Kenyan mobile gaming company, Usiku Games, has launched Africa's first video conferencing platform, Gumzo. Picture: Twitter | @AfricaGumzo
Kenyan mobile gaming company, Usiku Games, has launched Africa's first video conferencing platform, Gumzo. Picture: Twitter | @AfricaGumzo

Kenya launches first 'made in Africa' video conferencing platform

By Crispin Adriaanse Time of article published Jul 1, 2020

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Cape Town - A Kenyan startup, which donates half of its proceeds to Kenya’s Covid-19 response initiatives, has launched Africa’s first "made in Africa" video conferencing platform, Gumzo, and has provided a service to Kenyan public school teachers for free, CNN reports on Tuesday.

A Kenyan mobile gaming company, Usiku Games, was originally started to combat sports betting, which is popular amongst African youth and extracts US$37 billion per year from the continent, according to its website.

With the disruptive effects of Covid-19 in all spheres of life, Usiku Games saw an opportunity and potential to help African businesses and families communicate when the lockdown was enforced nationally.

In May 2020 it created Africa’s first video conferencing platform, Gumzo, designed specifically for the African user, reports Kenyans.co.ke.

“Africa is a mobile phone first continent and so you have to have a platform that works on mobile devices [that are] older, less memory and that’s why we built a download app that is web-based and is accessible on all smartphones or PC or tablets to try and reach as many people as we can,” Usiku Games CEO, Jay Shapiro said.

Gumzo was created in Kenya by Kenyans and “all fees generated stays in Kenya”, the company says.

The video conferencing platform is free to join and costs US$ 1 per week to host video meetings. The cost of Gumzo is only a third of the price of Zoom, Reuters reports.

“We just thought of all this money streaming out of the continent and we thought some should stay here,” Shapiro said. 

The company has pledged to donate 50% of its fees during the pandemic to non-profit organisations such as Pwani Youth Network, Team Pankaj, and Mombasa Red Cross, who are involved in corona response initiatives in Kenya, Kenyans.co.ke reports.

Gumzo has also committed to providing the service free of charge to Kenyan public school teachers to facilitate distance learning during the pandemic.

"Our calls are processed through servers on the continent, unlike with other apps where the calls in Africa are processed in China or San Francisco. We know we are creating better call quality by creating something that can be monitored in Africa," Shapiro said to CNN.

African News Agency (ANA)

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