Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kenya grabs GSMA Leadership Award for Broadband Strategy

Remmy Nweke in Barcelona, Spain

Despite the views people may have of the ‘Obama’ country following recent security breaches near the capital, Kenya seems to be doing well in terms leadership in broadband deployment on the continent.

According to the Global System for Mobile Association (GSMA), the Kenyan government has done well, hence, it attracted the recognition of the association.

The award received by the Kenyan Minister of Information and Communications Mr. Samuel Poghisio, is the mobile industry’s prestigious annual government award category.

GSMA said the leadership role played by Kenya through the promotion of mobile phones and information communication technology (ICT) equipment as well as in the early roll-out of mobile broadband.

Daily Champion recalled that in 2009, Kenya eliminated both import duty and sales taxes on mobile phones and other ICT equipment, thus making access for consumers more affordable.

Equally, the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) had demonstrated an established and ongoing programme of modernisation of the telecoms sector in the country.

GSMA noted that CCK facilitated the landing of two fibre optic cables, TEAMs and SEACOM, which heralded a new era of abundant broadband capacity for Kenya and the East African region.

Just as CCK enabled the development of a vibrant mobile broadband market by licensing of new spectrum and launching of a number of ICT cum mobile projects aimed at promoting education and health in rural communities.

These programmes, GSMA pointed out will boost the Kenyan economy and improve the well-being and future prosperity of its citizens.

Chief executive officer, GSMA, Mr. Rob Conway, said the award affirms the pioneering leadership of the Kenyan government and resolve to improve the lives of Kenyans by making access to mobile broadband and ICT more available and affordable.

"Mobile broadband is a great enabler, and it is imperative that government and industry work together to realise its potential to positively transform society,” he said.

He urged African countries to emulate Kenya’s lead, by acknowledging the importance of eliminating short term taxation on mobile phones to increase affordability and driving medium terms gains in Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and the total tax contribution by the sector.

Additionally he advised African continent to make available harmonised spectrum for mobile broadband by supporting the investment in land-based and undersea fibre optic cables by liberalising the international gateway.

Accepting the prize, Mr. Poghisio, expressed delight that the great efforts and progressive policies of the Kenyan Government have been recognised by the presentation of this award.

“Kenya is developing and investing in the mobile and ICT technology tools that we need to deliver modern and innovative social and economic improvements for all our citizens,” he said.


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