Kenya is one of Africa’s largest markets in ICT and Telecom following the liberalization of the sector in the mid 1990’s which has increased productivity in all spheres of production process and has enabled expansion of skills making living better
Since the beginning of the liberalization of the telecommunications sector in 1999, Kenya has seen fast internet growth and even faster mobile phone growth. Encouraged by this growth the government has plans to turn Kenya into East Africa’s leader in ICT
The ICT sector in Kenya grew at an average of nearly 20% per year from 1999-2013. The number of phone subscriptions has grown from the equivalent of one per 1,000 adults in 1999 to the equivalent of nearly one per adult in 2013; Internet usage rates for 2013 were around five per ten adults.
Person-to-person mobile money transactions at the end of 2010 were equivalent to around 20% of GDP with two of every three Kenyan adults being users. Kenya’s internet subsector has managed to grow considerably over 10 years with what started as a handful of dial up modems in 1995 to more than 100 lincensed internet service providers and over 10million internet users in the country with internet penetration of 25.9%.
ICT has been one of the main drivers of Kenya’s economic growth over the last decade. Since 2000, Kenya’s economy grew at an average of 3.7 percent with ICT being responsible for 0.9 of the 3.7% annual GDP growth, and for all of Kenya’s GDP per capita growth (World Bank).
During the last decade, developments in the telecommunications sector have presented a great success story in Kenya’s economy. There are now over 31 million mobile phones in the country and virtually every adult has access to one. Over 45% of the population enjoys internet access. It is noteworthy that Kenya has led the world in M-PESA, electronic cash transfer through mobile telephony platform. This technology has provided unmatched impetus for propelling Kenya into Africa’s high-tech capital and creating a ‘Sillicon Savannah’ of interconnected telecommunications hubs to power our growing economy. Over the last five (5) years, Kenya has put in place much of its ICT infrastructure, including four (4) new fibre optic cables with an elaborate terrestrial network, as well as a new vibrant regulatory regime.
Kenya, through the Ministry of ICT is committed to transforming itself into a BPO/ITES hub for East Africa region and beyond, building on the progress achieved to connect every Kenyan to the new infrastructure and harness ICT for efficient and effective government, e-commerce, economic growth and job creation for the youth. Under the economic pillar, the Kenya Vision 2030 identified BPO as a priority sector with potential to create over 20,000 jobs and contribute over 10% to GDP.
To achieve this goal, the government is implementing various initiatives that include improving universal access to ICTS, promotion of the BPO/ITES, capacity building, development of digital content, roll out of e-government services and promotion of ICT based industries among others. .
The Kenyan government has launched an e-government strategy, a programme that intends to connect the country’s rural population.
The government is now supporting several projects aimed at boosting the country’s broadband infrastructure with the most high-profile projects being the East Africa Marine System (EAMS) and the East Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSY), initiatives that will connect the countries of East Africa via a high bandwidth fibre optic cable system with the rest of the world.
The Market in ICT and Telecom Sector in Kenya has been summarized to include the following