, BUSAN, South Korea, Oct 21 – Kenya is committed to supporting the global digital agenda activities espoused by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Information Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has said.
Speaking during the 2014 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan, South Korea, Matiang’i said Kenya will work closely with fellow member states to advance digital agenda during “this epoch of rapid evolution of telecommunication technologies and services”.
He said the world was in dire need for solutions to narrow the gaps of exclusivity as well as inspire rapid growth in diversity of various ICT applications and services.
“ICT is a key catalyst that can enable countries transform their economies and drive socio-economic progress,” said Matiang’i.
He said the Kenyan Government underpins the significant role ICT plays in the transformation of the socio-economic development of countries.
It is for this reason that high emphasis has been placed on the utilisation of ICT as a key enabler in converting Kenya into a middle income economy by 2030.
“To complement the public policy frameworks, the government is investing in infrastructure rollout and other government-driven ICT initiatives through public private partnerships,” said Matiang’i.
He said Kenya was firmly in position to participate in the global information economy as attested in the proactive determination to roll-out ICT broadband infrastructure that will secure it as the hub for ICT businesses in the region.
Through the development of a conducive legal and policy framework, he said, the government had inspired innovation, which has brought about diversification in applications and extensive use of ICTs in Kenya.
He cited the mobile money transfer service, M-PESA, as an innovation that has revolutionised the banking industry in Kenya, brought about high percentages of financial inclusion, and currently playing a major role in the promotion of e-commerce.
He also cited the Government’s partnership with the private sector that has come up with innovative approaches in the delivery of public service. Some of the projects here include; the Presidential Digital Transformation project that has led to the creation of a Citizen portal dubbed Huduma Centre, the implementation of the National Digital Registry Services and the Government Shared Services project in areas such as procurement.
He called on the conference to develop pro-active and focused policy frameworks that can help drive the data market by making lower-spectrum bands available, promoting infrastructure sharing, providing rollout incentives, and reducing license fees for rolling out networks in rural areas.
Operators must re-look at their models, by developing low-cost off-peak packages, scaling up compelling applications, and making data-enabled handsets available more cheaply. These measures, he said, will boost the ICT revolution world-wide and fast-track achievement of vision Connect 2020.
“With a significant part of the world population still offline, leaders in ICT have the task to harmonize policies, regulatory and legal frameworks to create a safe and inclusive global village,” said the CS.