This Week in Tech: M-PESA’s Third Major Upgrade and More Weekly Tech Trends


    It has been an eventful week. Politicians continue to dine and wine at your local Kibandaski. They almost look desperate as they make almost believable promises. The thirst is real.

    It gets better:

    Thanks to Wavinya Ndeti, we have a new hit titled “Yaliyo ndwele Sipite”.

    Politics aside, the tech world spun in all the right angles. As usual, we have picked the top ten.

    1. Yet another Outage from Safaricom

    The good news is that this was announced.

    The planned M-PESA upgrade was set for 30th June between 1 am and 3 am making M-PESA services unavailable.

    The upgraded platform comes with new feature and other enhancements for a better user experience.

    While at it, you should brace for a 12-hour outage in coming days.

    2. Kilimall Eyeing Africa’s ‘Alibaba’ Status

    The thirst to control the Kenyan e-commerce space gets real each day. We have seen several companies launch since Kenyans started to buy the idea of online shopping.

    Those who have earned a place like Kilimall keep reinventing themselves in a bid to stay afloat and remain competitive. One of the strategies was to create partnerships such as the one with Aramex whose objective is to enhance its delivery network.

    Kilimall has launched a Business-to-Business (B2B) model that will lay a strong foundation even as it endeavors to become Africa’s Alibaba.

    This model will allow merchants in Africa to conduct business with merchants from China on its platform. This means that merchants in Kenya will act as intermediaries that will be in contact with the final customer.

    3. Communications Authority Seizes 5000 Fake Phones

    We all have that one friend who bought a fake phone on the streets: either from some random guy or those pilfers who pretend to be Safaricom staff, Tom Mboya Avenue anyone?

    The Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) has nabbed over 5,000 fake phones in Mombasa County.

    The phones were seized from retailers who sell counterfeit phones to unsuspecting customers. To be fair, it is possible that some of those retailers have been doing so unknowingly.

    The CA is on a mission to wipe out counterfeit phones in the market as well as their distribution. This operation began in 2012 and is expected to continue.

    Good news for us, bad news for the black market operators.

    4. A .KE Domain Coming Soon

    The Kenya Network Information Center (KeNIC) has announced that they will introduce .ke domain soon.

    In a tweet, KeNIC said that the second level .ke domain will be rolled out on 23rd July. The tweet also advised those interested to secure their’s early enough.

    5. Warren Foundation Launches Outdoor Safety Initiative

    The Warren Foundation has today officially launched an outdoor safety initiative set to sensitize the public on safety when undertaking outdoor activities.

    The Foundation was formed following the tragic death of 14-year-old Warren Asiyo during a climbing expedition at Mt. Kenya.

    6. Jack Ma Expected in Kenya

    Alibaba founder and CEO is coming to Kenya.

    The Chinese business magnate is expected in Kenya from the 19th July 2017. He expected to meet up with young entrepreneurs and shed some insight on how the youth and small businesses can become part of the global trade.

    7. OLX Soma Award Winners

    This year’s OLX Soma Awards were held at a gala event at the Radisson Blu, Nairobi.

    Some of the big winners are Betty Kyallo, Victor Wanyama, Joy Kendi, and Michelle Ntalami.

    8. Google “Meanness” Lands it in Trouble

    Google has been slapped with a $2.7bn fine by the EU for violating Antitrust Laws.

    The search giant is accused of abusing its power by promoting its shopping comparison service at the top of search results. This way, the company has been denying other companies from competing fairly.

    Google has refuted such claims.

    9. Chapa Dimba na Safaricom Launched

    Chapa Dimba na Safaricom is a football competition that will identify football talent in Kenya.

    It is the baby of Safaricom and Football Federation of Kenya.

    10. Uber Selfies for Safety

    Uber Kenya will now require its drivers to take selfies as a security measure.

    The news security feature is called Real-Time ID Check will require drivers to periodically take selfies before accepting a ride. This will, in turn, help ensure that the driver‘s current photos and those sent to the company match.

    If the photos do not match, the account is blocked temporarily.

    Uber terms this as a strategy that will protect its drivers from fraud, theft, and other risks. The feature will also ensure that you are driven by the right driver.

    So, do not be caught staring at that Uber driver hard, the selfies are all for the common good.

    That’s it for this week. Have a good weekend.

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