Kenya is seen as being well placed to become Africa’s leading technology hub, with plans in place to become Africa’s ICT hub by 2017. In 2013, the Kenyan government’s ICT Authority launched a national ICT master plan:‘Connected Kenya 2017’. This plan aims to ensure that Kenya becomes Africa’s most respected knowledge economy globally.
Dubbed the ‘Silicone Savannah’, Kenya’s aim is to spur the development of 500 tier-one technology companies, the formation of 20 global innovations and the creation of 50 000 new jobs by 2017. To become Africa’s ICT hub, Kenya will have to develop Konza Technology City at a cost of some USD14.5 billion. This hub will ensure that the country provides facilities required by investors as they enter the country, strengthen education in ICT so that the required talent is always available in the country, and market and strengthen brand awareness.
Some ICT companies, such as IBM, have already opened up Africa branches and data research centres in Nairobi, while Kenya has also pioneered a mobile technology economy that points to future trends in the rest of the world.
Access to internet
As a leader in mobile technology, Kenya has 36.1 million mobile subscribers. This gives the country a 83.9% penetration rate, according to the Fourth Quarter Sector Statistics Report for the Financial Year 2014/2015 (April–June 2015) issued by the country’s communications authority.
The Internet is increasingly used for basic services in Kenya such as banking, healthcare and education. In 2013, the sector contributed 12.1% to the country’s GDP of USD44 billion.
The country’s mobile money transfer service is showing steady growth, and new services and apps continue to be added to provide methods for mobile payments. According to a study by the Kenya Bankers Association 71% of rural Kenyans and 51% of urban residents use their mobile phones for banking and financial services.
It is anticipated that increased Internet penetration and smartphone uptake will continue to be main drivers of increased data and mobile money transfer use.