August 17, 2018                              By Cheruiyot Korir

President Uhuru Kenyatta has said Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), is instrumental in boosting intra-African trade and Africa’s integration agenda.

President Uhuru noted that, ICTs are the engines driving cross-border communications and interactions that promote coordinated efforts of integration and intra-regional trade.

President Kenyatta who made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by Cabinet Secretary for ICT Mr Joe Mucheru at the assembly of ICT Ministers and delegates attending the 5th Ordinary Session of the ATU Conference of Plenipotentiaries and related meetings in Nairobi said, the continent must increase efforts towards scaling up the development ICT infrastructure and universal access.

The head of state said, in the new industrial revolution, ICTs play a very important role in the global digital economy and that Africa’s regional and continental intergovernmental organizations must support to accelerate e-commerce. He said e-commerce presents Africa with an opportunity to increase its share of the global trade noting that extensive mobile signal penetration, offers the youth of the continent opportunities to access the global market.

He noted that Africa’s share of the global e-commerce market remains insignificant and called on the African region to deploy adequate resources towards the development of ICT infrastructure and in particular broadband.

He expressed concern over low broadband penetration in Africa which he said, remains at 40% on average. The President pointed out that access to broadband has the potential to accelerate the achievement of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals that will minimize poverty levels in the continent.

He explained that ICTs are generating innovative and entrepreneurial potentials across the continent giving a new sense of hope and optimism to Africa. He emphasized the critical role played by the private sector in driving the mobile revolution in Africa saying that what remains is for governments and policy makers in the region to put in place the right policies to encourage and sustain investments.

He said the government has identified technologies as critical enablers and drivers of Kenya economic blueprint – the Vision 2030, and in the implementation of the  Big 4 Agenda that focuses on enhancing manufacturing, food security and nutrition, universal Health Coverage and the development of affordable Housing.