Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Setting up an Internet Cafe in Rural Africa

I’ve been eagerly awaiting Harry Karanja’s third installment of his story on setting up an internet cafe in rural Kenya. He writes about it at his blog Startups in Kenya. This is one of the reasons I get so charged up about blogging in Africa. It accelerates the learning curve for so many others.

Read each of these blog posts to see why mobile is going to be (already?) HUGE in Africa. A fascinating story.

Part 1: Internet in the Village

My friend then threw down the gauntlet. “Hey Harry, you claim you’re an entrepreneur and a techie, why not setup the internet infrastructure in Njoro?” I started to protest but then held off as I thought about it. Could it really be done? What were the challenges? How would I approach it?

Part 2: Laying the Groundwork for a Rural Cyber

Before I could commit to the project (and the money) I had to make sure that I could get internet to the cyber quickly and inexpensively. I went shopping for an ISP in Nakuru and what I found was mostly disappointing.

Part 3… Still waiting! Come on Harry, tell us some more.


  1. Hash:

    I read Karanja’s Internet in the Village posts and found them quite astonishing. I recall seeing these cyber cafe’s in a few parts of Kenya in 2001. But from posts such as Mr. Karanja’s it appears that this is becoming more and more mainstream whether we are talking rural or urban Africa.

    I’m not sure if it’s reached a criticall mass yet, but when it does I’m sure this will be another major paradigm shift for African business, which hopefully will lead to reduced costs and more exposure for web related activities.

  2. I remember traveling way out to the bush, or at least small villages, back in 2002 and I was amazed to find cyber cafes almost everywhere. Now, those were extremely slow connections though.

    What I find most compelling about what Harry is doing is that he’s testing out new technology and finding it more reliable and easier to adopt. This really is a good story, and I hope he continues to fill us in on what happens.

  3. I hope so too, he must be quite a busy fellow with so many business projects taking place…

  4. Thanks for your comments. Sorry Benin is right, I got a bit held up with other things but I will make sure I publish the remaining part this week.

  5. Two years back, I had the opportunity to visit the refugee camp at Kakuma in North Western Kenya. I was amazed at the infrastructure in that remote area. They not only had cyber cafes, but you could watch the English Premier League live from one of the pubs within the camp while enjoying an ice-cold bottle of your favourite alcoholic beverage. It forever demolished my idea of a refugee camp composed solely as a collection of polythene-roofed stick structures (though there were many in evidence). In fact, the UNHCR Director told me that nearly 1 million shillings changes hands within the camps every day. That a Ksh. 365 million economy. Nothing to sneeze at!

  6. please help with some ideas for starting internet cafe.
    thank you.

  7. Hello Harry!

    Good insights you have! I am kenyan lady aged 24 and have been saving to start my own buss. Your story on the rural internet is really inspiring and I cant wait for story part 3. Give this gal some advice.

  8. Please update me on good tips on managing a cyber.. thanks

    I am one of the very many worked in cities and decided to leave my juicy job to goi back to my home district (Nebbi) in Uganda to set a rural Internet cafe and secretarial bureau. My capital was to small that I lacked so many things (machines) for the project.
    Can you please advise me on how I can fundraise money for the Internet cafe and the secretarial bureau
    Thanks very much.

  10. pls send me a breif information on setting up an internet cafe.What do I need,hardware and software and some other neccessary information.

  11. Its encouraging to see so much interest. Thank you all for your comments, keep checking by blog to see an update on how the cafes I set up are doing more than one year on.

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