Kenya to install govt call centres

September 11, 2009

, NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 11 – The Ministry of Information said on Thursday that it was setting up its own call centres as it strives to improve service delivery to Kenyans.

Speaking during the launch of the second largest call centre in Kenya, KenTech Data, Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo said the government would take advantage of increased bandwidth and higher internet speeds to set up its centres.

He said as the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector continues to grow, the government would ensure quality services.

“We expect the sector to create close to 50,000 jobs in the next three years. Our target was to employ 30,000 people but with the rapid growth of the sector that number could go up,” he said.

With ICT infrastructure now in place, the PS expects the sector to be a major contributor to the country’s GDP.

“In other countries ICT contributes almost 50 percent to the economy by creating better services or improving general efficiency in business operation,” he said.

However, with the BPO sector being relatively new in Kenya, immigration PS Emanuel Kisombe said his ministry would facilitate recruitment of foreigners with knowledge of the sector to facilitate faster growth.

Mr Ndemo also said he was not happy with the speed of laying down fibre optic cable connections across the country. He said the government had already done its part but accused the private sector of being lax in rolling out the network.

“The private sector should share the load where one company concentrates on one region rather than going it alone to lay the metro cables. You can have one company doing Westlands and another one Langata,” he suggested.

The PS warned that the government would use local authorities to lay the cables if the private sector does not rectify the glitch.

ICT Board Managing Director Paul Kukubo challenged more organisations and industries to set up their own BPO centres to diversify the industry with the aim of attracting more foreign investment in the sector.

“When you have more companies setting up BPOs then even foreign companies can think of using Kenya’s resources in ICT; that way we can gain from foreign exchange,” he said.

Mr Ndemo allayed fears that the county was at risk of cyber crime due to the arrival of the fibre optic cable.

“The government has invested heavily in setting up firewalls at the point of entry of the cable in Mombasa safeguarding consumers from global hackers,” he said.

He added that most data crime occurs internally.

“People with knowledge of organisations’ data systems pose the greatest risk as they are the ones who steal information,” he emphasised.

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