28 January 2013

East Africa: Region's Own Silicon Valley in Offing

Kenya has lead the way in the construction of East Africa's own 'Silicon Valley,' by inauguration a new park on Mombasa Nairobi Highway.

This kind of development is way overdue since East Africa has already been connected to the world information superhighway for over two years by such fibre optic gateways as the Seacom, Teams and Eassy.

Rwanda already threw down the gauntlet, by declaring herself East Africa's information center. Kenya has undoubtedly raised the bar further. It is now up to Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi to define where they will lie in this information race.

That aside, East Africa as an economy, led by the ever uniting East African Economy (EAC) block needs to stake her own claim in this information age, etching her own name in the ICT hall of fame and moving to the right lane on the information highway of fame or she stands to lose a great deal.

Because of the pace of modernization, being dictated by the information boom, it would be counterproductive not to be a supplier in this information maze. Technology, driven by computer and ICT software and hardware are now the highest earning ventures as evident with google, yahoo and ofcourse microsoft. To continue to be a market and not a producer will mean the loss of valuable foreign exchange.

India has progressed in the area of ICT due to both emphasis on ICT led education and the supply of ICT services. India is now one of the greatest outsourcing areas for data and call centers.

East Africa has the capacity to become a software source and can revolutionize the industry as evident with the invention of the Safaricom led mobile money platform, which has now caught the imagination of the entire world and has now found various applications and is such a big force in the finance world.

East Africa can thus move from being a raw material source to an intellectual source where the brains in our midst can dictate or at least contribute to the direction of development.

Both in Uganda and Kenya, intellectuals have developed software that is running businesses and industries. This can be expanded to include the EAC market and the entire world.

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