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EAC focuses on Regional ICT Integration

By Vision Reporter

Added 1st April 2015 09:04 AM

Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and South Sudan have commenced deliberations on how to seal the gaps in ICT integration and shared infrastructure among East African Member states.

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Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and South Sudan have commenced deliberations on how to seal the gaps in ICT integration and shared infrastructure among East African Member states.

By Vision Reporter

Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and South Sudan have commenced deliberations on how to seal the gaps in ICT integration and shared infrastructure among East African Member states.

Speaking at Connected East Africa, the inaugural regional ICT Summit; ICT Ministers hailed the event for providing a platform for networking and learning among member countries.

“In Kenya ICT is one of the most vibrant sectors with its contribution to the GDP growing year after year.  The sector has the ability to transform lives of those that we serve—our citizens. If we all work together in the region we will be able to achieve our goals of improving the lives of our people,” said Dr. Fred Matiang’i – Kenya's Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Information Communications and Technology.

“Kenya and East Africa loses substantial resources each year through the destruction of key infrastructure. The resources used to carry out these repairs can be used for the provision of other essential services. It’s is critical that partners coordinate to protect these facilities that are critical to a better economy and wellbeing.”

Dr. Matiang’i reported that a taskforce is working on a new regulation that will offer mitigation measures against vandalism and provide guidelines to better management of infrastructure right from the conception and design stages.

An important focus of this year's event, is on how to grow local ICT SME’s as a way of impacting on job creation and growing the region's income.

Aligning to this push, Microsoft launched an online hub that will connect SMEs’ across Africa by aggregating premium offers and relevant online services. The portal will be available at Biz4Afrika.com

“Biz4Afrika is an Africa-wide network of SMEs designed to enable a sustainable and connected community of entrepreneurs which will impact on job creation, global competitiveness and wealth creation. The online hub aims to meet the needs of every start-up or SME whether in start, growth and acceleration phases,” said Kunle Awosika, Microsoft Kenya Country Manager.

According to Microsoft, the project was informed by a research that showed that tech-savvy SMEs create twice as many new jobs and grow revenues 15% faster than SMEs using little technology. Microsoft is this year’s summit title sponsor.

Major areas of collaboration among East Africa member states so far have included; One Area Network, Digital Migration, Broadband Strategies, Nothern Corridor, Integrated terrestrial communication network across the region (fiber network) and the Integration of National Backbones for harmonized ‘smart plans’. Others are East Africa Broadband ICT Infrastructure Network (EAC-BIN), as well as EAC

Medicine Registration Harmornisation project. On policies, member states are working on EAC legal framework for Cyber laws and ICT policy & Harmonisation framework.

Other sponsors of the summit include IBM, HP, Huawei, Konza, Ushahidi, Liquid Telecom, SEACOM, Dimension Data, Communication Authority, MTN Business, Oracle and Safaricom. This year’s theme is “The strength is in our networks.”

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