Mobile telephony rings opportunities

September 4, 2008
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, NAIROBI, September 4 – Kenyan youths have been urged to embrace new technologies as a way of creating jobs for themselves.

Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said in an interview with Capital News that the advent of mobile technology in Kenya had expanded job opportunities for people and if well utilised, would aid in the alleviation of the unemployment.

“The mobile industry has really allowed Kenya to grow and become part of the global economy. If it hadn’t been for the mobile industry, I don’t think we would have been in such a strong position as we are today,” he said.

Joseph, who heads the most successful mobile phone operator in the region, acknowledged that the mobile technology in Kenya had so far created numerous new businesses for young people and has greatly aided economic growth of the country.

He said there was hope that Kenya would take its rightful part in the global economy if technology is fully exploited. He mentioned the development Information and Communication Technology (ICT) utilities such as the internet and mobile phone communication technologies as core elements of the country’s future.

Joseph also took cognisance of the laying of the international undersea fibre optic cable which he said would expand the ICT industry.

He said that once complete, the fibre optic cable would give service providers a much enhanced broadband, which would in turn increase speed in internet connectivity and hence lower costs.

The CEO is optimistic that the entry of new players in the market would spur Kenya to be on the cutting edge of the mobile telephony business in the region.

According to him, these developments would act as a catalyst to the wholesome growth of the Kenyan economy.

However, he noted that the biggest challenge in the mobile telephony industry in Kenya was the exorbitant entry fee for new service operators.

Joseph also proposed a waiver of the excise taxes levied on mobile phone services saying that would culminate into lower operation costs, which would eventually trickle down to end users.

On the other hand, the Safaricom boss warned that there was need to seriously check information security.  He said better measures ought to be out in place to ensure better management and entrench responsibility among recipients, majority of whom in this case, are the youth.

“Information is now spreading like wild fire, nowadays people have access to all types of information and we just have to make sure that we have the right standards in place and behave responsibly,” he noted.

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