Back Services New ICT hubs to speed up ICT coverage in rural areas

New ICT hubs to speed up ICT coverage in rural areas

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The government has today awarded loans to 26 entrepreneurs of new ICT centres in various counties around Kenya. This brings the total number of Pasha centres since 2011 to 63, accounting for 30 percent ICT coverage in the country. The announcement at a Nairobi Hotel was officiated by Dr Bitange Ndemo, PS Ministry of Information and Communications, among many other expected dignitaries.

The 26 new ICT entrepreneurs were selected in a competitive process that saw more than 10,000 Kenyans sign up for the online application in November, 2011.

Each successful entrepreneur will receive an average of 1 million shillings with total loans of Kshs 27, 955,000 being set aside cumulatively. The revolving fund that is run through the Kenya ICT Board Digital Villages Project (DVP), started disbursing funds in 2011 and is aimed at addressing disparities in the information flow between rural and urban areas.

In the first round, 37 Pasha Managers were awarded loans, and a total of Kshs 47,889,147 was approved for disbursement in April 2011. To date a total of 34,389,740 has been disbursed through Family Bank which is the administering institution for the fund.

The project run through the Ministry of Information and Communication is a blueprint to achieving Vision 2030, which recognizes that the provision of ICT goods and services in Kenya is important for enabling economic and social development.

The digital village project is an integral part of an innovative public private partnership for taking ICTs to the rural communities in Kenya. Already, the board is collaborating with CISCO and Intel and is currently in talks with Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) to further advance the ICT skills of the Pasha Managers and increase ICT advocacy in the rural areas.

All 210 constituencies are earmarked to benefit from the initiative by 2013.

Background Information

The Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Information and Communication, with Kenya ICT Board as the implementing body, projects to address the below:

1.    Support the development of affordable access and use of ICT resources in rural communities in a sustainable way;

2.    Simulate the creation of economic opportunities that will spur rural economic development.

The Digital Villages Project was initiated in 2010 and started disbursing loans in 2011.

What are Pasha Centres?

Pasha Centre’s are hubs that provide a host of services to the public via computers connected to the internet, or by using and marketing other ICT-enabled applications. The centres offer a blend of the following services: Internet access, computer training, vocational training, ICT retail, access to government services, entertainment and gaming, typing and data entry, printing services, copying and scanning, cell phones and SIM card sales, Mobile Money or other financial services, IT support and services, office supplies and stationary sales, printer supplies, laminating and photography and other IT enabled services.

NB: Pasha Centres are not Cyber Cafes

 

Who runs and owns the Pasha centers?

The Pasha Centres are run by private entrepreneurs. Prospective entrepreneurs who apply for the Digital Villages Revolving Fund and are successful will be eligible to set up Pasha Centres

How are the loans repaid?

The loans have a three-month grace period and are repayable within three years with a current interest rate of 10.5 percent per annum. No collateral is required to secure the loans, but close monitoring and evaluation is done.

Evaluation

Family Bank evaluates, and forwards three of the best applications per constituency to a Grants committee at the Kenya ICT Board. The Grants committee and family bank then select the successful applicants.

About Kenya ICT Board

The Kenya ICT Board was established by HE President Mwai Kibaki, as a state corporation under the State Corporations Act Cap. 446 on 19th February 2007. The Kenya ICT Board’s mission is to champion and actively enable Kenya to adopt and exploit ICT, through promotion of partnerships, investments and infrastructure growth for socio economic enrichment. Its vision is that Kenya becomes a top ten global ICT hub by 2030.

Capacity building programs are needed to establish a national strategy to properly address skills and training issues. Such strategy would need the input, cooperation, and commitment of many parties. It needs to be led by the industry and involve partnerships with the government and education and training providers.