Kenya’s First NEAR-MEET in Mombasa.

Kevin Imani
February 21, 2019

Twenty-four days ago we announced arguably the most exciting opportunity for NEAR in East Africa, if not the entire continent of Africa: NEAR’s first crypto tour of Kenya, one of Africa’s most tech innovative countries. Our objective through the tour is to grow NEAR’s user base in Kenya by increasing awareness of and opportunities in the NEAR ecosystem. We’ve planned to go to five cities and reach close to 200 people in each city.

The Tour

Our first stop, concluded a few days ago, was Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city with 1.3 million inhabitants.

Arriving in Mombasa, the first thing you’ll notice is the warm coastal weather, which marks it as different from the capital Nairobi. After arriving, we headed straight to the Technical University of Mombasa (stopping only briefly to drop our bags at our AirBNB on the way) to activate NEAR wallets!

We’re proud to say that we’ve activated 123 wallets in under five days.

In the main event at the Royal Court Hotel, we met with 120 people, close to 80% of which were students from the Technical University of Mombasa. We’ve presented about our guild, Sankore 2.0, and about NEAR and its potential generally, with a specific focus on the theme of the Tour: Back to the Basics.

It was necessary to go back to the basics as despite their obvious enthusiasm for crypto, close to 80% of the students had not heard of chains such as Ethereum, let alone the NEAR Protocol. This, however, gave us an incredible opportunity to onboard students into the NEAR ecosystem, and we added hundreds via the Sankore Guild. Before the tour, we had fewer than 60 Telegram members. Now, a few days after the tour, we’re almost at 200. Similar metrics apply to Twitter. This rapid increase suggests two characteristics of Kenya and East Africa generally, which I discuss in my Medium post, that make it primed for explosive growth: its economy largely operates on digital currency already, so the adoption leap is smaller, plus crypto and NEAR specifically has many solutions to offer that will solve several current shortcomings of the conventional financial system, improving the daily transactions of millions. (Read the post for details.)

We also took the opportunity to debrief after the event with the future mentors of the Sankore Mombasa community. They expressed interest in following the existing NEAR-certified training program and are committed to assisting anyone else in that program. Therefore, we plan to induct them into the program and get a few officially-certified NEAR devs to instruct.

Our tour’s next destination is the vibrant business community of the Great Lakes region centred on the city of Kisumu, the largest and most important city in Western Kenya. We will join the Lake Basin Innovation & Investment Week event alongside such speakers as Kenya’s Minister of ICT, the chairman of AfriLabs, the Governor of Kisumu, the French Ambassador to Kenya, and other policymakers and influential start-ups. We will continue to pursue our objectives (expressed in our initial proposal): to provide an overview and awareness of the blockchain and crypto landscape through the lens of the Sankore Guild, while increasing interest, participation and membership. Our metrics remain the same: wallet activations, onboard new talents, and welcome their active participation on our new discord channel.

Royal Court Hotel in Mombasa

Stay tuned for more. The Future is NEAR in Africa.

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