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City Hall taps Safaricom to boost revenue collection

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By Victor MUJIDU

The Nairobi City County and Telco operator, Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) on Thursday signed a ground-breaking partnership deal to digitize the County’s services and operations.

Under the partnership, Safaricom will develop and support the “My Nairobi App” as part of the “My Nairobi” hub that provides digital services and citizen engagement.

The move will see Nairobi residents have access to all County services ata the comfort of their mobile phones.

“This My Nairobi Hub will enable us to offer better services to the people of Nairobi. It offers a one-stop shop for businesses in the County where residents, and visitors, can access services with multiple functionalities including making payments.

Residents of Nairobi should expect our partnership with Safaricom to usher in a better experience not only in revenue aspects but real-time communication with internal county government sectors,” said the Governor of Nairobi County, Sakaja Johnson.

As part of a paradigm shift to the digital space, the duo, with the support of young trailblazers, developed an app “My Nairobi” for revenue management across the county, transferring citizen services to the digital arena, and providing a platform for public involvement.

Adding, “Seventy percent of the challenges and opportunities that we have in the city, both as a government and as a citizen of Nairobi, will be sorted out by technology, and that’s why we’re exceptionally excited by the new partnership between us and the biggest technology player in the country, Safaricom.”

The serendipitous concept – a pilot project in the country, is expected to cement Nairobi as a trailblazer in innovation and a technological hub.

According to Sakaja, the newly developed app is a lucrative measure toward addressing the endemic public challenges in terms of providing the best services possible.

“We have a new generation of not just leaders but of citizens who are now willing to own their city and that’s why we call the app “My Nairobi app”…, we must address the culture…, we must address what the city means to its residents.”

As a milestone in building a digital hub of services in Nairobi, Safaricom has established itself as a key player in innovation and technology, seeking to harmonize customer services within the County.

“We want to be a purposefully lean technology company, and the way we bring man track to life is by saying we want to combine the roles of technology and innovation to solve customer challenges and societal issues,” said the Safaricom CEO, Peter Ndegwa.

Is “My Nairobi App” viable on both smartphones and mobile phones?

The services issued by the County government through the “My Nairobi app” will be accessible on both USSD and digital smartphones or android phones.

However, the need to transition to digital space is essential considering that the county is now on a roadmap to digital adaptation, and using a USSD format may lock you out of the experience needed.

“One of the reasons why you’ll hear us talking about the importance of putting a smartphone or a 4GNA board phone in everyone’s hand is because the future is digital and if Nairobi is going to be digital, you need the connectivity and you need the device that allows everyone to get the right experience and having the right device is important because it gives the person the right experience needed,” said Mr. Ndegwa.

“You can use the USSD which is the text that everyone uses on a daily basis but you may not get all the experiences that you need,” he added.

Why digitize revenue collection?

The digital revenue collection system is considered the most critical mode as it permits people to pay revenues in their comfort zones.

According to Ndegwa, any citizen can access the service, whether in or outside the country, with zero charges.

“Digitizing revenue collection is very important because it simplifies people’s life and it allows compliance because a lot of time we don’t realize that people don’t pay taxes no because they don’t want to pay taxes because it is complicated to comply,” said Ndegwa.

“If we can simplify the way the population in the county interacts with the county through technology, we can help the citizens feel valued,” he further added.

“My Nairobi app” as an engine for data analysis

As an app that offers services to Nairobi customers, My Nairobi app will conserve data that will enable configuring the number of people trooping in for services daily.

“We have created an engine of big data analytics and once you have the data you can read and analyze the experience of Nairobians in accessing services, in paying for service,” said Mr. Ndegwa

“You can get data on the type of services they are most interested in, and the type of population, either youth, women, or older people, and start reconfiguring and tell the service that you will be providing to the cohort you’re dealing with,” he added.

The program – expected to be up and running in May will also create an ecosystem that will allow others to join in and offer innovative ideas similar to those of Safaricom as it will be rolled out in the rest of the Counties across the nation.

The telco will also provide the county with calling and data solutions including a “closed user group” that provides discounted rates for calls between employees. Other solutions to be provided include revenue collection, parking management solutions, and green credits through Digifarm.

The partnership will also see the county benefit from solutions to provide healthcare to low-income residents and better integration with its other partners such as Kenya Medical Supplies Authority.

Other solutions in the partnerships include smart water systems under the smart city initiative, WiFi hotspots in low-income settlements and around bus stops, an Integrated Traffic and Parking Management Solution, and a Disaster Recovery Site for the county.

The partnership will run over the next two years with Safaricom providing the “My Nairobi Hub” and other digital solutions as value adds to the county, at no cost.

 

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