by Cleopa Otieno
The Kenya ICT Board was established by the government of Kenya as a state corporation under the State Corporations Act Cap. 446 on 19th February 2007. It is under the Ministry of Information and Communication and is set up to mainstream ICT for economic and social good of citizens. This is in line with Kenya Vision 2030 goal of economic, social and political prosperity for all. It also aims to market and position Kenya as an ICT destination.
The achievement of an information-based society is one of the main priorities of the Government towards the realization of national development goals and objectives for wealth and employment creation.ICT is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country. Harnessing of ICTs will therefore help the Government to realize a number of its key public policy objectives. In general, ICT will contribute significantly to the process by improving government operations as outlined in the e-government strategy.
Among its accomplishments include the following innovative projects:
The laptop initiative is funded by the World Bank and implemented by The Kenya ICT Board under the Kenya Transparency and Communications Infrastructure Project (TCIP), as part of a component to implement the Computers for the Communities Initiative. This laptop initiative is known as ‘Wezesha’; a Swahili word that means ‘to enable’. The objective of the laptop initiative is to provide a financial incentive towards purchase of a laptop computer for registered students in Kenya at any public and private universities and colleges. The board believes that giving the students an opportunity to own personal computers will spur innovation, creativity and research considering that connectivity is now relatively available and affordable.
‘Pasha’ is a Swahili word meaning to inform, it aims at setting up digital villages or telecentres across Kenya. Currently 37 such centres have been set up and are operational. The project seeks to establish 210 such centres which will provide internet access and various online services at the grassroots. The achievement of an information-based society is one of the main priorities of the Government towards the realization of national development goals and objectives for wealth and employment creation. It targets generating growth and employment by leveraging ICT and Public Private Partnerships to create IT Enabled Services industry and contribute to improved efficiency and transparency of selected government functions through e-government applications.
Role of Pasha Centers
• To provide Kenyans in rural areas with access to information; the increased access to information will serve to
• To enhance business skills and knowledge in rural areas as well as expose rural communities to world news and trends that may positively enhance their lives;
• Provide employment for Kenyans both directly through economic activity that the centre will generate and secondarily through the opportunities that the information will provide;
• To bring online services closer to rural communities.
Pasha Centers are generally modeled under three categories: Basic, Standard, and Advanced. Each category is defined by the number of computers and services to be offered and will depend upon the scale of the Pasha Centre proposed by each applicant, but importantly should include a blend of the following:
• Internet access
• Computer training
• Vocational training
• ICT retail
• Access to government services
• Entertainment and gaming
• Typing and data entry
• Printing services
• Copying and scanning
• CD/DVD burning, faxing, IP telephony, cell phones and SIM card sales
• M-Pesa and/or other financial services
• Office supplies and stationary sales, printer supplies, laminating and photography and other IT enabled services.
Tandaa Local Digital Content Grant
The objective of the grant is to stimulate ICT innovation and creativity while promoting economic growth in the sector. By supporting tech-entrepreneurs with the funds they need to successfully take their products to market, the Tandaa Grant hopes to grow the number of relevant and local web and mobile applications available to Kenyans.
Many talented Kenyans have developed mobile and web products that deliver services and information to Kenyans across the country. The Tandaa Symposium (held every other month) has showcased some of the best products and content developed in Kenya. However, too many of ICT products developed in Kenya do not successfully reach the market due to lack of funding.
Since the 23rd to 27th of Jannuary 2012, a total of 150 Kenyans are being trained at Strathmore Business School courtesy of the Kenya ICT Board on how to write business plans for their ideas upon which a total of 40 great business plans will be funded to develop content through their ideas.