Research project report on the proposed National Information and Communications Technologies Council for kenya
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This research project was undertaken between January and May 200 I. Its purpose was the collection of information that could be factored into or influence the setting up of a National NICTC. The specific goals of the research were to: I) Provide a comprehensive description and analysis of the characteristics of the current provisions for providing advisory, coordination and regulatory services on ICTs in the country (Literature Review) 2) Identify pertinent and valid exploratory variables and success indicators 3) Test the exploratory variables on an appropriate group of subjects (Survey) 4) Formulate specific conclusions based on the results of the Literature Review and the Survey. 5) Arrive at general conclusions of the project The information gathered may be helpful for a variety of purposes including the development of guidelines for identifying an effective NICTC framework or its components. Should the findings herein be available at a time that an NICTC is already operational, then they may be useful for reviewing any relevant aspects. No specific structure is proposed as a result of this project. Rather, it is expected that the information obtained can be used as building blocks for a final structure. The present report describes the results of the project. The report is comprised of two palts. Part I describes the review of statutory provisions, enabling instruments and other literature currently existing on the ICTs sector. Part 2 presents the results of a questionnaire-based survey ofICT Stakeholders familiar with the requirements, shortcomings and potential of the sector. The results of Part 2 can therefore be described as the reflection of what the Stakeholders want regarding an NICTC. The Government of Kenya has instituted measures to revitalize and transform the economy into modern marketoriented economy. The stated aim is to establish Kenya, in the medium to long term, as the centre of industrial and financial activities in the region. To this end the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) sector has been declared as having an important role to play if the country's development thrust is to successful. The Kenyan economy is currently characterized by rapid structural ~f9rms involving regulatory, technological and market changes. The Government policy in the last decade bps been on economic liberalization, de-regulation and competition. The ICT sector has made certain changes under these guidelines, albeit at a less than desired speed, scope. And content. Apart from the policy background; the technologies have themselves had significant effect in changing and revolutionizing not just the economy, but also the entire social fabric. All in all the Government has recognited that ICTs can playa prominent role as a catalyst for the growth of the nation's, agricultural, commercial and industrial sectors, while also supporting socio-economic goals such as poverty eradication. Need for an ICTs Coordination Body A sector Policy Paper issued in January 1997 by the Government proposed the establishment of a Pol icy Advisory Secretariat to accompany the other changes that were planned in the ICT restructuring. The Policy Paper recognized that ICTs are vital for any country's economic productivity, competitiveness and national security. KENYA NATIONAL ICT COUNCIL RESEARCH I "This sector is experiencing rapid technological advances which make it imperative for the Government to maintain an effective and dynamic policy environment that will facilitate sustainable development and advancement of strategic interests". The Policy Paper therefore proposed the establishment of a National Telecommunications and Information Secretariat "that will formulate appropriate policies and draft legislation as necessary. In the Policy Paper the Government was explicit that the new body would not undertake regulatory duties - this were assigned to the nowestablished Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK). In response to a request by the then Minister for Finance Mr. Masakhalia in May 1999, a research project was mooted by the Computer Society of Kenya to obtain empirical data regarding the possible establishment of a national body responsible for the emerging Information and Communications (lCT) sector in Kenya. In November 1998 a gazette notice by the then Minister for Finance Mr. Simeon Nyachae established a National Y2K Coordination Committee and Center in response to a hue and cry from various stakeholders in view of the then looming Y2K uncertainties. The Y2K committee held its mandate until April 30 2000. Upon completion of its mission the committee made a recommendation that it be transformed into a NationallCT Council. In early 2000 newspaper advertisements were carried for Senior Staff to man a NationallCT Advisory Center. Details of the structure and mission of the Center were however not published. In the meantime a recommendation for the establ ishment of a National1CT Council was given presidential assent in June 2000, an important endorsement representing political will. This research project was commenced in January 2001 with a projected end date of May 2001. The purpose of the project was to provide empirical data and related conclusions that would assist those charged with the realization of such council to set up an effective National Information and Communications Technologies Council NICTC organ. Existing related local institutions and bodies as well as and their enabling instruments (legislation) and policy were reviewed in order to construct a comprehensive description of the current ICT environment. These results were compared to those in various types of foreign countries that have established organs to manage the ICT sector. In the second part of the research project, 21 ke.y·Stakeholders (including one from Government) with experience in the ICT sector. They were asked to give their views on the need for and challenges related to the establishment and operation ofa nationallCT Council and were also queried on.Jheil'assessment of alternative models and an evaluation of a list of predictors of success or failure.