Working Papers

Development of Information and Communication Technology Sector: Policy and Regulatory Frameworks as Enablers of Economic Growth

Development of Information and Communication Technology Sector: Policy and Regulatory Frameworks as Enablers of Economic Growth

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24 May 2017

Author(s): Serah Kimani

Since 2000, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in both Kenya and Rwanda has witnessed exponential growth and development, outperforming most other sectors of the economies of these countries. For both these countries, the ICT sector has been dominated by unprecedented rates of mobile phone penetration and attendant success in innovations of services riding on mobile phones, especially mobile money and mobile applications, including M-Pesa for which Kenya has a strong reputation.

This working paper looks at the growth of the ICT sector in Kenya, while reflecting on similar growth in Rwanda. Specific emphasis is given to telecommunication infrastructure development and the attendant internet penetration, mobile phone usage penetration, and mobile phone money and innovations which ride on mobile money. In doing so, the paper examines the role of the ICT sector as defined in the national development blueprint of Kenya (Vision 2030), and that of Rwanda (Vision 2020) and the prominent role given to science, technology and innovations. The facilitative role of national policies and regulatory initiatives that have been instrumental in creating a thriving ICT sector, especially in Kenya, is examined in the light of Kenya’s global reputation for mobile money and mobile money innovations. Finally, the paper presents lessons, opportunities and challenges that have been presented by the policies and regulatory frameworks adopted by these countries.


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