, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 3 – The government has secured an additional Sh4.57 billion ($55.1 million) from the World Bank to scale up digital inclusion, content development, e-government and shared services.
The new funding which will increase financing under the Kenya Transparency and Communications Infrastructure Project (KTCIP) to Sh14 billion ($169.5 million), will enable the country to consolidate the gains it has made in the ICT sector.
World Bank Country Director for Kenya Johannes Zutt said that through the grant, Kenya will expand technology-based platforms for transparency and accountability particularly as it rolls-out the new counties.
“Information technology has opened a path for achieving remarkable improvements in transparency and also in governance,” Zutt observed.
The money will also be used to expand the Kenya Open Data Initiative and the Integrated Financial Management Information System with the end result being to increase opportunities for economic transformation and growth.
The Open Data portal which was launched in July 2011 is a revolutionary initiative by the government and private innovators who are using the information on the portal to develop new ICT applications.
“It will also increase the government’s investment in cyber security and support investments to simply and improve immigration and population registry systems. The government and the bank will also explore a public-private partnership business model for e-government applications,” the WB country director pointed out.
Since the year 2000, information technology has contributed on average one percent to Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product rate and the number is projected to rise even higher with new innovations.
Kenya has put in place the second-fastest broadband on the continent – after Ghana – which has reduced the wholesale internet capacity prices by over 90 percent and increased Internet penetration from three percent to 37 percent of the population in the past decade.
Currently, about 90 percent of Kenyan adults have or have the use of a mobile phone.
Kenya is now widely recognised as a world leader in using ICT as a game changer and a global leader in IT applications.
These include the home grown mobile-money platforms like Safaricom’s money transfer service M-PESA, which are enabling increasing numbers of poorer Kenyans to use their phones for financial transactions, bringing quasi-financial services to them for the very first time.
It is also widely recognised as a role model on using ICT for financial inclusion and inclusive development.
Besides, software developers like Ushahidi are developing world-wide reputations for leadership, such as in open-source mapping and geo-referencing, while incubators like the Bank-supported iHub and m-apps lab and the privately-funded iLabAfrica at Strathmore University are supporting a vibrant community of over 1,700 IT applications developers.