Introduction - Republic of Kenya

Kenya is situated in East Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean and sharing boundaries with Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. It has a surface area of 580,367 square km, made up of forty-seven (47) counties. The population as at July 2018 was estimated at 48.397 million inhabitants with a literacy rate of 78% (CIA World Factbook). 57.88 percent of the population is between 15 and 64 years of age. Nairobi, the capital city, has a population of 4.386 million (2018 - CIA World Factbook). The official languages are English and Kiswahili.

The Government of Kenya through the Vision 2030 Development Blue Print recognises the importance of ICT in economic development and has therefore initiated major steps to promote its use. One of the major initiatives that the Government is pursuing is to improve ICT infrastructure in order to bridge the digital divide and lower the cost of communications. The Government is also levelling the ground through the development and implementation of policy and regulations aimed at attracting investment within the sector. The Government recognises information to be a resource that must be generated, collected, organized, leveraged, secured and preserved to enhance national prosperity.

There are six mobile operators in Kenya: Safaricom Ltd, Airtel Networks Kenya Ltd, Finserve Ltd, Sema Mobile Services, Mobile Pay Limited and Telekom Kenya Limited (Orange). According to Communication Authority of Kenya statistics, mobile penetration is at 97.8% as at June 2018, with 45.5 million subscriptions compared with 44.1 million in March 2018. Fixed lines have continued to decrease from 23,314 in March 2018 to 23,099 in June 2018. Internet subscriptions stood at 41.1 million in June 2018. .

The ICT sector in Kenya has changed dramatically over the past decade. This has been achieved mainly through increased adoption of ICT products, ICT processing technologies and ICT support services. This has in return increased the demand of ICT related services in the facilitation of other service industries,

In terms of ICT infrastructure, a national fibre optic infrastructure is in place and four submarine cables are online (TEAMS - East Africa Marine System, SEACOM, EASSy - East African Submarine Systems, and LION Optical Fibre Submarine Cable System). The expanded terrestrial fibre optic cable (over 6,000 kms) is complete and linked to the undersea cable. Over the last decade, ICT has outperformed all others sectors growing at an average of 20 percent per year and propelling the combined transport and communications sector into the economy's second largest.: Kenya is recognized as having taken a leading role in using ICT in access to financial services, for example, with the advent of M-PESA an application launched by Safaricom in 2007 access to financial services has significantly increased, with around ¾ of the adult population using mobile money and transfers estimated at US$7billion annually (20 percent of GDP) by phone.

The number of Higher Education institutions in Kenya has grown considerably over the past three years as a result of greater demand for University Education and the Government policy of enhancing access hence Constituency University Colleges becoming accredited as fully-fledged Universities. There are now 30 fully chartered public Universities, 5 public University Constituent Colleges, 6 public research institutes, 17 accredited private Universities, 11 private Universities with letter of interim authority and 5 private University Colleges.

ICT Background

There are five key policy documents guiding the ICT and Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) sector in Kenya: Cyber Security Strategy (2014), eGovernment Strategy, Kenya ICT National Master Plan 2017, National Broadband Strategy and Kenya Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy 2012. From a national development program point of view the key policy documents are the Kenya Vision 2030 and the STI Medium Term Plan for 2013 - 2017.

Kenya Vision 2030 was launched in 2008 as a development programme to be implemented in successive five-year Medium-Term Plans (MTP) to transform Kenya into "a middle-income country providing a high quality life to all its citizens by 2030". The Vision is based on three pillars - economic, social and political. The second medium term plan, the (MTP for 2013 - 2017) aims to build on the gains realised by the ICT sector during the MTP I period. The MTP seeks to actualise this by expanding and upgrading ICT infrastructure; improving public service delivery through ICT; upgrading capacities in ICT; and deepening the ICT-related policy, legal and institutional reforms started during MTP I period. Key priorities for the period included include: expansion of the Optic Fibre Networks; establishment of Wide Area Network and Network Operations Centre with outreach to all county headquarters; roll out of 4G connectivity to provide faster internet connectivity and increase bandwidth capacity. Other priorities for the sector included the establishment of a National ICT Center of Excellence; promotion of local ICT software development, roll out of the Digital TV infrastructure to reach 100% coverage; completion of the eGovernment initiatives; enhancement of the Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI) portal; integration of ICT in education; development of Konza Technology City (KTC) and the establishment of the National ICT Agency.

