Study: Half of Kenyan SME’s integrating technology

Kajiado, Kenya. 2010

The adoption of ICT by businesses in the country is rated at 54 out of 100 according to a survey commissioned by Safaricom on 1,200 Small and Medium Enterprises.

Dubbed the “Ready Business Index test”, the study states that IT and Communications firms and those in the import and export industry as well as businesses offering professional services lead in adoption of technology.
On the other hand, firms in the wholesale and retail sector and businesses in the hospitality industry and agribusiness firms are on the lower side.
Only 37 percent of respondents who include those in the financial sector, IT and communication and service sectors had deployed websites.
“Only 2 percent of agribusiness firms have any web presence,” said the survey.
At the same time, 43 percent of firms have adopted organizational email, with deployment fairly similar across many sectors, but notably low in the public sector, agribusiness, wholesale and retail.
“Kenya’s economy data shows SMEs make up 99 percent of businesses in Kenya, employing 75 percent of the total labour force, yet contribute only 18 percent to our Gross Domestic Product. Safaricom Business has therefore developed the Ready Business platform to help improve the productivity of these firms by enabling staff work more efficiently and businesses meet their unique customer needs,” said Rita Okuthe, Director, Safaricom Business.
According to the study, opportunities SMEs are looking at include diversification of revenue streams, low priced and scalable business solutions, access to adequate skills and technology, better access to customers and better access to information.
Safaricom’s Lipa Na M-PESA and other cashless payment services recorded a deployment of 46 percent with the hospitality, energy and retail sectors accounting for a majority of usage.
The survey further observed that many SMEs are struggling to find solutions that fit their environments despite the wide array of existing technological solutions to choose from.