NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector has received a Sh4.573 billion boost from a World Bank (WB) loan signed on Friday with the Treasury.
The additional funding is the second tranche from the WB to finance the Kenya Transparency and Communications Infrastructure Project, which was lent Sh8.04 billion in 2007 for infrastructure expansion and to develop rural ICT centres.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Finance Minister Njeru Githae said the loan will support several key areas in ICT that aim to boost government efficiency such as the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS).
“With Sh2.98 billion we want to roll out IFMIS to all the counties and expand e-Government, the open data initiative which will be given Sh549 million and operational costs of Sh169 million,” he said.
Other ongoing projects to benefit from the financing are the Virtual Network between universities, Digital Villages and Content grants, digitizing land records and establishing an eBusiness registry.
Kenya’s total WB supported portfolio now stands at Sh232.8 billion including the additional funding, making the WB the country’s leading multilateral financing institution.
WB Country Director Johannes Zutt said despite Kenya’s steady economic growth since 2000 with an annual average of four percent, weak governance has held the country back. However he added that the integration of ICT into government can help improve transparency and efficiency.
“ICT opened a path for achieving remarkable improvements in transparency and therefore governance. This potential transformation in Kenya’s governance is most visible in the government’s decision last July to launch Kenya’s Open Data Portal,” he said.
Zutt added that the country would have to keep its debt levels down to respond to future economic crises as well as expand manufactured exports through continued investment in infrastructure services for businesses and increasing the capacity of the Mombasa Port.