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Study puts a damper on laptops-for-schools plan

DNLaptop1806cDAILY NATION By NATION REPORTER

Thursday September 17, 2015

A new study has raised questions over whether technology results in better education.

The study, which comes at a time when Kenya plans to equip schools with laptops and tablets, says ensuring children have strong reading and numerical skills will do more to improve education than high-tech devices.

The report, produced by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), suggests that some countries invested heavily in technology without improvements in pupil performance.

Results from 31 countries “show no appreciable improvements in reading, mathematics or science in the countries that invested heavily in ICT,” says the study.

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Telkom Kenya sale talks head for home stretch

telkom2DAILY NATION By LILIAN OCHIENG

Wednesday September 16,2015

Negotiations on the sale of Telkom Kenya will be concluded by the end of this month as the government comes aboard to ascertain its position in the firm.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich Tuesday told the Nation that the authorities would then determine whether it will retain its 30 per cent stake in the telco or sell part of it.

“We will begin to come on board before end of this month, discussions on the shares will be concluded as per the direction the talks are taking,” said Mr Rotich. “We will meet the investors. As our new partners, they will have to lay bare what they bring to the table.”

The winning bidder will share its business proposal, complete with the strategy, with the government. One must also have the technical and financial muscle to run a mobile service firm.

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How businesses will gain from e-learning taking off next year

pupilsBUSINESS DAILY By OKUTTAH MARK,

Thursday September 10,2015

Digital content producers and animators are set to be among the biggest beneficiaries as the government starts implementing the Digital Literacy Programme.

The initiative to start next year will offer an opportunity for most public school students to access education materials through computing devices such as laptops, personal computers among others for the first time.

The government plans to hold a digital content stakeholders conference in October to create awareness about the opportunities available and the process to be followed in approving education content.

ICT secretary Fred Matiang’i said digital content will be regulated by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to ensure standards are met as per curriculum objectives.

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Rejigged laptop program faces same old hurdles

DNJKUATUhuru2703fDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday September 09,2015

Last Friday, the Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Dr Fred Matian’gi, called a press conference where he briefed the nation about the progress made so far on the elusive journey towards providing laptops to Standard One pupils.

This time, there was relatively little public interest in the announcement that the project is on track and the Standard One pupil will be able to smile with their laptops in 2016.

The general public seems to be resigned to the fact that the laptop promise was made in the fever of an election campaign and was bound to be contained and subsequently extinguished by the realities of governing.

But the Jubilee administration has soldiered on, despite the procurement challenges that keep bogging down the project.

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Fees on rural base stations cut in plan to bridge digital divide

mpesaDAILY NATION By LILIAN OCHIENG

Tuesday September 08, 2015

With the plan to finance provision of ICT in marginalised areas in limbo, the sector regulator has announced a change of strategy to encourage firms to invest in these zones.

Last week, Communication Authority (CA) Director-General Francis Wangusi sent letters to mobile companies, informing them of the new changes in which they will be required to set up base stations in marginalised areas at their own cost.

In return, the regulator will cut the spectrum fees chargeable on such base stations.

“This is a positive move towards bridging the digital divide,” said Safaricom Director Corporate Affairs Stephen Chege.

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Mobile payments hit Sh1.3trn mark in first half of year

mpesaBUSINESS DAILY By GEOFFREY IRUNGU,

Monday September 07, 2015

Mobile money payments continued growing at a faster pace than plastic cards in the first half of this year, underlining the former’s rising popularity.

According to data released by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), mobile money payments grow 18.2 per cent year-on-year as at June while card payments increased by 4.2 per cent in the same period.

The value of mobile money stood at Sh1.3 trillion while that of card payments rose to Sh654.7 billion according to the numbers.

“With the mobile space continuing to attract attention both for payment processing and money transfers, we expect continued growth as more products and services are loaded onto the mobile platforms,” said analysts at Nairobi-based Standard Investment Bank (SIB).

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Mobile payment system gains currency

mobilephoneDAILY NATION By WAGA ODONGO

Friday September 04, 2015

Walking around with bank notes is fast becoming obsolete as consumers embrace electronic payments.

It all began in Kenya, when M-Pesa became a preferred way of transferring money, buying goods and paying for services.

Last year, Kenyans made 824 million mobile phone transactions valued at Sh2.1 trillion. This is a major leap, considering that there is only Sh200 billion in cash in the economy.

Although it was not possible to quantify the amount transacted in cash, the trend is one of more consumers using electronic payment for their purchases.

