Gov’t sets aside Ksh.1B for Kenya mobile phone industry

mobile phones

The government has set aside Ksh.1billion to help local start-ups in the Kenya mobile phone software and hardware segments to grow.

ICT minister Joe Mucheru told an annual meeting of industry players that he is concerned over imports of 50 million telephone handsets every two years.

“Why can’t we leverage on the skills available locally to manufacture these handsets that are suitable for our markets?” he asked.

ICT is one of the fastest growing sectors in Kenya’s economy due to demand for services like high speed internet access and mobile financial services like MPesa.

Kenya has 45.5 million mobile phone subscribers, data from the sector regulator shows.

The subscribers use a range of imported mobile devices from companies like Apple, Samsung, Tecno and Huawei.

But African nations like Kenya, who do not have a solid industrial base, have been trying to replace imports with local products.

The move is in order to save the hard currency and remove pressure on their foreign exchange rates.

The government expects to work with firms that seek to participate in the manufacturing and assembling of phones, in order to drive down their costs, Mucheru said.

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