The US will leverage her technology by importing innovations from Africa as part of the Obama Administration’s bid to strengthen relations with the continent.
Citing the M-Pesa evolution, US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale said her country’s economy could benefit by importing the revolutionary mobile money transfer system from Kenya.
“We do not have such a system in America and we could import it to make it part of our national payment system,” said Ms McHale.
M-Pesa is run by Kenya’s largest mobile phone service provider, Safaricom, as a platform to send and receive money by its subscribers using their handsets. The technology is a first in the world.
Ms McHale spoke on Friday after paying a courtesy call to the Nairobi Stock Exchange. She is on an official visit to the country.
In return, America will support local universities and colleges by initiating an exchange programme between her institutions and those in Kenya. And instead of going the traditional way of exchange programmes of moving people, the proposed exchange will also leverage on technology.
“We appreciate that it is a limit in the number of people we can move to America from Kenya and America to Kenya. We thus want to use technology to link universities and colleges so that they can share knowledge,” she added.
On increased trade, she said, the Obama Administration is keen to see African countries focusing on serving home markets and thus supporting governments to address challenges of lack of links within the continent.
“We know there are impediments to more intra-continent trade in terms of communication and infrastructure. We want to encourage African governments to address these impediments,” said Ms McHale.
Appointed in President Obama’s Cabinet in May last year, Ms McHale’s duties are aimed at helping the American administration strengthen its relations with the rest of the world.
She is the former president and chief executive of Discovery Communication, which runs the Discovery Channel popular for airing documentaries on science, technology, adventure and nature news in over 170 countries.