With nearly 40 million mobile phone subscriptions in Kenya,our country’s mobile phone penetration is at agigantic 90 percent. At a moderate average of about Kshs 5,000 per phone, we Kenyans have spent about Kshs. 200 billion on purchasing mobile phones in the last couple of years. Because of these handsets in our hands, we are transacting incredible amounts.
A report by the Communications Authority of Kenya reveals that between April and June this year, ‘a total of 227.3 million mobile commerce transactions were made which translated to the cost of goods and services valued at Ksh. 404.1 billion purchased. The person-to-person money transfers recorded in the period was valued at Ksh. 429.4 billion.’
One might think that in light of such figures, we are using our phones optimally. Not at all. Although our calling habits and flavour for money transfer have turned Safaricom into one of the most successful firms ever, we are yet to truly tap into our mobile phones in ways that increase our individual revenue and enrich our lives holistically.
The phone in your hand can do much more than calling, texting and sending money. You can use it to buy and sell things online, which will save you, time and make you money. Why queue at a fast food restaurant when the same food can be delivered to your home or office? Why hang on to clothes and appliances that you no longer use when you can sell them online through your phone? E-commerce companies are not very successful because we haven’t embraced mobile phone-based e-commerce with the same vigour that we embraced mobile phone voice and data. Accordingly, even after paying a full price, we only enjoy about 1% of what our phones can offer.
Between April and June this year, Kenyans talked for 10.2 billion minutes and sent 11.6 billion messages. Imagine if we also made 10 billion e-commerce transactions during this same period. That would mean that billions more would flow into our enterprises, which would cause even more partnerships and jobs to join the e-commerce trend.
But it’s not just about e-commerce because our phones can also add immense value into other areas of our lives. If you are a motorist and you don’t have a phone-based alarm system for your car, why not promote Kenyan alarm businesses even as you secure your car? In the same vein, we could install green apps like Oreoco, an app that helps in tracking and reducing our impact on the environment.
Mobile phone apps are unassumingly the gateway into the infinite untapped mobile phone opportunities, which include using them as impeccable teaching tools for our children! These unique green gadgets have the potential of profoundly transforming our livelihoods. I suggest that we wisely embrace mobile phones and also be extra careful on how we dispose of them.Think Green, act green!
Yours in Green,