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Kenyans Download VOA Audio/Video Through Safaricom


Growing number download daily stories to cell phones

Washington, D.C., March 24, 2009 - Kenyans have found a new place to watch and listen to the Voice of America's (VOA) (www.VOANews.com) news and information: the palms of their hands.

In a unique arrangement with Safaricom (www.safaricom.co.ke), a leading telecommunications company in Kenya, VOA provides daily updated audio and video stories to cell phone subscribers who download the material.

"We're dedicated to delivering VOA's news and information to all people - on all platforms," said VOA Director Danforth Austin. "This arrangement with Safaricom shows the benefits of new technology," he said.

The Nairobi-based Safaricom estimates there were 800,000 attempted downloads of VOA reports between mid-December 2008 and mid-March 2009.

Many downloads tracked with VOA's comprehensive coverage of the January 19, 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama, whose late father was Kenyan. VOA's inauguration coverage spanned the days before and after the inauguration, and included an interview with one of Obama's cousins from Kenya.

Safaricom networks reach areas throughout Kenya, an East African country of nearly 38 million where mobile technology often has leap-frogged conventional landline telephones. Safaricom has about 10 million subscribers in Kenya, with many concentrated in the major cities, including Nairobi and Mombasa.

Approximately 10 million Kenyans subscribe to the service. Subscriptions are reportedly concentrated in the major cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail askvoa@voanews.com.



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