MEF in Kenya: Welcome to the Silicon Savannah


MEF Africa General Manager, Jo Crawshaw, recently hosted the very first MEF Connects Kenya in Nairobi sponsored by Spice VAS Africa, where she met with the founding steering committee members of MEF’s youngest chapter.

Whilst many African cities claim to be the continent’s tech hub, Nairobi really does shine in East Africa as a success story in innovative mobile offerings.

Recognising the importance of Kenya’s dynamic mobile industry to the continent and the global industry, MEF held an exclusive drinks reception in Nairobi for its first foray into this exciting African region.

Mobile Money and Beyond


Kenya is often cited as the world leader in mobile banking. It has a mobile penetration rate of around 75-80% and whilst only 22% of the population is formally banked, the vast majority of mobile users are subscribed to mobile money services. Staggering data from the GSMA suggests that up to 60% of Kenyan GDP comes from mobile money.

Mobile in this part of world isn’t just characterised by m-banking but by innovation on a much broader scale. Between 2002 and 2010, Kenya’s exports of tech-related services grew from $16m to $360m and this number continues to grow at exponential rates. Supported by world-class incubators such as mLab and iHub as well as an increasingly welcoming investment climate, innovation is truly rife in Kenya.


Introducing MEF

Our drinks reception was sponsored by Spice VAS Africa, whose regional manager, Varun Agarwal, welcomed guests to the Sankara Hotel in Nairobi’s vibey Westlands.

Spurred on by an introduction on MEF Africa’s roll-out plans and upcoming activities, guests spent time discussing and debating areas of the sector undergoing change in Kenya. Passion and optimism for the sector was tangible as discussions on licensing, rights management and regulatory affairs kept attendees’ heated discussion flowing.

Esteemed guests included MEF members Integrat; Mahindra Comviva; Samsung and Spice, was attended by a variety of operators, aggregators, developers and other mobile leaders, keen to hear about MEF and its goal to accelerate the growth of the industry.

Maintaining the Momentum


As MEF Africa continues bringing players together to discuss the issues that matter across the continent’s diverse and exciting mobile sectors, we will also be solidifying local activities, releasing original research and analytics and encouraging valuable cross-border, international business partnering initiatives. Growing our Africa steering committee to ensure a representative combination of perspectives remains central to our vision for MEF Africa in order to continue leading MEF’s continental roll-out.

Jo Crawshaw is MEF’s Africa General Manager, and you can follow her on Twitter @JosieInJozi


  1. […] MEF Connects events are a well established feature of our global calendar, and we have previously held similar gatherings all over the world, including London, Sao Paolo, Nairobi, Barcelona, Singapore, Mumbai and most recently, Kenya. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: