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Kenya backs ICT sector to increase productivity, competitiveness

Kenya , 19 Jun 2023
Kenya President William Ruto.
Kenya President William Ruto.

Kenya’s government is ramping up efforts to grow the country’s ICT sector to increase productivity and competitiveness.

Last week the largest economy in East Africa presented its budget for the 2023/2024 financial year, allocating $109.6 million (KES 15.1 billion) to fund initiatives in the ICT sector.

The financial backing supports the growth and development of the growing ICT sector.

Kenya has been stepping up efforts to make the East African economic powerhouse an ICT innovation hub to unlock the digital economy potential.

The country has robust measures to ensure the growth of the digital economy.

These include the national ICT policy, the Kenya Start-Up Act, Data Protection Act, the Digital Economy blueprint and the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes.

Kenya is also developing the Konza Technopolis project, a large technology hub planned to be built 64 km south of Nairobi. The government is marketing the project as the pillar of its development plan, Kenya Vision 2030.

Last week, Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Treasury, Njuguna Ndung’u, said: “To promote productivity and competitiveness, a total of KES 15.1 billion ($109.6 million) has been allocated to fund initiatives in the ICT sector.

“Digitisation and automation will increase productivity and competitiveness through providing ease of access to the market and improving the information flow as well as improve risk management.”

Key allocations in the sector include $8.7 million for the Konza data centre and smart city facilities, $41.38 million for the construction of the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology at Konza Technopolis, $9.4 million for the maintenance and rehabilitation of the national fibre optic backbone phase II expansion cable, $3.4 million for the construction of Konza Complex phase 1 B, and $4.2 million for last-mile county connectivity network.

Kenya’s ICT plans have since received backing from the World Bank, which recently approved $390 million in funding to amplify the growing digital economy.

The monies will finance the first phase of Kenya Digital Economy Acceleration project, which aims to ‘expand access to high-speed internet, improve the quality and delivery of education and selected government services, and build skills for the regional digital economy’.

The World Bank said the Digital Economy Acceleration Project will use a multi-phase programmatic approach with two phases.

Phase one will run from 2023 to 2028, focusing on expanding access to high-speed internet. While phase two of the project will run from 2026-2030, concentrating on building a data-driven and secure environment for enhanced digital service delivery and innovation for the regional digital economy.

In addition, the project will also mobilise an estimated $100 million in private capital for broadband infrastructure development.

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