The little shop in Nairobi, Kenya, has the daily necessities for many people in the neighborhood and an item can run out quickly. For Fredrick, business has always meant spending much of his time walking to wholesalers to order and pick up goods. Now, however, things have changed.
Fredrick runs a small general store where he sells supplies such as flour, sugar, paraffin, cooking fat and bread. Several times a week he makes orders from wholesalers to make sure he's got the supplies his customers want. Until recently, that meant closing the shop, which took up valuable business hours.
Mobile communication has helped Fredrick improve his business. "Now I can call the wholesalers, have the items delivered and keep the shop open, which means I am not losing any business," he says.
Fredrick says mobile communications have also helped him improve his customer service. "If a customer wants something which I don’t have, I can order it and give the customer a call once it has arrived to the shop. The mobile phone has really helped me become more profitable."
The commercial advantages of being connected have been known around much of the developed world for decades, and are now making their effects felt in emerging economies, where the positive effects are even greater. A recent World Bank report shows that a 10 percent increase in mobile communication adds 0.8 percent to GDP in developing countries.
Kenya has a population of over 39 million, who speak more than 60 languages. About 80 percent of the population live in rural areas. Communication here is vital. In the village of Dertu, for example, where Ericsson has supplied reliable and affordable mobile communication, 1,200 calls and 3,000 minutes of airtime daily have been registered among its population of 5,000.