The Move to Connect the Unconnected Population in Africa

Mark Kamau, BRCK, Moja network, Kenya


Mark Kamau, a Kenyan citizen believes that the time is ripe for Africans to solve their own problems rather than relying on the West. Kamau is a human-centered designer. He is also working to offer internet connection to the unconnected. Furthermore, he is the director of BRCK a Kenyan based startup. The company is already the talk of the town in African major cities. According to Kamau, BRCK is installing internet connectivity in taxis across Kenya. BRCK also installs internet in Kenyan restaurants and shops. They are also connecting Rwanda villages at no cost.

His company created the Moja network which allows people within a specific range to connect to the internet at no cost. People can also read books, listen to music or watch shows from the network’s stored content. One of the company’s biggest clients is Facebook. The number of unconnected people is down globally. Statistics show that out of six billion people globally only a half of it is connected to the internet. Not more than 24% of Africans are connected to the reliable internet. This is what Kamau is fighting to change.

According to Kamau, their company uses a model where there are those who work on reaching the unreached with messages and content. So when one uses the connectivity for a given period of time, they get an advertising message. He also believes that the internet is organized for the outside world. So the company is also disrupting the internet and organizing it best for Africa. This is because the serves are locally found.  Information is also readily available.

Apart from giving free connectivity through Moja network, Kamau has also developed a way of making classrooms digital. This is through the use of Kio Kit. Kio Kit is a hardy and simple solution that uses only a minute to turn a classroom into a digital classroom. The structure is meant for schools in rural areas and those with poor infrastructure. The Kio Kit also contains 40 Kio tablets, headphones and BRCK. The BRCK has both world-class international and local information. The BRCK and tablets have a reliable battery. The battery is able to manage intermittent power in rural areas. The idea behind Kio Kit was to help children in rural areas who cannot access computer labs at school.

The tech was developed specifically for Kenya but countries all over the world are using it. The countries include the Solomon Islands and Mexico. BRCK has been named as one of the top 10 most innovative companies in Africa for 2018. Kamau also believes in Afrofuturism. He defines it as a way through which young Africans comes out to solve the African problems. Afrofuturism is one of the main talks at the Design Indaba conference in 2018.


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Written by Denis Opudo

Am an engineer who's a tech blogger, hit me up on [email protected] and we base our discussion on technology in Africa and the rest of the world.
Denis the Tech guru

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