Allan Olingo
Claire Munene
Safaricom Academy
South Africa

Using mobile platforms to gauge Africa’s consumer economy

Ms Munene also spearheaded the launch of Safaricom Academy, which seeks to develop leadership skills and inculcate the entrepreneurial spirit to meet the growing demand for innovative ICT solutions in Kenya and throughout Africa.

Last month, Kenyan consumer research firm mSurvey raised $3.5 million in equity to fund its African expansion programme. The Chief Operating Officer Claire Munene spoke to Allan Olingo about the firm’s work.

mSurvey builds infrastructure with mobile operators, which requires capital and time. Within the past year alone, we have engaged more than 12 million consumers through the infrastructure and partnership we have built with Safaricom.

Our vision is to be the feedback platform for Africa, and therefore, we will need to build similar partnerships and infrastructure in other markets including Nigeria and South Africa. The investment allows us to grow and pursue our vision.

Being an equity round, all shareholders are represented on the capitalisation table. We are excited to have them on board as strategic support, and to help us turn our vision into a reality.

It enables a live data feed messaging platform to measure the cash economy over time, providing businesses and investors in the country unprecedented insights into the spending habits of the offline consumer. The companies using this product have seen the real value it can provide in helping them map customer journeys.

Although African countries such as Kenya are known for their early adoption of mobile money, the majority (66 per cent) of consumer spending activity takes place informally, via cash.

Businesses are unable to construct a vivid, authentic picture of what the consumer economy is doing, without putting into account offline spend.

The only way to consider offline spend is via traditional methods —one-on-one and pen and paper. This method is not only time-consuming, it has less reach, is difficult to measure and requires more resources.

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