This is a must read for anyone curious about the evolution of the ICT scene in Kenya. It beautifully highlights the nuances of the Kenyan “techpreneurship” space. The book has a number of different contributors with diverse expertise from policy to business, tech and government.
While quit a lot has changed in the industry since it was written a few years ago, and some of the success examples might have already failed and faded, it still packs invaluable information.
I was mostly impressed by how what is now obvious and indispensable like MPESA and the fiber optic cable were highly contested by even well-intentioned people in the beginning. But then again hindsight is 20/20.
It’s clear that Silicon Savannah might have been overly romanticized, but it’s new territory and it’s a learning process. There’s a high failure rate of startups in Kenya, and little to show in terms of profitable ventures but we can’t dismiss the sector and say it’s not going to work. What needs to happen is to appreciate the uniqueness of our problems and develop solutions that work with the local context without borrowing too much from the other silicon valley.