, March 10, 2010 – The Government and industry view broadband technologies as critical for national and economic development.
Reports from many quarters indicate that these technologies can assist communities to realise the benefits of a true information society.
One substantial obstacle to attaining a critical mass of broadband users is the lack of compelling applications and content at a local level.
It is against this backdrop that the Kenya ICT Board has partnered with Google to raise awareness on how the internet can be relevant to Kenyans in everyday life and encourage development of more local digital content.
Paul Kukubo, CEO, Kenya ICT Board, said the essential requirement of the partnership is to get Kenyans to understand that this is in the public interest and common good.
“Our aim should be to look into how communities can use emerging technologies to enable community voices, preserve our culture and bring together all the content that supports them in making informed and wise choices.”
Joe Mucheru, Regional Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa at Google hopes that through this partnership Kenyans can be educated on the opportunities the internet offers and that in the end Kenya will produce more local content and compete at a global level.
“The partnership offers the Kenya ICT Board support worth Sh2.4 million. This will increase the size of the online community in the country. It will also see Kenya move closer to becoming a true knowledge and information economy.”
Global statistics indicate that at least 3.4 million Kenyans use the Internet. The development and enhancement of a structured digital content strategy that supports and enables local digital content development is welcome.
Already there is a plethora of Kenyan content available online. Websites from all professions-health, accounting, law, entertainment- provide a valuable recourse for the millions of Kenyans online. The appetite for local content is resonant. Therefore, its continued creation in a structured manner is critical for long term sustainability.
The Kenya ICT Board will bring together local content developers and IT professionals to explore the challenges and opportunities in developing local digital content through bi-monthly events dubbed the Tandaa Symposium on Local Digital Content.
The Symposium, sponsored by Google, will bring together experts, entrepreneurs, business executives and civil society to explore how to produce more local content for consumption via mobile phones, digital TV and the internet.
These events will showcase successful initiatives that demonstrate the potential of the internet for economic and social change.
They will also offer capacity building for business owners, innovators and community groups and show them how to adopt digital technologies and make use of digital content. Be on the lookout for any such event, somewhere near you…