M a r k e t N e w s

Kenya joins Smart Africa Alliance to boost data sharing

Posted on : Thursday, 8th September 2016

 Kenya has signed into the Smart Africa Alliance, joining hands with 12 other African countries to create a single digital market to boost data sharing.

The Smart Africa Alliance is geared towards connecting, innovating and transforming the continent into a knowledge economy with an ambitious target of fundraising $300 billion for developing the IT ecosystem in Africa by the year 2020 thereby driving global competitiveness and job creation.
Founded in 2013, Smart Africa is headquartered in Kigali, and besides Kenya and Rwanda other member countries include, Uganda, Gabon, Sudan, Senegal, Mali, Chad, Angola, Burkinfaso, Djibouti, Co’te D’Ivoire and Guinea.
“By leveraging on ICT, Kenyan farmers or business community can reach a market of more than half a billion consumers compared to the current 45 million,” said ICT Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru during a ministerial meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing International Telecommunications Union (ITU) global capacity building symposium.
The symposium is organised by the country’s telecommunications sector regulator Communications Authority of Kenya in partnership with it’s global affiliate ITU. Kenya is especially looking to leverage on the partnerships from Smart Africa to boost investment into the Konza City technopolis project that is currently running behind schedule owing to a slowdown of foreign direct investment.
One of the initiatives by the Alliance was the introduction of One Area Calling Network in 2014 that eliminated the roaming charges within East Africa, lowering the cost of calling within the region by 60 per cent.
Rural poor
At the ITU symposium Deputy President William Ruto said there was need to put in place structures to accelerate connectivity to mitigate the glaring ICT divide both within and between countries.
“We need partnerships that enable the rural poor get their first online experience. A farmer in rural Kenya has as much as benefit from ICT like his or her counterpart in the Canadian prairies.”
He said promptness and affordability is critical and appealed to industry players to quickly work towards affordable prices, higher speeds, high capacity Internet to achieve the desired results. Ruto said ICT is expected to contribute at least 8 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this financial year.
“In finance, health, education, agriculture and Governance, ICT has become the platform to rate service delivery, on demand dissemination of information and effective customer service,” he added.
“An economy based on ICT and internet is a powerful catalyst for innovation, growth and social prosperity....promoting a more sustainable and inclusive growth focused on well being and equality of opportunities.”

Source : www.standardmedia.co.ke
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