Liquid Telecom is set to invest $400,000 in Internet infrastructure that will see Kilifi County in Kenya opened up for interconnectivity for businesses and the county government premises.
According to the firm, this is part of its $50m investment in partnerships with counties in Kenya. So far, Liquid Telecom has seen 39 of Kenya’s 47 counties benefit from data connectivity.
The move will see 11 ministries in Kilifi connected on a 10-kilometre Wide Area Network (WAN) via fibre optics, two other ministries connected via microwave and four remote sites connected on very small aperture terminal (VSAT). Kilifi will thus enjoy first-in-class Internet connection as well as reliable and affordable access to the Internet necessary for the delivery of services to the public, including a revenue collection system that the county plans to upgrade. In addition, the county’s prominence as a tourism hub is expected to attract investment by entities that view fibre connectivity as a major enabler of business.
Paul Statham, Chief Commercial Officer, Liquid Telecom Kenya stated that: “The role that Internet connectivity plays in bettering the economic prospects of a region has been seen all around the world, in Africa and beyond. As we venture into Kilifi, we seek to facilitate the opening up of the county to new business opportunities, and also enable Kenyans in Kilifi access to government services enjoyed by residents of Kenya’s cities.”
One of the major benefits of Internet connectivity is employment creation. Senegal, for example, is predicted to create approximately 240,000 new jobs in 2015 through the improvement of Internet infrastructure, as the Internet’s contribution to GDP rises to 3.3 per cent, placing it at par with Japan, US and Malaysia in terms of Internet contribution to GDP, according to McKinsey and Company. In Kenya, Internet connectivity contributes to 2.9 per cent of GDP.
According to Liquid Telecom, the fibre connectivity in Kilifi will also see major banks set up operations in Kilifi, as they seek to meet the needs and demands of their customers with the availability of Internet infrastructure. Currently, the banks operating in Kilifi include Kenya Commercial Bank, Equity Bank, Barclays Bank and Imperial, with more expected to join is as Internet infrastructure is expanded to facilitate seamless connectivity for service provision.
Kilifi also hosts various universities and colleges including Mount Kenya University, Kenya Medical Training College, Kenya Utalii College and Bandari College, which stand to benefit from the Internet infrastructure, at a time when e-learning has been identified as a major differentiator in the quality of education that tertiary institutions offer.
The installation process in Kilifi County will employ 30 staff with additional roles being created for maintenance of the infrastructure and wireless network in the county. The project is expected to be completed in four months, after which Liquid Telecom plans to undertake similar installations in Meru, Kisumu, Migori and Kisii counties.
“We are still on course to having all the counties in Kenya connected. This way, investment and development are no longer confined to the cities but is also channeled to, and felt, across the whole of Kenya for the benefit of all,” concluded Paul Statham.