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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya seeks 45 mln USD to bridge digital divide  

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya requires 45 million U.S. dollars in order to achieve universal access for communications services, telecommunication industry regulator said on Wednesday.

Francis Wangusi, director general of Communications Authority of Kenya, told a media briefing in Nairobi that currently 94.4 percent of the country’s population has access to at least basic voice and Short Messaging Service (SMS).

“Kenya is therefore seeking 45 million dollars in order to reach the unserved and underserved areas that were left out during the liberalization of the communication sector,” Wangusi said during the inauguration of the council members of the Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC).

Wangusi said that Kenya has set a target of achieving full connectivity for the entire population in the next five years.

The East African nation is currently instituting measures geared towards bridging digital divide in the country. “One of the milestones in the last financial year 2016/17 was the operationalization of the Universal Service Fund,” Wangusi said.

The kitty which was established to reduce the digital divide for Kenyans, acts as an incentive for attracting operators and service providers to rural and high cost areas through provision of subsidies and grants.

The regulator said that a financial model will be developed to calculate the subsidy levels required by an operator to roll out services in unserved and underserved areas.

The Fund is also expected to support Information Communication Technology innovation and development of content and applications in addition to supporting capacity building in the country.

According to the director general, regions that are sparsely populated and or have inadequate road infrastructure are most affected by lack of telecom services.

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