Implementation of the €8m Regional ICT Programme Reviewed

Nairobi, Thursday, 02 March 2023: The Steering Committee of the programme on Enhancement of Governance and Enabling Environment in the ICT sector (EGEE-ICT) in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and the Indian Ocean region (EA-SA-IO) meeting began today in Nairobi, Kenya to review the programme’s performance, since it was launched two years ago.

The eight million euros programme aims at enhancing the governance and enabling environment in the ICT sector in the EA-SA-IO region. It supports the review and development of regional policy and regulatory frameworks in a harmonized manner, thus contributing to enhanced competition and improved access to cost effective and secure ICT services. The four-year programme is funded by the European Union.

Beneficiaries of the programme are countries in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC), Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). COMESA is the programme implementation lead.

The Principal Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology and the Digital Economy in Kenya Eng. John Tanui opened the meeting. He urged countries in the region “to seize the significant socio-economic opportunities that digital technologies offer.”

“All of us would agree that living in a modern society without ICT is unimaginable. Think about how many times and how often we are using the internet, mobile phones and computers,’’ said the PS. The technologies that enable this have been integrated in every aspect of our business activities and daily lives.”

He stressed that accessibility and affordability are the key factors for utilizing ICT solutions for e-services and for reaching all groups of society in order to transform the landscape for development.

He added: “The Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy in Kenya has committed to digitalize all government services, lay 100,000km of fibre optic cable across the country under the Digital Superhighway, install 25,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots, establish 1,450 digital village smart hubs and studios and enhance cyber security management, in the next five years.

The Director of Infrastructure and Logistics in COMESA, Mr Jean-Baptiste Mutabazi said programmes such as the EGEE-ICT that target the ICT sector, are significant because they ensure that current development issues in the sector are prioritized.

“Regional Harmonisation is one of the best approaches in achieving success in development.  Therefore, Regional cooperation needs to be strengthened. The EGEE-ICT programme creates an exceptional opportunity of bringing together multiple stakeholders to work towards handling some of the critical ICT issues with the aim of creating an enabling environment that will foster ICT growth,” he said.

The Nairobi meeting is the third for the Steering Committee whose objective was to review the progress of the programmes’ activities undertaken between May 2022 and January 2023 and adoption of the programme’s Annual Work Plan for 2023.

Th EGEE-ICT programme is one of the contributors to the AU flagship projects namely the Pan African e-Network, Policy, and Regulation Initiative for Digital Africa (PRIDA), and the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa 2020-2030.

Members of the PSC comprise of representatives of the five regional economic communities, Member/Partner States, and private sector. Representatives from the regional ICT Associations and continental ICT sector will participate in the meeting as observers.

This post is also available in: Français (French)