Please join us on February 25th for the launch of our report on the East African ICT Sector: Transforming the East African ICT Sector by Creating a Business Engine for SMEs. This event will be held at the World Bank Offices in Upper Hill Nairobi on 25 February from 10:00am to 12:00pm. We will be presenting the report and hosting a question and answer session with the project team and donor communities.
The information and communications technology (ICT) sector has been the major driver of economic growth in East Africa over the last decade growing on average by as much as 40%. To date, growth has largely come from world-class innovation by large multinational and local enterprises. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are poised to play a bigger role in the next phase of industry growth. However, they must overcome a multitude of system-wide challenges in order for them to succeed in the marketplace.
To understand the interventions required, a consortium comprised of members from InfoDev, UKaid and Hivos conducted a detailed on-the-ground study of the ICT SME landscape in East Africa. This study performed by the Excelsior Firm, a US and Africa based advisory firm, engaged over 100 policy makers, investors, academics, donors and entrepreneurs.
The findings suggest that the vision of a robust and dynamic ICT sector driven by SMEs that create jobs and world-class innovation is possible, and the likelihood of this outcome can be improved with a few targeted interventions. The five proposed interventions consist of the development of a fully connected SME network, filling the skills gap in advanced business and technical knowledge, providing start up and early stage funding for companies, enabling job creation for knowledge workers and upgrading the business environment. Together these interventions form the components of a potential East African ICT Business Engine that could boost performance, not only within the ICT sector, as well as continue to expand the economic development of the region.
We would like to sincerely thank the over 100 entrepreneurs, ICT professionals, academics and experts who participated in interviews, workshops and numerous discussions over the past 3 months. We appreciate their dedication to the advancement of the ICT sector in East Africa and their invaluable contributions to this report.