Kenya bets on ICT sector to spur growth
Spreading business opportunities in the Information Communication and Technology sector (ICTs) to small and medium enterprises could boost the country’s overall economy, says experts.
Other than that, the quality and access to electrical power supply or alternative power source in most parts of the country is also a critical issue that needs to be addressed together with boosting innovative ICT solutions by encouraging or offering incentives to software developers.
ICT is among the sectors that have been singled out to drive the country’s economy, but the impact of the post- election violence and high food prices have slowed down business performance in some of the key segments in this sector such as mobile telecommunication.
The violence witnessed last year disrupted businesses in general and those in the ICT sector were not spared. On the other hand, high food prices has forced consumers to choose between spending on some of the ICT services or solutions and buying food especially at the lower bracket of the economy.
Despite these happenings, experts are still optimistic that the sector will witness positive growths now that the telecommunication infrastructure hurdle that was making it expensive and uncompetitive for the local businesses is almost sorted out.
The country expects to be connected to two undersea cables namely TEAMS and Seacom by the end of next month which will complement the satellite services which are not only expensive but has low quality of services compared to the fibre.
The challenge is how to turn this pipe into a supermarket- an income generating venture. “By offering most of the ICT related business to the SMEs, the government would be opening up the sector and spreading its benefits across the country” said Owino Magana a regional IT consultant.
Other than this, Owino says the government and the private sector can partner on some ICT related projects across the country not only to create employment opportunities but to economically empower the citizens.
Some of the business opportunities that could be availed to the SMEs are transforming the government documents from the current hard copy to digital formats, making it possible for local software programmers to compete for government tenders on an equal platform with multinational companies and outsourcing of some of the non core government or private sector activities to third parties.
Paul Kukubo, the chairman of ICT board of Kenya, says the growth of the sector will mostly be determined by the SMEs in IT sector who either provide services, hardware, software , infrastructure or support services.