The GSMA, which represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry, presented Mr. Samuel Poghisio, Minister for Information and Communications for Kenya, with the mobile industry’s prestigious annual Government Leadership Award. The Award recognises the leadership role played by Kenya in extending the benefits of mobile technology to more consumers by cutting tax on mobile phones and information communication technology (ICT) equipment and promoting the early roll-out of mobile broadband.
During 2009, Kenya eliminated both import duty and sales taxes on mobile phones and other ICT equipment, making access for consumers more affordable. The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has also demonstrated an established and ongoing programme of modernisation of the telecoms sector. The CCK facilitated the landing of two fibre optic cables, TEAMs and SEACOM, heralding a new era of abundant broadband capacity for Kenya and the East African region.
The CCK also enabled the development of a vibrant mobile broadband market by licensing new spectrum and by launching a number of ICT/mobile projects aimed at promoting education and health in rural communities. This programme of initiatives will boost the Kenyan economy and improve the well-being and future prosperity of its citizens.
“This award acknowledges the pioneering leadership of the Kenyan government and its determination to improve the lives of Kenyans by making access to mobile broadband and ICT more available and more affordable,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA. “Mobile broadband is a great enabler, and it is imperative that government and industry work together to realise its potential to positively transform society.”
“I am delighted that the great efforts and progressive policies of the Kenyan Government have been recognised by the presentation of this award, which I accept on behalf of all those involved in our programme,” said His Excellency Mr. Samuel Poghisio, Minister for Information and Communications of Kenya. “Kenya is developing and investing in the mobile and ICT technology tools that we need to deliver modern and innovative social and economic improvements for all our citizens.”
The GSMA hopes that other African countries will follow Kenya’s lead, especially by acknowledging the importance of:
• Eliminating short term taxation on mobile phones to increase affordability and driving medium terms gains in GDP and the total tax contribution by the sector
• Making available harmonised spectrum for mobile broadband
• Supporting the investment in land-based and undersea fibre optic cables by liberalising the international gateway
The Government Leadership Award was presented during the Ministerial Programme, which has now become an integral part of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and this year attracted approximately 300 government delegates from over 80 nations, including many Communications Ministers. This distinguished programme offers an invaluable opportunity for policy makers and industry leaders to discuss strategies for shaping the future of the mobile industry and its potential to accelerate economic growth and advance social development around the world.
This year, the programme also hosted a CEOs & Ministers Roundtable, co-chaired by Rob Conway, CEO GSMA, and Francisco Ros, Spain’s Secretary of State for Telecommunications and the Information Society, in the year of its European Union Presidency. At the meeting, ministers and CEOs discussed a common vision for ‘the internet of things’ that will link both people and machines and will help transfer the economic productivity and efficiency gains associated with mobile penetration to key sectors such as health care, education, transport, the environment and government services.