President William Ruto has announced plans for Kenya to produce the most affordable smartphone in Africa.
Speaking during the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KNCCI) annual general meeting at PCEA St Andrew’s in Nairobi on Thursday, November 10, Ruto disclosed that his administration would work with local telcos to realize the goal.
This would help micro small and medium enterprise traders (MSMEs) to access affordable smartphones to run their businesses during the digital era.
If the plan is successful, Kenyans would in the next eight months to one year purchase the locally made smartphones for less than Ksh5,000.
“We must leverage technology to be efficient and effective. We are working with our telcos to ensure we have a smartphone that will cost less than Ksh5,000.
“In the next 8-12 months, we will have the cheapest smartphone in Africa manufactured in Kenya,” he stated.
According to the latest data from the Communications Authority, smartphone penetration in Kenya is at 54.5 per cent, placing the country among the top in Africa in terms of smartphone penetration.
However, a majority of the phones in the country, 67.9 per cent, are feature phones, which gives smartphone makers a chance to close the gap. Smartphones have been the biggest game changer on the planet in terms of how people communicate and do business earning money.
Ruto also reiterated his government’s commitment to enhancing network connectivity in a bid to scale up e-commerce and create employment in the country, restating his plans to create a ‘digital Superhighway’ to connect all parts of Kenya to the internet.
“We have about 15 per cent of government services on digital platforms.
“Between 6-12 months we will have moved 90 per cent of all government services onto the digital platform. We will also use the digital platform to collect government taxes,” he added on his plans to digitize government services.
Responding to concerns regarding the Ksh50 billion Hustler Fund to be launched on December 1, Ruto assured that the lending rates will be lower than that offered by banks.
He would also, in future, do away with the interest on credit given to small, medium and micro enterprises (MSMEs).
“I want to promise the country that the hustler fund is going to be on a single-digit interest and progressively for the smaller enterprises, we will begin with just a simple fee without interest.
“I want to persuade our financial institutions to be flexible in how they lend their finances but also consider the aspect of cost. We want to fire the bottom of the pyramid, that is where the engine of the economy is,” he pleaded.