Kenya has dropped in world ICT ranking by 14 places to position 93 following this year’s survey by World Economic Forum and INSEAD School of Business.
The survey that targeted 142 nations across the globe attributed poor connectivity rates, low ICT skills among Kenyans and a poor regulatory framework to Kenya’s slide in ranking.
The survey considered countries’ reliability on ICT to increase economic competitiveness analyzing ten key pillars, including ICT usage, socio-economic impact of technology and education.
Mauritius was ranked highest in Africa at position 53 worldwide beating Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria and South Africa.
The survey report said this was due to the Mauritian government’s aggressive campaign to make ICT one of the three key pillars of its economy.
South Africa was placed second in Africa at 72 while Cape Verde came in third at 81. Rwanda was placed at 82 attaining position in the continental ranking.
Kenya’s dismal performance was in addition accredited to the individual ICT usage, attributed to the expensive broadband subscriptions unaffordable to the larger population; despite Kenya mobile usage being at 67 percent, most subscribers use mobile phones to access the Internet.
The report came out just few days after Kenya experienced another bout of low connectivity rates for the second time in less than two months — after the TEAMS cable was cut again. The first outage took place in late February — and took over one month to repair.
Nikolai Barnwell from 88mph, a resident accelerator at Startup Garage Nairobi, said: “The fact remains that provided shipping routes and cable routes overlap, submarine cable breaks are going to happen again and again. It is also important that the broadband costs be looked into, to allow many more people to access the service. Kenya still utilizes just about 1% of its international bandwidth, so the fact that prices remain prohibitive is puzzling.”
At present, the average cost of accessing the broadband service the monthly subscription fee for individuals is from KSh2,000 (USD 25).
“I don’t think it’s the role of the government to push the industry and put itself in the middle. The government should just make sure that investors and entrepreneurs have an open and competitive environment that is conducive for innovation,” adds Nikolai, “there are so many smart Kenyans who are waiting in line to bring Kenyan ICT into the next decade. Just make sure there’s nothing in their way”.