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Sunday, December 01, 2013 

Internet business use puts Kenya near top

NAIROBI, Kenya-- Africa’s rapid adoption of Internet technology and solutions is increasingly helping economic growth across the continent, with Kenya among the leading countries reaping from the worldwide web.
Kenya marginally trails Senegal in the Internet’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to research by McKinsey.
The report titled ‘Lions go digital’, shows that Internet contributed 2.9% to Kenya’s GDP while Senegal led the pack with 3.3% of its economy benefiting from the Internet.
‘Africa’s iGDP (measure of the Internet’s contribution to overall GDP) remains low, at 1.1% – just over half the levels seen in other emerging economies. But there is significant variation among individual countries. Senegal and Kenya, though not the continent’s largest economies, have Africa’s highest iGDPs, and governments in both countries have made concerted efforts to stimulate Internet demand,’ states the report.
Other African countries that appeared above the continental average include; Morocco, Mozambique, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Cameroon and Ghana.
The report attributes rapid growth of the Internet in Africa to expansion of mobile networks and availability of affordable smart phones.
More than 720 million Africans have mobile phones with some 167 million already use the Internet.
“There is a growing wave of innovation as entrepreneurs and large corporations alike launch Web-based ventures, from e-commerce sites and digital entertainment platforms to mobile health technologies and online educational content.”
The report links the adoption of internet solutions to efficiencies in the delivery of public services and the operations of large and small businesses alike. With the current growth rate, McKinsey estimates the Internet will contribute $300 billion in Africa and have 600 million internet users by the year 2025.
“In financial services, for example, M-Pesa’s mobile money solutions have brought millions of Kenyans onto the financial grid for the first time,” the report states.
Other key areas where the Internet will generate economic growth and social transformation include; financial services, education, health, retail and agriculture.

By Humphrey Liloba, Sunday, December 01st, 2013