August 13th 2018                                by Cheruiyot Korir

The 4th African Preparatory meeting for the this year’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference kicked off today in Nairobi with Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru calling on African States to develop a common position to enhance the continent’s bargaining power during global negotiations.

Mr. Mucheru said, pooled sovereignty and integration, will strengthen the continent’s position to focus and lobby on issues whose outcomes are mutually beneficial to the continent.

Speaking at a Nairobi hotel during the opening of the conference, Mr. Mucheru said the holding of regional caucuses was key in laying the foundation for Africa to participate effectively in safeguarding its interests at the global arena.

Observing that the continent is the world’s second largest mobile market by connection and the fastest growing mobile market globally, the Cabinet Secretary reiterated the need to focus on policy frameworks that allow new technologies to thrive for Africa to realize its full potential.

He pointed out that broadband connectivity in Africa is still very low with less than 35% the population living within 5km of prime traffic adding that statistics by GSMAS indicate that mobile connections will rise to an average of 49% in the region by 2020. The CS underscored the need to scale up investments and operating models to improve the situation.

He challenged ICT policy makers in Africa to establish structures that support innovations to improve human lives noting that Kenya has made strides in mobile penetration that stands at 95% while broadband penetration is at 42%.

The Cabinet Secretary said the adoption of ICT by both the private and public enterprises in Kenya has grown tremendously with more government services now available online.