Kenya mulls tax incentives for ICT sector to reduce reliance on imports

1 June 2018

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

NAIROBI, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenya is considering introducing tax incentives for manufacturers in the ICT sector in order to reduce reliance on imports, a senior government official said on Monday.

Joe Mucheru, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of ICT, told journalists in Nairobi that Kenya currently imports the bulk of its technology devices as local manufacturers lack knowledge to make world-class products.

"We are therefore going to put in place tax incentives that will help to attract global manufacturers of ICT devices to serve the growing local demand," Mucheru said when he officially unveiled the Connected Summit 2018, set to be held on Oct. 22.

This year's forum, which marks the summit's 10th edition, will be held under the theme "Building for Prosperity."

Over 1,000 people are expected to attend the forum, which will bring together ICT innovators, corporate executives, financiers and key policymakers in the regional ICT industry for discussions geared toward nurturing partnerships that will spur the realization of Kenya's development agenda.

"We want to make it an international event so that we can continue to grow," Mucheru added.

"Many countries are aspiring to learn from the innovations we have implemented over the years and this will be a great platform to enable such collaborations," he said.

Previous Connected Summit events are credited with the birth of key public service innovations, including the Huduma Centers, E-Citizen Portal, Digital Literacy Program as well as the National ICT Master Plan.

Mucheru noted that a digital literacy project that seeks to introduce laptops for primary schools will drastically expand the domestic market for computers.

Kenya will require over 50 million smart devices in the next two years due to increasing reliance on technology to fuel all sectors of the economy, he said.

Kenya is part of the Smart Africa Alliance that aims to achieve total connectivity for sub-Saharan Africa, Mucheru said.

He noted that Kenya plans to be an export hub for the huge ICT market that will be created by the Smart Africa Alliance, which has the potential to have approximately 600 million potential consumers.

The east African nation is currently developing Konza Techno City, which is located 60 km south of the capital, Nairobi.

Jerome Ochieng, permanent secretary in the Ministry of ICT, said Konza Techno City will enable Kenya become an ICT hub in Africa due to its world-class infrastructure.

Ochieng noted that the government is prioritizing ICT because it is a critical enabler for all sectors of the economy.

Technology allows people to leapfrog and could help Kenya fast track achievements so as realize the national agenda within the next three years, he added.

The government also plans to further digitize land operations, deploy a robust heath management platform, establish a database for agricultural producers across the country as part of the government's efforts to streamline service delivery, Ochieng said.

Source: Xinhua