Kenya moves to boost ICT update in rural areas
NAIROBI, Jul 11, 2012 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
The Kenyan government on Wednesday
awarded loans to 26 new Information and Communication Technology
(ICT) centers in various counties to improve internet connectivity
across the East African nation.
The move brings the total number of Pasha Centers incepted
since 2011 to 63, accounting for 30 percent ICT coverage in the
"Electronic voting and access of government services through
the web, is only possible if digital villages are near the people,
" the Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary Dr. Bitange
Ndemo told journalists in Nairobi.
"That is why we are serious about improving Internet
connectivity, building local digital content and creating
awareness about ICT products and services in rural Kenya."
The development came as Chinese firm Huawei has secured an
exclusive tender to build a 70 million U.S. dollar national fiber
optic infrastructure and e-government projects expected to start
Ndemo challenged the new entrepreneurs to be innovative at the
services they will be offering at their constituencies in order to
be able to create sustainable businesses.
Ndemo noted that already Treasury had approved the MTE project
and this would help connect schools, health and Pasha centers in
all parts of the country.
Digital inclusion Project Manager at Kenya ICT Board, Kwame
Shiroya said the selection of the new Pasha Managers was done
openly through a competitive process. "The online application saw
more than 10,000 Kenyans sign up for the loans," said Shiroya.
Pasha Centers are hubs that provide a host of services to the
public via computers connected to the internet, or by using and
marketing other ICT-enabled applications.
The centers offer a blend of Internet access, computer
training, vocational training, ICT retail, access to government
services, entertainment and gaming, typing and data entry,
printing services, copying and scanning, cell phones and SIM card
sales, Mobile Money or other financial services, IT support and
services, office supplies and stationary sales, printer supplies,
laminating and photography and other IT enabled services.
Each successful entrepreneur will receive an average of 12,000
dollars with total loans of 333,000 dollars being set aside
The revolving fund that is run through the Kenya ICT Board
Digital Villages Project (DVP) started disbursing funds in 2011
and is aimed at addressing disparities in the information flow
between rural and urban areas.
In the first round, 37 Pasha Managers were awarded loans, and a
total of 570,000 dollars was approved for disbursement in April
To date a total of 410,000 dollars has been disbursed through
Family Bank which is the administering institution for the fund.
The project run through the Ministry of Information and
Communication is a blueprint to achieving Vision 2030, which
recognizes that the provision of ICT goods and services in Kenya
is important for enabling economic and social development.
The digital village project is an integral part of an
innovative public private partnership for taking ICTs to the rural
communities in Kenya.
Already, the board is collaborating with Cisco and Intel and is
currently in talks with Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) to further
advance the ICT skills of the Pasha Managers and increase ICT
advocacy in the rural areas.
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