Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohammed (left) accompanied by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Director General Amb. Bishar Hussein addresses  guests at a luncheon hosted by Kenya  at the ongoing 26th UPU Congress in Istanbul,Turkey. Kenya is drumming up support for re-election of Amb.Hussein for a second year term at the helm of the UN specialized agency for the postal and courier services.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amin Mohammed on Tuesday rallied Universal Postal Union member countries to vote for Amb. Bishar Hussein for a second-for year term as Director General of the Switzerland-based global body.

Speaking during a luncheon hosted for delegates attending the 26th UPU Congress 2016 in Istanbul, CS Amina said Kenya believes the experience Amb. Hussein had acquired as Director-General of the UPU over the last four years will be useful in navigating the UPU successfully into the future.

“We are requesting for your support for another mandate for Amb. Hussein. Under his leadership the International Bureau of the UPU has delivered over 98 percent of the Doha Postal Strategic objectives and has been a great advocate and spokesman for the UPU and under his watch the organization is more visible and successful.

The CS said Kenya was also seeking support for its candidatures in the UPU Council of Administration and in the Postal Operations Council.

“I am pleased to inform you that all these positions enjoy the full support and endorsement of the Heads of State and Government Summit of the African Union. We are keen to continue participating actively in UPU affairs including in shaping its future direction, said CS Amina.

Saying Kenya was a strong believer in multilateralism and cooperation as critical ingredients for the promotion of international peace, prosperity and security, CS Amina said the country had a long-standing tradition of engagement at the global arena.

“Kenya is a committed member of the International Community and the United Nations family and an active participant in the affairs of the various UN agencies, and other inter-governmental bodies at the sub-regional and regional levels,” said CS Amina.

Within the context of the postal and the wider ICT sector, Kenya has a long history of participation in the affairs of the two oldest UN agencies; the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU). This engagement, CS Amina says, is inspired by the government’s belief and commitment to the ideals of the UPU and the ITU.

Commitment in the activities of these two bodies has played a significant role in transforming Kenya’s ICT landscape into one of the most vibrant and innovative in the region and the world at large. The success of Kenya’s postal and ICT sector is a clear manifestation of the important role that UPU continues to play in improving the quality of the international postal network.

She added that Kenya will continue to be involved in the efforts that the UPU is undertaking to improve its efficiency, modernize the postal product portfolio, and improve the supply chain management.

Present during the luncheon was Information, Communications and Technology Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru, Principal Secretary, Broadcasting and Telecommunication Sammy Itemere, Kenya’s ambassador to Turkey, Kiema Kilonzo, Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Francis Wangusi, and Chairman of UPU Congress Kenan Bozgeyik among others.

The UPU Congress brings together representatives of governments, designated operators, regulators and restricted unions of UPU member countries, as well as heads of UN and other international organizations.

The regulatory decision by Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to license Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) has begun bearing fruits as evidenced by the latest sector statistics quarterly report.

The report covering the period April to June indicates a significant increase in mobile subscriptions and Minutes of Usage in voice.
The sector report for the last quarter of the financial year 2015/2016 indicates that, mobile subscription grew by 9.9 per cent to 39.7 million. The mobile penetration level hit 90 per cent, having grown by 6.1 percentage points.

Total traffic originating from mobile networks also increased by 22.5 per cent during the financial year to post 41.6 billion minutes up from 34.0 billion minutes posted in the previous financial year.

“The number of mobile subscriptions continues to increase remarkably and this can be attributed to the market entry by MVNOs and expansion of mobile network infrastructure by the service providers,” the report noted.

CA, in April 2014, licensed three MVNOs, Mobile Pay, Finserve Africa and Zioncell Kenya, with an aim of increasing competition in the sector, stimulating and sustaining overall market growth. The entry of the MVNOs has introduced a new range of innovative products and service propositions that gives more choice and value to Kenyans.

The firms were awarded the MVNO licenses under the ‘Application Service Provider (ASP)’ category of the CA’s Unified Licensing Framework adopted in 2008.

The report released on Thursday shows that million mobile money subscribers reached 26.3 while the number of mobile money transfer agents was recorded at 158,727.

The period also saw a total of 227.3 million mobile commerce transactions made translating to the cost of goods and services valued at Ksh. 404.1 billion purchased. Person to person money transfers recorded in the period was valued at Ksh. 429.4 billion.

