March 12th 2018                              by Cheruiyot Korir

The Executive Board of the Smart Africa Initiative has contracted a technical provider to set up traffic exchange and financial settlement platform to monitor the installation of regional Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) nodes, a system geared towards establishing One Africa Network (ONA).

Cabinet Secretary for ICT Joe Mucheru said, the Initiative aimed at creating a single digital market for Africa’s one billion population will enable African countries maintain their sovereignty and oversee own traffic; encourage telecommunications services exchanges between African countries and improve quality of communications in the continent.

Speaking at the Radisson blu hotel in Nairobi today, during the launch of Telkom Mobile Financial Services, Mr. Mucheru said, the move is a response to Smart Africa’s Steering Committee meeting held last month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where member states were asked to implement regulation on One Africa Network to allow free Roaming and International Communications.

The Cabinet Secretary asked sector players in Kenya to escalate their engagements on innovations that focuses on regional interoperability for more interconnected financial eco-system aligned to the   Smart Africa Initiative,

The cabinet Secretary lauded mobile financial services in the country saying it has promoted financial inclusion and uplifted many individuals and households out of poverty. He added that the service has also increased diaspora remittances booting the country’s foreign exchange earnings and economic growth.

He expressed concern of over 25% of the population that leave outside the reach of a mobile broadband enabled network noting that the problem is attributed to insufficient infrastructure and lack of a form of identification that hinders potential subscribers to acquire and register a mobile SIM.

He said there is need for private sector to collaborate with the Government and develop strategies to bridge gaps in the mobile financial services to enable citizens reap the benefits of social and economic benefits delivered mobile financial services.

The introduction of Telkom mobile Finance services becomes the third operator after Safaricom and Aitel to provide such service to subscribers.