Promising growth prospects for Kenya’s IT sector
Kenya’s information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITES) sector have large growth potential for exports, entrepreneurship and employment generation, according to the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Director of Market Development, Anders Aeroe.
He pointed out that two of the East African country’s unique selling points are its worldwide lead in the mobile payment sector, and its sophisticated IT hub structures.
‘There are 12 million internet users in Kenya; urban internet penetration stands at 78%, and mobile penetration at 72%,’ said Mr Aeroe. ‘Almost all urban phones are internet-enabled. Among these, 31% are smart phones, positioning mobile as the preferred platform for internet access.’
Mr Aeroe was lauding Kenya’s IT achievements at the launch of a USD 1.2 million project on 3 February 2015. It is funded by the Government of the Netherlands through the Netherlands Trust Fund (NTF III) to boost Kenya’s IT and ITES sector.
Mr Aeroe said the NTF III project administered by the Centre for the Promotion of Imports (CBI) from developing countries and ITC is aimed at increasing the competitiveness of the IT and ITES sector in Kenya by increasing the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to enhance exports. This can generate jobs in the IT and ITES industry, opening up opportunities particularly for women. Around 30 local firms will benefit from this project, receiving assistance in enhancing their business and marketing capacities; developing marketing plans; and identifying opportunities for access to finance and investment. In addition, two organizations, the ICT Authority of Kenya and the Kenyan IT and Outsourcing Society (KITOS) will profit from capacity-building in business planning, the development of business models; and market research and analysis, documenting certifications and export data by member SMEs.
‘ITC will work to facilitate business linkages and collaborations between Kenyan SMEs and international buyers through business-to-business matchmaking events in selected regional markets as well as in Europe within IT segments such as mobile, web and image processing,’ said Mr Aeroe.
The NTF III IT and ITES project in Kenya will run until July 2017.