Kenya, A Haven for Irish Investors in The ICT Sector

Kenya has become one of the renowned global technology hubs of choice especially in regard to attracting strategic business operations of ICT companies in emerging markets. It is the regional leader in ICT in East and Central Africa and considered as one of the top innovation hubs in sub-Saharan Africa being famously dubbed the Silicon Savannah.

In a move to establish itself as a regional ICT powerhouse, Kenya unveiled its economic development road map Vision 2030 in 2013. As part of Vision 2030, the Kenyan government developed a technology blueprint that would transform the country into a global digital player.

The ICT sector in Kenya is robust, buoyed by favorable government policy, infrastructure and a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. In fact, Kenya is home to M-Pesa, a globally recognized technology marvel that has solidified Kenya as a country to watch in ICT and a product that continues to have positive impact on millions of lives and especially in enhancing financial inclusion.

The mobile money market in Kenya continues to grow in leaps, with optimal addition of value-added services pegged on the platform. The latest report from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK), shows that there are 45 million mobile money accounts in the country transacting €34.1 billion.

Kenya was the first country in the region to install fibre-optic cables, with over 5000 kilometers of terrestrial cable all around the country. This has improved the quality of connectivity subsequently reducing costs for consumers and businesses. The move has guaranteed an ease of communication across the 47 counties, and improved government service delivery to the citizens.

The strides Kenya has made in creating an environment that promotes technology and innovation place it as a prime location for ICT investment; due to  factors such as an internet penetration rate (of 112.7 %), as well as proliferation of 4G network that offers faster internet access. This has presented investment opportunities in the e-commerce sector, financial industries, growth of social networking platforms, smartphone market and start-ups industry.

Ireland has in recent years emerged as a global technology hub and the ICT sector is thriving with exports and employment in multinational technology companies giving way to opportunities for investment in the ICT ecosystem. The parallels drawn between Kenya and Ireland in the sector points to possible areas of partnership between Irish and Kenyan companies and entrepreneurs in the following areas:

  • Computer games, film animation and production
  • Training and technical assistance
  • Value-add services and apps for mobile phone subscribers
  • Cyber-security and efficient anti fraud systems
  • Mobile, web, and image processing for international business transactions
  • Designing, customizing, and distributing e-learning courses/material

Customized mobile and web applications (Source: BIK Doing Business guide in Kenya)