On Matters, Technology: Some Recent Regulatory Updates

By Walter Amoko

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In common Kenyan speak, the word “digital” is used humorously to mean a state of being modern and technologically apt.The phrase is further testament to the current pervasiveness of ICT technologies in Kenya; Kenyans have surprised many and arguably, themselves too, in their rapid uptake of technology, from the country’s increased mobile phone penetration rates to the much-hailed success of mobile money transfer services and the Kenyan public’s love for social media, the country has been on the spotlight as an ICT hub. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Government is trying to ensure that the regulatory environment in the sector also keeps in step with the rapid changes in the sector, which now has many significant global tech players such as Google, Microsoft and IBM. Just last week alone,Kenya has made significant steps to realizing this. First, the ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru announced plans to develop regulations for global technology companies operating in the country. The formulation of these guidelines will start this week and stakeholders will be invited to contribute towards proper governance measures that don’t discourage foreign investment in the sector. On a related note, last week the country’s communications regulator – the Communications Authority of Kenya announced the launch of a new KES 900 million system aimed at reducing the time it takes to process radio spectrum licences and resolving radio interference complaints.

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