Kenya to Scale-up Transformative ICT Applications
March 29, 2012
World Bank’s US$55.1 million support to consolidate gains from innovation
Washington DC, March 29, 2012 -- Kenya will expand technology-based platforms for transparency and accountability to increase opportunities for economic transformation and growth.
The government has secured an additional US$55.1 million to scale up digital inclusion, content development, and e-government and shared services. The new funding will increase financing under the Kenya Transparency and Communications Infrastructure Project (KTCIP) to US$169.5 million.
“The additional finance will enable Kenya to consolidate the initiatives it has made in the ICT sector, including the open data initiative,” says Johannes Zutt, World Bank Country Director for Kenya. “Information technology has on average contributed one percentage point to Kenya’s growth since 2000, and opened a path for achieving remarkable improvements in transparency and also in governance.”
Kenya has put in place the second-fastest broadband on the continent (after Ghana), which has reduced the wholesale internet capacity prices by over 90% and increased internet penetration from 3% to 37% of the population in the past decade. Today, about 90% of Kenyan adults have or have the use of a mobile phone.
Building on these improvements, Kenya now wants to use ICT to improve governance and transparency. Under the new constitution, the government has promised to improve openness and transparency, and in July last year, it launched the open data portal -- a revolutionary initiative by the government and private innovators who are using the information on the portal to develop new ICT applications. It is also is a leading global incubator of applications for development.
Kenya is now widely recognized as a world leader in using ICT as a game changer and a global leader in IT applications. These include the home grown mobile-money platforms like m-pesa, which are enabling increasing numbers of poorer Kenyans to use their phones for financial transactions, bringing quasi-financial services to them for the very first time. It is also widely recognized as a role model on using ICT for financial inclusion and inclusive development.
Besides, software developers like Ushahidi are developing world-wide reputations for leadership, such as in open-source mapping and geo-referencing, while incubators like the Bank-supported iHub and m-apps lab and the privately-funded iLabAfrica at Strathmore University are supporting a vibrant community of over 1,700 IT applications developers.
“Since it was approved in 2007, the KCTIP project has contributed to the sector through activities in connectivity, content development, and selected eGovernment applications, says Isabel Neto, the Task Team Leader. “It will continue to support selected areas to further increase transparency and accountability."
The project will support the government to expand its Open Data initiative and the Integrated Financial Management Information System using the re-engineered business process to enhance accountability and efficiency including roll-out to the new counties. It will also increase the government’s investment in cyber security and support investments to simply and improve immigration and population registry systems. The government and the Bank will also explore a public-private partnership business model for e-government applications.
KTCIP is part of the Regional Communications Infrastructure Program, which also include investments in Burundi and Madagascar.