Kenya’s leading telecom Safaricom has teamed up with data collection startup mSurvey and launched Consumer Wallet; an online platform mapping out Africa’s cash economy using SMS and mobile devices functionalities.
A prototype/beta version of Consumer Wallet will roll out in Kenya by the end of this month. Safaricom and survey are currently testing the app’s functionality and features with the first ring of potential clients and corporate partners who include McKinsey Consulting.
Once the app moves from beta stage and availed to the public, clients will be able to benefit from its features through a subscription and licensing. That could be sometime in August this year.
“We are refining the product with a group of potential clients to design the pricing model. We are scaling it along Kenya, but also looking beyond because we are not just solving a Kenyan problem, we are solving an African problem,” said Kenfield Griffith, the mSurvey CEO.
In a nutshell, Consumer Wallet will try and quantify consumer spending habits and trends across Africa. A continent where more than 50% of economic activities and employment are in the informal sector [according to AfDB].
mSurvey first set up camp in Kenya in 2012, where it is also based, and harnesses data on the continent’s shift to the digital economy. It is thus better placed to predict consumer preferences. This firm largely depends on mobile phone harnessed information for its surveys and gathers data on various topics and market segments.
The partnership of mSurvey and Safaricom will enable Consumer Wallet leverage on the two companies’ strengths. mSurvey’s experience in data research and Safaricom’s telecom infrastructure and network.
For instance, Safaricom will use the daily SMS messages send on its network to trace the cash spent by the 1,000 people who have signed up for the current beta testing phase of Consumer Wallet. All in support of Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore’s words, “To invest in Africa, you have to understand its consumers.”