Connected East Africa Forum to Draw Representation from the Larger East African Region
The dates for this year’s Connected East Africa Summit have been announced as 30th March to 2nd April 2015 at the Leisure Lodge Golf and Resort in Kwale County.
Running for seven years now, the summit offers a platform in which top ICT executives from government, academia and private sector share and exchange ideas on how to use ICT as a catalyst to service delivery to citizens. This year, participants will be drawn from five East African States namely; Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda.
Themed the strength is in our networks the summit takes cognizant of the region’s achievements and appreciates the growing needs of an enlarged community. This year’s Connected East Africa will commence discussions on how the region can leverage on ICT for full realization of the benefits of the Customs Union (2005) and Common Market (2010) protocols by its’ regional citizens.
“ICT continues to play a major role in the economic, political, social and cultural development of our country. Technology has increased efficiency, transparency and is cutting costs whether in start-ups, Multi-nationals or government. We are now widening the market to cover more than 150,000 million residents in the region,” Mr Victor Kyalo, ICT Authority Chief Executive Officer, said.
Mr Kyalo, added that integration will be an answer to the region growing economies that get caught up between investing in basic amenities for the citizens or to marshal funds for ICT infrastructure. Often, because of pressing needs for limited resources, ICT is pushed to the back banner.
To answer to the integration theme, the summit has set four objectives for deliberation namely;
- To address gaps in ICT integration and shared infrastructure among the East African Member states
- To speed-up harmonization of ICT regulation across the region
- To build support on ongoing ICT integrated infrastructure projects across the East African region.
- To provide a platform for meaningful networking that will result in fruitful relationships that contribute to the economic development of the East African region.
This year’s summit will explore ICT integration of the various information technology platforms that can enable the flow of goods, services and content within the region securely. The building blocks of these discussions have been identified as shared infrastructure, skills development, harnessing Innovation and Information Security.
According to Microsoft Kenya Country Manager Mr Kunle Awosika. “Connected East Africa will be the platform where stakeholders in the sector will address gaps in the integration of shared infrastructure as well as speed up the harmonization of ICT regulation across the region.”
Mr Awosika added that Microsoft is fully dedicated to empowering innovations and skills in the regional’s ICT sector through various programs.
“Importantly, last year December we launched CITYNEXT, a people-first approach to innovation that empowers governments, businesses and citizens to shape the future of their cities,” he added.
Already the bloc has embarked on a number of collaborative projects namely; East Africa Broadband ICT Infrastructure Network (EAC-BIN),; LAPPSET Northern Corridor Project as well as EAC
Medicine Registration Harmornisation project. On policies, member states are working on EAC legal framework for Cyber laws and ICT policy & Harmonisation framework.
It was at last year Connected, that Kenya was selected by member states to spearhead the hosting of the inaugural East Africa ICT conference. At the last year event, East African ICT Ministers who form the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee, fronted Kenya to host the SummitSmart Africa agenda. The Committee was formed at the Transform Africa Forum held in Rwanda in 2013.
This year’s title sponsor is Microsoft Corporation. Others sponsors are SEACOM, Dimension Data, Huawei, Konza Techno City, HP and Liquid Telkom.