Whenever I set out to speak on a subject that I am passionate about, I always begin with some context. The first element of which is to state, that I am a strong believer in the Kenyan ICT story.
A story that has its roots, 15 years ago this year, when retired President Daniel arap Moi signed in to Law the Kenya Communications Act of 1998. This single action was the beginning of the shift from the tightly controlled and largely inefficient ICT sector that characterised the late 90's to the fully liberalised and competitively robust telecommunications sector that we see today. It transformed the role of ICT from being the preserve of the wealthy and connected Kenyan to that of being an indispensable component of daily life in
Ladies and gentlemen, I posit without any hesitation that of all the economic reforms that have occurred in the last couple of decades, the liberalisation of the communications sector, has perhaps had the most positive and catalytic effect on the growth of Kenya's economy over the last 15 years. I say this, because it is through the expansion of the communications sector,
" that we have empowered SME commerce that links rural and urban communities,
" that we have connected communities that were previously marginalised by their geography; and
" that we have most importantly, made life changing information and knowledge available at the touch of a button to over 30 million Kenyans.
The aspiration to be a top 10 global ICT hub is anchored in our national development blue print, Vision 2030. It is a very external facing aspiration, one that says to the rest of the world, "we are ready to compete with you on the global stage to not only attract ICT centric investment in to our economy , but to be the source of life changing innovation".
Beyond the just warm sentiment of the Vision 2030 ambition, we must take a dispassionate and introspective view of the status quo with respect to ICT uptake and investment within the country. This is primarily due to the fact that as country we cannot be seen to be marketing that which we do not consume or promote amongst our own people.
As things stand today the
From our IDI ranking it's clear that we have some work to do to become globally competitive as an ICT Hub.
However, this should not detract from the impressive work that has been done in
" Kenya's total international connectivity capacity in 2008 was only 828 Mbps delivered entirely by satellite. Today we now have four international sub-marine cable systems landing in the country and delivering a total installed capacity of over 5 Terra bytes per second. This represents a growth in capacity by 5000x ;**( TEAMS, EASSY, SEACOM,
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