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Kenya to conduct ICT survey

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 27- An online survey which is expected to reveal how Kenyans use the internet will soon be launched in the country.

Kenya ICT Board has partnered with a research firm, TNS Research International to conduct the study which will see questionnaires sent to 20,000 internet users across the country.

“The survey will also provide new analysis of the consumer and what motivates them to behave in particular ways when they are online,” said Director of Research at TNS Research International Melissa Baker of the survey which will cover six main themes.

The findings which will be out in January 2009 are expected to be useful to non governmental organisations, the government and the private sector that are interested in using the internet as a marketing medium.

“It will help us understand what consumers are looking for and how we can meet those needs even better in terms of understanding their habits,” ICT Board Chief Executive Officer Paul Kukubo said.

Mr Kukubo said they hoped that once the report is released, it would trigger the development of many internet based applications which would eventually spur IT uptake and growth in the country.

“I can foresee for example people developing information products that take advantage of the large number of consumers that will be revealed to be available on the internet,” he said.

He said while the development of software and content has gone up, but urged Kenyans to do more as they seek to take advantage of the switching on of the fibre optic cables.

Although he refused to be drawn into the issue of internet costs and whether they had come down since the landing of the cables, Mr Kukubo vouched for the quality of bandwidth which he said had significantly improved and it would play a key role in spurring growth.

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“We have been seeing very interesting youth develop products in mobile applications but we would like to see more. Facebook (the social networking site) gets 1.5 million users every day, we want to see more Kenyans develop their own versions of the same thing,” he challenged.

He said they were looking at partnering with the site to run application developer-garages where mobile and internet application users can this platform to create applications.

“ICT is largely an intellectual business which will grow as soon as we create awareness and exposure to bring people into this area of investment,” the CEO added.

Already a few foreign companies have expressed their interest in setting up ICT based operations in the country as they seek to take advantage of the opportunity that the sector presents.

Although he declined to name them, Mr Kukubo said the Board would this week host a group of 15 international investors from the US who want to put their money in local ICT firms.

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