Understanding what is Happening in ICT in Kenya: A Supply- and Demand-side Analysis of the ICT Sector

The purpose of this RIA ICT SPR, as with the other 11 national SPRs conducted by RIA network researchers in 2012, is to enrich the evidence base supporting ICT sector developments in selected African countries – in order to better enable comparison of policy outcomes in different countries against national strategies and sector performance. Progressive development has taken place, in some respects, recently in the Kenyan ICT sector. However, while the national ICT policy of March 2006 has been under review from 2009, no progress has been made in relation to its updating. Before the Kenya Information and Communications Act Cap. 411A, as revised in 2011 (previously the Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act of 2009), the most influential document regarding ICT legislation and regulation in Kenya had been the Kenya Communications Act of 1998 (ROK, 1998). There are other Bills critical to the ICT sector, such as the Data Protection Bill and Access to Information Bill, which are waiting to be tabled in Parliament, while the Media Bill is under discussion by stakeholders. Based on supply- and demand-side findings, this report draws some conclusions and makes recommendations. The recommendations include a call for creation of a detailed plan for ICT policy implementation aligned to Kenya’s Vision 2030 development blueprint and the new Constitution of 2010. The study also notes overlaps in the roles of some of the key ICT policy and regulatory institutions, and the resulting need to review the framework for ICT policy formulation and implementation. Another recommendation is that there is a need to address certain urgent challenges affecting the sector, including the challenges of lengthy procurement processes, cable theft, shortfalls in cyber security, a lack of data protection policy, and the prevalence of piracy of software, counterfeit electronics and computer hardware. Necessary measures to address these challenges are discussed in the report.