Today in Nairobi, infoDev's Senior ICT Specialist, Dr. Tim Kelly celebrated the recent publication of a report that sets out clearly what now needs to be done to allow East Africa's burgeoning ICT sector to thrive.
At the World Bank Offices in Nairobi, Dr. Kelly thanked project partners UKAID and Hivos, and noted that the arrival in 2010 of sub-marine fiber optic cables in East Africa present a significant development marker. He asked "What are the next essential steps that need to be taken to make East Africa the driving global force in ICT it can clearly be?"
Introducing the report "Transforming the East African ICT Sector by Creating a Business Engine for SMEs', Dr Kelly drew special attention to the extensive consultation and research with 'on the ground' experts including 90 entrepreneurs, investors, and researchers. Extensive stakeholder engagement was carried out via face to face consultations in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala and Kigali. Based on this, researchers Excelsior put together a set of five concete steps that can be taken to unleash the potential of ICT entrepreneurs in East Africa.
The five proposed interventions will need to be taken in cooperation by policy makers, universities and companies, and be effectively coordinated by a single body. The five steps are:
- Develop a fully connected SME network
- Fill the skills gap in advanced business and technical knowledge
- Provide start-up and early stage funding for companies
- Enabling job creation for knowledge workers
- Upgrade the business environment to make it easier to register and run small businesses
Together these interventions form the components of a potential East African ICT Business Engine that will boost performance not only within the ICT sector but also expand the economic development of the region.