In the past, most transactions have been between individuals, but companies are increasingly adopting electronic payments even to pay salaries.

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Govt sets tough penalties for vandals to protect utilities

matiangi2DAILY NATION By LILIAN OCHIENG

Wednesday September 03, 2015

The State has gone back to anti vandalism Bill proposed by the Attorney General in 2012 to curb the menacing vice.

The Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill, which targets vandalism of major infrastructure will see offenders charged up to Sh10 million.

The new regulations will be enacted in December.

The tough measures follow intense lobbying by utility companies which lose billions of shillings each year to vandals who steal cables and electricity transformers because of the lenient penalties prescribed in the law.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i Tuesday said the country directly losses Sh2 billion annually from vandalism. He added that government plans to cut the losses to less than Sh500 million in less than two years.

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Airtel in a stalemate with CA over Sh2.1 billion licence fee

wangusiBUSINESS DAILY By OKUTTAH MARK,

Monday, August 31  2015

Airtel Kenya is in a stalemate with regulators over the renewal of its operating licence, with the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) insisting that the telecommunications operator must pay a fee of Sh2.1 billion to stay in business.

The mobile firm, which says the fee is too high for a small operator like itself, has been seeking a review for over a year now without luck.

This has led to a deadlock that saw Airtel’s licence expire in February and the renewal process drag on six months past that deadline.

In the meantime, Airtel is operating on a licence acquired along with Essar’s (yuMobile) assets in a deal concluded early this year.

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Reduce cost of Internet service, William Ruto tells mobile firms

DnJapanRuto0508jhDAILY NATION By NATION REPORTER

Friday August 28, 2015

Deputy President William Ruto has asked mobile phone service providers to reduce the cost of data bundles.

He said the government is concerned about the high cost of accessing the Internet on mobile phones.

“A key concern of government is the cost of data. While the cost of mobile handset(s) has gone down over the years, the cost of data has increased.

“Operators should work with government to bring down the cost of data to enable more Kenyans (to) interact,” he said on Friday.

Mr Ruto was speaking at the National Forum on Sustainable Data for Development held at the Laico Regency hotel in Nairobi.

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Airtel Kenya permit expired, operating under Essar licence

WangusiCAKBUSINESS DAILY By OKUTTAH MARK,

Tuesday, August 25   2015

Airtel Kenya is operating under the licence previously held by Essar, which it bought out last year, as it’s permit which expired in February is yet to be renewed.

The telecommunications firm had until this February to pay Sh2.3 billion for a 10 year-licence following the expiry of its initial permit that was issued in 2000. Airtel had paid a $55 million (Sh4.7 billion) fee for its first 15-year licence.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) yesterday said it was still considering “a number of issues” before renewing Airtel’s licence.

“The licence renewal by Airtel has been submitted to the authority and is under consideration. Indeed, the Airtel licence expired in February 2015 and the entity is now operating under the Essar Telecom Kenya Limited licence,” said the CA director general Francis Wangusi in response to the Business Daily’s queries.

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Facebook seeks ties with telcos in Kenya

BDTELKOM2603CpxDAILY NATION By LILIAN OCHIENG

Monday August 24, 2015

Facebook's plan to bring Internet access to the remote parts of the world is taking shape. This follows the completion of Aquila, a drone that beams the Internet from the sky to remote communities.

Facebook CEO Marck Zuckerberg said in a statement that the unmanned aircraft will supplement internet.org, Facebook’s connectivity initiative that is in 13 countries including Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania and Ghana.

And with Aquila, Facebook last month called on Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya to partner with it so that they can benefit from Internet.org.

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Laptop project for primary schools to be realised by 2017, says Matiang’i

MatpixDAILY NATION By OLIVER MUSEMBI

Thursday August 20, 2015

Information, Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has assured Kenyans that the laptop project for primary school learners will be realised by 2017.

The CS said the government will launch the digital learning programme in April next year and subsequently have it rolled out countrywide.

Speaking in Gatundu on Thursday, the CS said the government cannot afford to delay the scheme any further or have it derailed.

“This is a commitment which the Jubilee government must ensure it succeeds.

“All the schools will be enabled to embrace the digital learning process in due course,” he said.

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State agencies hold firmly to their data

FredMatiang27ipxDAILY NATION By LILIAN OCHIENG

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Government departments have frustrated efforts to release State information to the public in an initiative, which would have put Kenya among the first countries in the world to voluntarily share data online.

