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Kenya to host global ICT meet

NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 20- Kenya is set to host a conference in March 2010 that seeks to review the latest developments in the internet industry.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) conference will bring together about 1500 international and regional representatives from the ICT sector to develop policies that will ensure that the industry remains stable and secure.
ICANN is the global body charged with coordination of the internet’s system of unique identifiers such as domain names and country codes for websites.

Making the announcement on Friday, Information Permanent Secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo said the conference would offer an opportunity to network with global leaders in the ICT industry and find ways of improving the local industry.

“This will offer a platform to showcase the government’s achievement in liberalising the ICT sector,” he said.

The PS is also looking at the conference from a financial perspective arguing that investors would have an opportunity to sample Kenya’s offering and invest in the market.

One such area is Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), which has slowly been picking up locally.

“We are in the process of promoting the country in terms of BPOs where we need more investors to join in to make it a global competitive market,” PS Ndemo said.

Sammy Buruchara, the Chairman of Kenya Network Information Centre – the local representative of ICANN – said the forum would also offer local players the opportunity to share experiences on how to improve the sector.

“Many people who make key decisions on investment in ICT as well as policy formulation will be around,” he said urging players to grace the event to articulate issues they felt needed improvement.

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The landing of the fiber optic cable has made Kenya a regional leader in the ICT industry. However, its arrival has only served to pile the pressure on local developers to localise internet content.

With infrastructure being laid out all over the country, there has been a growing fear that many people would not have use for the internet since they had no use for it. Mr Buruchara said putting up content in the language people are comfortable with would not only result faster penetration of the internet, but result in more jobs for developers.
“For many people, English is no their first language, so having web content they can understand will truly enhance penetration, he said adding it would complement the digital villages being set up by the government.

The government has been at the forefront in trying to provide cheap internet access and e-services at the grassroots level, by setting up “Pasha” centers in all constituencies in the country.

Through the Kenya ICT Board the government has launched the first centre, in Kangundo.

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