Lack of expertise slows down ICT growth

By Frankline Sunday

High operation costs and the limited pool of technology graduates is holding back growth of Kenya’s emerging ICT industry,  according to a World Bank report.

The report indicates that lack of a bigger pool of professionals and the high cost of entrepreneurship has been the greatest roadblock to progress.

 It notes that although the country has emerged as one of three major tech hubs in Africa, alongside Nigeria and Morocco, Kenya still needs to address several roadblocks to lift the prospects of the burgeoning sector.

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“Kenya scores highly, primarily as a result of the reduced cost of accessing mobile and broadband, which is the most important single step to enhance ICT competitiveness,” says the World Bank.

The country currently is said to have the lowest price in Africa for mobile services, with the average monthly cost standing at Sh161 ($1.90) for 30 calls and 100 SMS. The World Bank report attributes the low costing to regulatory intervention that has seen the country implement the lowest mobile termination rates across the continent. Only last month, the country’s telecommunication regulator, Communication Commission of Kenya slashed the mobile termination rate from Sh2.21 to sh1.44 per minute, after months of tussles between mobile service providers.

The World Bank further states that the adoption of ICT in the country has been disruptive in three key areas – financial services, ICT competiveness and regional trade and integration.

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“The mass adoption of M-Pesa and its use not only in Kenya has made the country a leader in mobile money transfer worldwide,” says the report.

The report further indicates that the success of M-Pesa has led to a snowballing effect that has seen more innovative products break into the market.

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