Nairobi, Kenya, has established a thriving technology community that aims to improve lives of the urban poor.

The city is full of technology startups, and has emerged as the African base for companies such as Google, IBM and Intel. From 2002 to 2010, the value of Kenya’s technology exports rose from $16 million to $360 million. The technology organisations are focused in Nairobi’s Kilimani neighbourhood, but the government is planning a development known as Konza Techno City, a special economic zone aimed at attracting technology companies, on the city’s southern outskirts.

There is also reason to believe that the technology industry will be positive force for the Nairobi.

Shop Soko, an Etsy-like shop which allows people to sell handmade goods to consumers worldwide, has increased the revenues of some local vendors by 400%, while creating safer working conditions and greater financial stability. Another, BRCK, aims to tackle the problem of poor internet access – it sells WiFi routers that can provide mobile Internet for up to 20 users for eight hours of battery life.

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