In 1997 the government set out the telecommunications vision development policy which would guide Kenya’s ICT Sector. The challenge at that time was to transform the existing policy structure from one designed for a monopoly to a policy managing a liberalized telecommunication market.
Fast-forward to 2005 – 2016, ICT policies and projects such as launching of undersea submarine cables, the mushrooming of business process outsourcing industry and the reduction in mobile termination rates (MTRs), are some of the achievements that have significantly shaped the thriving ICT industry to what is currently witness.
Prof. Bitange Ndemo is regarded as one of the key people who oversaw the transformation in the Kenyan ICT Sector while serving as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication (2005 – 2013). His works continue to exemplify the blossoming ICT sector in the country, key lessons he shares with the Masters in Public Policy and Management Students at Strathmore Business School.
Policy making process does require a great amount of stakeholder engagement so as to ensure that the planed strategies yield the anticipated outcomes and results. However, how does this message hit home to individuals who have a limited understanding to a particular subject matter at hand? Or even to the marginalized groups?
“Policy reform often gets stifled in voluminous reports and surveys which no body reads and hence go un-implemented. Policy reform should be translated into actionable plans that are easy to implement and easy to cascade down to the public. Policy makers must be willing to listen to the public and be ready to engage.”
Political Will Power
The impact of political will power in the development and assent of policies is inevitable. As part of the legislative procedures, policies must pass through legislative scrutiny before being passed into law. With this structure, gaining political buy-in from influential members become critical. “Political will power is just another indication that for policy reform to work, stakeholder engagement with the affiliated parties is in escapable.”
IT systems for Country’s solutions
IT solutions have proven to have great potential in developing solutions to countries’ most pressing challenges. “Innovations do not take place in a vacuum. Kenya must be willing to significantly tapping into the talent of its youth by facilitating a cross bread of ideas in incubation hubs. Silicon Valley, MIT, Caltech among others continue to thrive through collaborative engagements.” Policy development and reform should take count of the place of data in stakeholder engagement, effectiveness measurement and in the emergence of evidence based decision making processes. Public services should be subjected to transparent scrutiny, “ICT systems should be created to aid the fight against corruption. Open contracting systems have the potential to streamline the procurement process in public institutions.”