(Ecofin Agency) - The Kenyan government is ramping up efforts to ensure widespread adoption of digital services nationwide. It is currently working on a project with the private sector to introduce locally manufactured smartphones priced at $40.
Kenyan President, William Ruto (pictured in the center), recently asked Starlink, the satellite internet provider, to lower its rates in Kenya. Ruto made this appeal on September 16, during his visit to SpaceX’s factory in Los Angeles, US - SpaceX is the company that operates Starlink.
.@Starlink presents a promising solution for achieving universal internet access by overcoming traditional infrastructure limitations. Their investment has the ability to significantly enhance high-speed connectivity in remote villages, schools and various institutions across the… pic.twitter.com/NGstlkC6fG— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) September 17, 2023
Starlink launched its commercial services in Kenya in July 2023, with its monthly offer costing Sh6,500 (about $44.2), according to the company’s website. This goes with a one-time equipment payment of Sh89,000 and a delivery fee of Sh3,100. This pricing is beyond the reach of the average Kenyan, especially those residing in rural areas.
President Ruto’s appeal aims to fast-track the adoption of high-speed internet throughout Kenya. This is in a context where his administration has been heavily investing in digital technology, which it views as a cornerstone for Kenya's socio-economic growth. In this framework, the country is backed by major institutions like the World Bank. Furthermore, as part of its broader plan to make technology more accessible, Nairobi also works closely with the private sector to introduce smartphones produced locally at a mere $40 price point.
“Starlink presents a promising solution for achieving universal internet access by overcoming traditional infrastructure limitations. Their investment can significantly enhance high-speed connectivity in remote villages, schools, and various institutions across the country, thus unlocking the full potential of our digital economy,” William Ruto said.
Isaac K. Kassouwi