19 February 2013

Kenyan ICT Market Thriving - Ndemo

The Kenya ICT Board has released phase two of the Julisha survey report which indicates that the sector performed well with good growth in value, usage and access across most sectors -- with a shift to services as more infrastructure was put in place.

The survey, which seeks to establish the correlation between the provision of ICT in enabling social and economic development was conducted by the International Data Corporation towards the end of 2011 and Information PS Bitange Ndemo said that as the Kenyan ICT market continues to thrive, the country will move forward as well.

"Overall, the Kenyan ICT market continues to thrive and we expect that from 2013 onwards, the most notable issues will include; the new government structure as county governments wean themselves from national governments to become more autonomous, increased investment by vendors, increased venture capital activity aimed at startups and developments with the 4G shared network infrastructure," he explained.

"Over the last two years, we have been working through the Transparency and Communications Infrastructure Project (KTCIP) with several customers to establish how improved connectivity and facilitating the development," he noted.

Internet usage in general, rose from 10.99 million to 17.38 million in 2011 which can in part be attributed to an increase in the number of households with personal computers from 6.3 percent to 8 percent.

The sector also saw the number of students connected to broadband rise from 176,000 in 2010 to 250,000 in 2011, a 42 percent increase year on year, in addition to 65 universities connected to broadband in 2011 as they try to incorporate ICT in education.

Outgoing ICT Board CEO Paul Kukubo said that there is still a challenge with registered government domain names, which reduced in 2011 largely due to lack of renewal of domains mainly by local government entities

He added that this requires plenty of sensitization to reduce the lapses.

Compared to South Africa, Kenya has a higher internet penetration mainly bolstered by mobile internet connections though with a lower proportion of connected households, owing to a declining fixed network and poor development of DSL based services.

Although Egypt has a much higher overall and household internet penetration with a huge gap of almost 25 percent, Kenya compares much better than both Nigeria and Rwanda on both counts.

On the other hand, Kenya has slightly higher PC penetration rates than Nigeria and Rwanda but still lags very far behind South Africa and Morocco, mostly due to lower disposable income as compared to the other countries.

In terms of business usage of the Internet, Kenya is at 4.8 percent, meaning that it is nearly on par with more developed countries like Egypt and Morocco and slightly ahead of Nigeria and Egypt at 3.8 percent.

"With all these good things happening in the Kenyan ICT, there is need to address the challenge of limited and expensive financing for projects and importation of goods. Inconsistent importation regulations, tariffs and other levies are frequently cited as irregular and are as a result of either poor understanding of different ICT goods or poor definitions of the different classes of ICT products," Ndemo emphasised.

"Doing business with government is also cited as a major problem area owing to protracted procurement cycles. The prolonged procurement cycles and cyclic spending with government is somewhat frustrating and these need to be addressed in order to deliver value on both the demand and supply sides," he added.

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