesa and many others

Sometime back in 2015, CNN caused a storm on twitter by referring to Kenya as a hotbed of terrorism. Kenyans in their thousands rushed to twitter to voice their displeasure under the hashtag: "someonetellCNN". 

The hashtag was trending globally just hours after the offending remarks were made and earned a mention by BBC, the independent UK and other reputable media houses .

A bed at a five star hotel in Nairobi
But looking at it differently, Kenya is indeed a hotbed, only not a hot bed of terrorism. To quote President Kenyatta in his address to the GES2015 audience:  “Kenya is a hotbed of a thriving culture and spectacular beauty” .  It is not only the spectacular beauty that is Kenya’s strength, Kenya is also an innovation hub.

One innovation that has changed the lives of people in Kenya and earned international acclaim is the mobile money transfer system known as M-PESA.

The M-PESA money transfer system allows users to send money to any location in Kenya .It recently was upgraded to make it possible to pay for services and goods using the system. It has further been linked to bank accounts, thus giving users the ability to withdraw money from their accounts or to make deposits to their bank accounts right from the comfort of their houses.

Wider technological advancements happening all over the world coupled with M-PESA have changed the way banks are doing business in Kenya. Human Tellers have been replaced with automatic machines, and automatic machines are in turn being replaced by mobile money transfer systems.

The bank is no longer a place where one has to wake up early in the morning to go queue in order to access their cash, but a ubiquitous presence accessed by a simple tap on a mobile device.

Financial processes are now faster than ever before; Utility payments, hotel reservations and flight bookings are now happening at a tap of a button from living room sofas.
Rural banking is now possible, banks like the Kenya cooperative bank, the equity bank and KCB have agents all over Kenya. The agents can facilitate cash withdrawals, cash transfers, cash deposits, among many other services.

The equity bank has even gone a step ahead to remove involvement of M PESA by acquiring the ultra-thin slim sim card technology. Using this technology, Equity bank customers will be able to send and receive money using their existing mobile phone numbers regardless of which mobile service provider they have signed up with.

As you can now see, Kenya is indeed a hotbed; but a hotbed of innovation not terror.

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