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Internet control to slow progression in Kenya

Proposals set for consideration at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), that will be held in Dubai in December are likely to hinder Kenya’s continued internet advancement.

The move will bring together 193 member countries and other stakeholders to update the International Telecommunication Regulations, an international treaty that does not apply to the Internet so far. Some countries and organisations want to bring the Internet into the purview of an international treaty and made into a document that would be administered by international bureaucracy and red-tapism. These proposals, if adopted, could stop or limit the development of Kenyan consumers and businesses. This idea, if implemented, could endanger many other developing economies, especially in Africa and could prevent Internet users in Africa from accessing some of the most valuable and interesting sites, such as YouTube and Facebook.

As a direct result of these forward-minded policies, internet usage in Kenya has increased by almost 12 per cent in the past year, attracting 4.6 million new users, as per the sources of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This is a remarkable achievement and a tribute to public-private cooperation. The government which is working in tandem with the private sector has enabled consumers and businesses to flourish due to policies promoting investment in, and development of, Internet infrastructure.

The growth of broadband access across Kenya is mainly due to the allowing of new technologies to enter the market and grow. In 2010, Kenya’s exports of technology-related services reached $360 million, as compared to $16 million in 2002.The hundreds of start-up companies that have been found in Nairobi have earned the city the nickname “Silicon Savannah.”

Kenyan government needs to remind other African countries and show member countries how to effectively promote the Internet. To date, Kenya’s digital economy and Internet access and adoption rates are on a steep upward path. 

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