Kenya needs to account for innovation


“There have been a lot of innovations that could be having an effect on data capture for internet, things like Whatsapp. It’s not clear how, for example, the providers of that data, the mobile operators, [are] capturing data – whether they’re still capturing it as internet or as an SMS,” the Communications Commission of Kenya’s assistant director, Joel Imitira, told CNBC Africa.

“There are innovations that have come up, that could also be influencing how people communicate in the country. It’s a mix of many things that we hope will [be]come clearer as we move along.”

The East African nation, which according to the World Bank has a population of 43.18 million, saw the number of mobile subscriptions in the country grow 2.3 per cent to 30.5 million in the fourth quarter of the 2013 financial year.


The Communications Commission of Kenya however, recently indicated that the number of internet subscribers dropped to 11.6 million in the quarter ended September 2013, which showed a decline of 6.1 per cent.

Imitira explained that this was attributed to a revision of the national population figure from 39.5 million to 40.7 million.

“The reason for the decline is the way the numbers are being computed. The population base that has been used as a denominator has grown substantially and that has had a reducing impact on the outcome of the internet coverage in the country,” he said.

“That is part of the reason but we also appreciate that the dynamics in the market, and the way we captured it, we need to look at how new innovations in the market are also affecting the internet space.”

Imitira added that, as it stands, mobile uptake in Kenya is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent going forward.