Kenyan Exports Software as IT Sector Grows


Kenya’s rising profile as a software developing nation is set to place the commodity on the country’s list of exports this year as companies and governments continue the search for effective cost-cutting tools.

Figures from the Ministry of Information reveal the sector raked in over KES 500 million (USD 6.6 million) in revenues last year, and that figure is projected to double as the country’s profile rises around the world. Currently, Kenya biggest exports are tangible goods such as horticultural exports, tea, and soda ash.

A shift to virtual software exports would position the country to compete in the same class as India, which makes upwards of KES 4 billion (USD 52.9 million) per annum in software exports.

Local software manufacturers say they are experiencing an upswing in interest from foreign companies, who are drawn to Kenyan developers due to their ability to churn out cheap but innovative solutions.

The recent international recognition of local developer Ken Kasina has boosted the country’s profile. Kasina was presented with the Global Achievement Award for Open Source last year for his work on open source platforms.

Last year, local software developer CompuLynx raked in KES 400 million (USD 5.3 million) in software development, with a portion gained from exporting solutions. The company is now targeting KES 1 billion (USD 13.2 million) over the next year on the back of increased interest from foreign companies and countries.

“Developments on the local and international business and IT solutions scene have continued to show positive trends necessitating further investment,” said Sailesh Savani, the CompuLynx CEO.

As an international end-to-end solutions provider, CompuLynx supports key business segments platforms which include retail, government, banking, financial services, and insurance.

CompuLynx has partnered with leading IT-companies like Oracle, IBM, Datacard, and Microsoft among others, thus providing various products, solutions, and platforms for several sectors.

“Emboldened by the prevailing market climate, we have decided to adopt a business strategy leading to 2012 that will ensure that all our undertakings are planned for and cease to be generic,” Mr Savani said.

Over the last three years, Kenya’s growing software development community has drawn companies like Google, Facebook and Research In Motion (RIM) to source local talent through hosted software development competitions.

Following a slump over the last two years due to the financial recession, the software market is forecast to resume growth in 2010 and new research from Software AG, an American software firm, reveals a larger software sector will provide a buffer to economic contraction and spur an earlier return to growth.

“Software will also play a major role in helping both the public and private sectors adapt to economic changes quickly and cheaply. The software industry provides a cost effective way of implementing competing requirements such as increasing efficiency, initiating cost reductions, and ensuring new regulatory compliance,” said Dean Mericka, President of US Operations for Software AG.

Business Daily