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KWS upgrades the Safaricard System
Date Published: 17 Sep, 2012
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has launched a one month pilot project for the upgraded Safari Card system. The system has a value transfer and double e-purse module that will ease transactions with tour operators in various National Parks in the country.
This was launched on September 13, 2012 by the Deputy Director Corporate Services Mr. Tom Sipul. In his remarks, Mr. Sipul said that KWS aims at having a flawless, efficient and robust system that will address pertinent issues that have been affecting clients in the various National Parks.
The Head of ICT, Mr. Michael Odhiambo re-iterated the added benefits this solution would add to the tour operator industry, stating that the use of technology as an efficiency multiplier would help increase their bottom line due to lowered operational costs as a result of the solution.
The Safaricard Team led by their Manager Mr. Tom Boit and his colleague Robert Leposo took the audience through a brief presentation of how the solution works both from an operational and technical angle; this was then followed by an interactive question and answer session.
The Value Transfer solution is part of the pilot project launched that is perceived to have the most value for the tour operators. One has to purchase value in bulk and have the value in their master card, once loaded; the user is issued with a terminal that will be used to transfer value from the master card to other cards. This will enhance efficiency in that the tour operator will transfer value within their offices and not come to KWS to have this done, this in addition will allow for better management of the process as the terminal will give reports on a daily basis to the users who can use that to counter check transactions.
This system will create flexibility for the tour operators who do not need to come to KWS just to transfer value from card to card, at the same time will reduce queuing at the KWS entry gates as only those that need to pay will be in the queue.
KWS through its software developers also integrated the double e-purse module that gives the system the ability to allow a given card to transact with more than one currency at any one given time. The Kenya shilling is the default currency, and any one other currency to choose from, for instance the United States Dollar, the British Sterling Pound and the Euro. This will ensure that the tour operators reduce the number of physical cards they have as the previous system only allowed one currency at a time, hence one had to have a card for every currency they wished to transact in. The system therefore allows for the simultaneous top up of value as well as deduction of value with a maximum of two currencies.
The module will immensely reduce expenses for owning of multiple cards, reduce in potential fraud as it records all activities which allows for the tour operator management to check summarized reports on request, as well as eliminate the loss of value through exchange rate fluctuations as one can transact in the currency of choice from the ones available.
Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) C.E.O Mr. Fred Kaigua appreciated KWS efforts in addressing the needs of tour operators and will be in the front line in giving feedback in improving this system. In addition, he mentioned that there is need to have an elaborated criterion in involving other tour operators to have piece of this system.
Pollmans and Private Safaris were selected as the firms to be involved in the pilot test given the level of business they have transacted between themselves and KWS.
The second phase of the implementation of this project will focus on introduction of agency selling for KWS and working on a distribution network model as the third phase and final stage includes the introduction of an online payment system that allows for value to be topped up onto a card without its physical presence.
This is to be done either using mobile money transfers, like Mpesa, Yu cash and Airtel Money. The second one is to implement an online payment system that tops up value through purchases over the internet.