Kenya strengthening its digital profile

Kenya Internet - FlickrThe fast-growing information and communication technology (ICT) sector in Kenya is an opportunity for the country to develop, according to a new report

The report from Deloitte, Competitiveness: Catching the next wave Africa, has stated that the ICT sector is projected to grow at almost eight per cent, compounded annually, between 2015 and 2034. The report has noted increased government spending towards the sector and makes a specific mention of the development of Konza Technology City, south of Nairobi, both of which are expected to contribute to the growth of the sector.

Kenya has proven to be an attractive investment destination for global technology companies despite challenges such as terrorist activities. The report says that despite “the ongoing terrorist threat, important global IT players like Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Samsung have all chosen to set up regional offices in Nairobi, the city that pioneered the use of mobile money. Moreover, Kenya boasts one of the highest rates of urban Internet access on the continent, estimated at 72 per cent of the population.”

Linking the growth of the ICT sector with the broader economy, the report goes on to say that “growing investor confidence has meant that capital inflows have financed the country’s large current-account deficit, which is estimated to have exceeded 10 per cent of GDP in 2014. Buoyed by the foreign response, Kenya was able to issue a US$2bn Eurobond in June 2014 to help finance infrastructure investments. Though the budget and trade deficits remain high, they are expected to shrink in the medium term.”

According to the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index for 2015, Kenya has moved up by six points to 86th position this year, and is the only country in Africa to record ICT growth this year.

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