City Market traders banking on free internet for profits

CS Ministry of Information, Communication, Eliud Owalo (center) together with Dagoreti Mp John Kiarie (right) tour City Market during the launch of free Internet WiFi Hotspot that will facilitate digital commerce in Nairobi on November 9, 2022. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

The government has unveiled a pilot internet hotspot at the popular City Market in the Nairobi central business district that will see traders leverage free WiFi to grow their businesses.

This is the first of 25,000 similar installations that the State plans to roll out countrywide.

“In our Kenya Kwanza plan during the campaigns, we did say that one of our areas of focus is the digital superhighway and that’s exactly what we are doing here today. We are taking the internet to the people. From here we will be launching similar programmes in other trade centres so that we can facilitate e-commerce,” ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo said when he presided over the launch of the City Market hotspot.

For about 20 years, Caroline Kimani has been selling flowers at the city market, mostly depending on referrals from frequent customers.

Along the way, the internet allowed traders to market their stuff online and picked the pace forcing her and other business people to try the online community. But the burden of buying data bundles is not for the faint-hearted, especially for those using costly tariff.

“I have been using Sh1,000 every two weeks to buy the data bundles so that I can send invoices to customers and type of flowers for those who see them on my Facebook page,” she explained.

Her customer’s online customers include men who want to surprise their spouses. ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo on Wednesday, November 9, led top ministry and county officials in launching free internet at City Market.

“With the free internet now I can call my fish vendor and then he loads the fish online that way I will know the size of the fish in the market and that is the advantage of the technology,” Owalo said during the launch of free WiFi at the city market.  

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