Q: Regarding ease of doing business in Kenya — how have we utilised ICTs in cutting down the number of licenses involved to start a business?
A: So far, digitisation of the Company Registry has made registration of businesses much faster. Cases of corruption due to manual systems in the Company Registry, Lands Registry and the Judiciary will be a thing of the past as digitisation of all records enters its final stages.
Q: Has e-Government become a reality or is it is still a pipe dream?
A: E-Government is a reality and has been for more than five years now. There are human resources, systems and structures that support e-government functions. The website www.e-government.go.ke, for instance, reveals some of the services on offer and what the Government envisages to achieve by going digital. The Government of Kenya Shared Services Project is the first step in building a platform to enable the Government deliver improved services to citizens. The IT Shared Services Centre will be implemented over a number of years, according to the Shared Services Roadmap.
Q: What will the Government achieve by going digital in its services?
A: An IT Shared Services Centre will allow Government to focus on core responsibilities, enabling it to operate more efficiently, with IT services being provided by a dedicated organisation. The benefits delivered through Shared Services include Economic, Strategic and Increased Quality to customers. These are benefits to both Government and citizens.
Q: The analogue-to-digital TV transition, where has Kenya reached?
A: Kenya is on track. The simulacast period (i.e. period of broadcasting in both analogue and digital formats) is ongoing. By 2012, the country plans to completely switch over to the digital platform ahead of the global deadline of June 2015 spearheaded by the International Telecommunication Union. Kenya is one of the few countries in Africa to embark on migration, having set 2012 as the deadline for the analogue television switchoff. The International Telecommunication Union’s Regional Radio Communications Conference (RRC 06) set 2015 as the global deadline.
Q: For investors, what other key benefits accrue from shared services?
A: The benefits can be summarised as follows: Responsiveness: A focused, specialised, service-oriented organisation ensures that Government needs and issues are addressed in a timely manner. Economy of Skill: Dedicated IT Shared Service Centre allows for the development of specialised skills which can be leveraged across the Government.
Economies of Scale: Consolidated processes minimise the cost of delivering the same service across different Government departments/ministries. Flexibility: A Shared Services Centre allows flexibility in service requirements over time. The Government will be able to tailor the service provided to its departments and ministries according to budget and requirements. Standardisation: Standardised practices, processes and IT provide the ability to manage data, vendors and support services across Government.
Q: What is the latest on the Malili ICT Park?
A: The Master Plan is ready and the next phase is market sounding for master developers to express interest. Government will start foundational and basic infrastructure in 2011, but meanwhile plans to secure the city-based Sameer Business Park to ensure BPOs keep running while awaiting completion of the Malili ICT Park. Already, the Government has spent Sh1 billion to purchase 5,000 acres of land where it intends to put up an ICT park to house BPOs and other ICT businesses. Kenya’s bandwidth capacity, regional economic and transportation hub to eastern and southern Africa also makes Kenya stand out as a preferred destination for many investors.