Vision 2030 Science, Technology and Innovation Sector plan (2013-2017) also identified Telecommunications, Electronics and Computers (TEC) as one of the nine priority thrusts that will provide the country with technologies and innovations that will develop high-tech vibrant, affordable and globally competitive ICT infrastructure and technology.

In order to support Vision 2030, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology was mandated to work in partnership with key stakeholders to develop and implement a Science, Technology and Innovation Policy and Strategic Framework . The draft Science Technology and Innovation Bill took three years to prepare and the Bill was passed in January 2013. The new Policy aimed to set up three bodies under the State Department in charge of Science, Technology and Innovation:

1. Upgrade the National Council for Science and Technology to the National Commission for Science and Technology , which will consult stakeholders to determine STI priorities. It will be responsible for regulation and inspection of research facilities and programmes

2. The Kenya National Innovation Agency , with offices in all 47 Counties. It will map Innovations, institutionalise linkages between HEIs, research institutes, public and private sector Innovation Stakeholders and provide support focusing on Innovation, Incubation and diffusion. Areas of particular interest include ICT and Mobile Telephony.

3. The National Research Foundation to mobilise and manage financial resources to create knowledge, innovation and development in all fields of STI.

In late 2012 the Kenya Parliament indicated a target of up to 2% of GDP would be invested in national research and Innovation going forward. The Government is set to achieve this progressively. The National Innovation Agency and National Research Foundation are now functional and the first and second set of competitive calls for proposals were announced in the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 financial years respectively.

The ST&I Policy 2012 aims to help facilitate achievement of Kenya Vision 2030 by creating a Knowledge Economy; promote competitiveness in key economic sectors; create enterprises and employment; expand industrialisation; and enhance quality of life through innovation.

During April 2012, the Kenya ICT Authority (previously called ICT Board) launched the Connected Kenya Master Plan, an initiative of the Ministry of ICT to drive aggressive growth in the ICT sector by 2017. Its vision is focused on every citizen being connected, Kenya becoming a leading ICT hub, public services for all and Kenya becoming a knowledge society. The three key intervention priorities are Digital Inclusion, ICT Innovation and Access beyond Broadband.

The Kenya Communications Act (No. 2 of 1998) and Kenya Communications (Amendment) Act 2009 provides the framework for regulating the communications sector. The Information and Communications Technology Sector Policy Guidelines were published in March 2006.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (previously Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK)) is the regulatory authority. The regulatory approach in Kenya is pro-Innovation as demonstrated through support for innovative ICT services like M-PESA. While communication sector liberalisation has had a positive effect on the deployment of infrastructure and services, there are still access gaps in isolated areas where operators cannot envisage ROI. As a result, CA undertook a number of pilot projects to establish 16 school-based ICT centres across the eight provinces, four tele-centres and eight centres for people with disabilities. CA also partnered with Kenya Institute of Education to support the digitisation of the secondary school curriculum. Legislation is in place for the Universal Service Fund but the Universal Service Advisory Council needs to be put in place. There then needs to be an engagement with consumers of services and all relevant Ministries to get a multiplier effect. The Universal Services Strategy will provide funding for experts to come up with models for funding. Currently funding mechanisms are scattered, once-off with limited coordination.

In 2013, the Government of Kenya launched the National Broadband Strategy (NBS), which was spearheaded by the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology (MoICT), in collaboration with the Communications Authority of Kenya (with technical assistance from USAID's Global Broadband Initiative Program). The overall objective of this strategy is to provide quality broadband services to all citizens.