Mobile subscribers called for 36.6 billion minutes up from 29.5 billion minutes posted in the previous financial year. On the contrary, the minutes of Use (MoU) per subscriber per month declined from 89 minutes recorded in the previous quarter to 86 minutes in the fourth quarter.

The total number of Short Messaging Service (SMS) sent during the quarter increased significantly to 11.6 billion messages from 6.5 billion registered last quarter.
“This growth was as a result of the Create Your Plan Bundles SMS tariff that was introduced by Safaricom Limited during the period under review,” reads part of the report. This tariff allows the operator’s customers to send as many as 50 messages per day for only Ksh.10.

Similarly, the volume of SMS sent throughout the year grew significantly to 31.3 billion up 26.1 billion messages sent during the previous year.

In the Data/Internet market segment, subscriptions rose by 8.2 per cent to reach 26.8 million during the quarter under review up from 24.8 million subscriptions recorded last quarter. This represents an increase of 35.0 per cent compared to the 19.9 million subscriptions reported during the previous year.

Consequently, the estimated number of internet users grew from 37.4 million posted last quarter to 37.7 million users in the last quarter. Internet penetration on the other hand, declined from 87.2 per to 85.3 per cent. This drop is attributed to the revision of the base population figure used in the computation of penetration from 43.0 million to 44.2 million in line with the Economic Survey 2016.

The postal and courier segment realized mixed trends during the quarter under review. The number of courier outlets declined during the quarter under review. This declined was mainly a result of deregistering of some non-compliant courier operators.

The numbers of letters sent and received is likely to increase in the coming financial year as a result of the launch of mobile-based services connecting its physical letter boxes to consumers' mobile phones (Mpost) by Postal Corporation of Kenya.

You can read the full report here  

L-R:  Ms. Lindiwe Malaza from Swaziland, Kenya’s Principal Secretary for Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Mr.Sammy Itemere,Communications Authority of Kenya’s Director,Legal Services Mr.John Omo and African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI) Director Mr.Eustace Maboreke during the AFRALTI Governing Council meeting in Nairobi.Mr. Itemere urged African states to leverage on AFRALTI to address the skills gap experienced In the continent.

African States Urged to tap into AFRALTI Potential to remain relevant The African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI) member states have been urged to tap into the potential provided by the institution to remain relevant in this new dispensation by improving access to training, quality of the output and efficiency of delivery.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) ’s Director, Legal Services, Mr. John Omo, while addressing the AFRALTI delegates gathered in Nairobi said the institution provides a critical avenue which members states can average on to improve capacity building as well as a pool of skills to spur growth. He was representing the Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi. “As the ICT regulator in Kenya, training and capacity building is at the heart of our operations.

We believe that AFRALTI plays a key role in this area and hence our consistent and active participation in the affairs of AFRALTI,” Mr. Omo said. He noted that despite the fast growth and adoption of technologies, institutions of learning may not be in a position to adopt as quickly to be in tandem with technological changes. “As members of AFRALTI, we may choose to see this as a loss or a huge opportunity for AFRALTI in the technological space,” added Mr. Omo. According to the 2015 Africa Capacity Index, 73 per cent of 45 African countries have medium capacity and 9 per cent have low capacity, while only 18 per cent have high capacity. Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary Mr. Sammy Itemere who presided over the event said there is need for urgent and concerted effort to address this skills gap conundrum, if Africa is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2063, and respective national development strategies and coming nearer home, our ICT agenda in the region. “The situation paints a grim picture for the continent and indeed the region.

It is equally an opportunity for AFRALTI whose core mission is capacity building. I need not say that the skills realized are critical to the much-needed digital technological transformation that we all admit is important for catalyzing development,” The PS said. Mr. Itemere acknowledged the strategic position that AFRALTI occupies, noting that if harnessed well, could greatly assist in transforming human as well institutional skills to catapult the continent to greater socio-economic advancement.

However he pointed that the greatest concern of the moment and which member states are grappling with is whether or not, AFRALTI has seized the opportunity to narrow the skills gap. Even more important he said is how the AFRALTI membership can be expanded into a truly Pan African institution that can play a greater role in driving the continental agenda of 2063.