Information Communication Technology – ICT – in Kenya

Kenya is one of Africa’s largest economies with a GDP of $32 billion (Sb2.5 trillion) and an average five per cent economic growth rate in the past five years. ICT contribute significantly to to this growth.

 The number of Kenyans using new forms of communication has increased rapidly in recent years, with mobile telephony providing the biggest gauge of penetration of new technologies. Ownership of mobile phones has risen from just 40,000 in 2000 to nearly 20 million. Although phenomenal, the mobile sector still has room for growth has just 34 per cent of the population has access to mobile phone services. The percentage of Kenyans using mobile phones is set to rise to 70 percent in the next five years.

Another sector set to experience exponential growth is the Internet, which is expected to grow to nearly 10 million in the next five years. In 2009, the Communications Com-mission of Kenya (CCK), which regulates telecommunications, radio communications, postal and wireless services, got an even more prominent role as the industry shifts to a more converged and digital role. So far, CCK has given GSM licenses to four major telecommunication operators-Safaricom, Zain, Essar and Telkom Kenya.

Two other mobile licensees, Essay Kenya and Telkom Kenya, started operating in 2008.

The advent of better international connectivity is going to be beneficial to Kenya’s telecoms market and the Internet in particular. It will also see the growth of new industries such as Business Process Outsourcing (IWO), software development and application development.

Fibre connectivity has the added benefit of placing Kenya in a prime position to take a share of international offshore outsourcing business. This will provide significant opportunities for economic growth in line with the country’s Vision 2030, which aims at making the nation a new industrialising; middle-income country providing quality life for citizen.

The key driver for BPO is the quality of communication services, including the Internet. The BPO plan for Vision 2030 is for Kenya to become one of the top three investment destinations in Africa. Fibre optic connectivity is a key component of this. Kenya’s communication sector is ready to move — and is already moving — into the digital age. New technologies are shaping the economy and changing the way people work, spend their leisure time, access information and communicate.

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