The Kenya Open Data portal launched four years ago, has only received details from 26 departments out of about 83. “While we still face some resistance in data publishing by the various government institutions, we have put in place measures to mitigate this which is why we have devised the new strategies that will allow us to engage other government institutions better,” Kenya Open Data Co-ordinator, Ms Linet Kwamboka, said.

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Proposed laws will shape the future of Kenya's e-commerce

internetpicsDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday August 18, 2015

In concluding last week’s discussions on the Internet Governance Forum, we shall today look at how critical internet infrastructure and e-commerce are managed currently and in future.

The government has been developing a National Optical Fibre Backbone (NOFBI) project over the last ten years, which involves inter-connecting all 47 counties through fibre cables, ensuring that the foundation for digital economies is well spread out across the country.

 The NOFBI links are currently available in all the counties but have had numerous challenges, one being that the links do not go beyond county headquarters in most counties. Uptake is quite limited, therefore.

In addition, most private operators have ignored the infrastructure, preferring to lay their own fibre, which has led to duplicated infrastructure the cost of which will ultimately be borne by citizens.

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Tv broadcasters asked to apply for new licences

WangusiCAKDAILY NATION By LILIAN OCHIENG

Friday August 14, 2015

Television broadcasters have been asked to apply for new licences to operate in line with the new law following the expiry of the permit regime in June or risk shut down.

Communication Authority (CA) Director-General Francis Wangusi yesterday said the regulator had received about 100 applications for various licences as companies jostle for the freed frequencies created after the digital migration.

“Applicants who are already providing different categories of television broadcasting services under temporary authorisation are reminded to apply for licences to avoid any disruptions. I also wish to remind all TV broadcasters that have not applied for licences to do so urgently to avoid running afoul (of) the law,” Mr Wangusi said.

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EALA to debate Bill on regional electronic transactions next week

e-commerce-picBUSINESS DAILY By ALLAN ODHIAMBO,

Friday August 14, 2015

A Bill seeking to allow for seamless electronic transactions among EAC partner states enters a crucial phase next week when the regional Assembly resumes its sessions in Kampala.

The East African Community Electronic Transaction Bill 2014 will go through a second reading even as partner States target to deepen their economic ties through faster and safer ICT-based platforms.

“Top on the agenda during the two-week period are two key Bills which are expected to sail through the 2nd and 3rd readings respectively.

These are the EAC Electronic Transaction Bill 2014, and the EAC Creative Industries Bill 2015,” the bloc’s secretariat said ahead of next week’s session of the East Africa Legislative Assembly (Eala).

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Over 60,000 teachers trained in readiness for digital learning in primary schools

DNLaptop1806cDAILY NATION By REBECCA OKWANY

Monday August 10, 2015

Over 60,000 teachers have so far been trained in the government’s ambitious plan to roll out digital learning in primary schools.

At the same time, 19,000 schools have been connected to electricity by the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) and 605 others, connected to solar power, head of ICT in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology John Temba said.

“As of May, 2015, 62,500 teachers have been trained in ICT integration in schools,” said Mr Temba.

He was speaking during a headteachers’ conference that ended at Sheikh Zayed Children’s Centre in Mombasa on Friday.

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Dominance rules split authority and the AG

MatpixDAILY NATION By LILIAN OCHIENG

Thursday August 06, 2015

The Communications Authority of Kenya says it will stand its ground and push through with dominance regulations even after the Attorney General called for the rules to be withdrawn from Parliament for consultation.

Speaking to the Nation, CA director general Francis Wangusi said the authority will now broaden its reach to capture broadcasting and courier sectors.
In a letter to the ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i dated July 9, 2015, Attorney General Githu Muigai advised the ministry to withdraw the regulations from the National Assembly and “subject them to discussions in all aspects as contemplated by the MoU (between CA and Competitions Authority of Kenya).”

Admitting that no consultations were done with the competition body, Mr Wangusi said that was not necessary at this stage given that CAK role will come in at a point where there is an overlap between the jurisdiction and CA regulations.

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Board members should beware leaving IT projects to professionals

walubengoDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday August 06, 2015

The recent fiasco surrounding allegations of compromised Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) passwords and attempts to embezzle funds from government coffers should serve as a wake-up call. The integrity of our information systems is an urgent priority.

To be fair, Kenya is not the first country to experience IFMIS challenges. In fact, in Malawi, Joyce Banda’s recent failure to win a second term as president has been attributed to IFMIS-related corruption scandals.

The objective of IFMIS is in line with most automation projects – to increase efficiency, transparency and accountability. What most people forget, though, is that automation by itself is not a magic bullet against corruption.

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