The Diffusion of Mobile Phones for Business and Information Management in Kenya

Gikenye, Wakari
January 2011
Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Manag;2011, p511
Conference Proceeding
Diffusion of innovation is the process by which an innovation is adopted and gains acceptance by members of a certain community, innovations that are perceived by individuals as having greater relative advantage, compatibility and less complexity may be adopted more rapidly than others (Rogers 2003:5 :16). Information and communication technologies (ICTs) like the computer and the internet have been widely adopted by people in western countries, while in developing countries they have taken much longer to be adopted. Mobile phones ICT on the other hand have been widely adopted by both the western and developing countries in the last decade. In Kenya, for instance, the number of subscribers had reached 20 million by March 2010, and still growing (Communication commission of Kenya 2010). The rapid spread and use of mobile phone technology has in the last three years been extended to the use of innovative mobile money transfer services both of which have increased the speed of economic activities for Kenyans, including the low income people who were not served by financial institutions like banks and the post office network. Money transfer services were first introduced in Kenya in 2007 in the form of 'Mpesa', a financial transaction medium, which has had phenomenal growth since its introduction and has greatly impacted economic activities. The M-pesa mobile money transfer service has been described as a revolutionary way of making cell phone technology work to serve a basic need by providing a fast, safe, cheaper and easy way to transfer money (Vodacom 2010). This paper examines the rapid diffusion of mobile phones and related mobile money transfer services in Kenya. It is based on an on-going research study on "The diffusion of ICTs in the informal sector in Kenya".


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