Kenya is fast evolving to becoming a 'Silicon Savannah' and its ICT sector is set to contribute up to 8 per cent of the country’s GDP by 2017.
The contribution of the sector to the Kenyan economy is said to have increased significantly over the years. From innovations like M-Pesa (a mobile-phone based money transfer and micro financing service) to BRCK (a modem router that bypasses infrastructure problems associated to internet connectivity) the sector has become one of the fastest growing in the country.
“The Silicon Savannah is a reality confirmed by transformative innovations conceived in the minds of Kenyans and implemented by Kenyan forms. When it comes to ICT Kenya requires no introduction in the world, when it comes to innovation, we as a country are counted among the leaders,” President Uhuru Kenyatta said during a forum on innovation held in Nairobi recently.
The ICT sector is said to be one of the key drivers of Kenya’s Vision 2030 goals that will see the country attain the status of a middle income nation. Under the country’s new ICT master plan and part of Vision 2030, the sector will create 180,000 direct jobs in the next two years and develop globally competitive products.
“Indeed through ICT government has become more efficient, more accountable and more transparent. Moreover, ICT remains a home of real promise for all of us Kenyans given our positive ICT experience. We fully expect the sector to play an even greater role in national development and governance,” Kenyatta said.
Nonetheless, despite strides made in the ICT sector, the government as well as the private sector believes they have to work together in order to achieve its desired goals.
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for ICT Fred Matiangi said, “The beauty about this government is that we have free political will and leadership from the top that supports the work we are doing.”
“We are therefore grateful we are moving forward with the private sector to ensure we create jobs we provide opportunities for the growth of innovation that, is happening in our country and that we enhance the contribution of ICT to the GDP of our country.”