Forget urbanisation. Technology is key to the development of rural Kenya

Forget urbanisation. Technology is key to the development of rural Kenya

In a recent dialogue session with Kenyan business leaders, Mr Patrick Teng, Founder, Chairman and Chief Dealer of SIXCAP said that such technological advances can lead to de-urbanisation. The dialogue session was part of SIXCAP’s partnership with the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM).

While several African countries have enjoyed economic growth in recent years, Kenya has been praised as one of the fastest growing economies and dubbed the “Silicon Savannah”. In Kenya, 30 percent of the population live in cities, and yet they represent a significant portion of the country’s wage earnings. This trend of urbanisation is not exclusive to Kenya or Africa. In Kenya, the urban population is expected to quadruple by 2045. One of the main drivers of the increase is the prospect of greater employment.  However, Mr. Patrick Teng, Founder, Chairman and Chief Dealer of SIXCAP warned that the lack of employment in major cities has led to reverse urbanisation, a trend seen in China.

In a dialogue session with Kenyan business leaders, Mr Teng spoke about disruptive technology and the transformative power of innovation in the global business landscape. The session was part of the Leadership Programme for Organisational Excellence – a partnership between the Kenyan Institute of Management (KIM)’s and Singapore Institute Management (SIM).

Innovations like M-Pesa, a successful mobile banking platform, have demonstrated the impact technology can have on the country – the app has brought electronic transaction capability to 15 million Kenyans. However, Mr Teng urged the Kenyan delegation to consider developing technologies with a bigger socio-economic impact, pointing out “M-Pesa has been largely successful, but it has failed in making the bottom of the pyramid wealthy”.

The next era, Mr Teng believes, is bringing opportunities to rural areas through technology in lieu of urban migration. In the digital era, the new frontier is using technology to fuel education and create job opportunities. Continuing improvements in communications technologies have made geographical limitations irrelevant.

Using thundr, SIXCAP’s latest innovation, as an example, Mr Teng said that the global platform will drive social change by redefining the classroom, bringing new job opportunities and democratising wealth. In SIXCAP’s partnership with Indonesian university, Universitas Gadjah Mada, innovations like thundr will allow ready access to education and transform the lives of over 5 million students in remote areas of Indonesia.

For businesses to be successful in this technological age, the future world will no longer be measured by profit and loss, but by a business’ social impact. For Kenya, this means harnessing the power of the crowd in rural areas, giving them ownership, enabling them with proper skillsets and giving them access to markets beyond their geographical borders