Wealth doesn’t always translate directly into demand for a particular service or product. Malindi’s beach boys who are mostly half educated unemployed dropouts spend most of their time in the cyber making global connections and setting up future business with forthcoming tourists during the low season. Its a boomtime for the local cyber whose revenues can reach as high as Ksh 250,000 a month during this time. In comparison, the cybers in Kajiado [which is supposedly the richest county in Kenya] are lucky to make about Ksh 3000 a month or a little higher when schools have their vacations and the majority of their business is from other services like typesetting, photocopying or scanning et al.

We tend to assume that as population incomes increase their demand for modern technology will increase as well – that prosperity and the world wide web go hand in hand is implicit in so much of the ICT4D frameworks. But every once in a while there comes along an example like Kajiado’s where the exception to the ‘rules’ can be found and it does us good to pause and think for a moment. Maybe not everyone wants exactly the same things we aspire to own, and maybe there is a different path to progress and wellbeing than the one we have taken. And just maybe, the cyber is a pretty cool place to sit and have a cold drink and shoot the breeze with one’s friends on the sofa, and just watch the real world go passing by.

This is Niti Bhan writing on the excellent Semacraft Blog. I discovered it only a few days ago but it is already one of my favorite sources of new ideas.
H/T Africa Unchained

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