Kenya telecoms could be significant contributor to economic growth

Professor Leonard Waverman of the London Business School (image: University of Calgary)

Kenya’s telecommunications sector could contribute more significantly to economic growth if industry players take advantage of fast-growing technologies such as mobile broadband, and invest in human capital in their operations, a study commissioned by Nokia Siemens Networks has revealed.

Connectivity Scorecard 2011, the study commissioned by  Nokia Siemens Networks, notes that whereas Kenya’s consumer and business usage remain robust, there is a large potential for expansion especially with the liberalization of the sector. The study makes interesting observations about the contribution of policy incentives to telecommunications and how impactful such changes can be to an economy.

The Nokia Siemens Networks Connectivity Scorecard 2011 was conducted in collaboration with Professor Leonard Waverman of the London Business School working with LECG, a global consulting firm. It is based on comparative scores between countries, and therefore, each country’s performance is measured in relation to the best performing nation in each segment at a given point in time.

Dimitri Diliani, Nokia Siemens Networks’ Head of Africa Region said Kenya has seen remarkable growth in the telecoms sector and has taken a position as a “testing ground for innovative services and offerings” largely spurred by significant tax incentives by the government.

Connectivity Scorecard 2011 polled 50 countries globally looking at relative performances in areas such as infrastructure, usage and skills among consumers business and public sector. Kenya lies at the bottom of the resource and efficiency-driven economies index in this scorecard along with the five poorest performers, trailing India, Nigeria and Pakistan, but slightly ahead of Bangladesh.

“However, Kenya’s relative strengths lie in its consumer and business usage and skills components with a strong mobile subscriber base of over 20 million. This represents nearly 60% of the total population, better than average adult literacy rate and a high secondary-school enrolment rate. The extensive use of broadband especially on mobile phones represents a largely untapped potential as the economy grows,” said Diliani, in reference to the study.

Brian Adero