Information & Communication Technology (ICT) strategy for development in Kenya
Adem, Christopher O
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The Information Economy is generating opportunities across all sectors. It is a new source of jobs for regional and city-based Kenyans, it provides opportunities for Kenyan businesses, wealth creation through ready access to a global marketplace, and reductions in the cost of information and transactions. An exciting aspect of this information revolution is the potential for enhanced social interaction and community participation. The tools in this new economy are the Information and Communication Technologies (lCTs). The New World of social and commercial interaction brought about by advances in ICT is what is therefore referred to as the information economy. The economy is characterized by and allows for: .:. Operational efficiencies - cheaper transaction costs for routine processes .:. Management efficiencies - better information management supports and optimization of supply chain .:. A significant increase in the power of consumers through vastly increased consumer choice, information and convenience - government and private sector services online, and the faster spread of new service offerings . •:. More competitive markets - greater competitive pressure on suppliers and consumers alike as barriers to entry and exit are eroded. Kenya's future prosperity in this New World requires a cooperative effort in the part of all levels of government, the private sector and the general community. If we are to capture potential gains in new markets, boost employment and small business activity and maximize innovation and creativity. The role of the government is to encourage and facilitate business and the community to create the social and economic condition in which the information economy can flourish and deliver it's efficiencies and opportunities to all Kenyans. , According to the Minister for Information, Traltsport-"'& Communications (lCT docket Ministry), the government of Kenya recognizes the role of ICT and has in the last couple of years opened up the telecommunications sector and ICT related ~ecfofs in order to transform the country into a modern information and knowledge-based economy. However, there is more to be done such as modernization ,and efficiency improvement of the Telkom services through privatization,liscencing of regional telecommunications operators, and allowing ISPs to interconnect with mobile network to provide Internet services to cellular phone subscribers. The document presented here represent a critical step in getting Kenya online. The purpose of this document is to set the strategic direction and provide a broad policy framework for the information economy in Kenya. It identifies key issues and priorities for action, and forms the basis for a series of action plans to be developed by a body yet to be formed by the governmentone charged with making certain that Kenya takes advantage of the opportunities afforded by the information economy.