ICT Is The Catalyst Of Economic Development In Kenya

by Business Watch Team

The government will continue to expand the ICT space as it seeks to leverage technology as a catalyst for economic growth and development.

Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Mr. Eliud Owala cited ICT as an enabler and the focus is on how to make this a reality.

“Government recognizes the ICT sector as a cog in our economic engine and has identified priorities through the Government Digital Transformation Agenda (GoDTA).

This agenda seeks to digitize at least 80% of government services in five (5) years, support last-mile fiber connectivity through the deployment of 100,000 kilometers of fiber, 25,000 WIFI hotspots across the country, and ICT hubs in each of the 1, 450 Wards in the country,” said CS Owalo.

Speaking during the official opening of the ICT week on Wednesday, Mr.Owalo said that the local assembly of smartphones and smart gadgets will be a game changer in proving that Kenya has the technological capacity to venture into the manufacturing and assembly sector.

“We are alive to the question of the affordability of ICT devices as a potential hindrance to the ability of citizens to exploit the full potential that this sector presents., Said Mr. Owala.

He added that the government has been actively engaging diverse stakeholders in the ICT and manufacturing sectors on the prospects of producing low-cost smartphones and lowering data costs.

“The other concern is ensuring that all citizens, including women, those abled differently, and older people, access ICT services in meaningful and productive ways. We must think about how ICT devices can have features that make it easy for our people to make the best out of them and transform their lives,” he said.

He reiterated that universal access to the internet through last-mile connectivity will be a major project in connecting locals to the global.

“I am happy to report that the journey to 100,000 km of fiber has begun with the KSh. 5 billion drawn from the Universal Service Fund (USF). We shall avail last-mile connectivity to 19 underserved Counties. Once deployed, the catalytic effect of this resource on all sectors of the economy will be profound, he said

As the ICT sector industry regulator, the Communications Authority acknowledges the enormous efforts that continue to be exerted by the licensees to enhance access to various communications services across the country.

Sector performance

“As of December 2022, there were 65.7 million mobile subscriptions in the country, accounting for a mobile penetration rate of 133.1%. At the same time, there were 47.7 million mobile data subscriptions while the available international bandwidth was 11, 970 Gbps,” said Mr. Chiloba, Director General for the Communications Authority of Kenya

He added that in the same period, there were 38.6 million mobile money subscriptions, with 318,607 agents. There number of licensed commercial free-to-air TV stood at 306, while FM radio was 180 with an additional nine (9) Community Free to Air TV and 63 Community FM radio stations.

The ICT week has been a platform to engage stakeholders on emerging technological issues that are shaping the future of the industry. At such an event, stakeholders reflect on what needs to be done to ensure that high quality ICT services are availed to citizens and foster a vibrant sector.

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