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Kenya needs Sh250 billion to implement the national broadband strategy

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By Ben Kinyanjui

The Government requires Sh250 billion to implement the National Broadband Strategy (NBS) aimed at transforming Kenya into a knowledge-based economy.ICT secretary Dr Fred Matiang'i must find ways to raise funds for strategyICT secretary Dr Fred Matiang'i must find ways to raise funds for strategy

The overall objective of the strategy launched late last month is to provide quality broadband services to all citizens in the country.

Deputy President William Ruto says it was increasingly becoming impossible to achieve economic development without the integration of ICTs, especially broadband, in all facets of the economy.

"National economic development and prosperity in this age cannot be fully realized in the absence of a robust broadband ecosystem.  This is why we need a clear road map that defines, and articulates the national ICT agenda,’’ he said.

The Deputy President pledged the government’s commitment to invest more in the subsector by increasing budgetary allocations from 0.5 per cent to over five per cent in the coming years.

The strategy proposes a Sh250 billion budget to fund the development of the broadband infrastructure, supporting national capacity building and awareness and content and innovations.

The proposed finance sources include innovative financial instruments such as launching a Broadband Infrastructure Bond, a Broadband Venture Capital Fund and exploiting existing instruments such as the Growth Enterprise Market available within the Capital Markets as well as increased government spending on ICT of up to five per cent.

Information, Communications and Technology Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i lauded the launch and called for increased consultations to make the broadband a reality for Kenyans.

‘‘We hope to deepen digital literacy among our people. We are adopting an inclusive approach,’’ he said.

US Ambassador to Kenya Mr Robert Godec said the launch marked a milestone in the development of ICTs in Kenya.

The US envoy said Kenya had made significant strides in the ICT sector, from the revolutionary MPESA to taking the lead in the number of internet users on the continent.

The US Government provided technical support towards developing the National Broadband Strategy through USAID’s Global Broadband and Innovations (GBI) initiative.

Communications Commission of Kenya Director General, Mr Francis Wangusi termed ICTs as a critical pillar of development and called for the establishment of an infrastructure that would enhance communication networks in the country.

‘‘ICTs, and in particular Broadband networks, are now as important as transport, power or water networks. This is therefore a very cheerful moment for us as we launch the framework for the deployment of broadband in Kenya,’’ he said.

Kenya’s ICT industry captains and other stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of the strategy attended the breakfast launch at Nairobi’s Intercontinental Hotel.

Kenya now becomes the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to launch an elaborate broadband strategy.



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