[Kictanet] President Directs for a Digitization Campaign

Brian Longwe brian at pure-id.com
Thu May 25 13:08:58 EAT 2006

Thanks Bill!


On May 25, 2006, at 10:30 AM, Bill Kagai wrote:

> Source - http://www.statehousekenya.go.ke/
> Ladies and Gentlemen,
> I am delighted to join you on this occasion of the official opening of
> Safaricom House, the new home to one of Kenya's largest corporate
> organizations. I take this opportunity to commend the Board of
> Directors and staff of Safaricom Limited for the exemplary manner in
> which they have managed the company.
> Today, Safaricom is one of the largest mobile phone services company
> in the region. Apart from directly employing about 900 people,
> Safaricom indirectly employs thousands of Kenyans in related fields,
> ranging from mobile phone support services to mobile phone stalls and
> calling booths across the country. Moreover, the company is now one of
> the leading taxpayers in the country, and attained the second position
> in the ranking of distinguished taxpayers in the last financial year.
> Ladies and Gentlemen,
> As you are aware, access to knowledge, information and communication
> is crucial to the development of any country today. By enabling people
> to communicate and interact, despite large physical distances, mobile
> communication has brought important changes in work practices and
> lifestyles. Indeed, investment in Information and Communication
> Technology infrastructure and development of appropriate human skills
> is key to ensuring the competitiveness of our country in the unfolding
> global digital society. It is for this reason that my Government
> created the Ministry of Information and Communications. This ministry
> is charged with the responsibility of managing two inter-related
> sub-sectors namely, Information and Broadcasting, and Information and
> Communication Technology.
> These sub-sectors are crucial catalysts to the growth of other sectors
> of the economy and are therefore expected to contribute immensely to
> economic recovery and wealth creation. The Government, through the
> Ministry of Information and Communications, is undertaking a wide
> range of measures aimed at developing the ICT sector in the country.
> These measures include, the liberalization of the information and
> communication sector, that has opened the way for numerous players to
> compete in providing services to wananchi.
> We are also carrying out human resource development for industry and
> investment in the necessary infrastructure such as the Very Small
> Aperture Technology. We are encouraging the growth of ICT because of
> its enormous potential to absorb our young people into gainful
> employment. Today, Information and Communication Technology is one of
> the fastest growing sectors in Kenya. The sector is providing
> investment and employment opportunities to a large number of Kenyans
> and consequently contributing to our national objective of poverty
> reduction.
> Mobile telephony has grown remarkably, with the number of mobile
> telephone lines increasing from 15,000 six years ago to the current
> 5.5 million. A few years ago, access to telephone services was a major
> problem for many Kenyans who had to walk long distances to the nearest
> public phone. With mobile telephony spreading to the rural areas, more
> Kenyans are benefiting from the rapid growth of mobile phone services
> taking place in our country. Today, many Kenyans are able to
> communicate easily and carry out their economic activities more
> effectively. Truly, the convergence in telecommunications is rapidly
> transforming our society into an information and communication
> society.
> It is encouraging to note that this growth has provided a reliable
> form of communication to rural communities thereby enabling our
> farmers to find markets for their produce. The mobile phone is today
> no longer a status symbol of the urban elite, but a vital tool of
> modern day communication. In spite of this progress, however, there is
> still room for continued growth and expansion of the ICT sector in the
> country. My government is putting in place an enabling environment to
> ensure expansion of the sector, which is expected to stimulate further
> economic growth.
> Indeed, the aim of my government is to create a modern and efficient
> telecommunications infrastructure in order to position Kenya as a hub
> of industrial, commercial, financial and ICT services in the region.
> To achieve this objective, we target to improve tele-density in rural
> and urban areas. We should expand our mobile telephone penetration
> from the current 18 percent of our population to 32 percent. Plans are
> also underway to expand the Internet bandwidth, to increase speeds in
> data processing and data transfer. Measures are also in place to
> implement a rural telecommunications programme that will cover all
> districts in the country in order to bring services closer to the
> people.
> We have achieved substantial progress in liberalizing the
> telecommunications industry. What Kenyans now expect is to reap the
> full benefits of these achievements in terms of cheaper telephone
> services and increased access. Indeed, while opening the outsourcing
> strategy conference in February this year, I announced the removal of
> duty on all computers and computer accessories as we continue our
> efforts of making Kenya a regional service centre. We must now move
> more boldly towards achieving the goal of making Kenya a leading
> technology centre. In this regard, I am directing the Ministry of
> Information and Communication and other related ministries to start a
> digitization campaign.
> The campaign should focus its strategies on how to reduce transaction
> costs, enhance local content and create employment opportunities for
> our youth. In addition, the Government will continue carrying out
> reforms in the sector, including restructuring of critical departments
> and parastatals.
> As part of this commitment, and as I announced three months ago, the
> Government has approved the restructuring of Telkom Kenya. Under this
> arrangement, 9 percent of Telkom's shareholding in Safaricom will be
> sold to finance the restructuring programme. The sale of Telkom shares
> through an Initial Public Offering is expected to be concluded by
> April 2007. In addition to this, the expansion and modernization of
> telecommunications services is on-going with the laying of a fiber
> optic network between Nairobi and Mombasa.
> I am also optimistic that both the government and private sector will
> find a way to fast track the laying of the undersea fibre optic cable.
> This project is crucial in order to further reduce the cost of
> connectivity in this country and the region. It will also enable us
> compete effectively as a regional telecommunications hub. I appeal to
> all parties involved in this project to resolve any outstanding issues
> speedily and to begin implementation of the project which will herald
> a new dawn in the area of telecommunications in our region.
> I also encourage investors to join hands with the Government in
> developing the ICT sector throughout the country. Indeed, there is
> vast investment potential in ICT, especially in the rural areas where
> tele-density remains unacceptably low. Investors should view the
> existing untapped potential as an investment and business opportunity,
> which should be fully exploited. I encourage mobile phone operators to
> deploy new technologies in rural areas in order to increase
> accessibility to internet. In particular, wireless broadband has both
> the potential and capability of providing communications connectivity
> to schools, government offices at the district and divisional levels,
> as well as offices for other rural-based organizations.
> As I conclude my remarks, I wish to commend the Safaricom Foundation,
> for it's support to a wide range of projects in health, education,
> culture, sports and the environment. I encourage you to continue
> ploughing back some of your profits into worthwhile social causes.
> With these remarks, ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to
> declare Safaricom House officially open.
> Thank you and God bless you.
> --  
> --
> With Kind Regards,
> Bildad Kagai
> MD - Circuits & Packets Communications Ltd
> Content & Training Partner - JKUAT E-Government Academy
> Suite B2, Tetu Apartments, State House Avenue
> P. O. Box 20311 - 00200
> Nairobi, Kenya
> Tel. 254 20 2728332
> Fax. 254 20 2726965
> Cell. 254 722 379409
> URL. www.circuitspackets.co.ke
> URL. egov.jkuat.ac.ke
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