Information technology policies in East Africa should be harmonised to improve
Mr Jan Mutai, the Africa Telecommunications Union secretary general, said
harmonisation of laws and policies would attract private investors, who had shied
away from information technology in Africa.
Mr Mutai spoke at a seminar on electronic governance at Safari Park Hotel,
Mr Mutai, a former managing director of the defunct Kenya Posts and
Telecommunications Corporation, said the sector would not develop fast if the
market remained fragmented.
"African countries should strive to establish a mechanism for co-operation in the
creation of policies and laws," he said.
Mr Mutai said investors were looking for stable markets, which were lacking in
many African countries.
"Out of the 48 less developed countries in the world, 33 are in Africa. That is why
information technology is still poor in the continent," he said.
Cabinet Minister Nicholas Biwott, in a speech read for him by Assistant Minister
Mohammed Abdi, said information technology was crucial in a liberalised economy.
Among the challenges Kenya faces in its effort to improve telecommunications,
according to Mr Biwott, include the integration of the public and private sector,
creating awareness of the latest information technology and equipment, and the
enactment of laws to govern the Internet.
Others include personnel training on the latest equipment and the development of a
modern telecommunication network.
The seminar, which brought together experts from East African countries, was
sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation.