WANT to get some cash at automated teller machines in Nairobi? Don’t be surprised by the guards with machine guns. ATMs attract plenty of muggers and pickpockets.
Unsurprisingly, cashless transactions have been catching on fast in Nairobi and elsewhere in Africa. Microfinance organisations were among the pioneers. In Kenya, for instance, they started using M-PESA, the popular mobile money service, to hand out loans to small-time businesspeople in 2008, soon after its launch.
Musoni, a Kenyan microfinance firm with more than 10,000 customers and over $6.3m in loans since its launch in May 2010, is now taking the idea even further: in an effort to bypass banks and make microfinance more efficient, it has gone completely cashless—a worldwide first, claims Cameron Goldie-Scot, the firm’s chief operating officer.
Read the rest of this story at The Economist’s Schumpeter blog: [html] [pdf]
Photo Mike Elkin
A new website linking corruption and other scandals to high-ranking Kenyan politicians, created by a team of political provocateurs, has become one of the most-visited web pages in the country.
MaVulture.com, which means “many vultures” in Swahili, aims to collect, condense, and air the past wrongdoings of Kenya’s political class. Going live on Nov. 13, the site is the latest project from activist Boniface Mwangi, known for his political graffiti murals around Nairobi and his photographic exhibitions that documented the violent aftermath of the 2007 presidential elections.
Read the rest of this story by Mike Elkin with additional reporting by me, in Inter Press Service news agency: [html] [pdf]
Boniface Mwangi – by Mike Elkin
Nairobi photographer Boniface Mwangi is fed up with his country’s politicians. To raise awareness, he’s taking an in-your-face approach with a graffiti campaign, political art show and online newspaper.
This audio package first appeared in Deutsche Welle’s Generation Change podcast and blog: [mp3] [html].
Photos and additional reporting by Mike Elkin.
Vulture grafitti – by Mike Elkin