Connected East Africa Summit to center on regional ICT integration initiatives

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Now running for the seventh consecutive year, ICT Authority’s brainchild connected Summit now rebranded to Connected East Africa Summit has been scheduled for 30th March to 2nd April 2015 at the Leisure Lodge Golf and Resort in Kwale County.

During the annual event 2014 themed ‘Breaking the barriers’, Kenya was selected by member of states to spearhead the hosting of the inaugural East Africa ICT conference. East African ICT Ministers from the regional Inter-Ministerial Committee fronted Kenya to host the summit hence the arrangement.

The summit offers a platform in which top ICT executives from the government, academia and private sector share and exchange ideas on how to use ICT as a catalyst to service delivery to citizens. Being an East African affair, participants will be drawn from Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.

Themed the strength is in our networks, the summit takes cognizant of the region’s achievements and appreciate 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 startups, Multi-nationals or government. With that, the Authority will hence widen the market to cover more than 150,000 million residents in the region.

Some of today’s leading government projects have links with Connected Kenya. With its remarkable mix of decision-makers from government and leading ICT thinkers from industry, the Summit has enabled its participants to develop unique insights that allow them to successfully respond and design their engagement in Kenya’s vibrant ICT sector. Projects such as Kenya Open Data Initiative, Huduma citizen’s portal and the development of a national Information Security Policy were informed or refined from discussions and panels held at Connected Kenya.

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As stated by ICT Authority CEO Victor Kyalo, 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.

The Authority has therefore set specific objectives for the 7th edition summit;

  • 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, skill developing, harnessing innovation and information security. The platform is also seeking to address gaps in the integration of shared infrastructure as well as speed up the harmonization of ICT regulation across the region.

Microsoft being the title sponsor of the summit has committed full dedication to empowering innovations and skills in the regional’s ICT sector through various programs. Last year, the corporation launched CITYNEXT a people’s first approach to innovation that empowers governments, businesses and citizens to shape the future of their cities. Other sponsors include SEACOM, Dimension Data, Huawei, Konza Techno City, HP and Liquid Telkom

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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 Harmonization project. On policies, member states are working on EAC legal framework for cyber laws and ICT policy and Harmonization Framework.

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