The ICT drives Kenyan economy

The ICT sector in Kenya will increase by 15% in 2015 and will contribute crucially to the GDP increase. The data relating to the spread of mobile technologies, the growth in the use of Internet and several international awards show that Kenya is experiencing a real digital revolution.

Two-figure growth

In 2015, according to the estimates of the African Development Bank, Kenya GDP will increase by 6.5%, it is a clear improvement compared to the excellent result that had already been achieved in 2014 (+5.3%). The ICT is one of the sectors contributing mostly to this trend. In fact, considering the latest dates spread by the government, the new technology business will increase by 15% in 2015. It is a two-figure sprint which includes Kenya among the most “digital” countries in Africa. This is confirmed by some international awards, such as the World Economic Forum which in its annual “ICT Network Readiness Index”, the index measuring the level of technological progress of each nation, allowed Kenya to leap forward of six places: from 92nd to 86th. In the meantime Nairobi, capital of the country, was elected as the most “smart” city of Africa by the Intelligence Community Forum.

The reasons of this “boom” are to be found in a mix of elements: some important investments to support innovative projects carried out by Kenyan government, the infrastructure development and a regulatory framework that helps the birth of partnerships between private citizens.

The mobile’s race

Among the elements contributing to the ICT growth, mobile technologies represent a large part. It is said that, by the end of 2015, the mobile subscriptions will achieve 35 million in Kenya, compared to 33.6 million registered at the end of 2014. Therefore, the level of market penetration amounts to about 80%. The increasing spread of smartphones brings about a rise in the Internet accesses: Kenyans “connected to the Internet” are currently about 23 million, more than 50% of population. The use of mobile payment and mobile banking platforms is very popular: about 58% of adult having a mobile telephone with connection use them.

All of these figures and awards, represent the image of a country which is making great strides on the way of digitization; although it still has to take many steps, it has a growth trend having few rivals in the continent.