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Kenya ahead of peers in digital technologies

By Lee Mwiti | January 27th 2016

NAIROBI: Kenya is doing far much better than its East African neighbours when it comes to reaping the benefits of digital technologies.

This is according to a new World Bank report titled ‘World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends’. The report paints a grim picture where 60 per cent of the world’s population remains excluded from the ever-expanding digital economy.

“While the internet, mobile phones and other digital technologies are spreading rapidly throughout the developing world, the anticipated digital dividends of higher growth, more jobs, and better public services have fallen short of expectations,” it states.

While Tanzania recorded a meager 22 per cent of businesses with more than five workers that use internet in their daily operations, Kenya recorded 73 per cent.  A look at the manufacturing sector reveals that 41 per cent of Kenyan firms use the internet to manage their inventory, compared to 8.5 per cent in Tanzania, six per cent in Uganda and 26 per cent in Zambia.

It is also encouraging to note that 40.5 per cent of Kenyan companies used the internet to market their products, compared to six per cent in Tanzania, 5.5 per cent in Uganda and 35 per cent in Zambia.

“Digital technologies are transforming the worlds of business, work, and government,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “We must continue to connect everyone and leave no one behind because the cost of lost opportunities is enormous. But for digital dividends to be widely shared among all parts of society, countries also need to improve their business climate, invest in people’s education and health, and promote good governance.”

Kenya’s service sector saw 35 per cent of its firms use the internet compared to Uganda with 11.5 per cent, seven per cent in Tanzania and 15 per cent in Zambia.

In making sales online, Kenya also fared well with 40.2 of its firms leading in this area compared to Zambia with 16 per cent, Tanzania with 5.5 per cent and Uganda with 9.5 per cent.

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