Kenyan ICT firms should look for opportunities beyond their borders, especially in Singapore.
The statement came following an ICT meeting with Singapore representatives hosted by Kenya Information Technology and Outsourcing Society (KITOS) last week in Nairobi.
KITOS chairman Tejpal Bedi said: “We have the DNA for Africa and Singaporeans have the know-how for Asia. Synergies are important to exploit the opportunities that lay in the two regions.”
Alex Masika of Digital Divide Data added Kenya needed to explore partnerships that would help in skill transfer of workforce to enable the country create more jobs and break from the poverty cycle.
Singapore’s Six ICT Master Plans have over the years transformed the country into a knowledge-based economy with a strong emphasis on export of technology-based innovation.
Today, a Singaporean child can self-teach online through e-learning, while citizens can access government services from the comfort of their houses, apply for business permits from a single portal, and even track their medical records online.
“We have not only become competitive globally, but connectivity has cut the costs of doing business in Singapore. Today we operate in more than 35 offices worldwide and we are now looking into setting up in Africa,” said KOH Chog Yu, a manager at Singapore Technology Business Group, Ministry of Trade and Industry division.
Kenya ICT Board CEO Paul Kukubo commented: “Singapore is where Kenya wants to be in the future. That’s why their feedback on Kenya National ICT Master Plan was appreciated. It’s time to now move to concrete business and learn in the course of the partnership.”
He challenged investors in Kenya to look beyond government parastatals and to open up opportunities in the private sector.
According to Kukubo, Kenya’s ICT sector is set to be a 3 to 4 billion dollar market by 2016 and therefore, the investors should seize the opportunity before then.
He further advised the government to invest in Internet connectivity, content and access to promote economic development as well as improve transparency.
Companies present at the meeting included major ICT companies in Kenya: Technobrain, Digital Divide Data, Seven Seas Technologies and Simba Tech Technologies.
KITOS was formed in 2008. It represents Kenya’s BPO and ITES industry, and acts as the industry promotion arm.
In a 2011 survey by the World Bank, Singapore was ranked number one as the best place to conduct business, in the emerging markets. The country is looking to expand its innovations and Africa is on their radar.