Kenyan Apps- Are they just junkies without Value to the consumers?

I remember when Fiber optic cables landed in Kenya, my friend Idd Salim predicted that  there would be  10 Kenyans under 32 USD millionaires before October 2010..That was really ambitious by any standard but it is great to have people with ambition around.  By then I had a view that things will be different but it will take time before we can talk of some Zimbabwe Dollars millionaires around, leave alone Kenyan Shillings millionaires.

Here we are in September 2011 and with mmmmmh…zero millionaire under 32! May be i am wrong , do we have any Kenyan millionaire made of making money online  in the last 2 years?..I am not talking about those on Government taking kitu kidogo or grabbing land somewhere!! Ok..I know Agosta Liko of Pesapal is the Kenyan making highest money based on mcommerce or ecommerce. Kamal is doing great with the software at Craft Silicon but i think he has been doing it for sometime. John Waibochi of Virtual City got a lot of funding from Nokia but is he making good money online?  The question here is not about the funds flowing into the industry but about people selling IT products and services.

Are Kenyan developers giving the ordinary Kenyans solutions worth spending money on? Are the apps currently on the market worth being bought?  I found out that there are 30,000+ Kenyan apps  out there in Ovistore, Android and a few on App store. The problem is , most of those apps are free or not making money at all.

According to Nzioka Waita of Safaricom, there is acute need for the capacity building for the Local content creation, Kenyans have no share on the Android market and Apple Stores. Agree with Nzioka that the capacity building might be required, and that is why i commend the great initiative like m:Lab, iHub, Nailab, Safaricom partnership with Stathmore University and others. But that is that. To me i think the biggest problem at the moment is the mindset. I think and i might be wrong, most apps are developed with primary aim of being submitted to a given competition to win some funding or just to attract some funding. Now i know probably you are already wondering what is the problem with that. The problem is, nobody sit down to come up with a clear, precise and detailed solutions or apps geared in solving the most pressing problems in Kenya. Most of the apps are half baked solutions that nobody would to use, let alone spend money on. blogger NoniemG sometime back wrote 

Sometimes the problem with a product is not that it does not have funding, the problem is that it does not satisfy the psychological desires of those it wants to sell to.

The funding based on competition, has its own flaws.  majority of apps that win such competition usually sound NGOish or sort of humanitarian solutions. I like them but in the real sense, such apps are not business or profit oriented. If you app is about mhealth, you can’t really go out there trying to  make huge bucks at the expense of the sick. And please don’t get me wrong here on that, what i am saying is that it is high time now Kenyan developers start focusing on things that can make money for them. Leave the NGOish kind of ventures to the real NGOs. By the way, they are many around.

According to the researchguidance the Weather and Business apps generate the highest average paid download revenue in the android market. The real reason behind that is, there are not many Weather apps or even business apps. People will be willing to pay for the app as long as it can sort out their needs.

Back to the post by NonieMG

Your consumer/client/customer would like to make a decision that makes them look intelligent and sophisticated. They would like to justify their decision in the following terms:

  • It saves me time
  • It saves me money
  • Its easy to use
  • I get it all here
  • The service is great

Get people such a solution and you become the King or Queen. Again it is too early to pass the judgement…5 years down the line should be the benchmark time…


Kennedy Kachwanya1080 Posts

--- Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.


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