Matiangi was speaking today at the East African Communications Organisation (EACO) Congress at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), in Nairobi, on the theme ‘Making broadband work for socio-economic growth in Africa’.
He said: “One of the tools that Sub-Saharan Africa could leverage on to address the high incidence of poverty is ICT, particularly broadband. I deliberately emphasise broadband because of the established capacity of this technology in stimulating economic development.”Matiangi added: “Access to broadband is also associated with cost effective delivery of government services as well as better health and learning outcomes. At the firm level, broadband is associated with increased productivity and profitability of businesses.”The cabinet secretary also hailed this year’s EACO theme, which was relevant in light of the issues.He was also of the opinion that for broadband to be of value to ordinary people, the East African region needs to invest in the development of relevant local content in local languages.“This way, our people will leverage on ICTs to spur efficiency in their productive activities, and thus participate in wealth creation and poverty alleviation.“Already the region is home to a number of innovative ICT applications, including those linking farmers to markets and sources of farm input and expertise,” he noted.The cabinet secretary also said that increasing demand for ICTs in the rural areas is crucial in creating an incentive for service providers and the private sector. This would complement the government’s efforts in facilitating universal access to communication services.