Earlier today, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) kicked off the 25th installment of the East African Communication Organization Assemblies (EACO) at Nairobi’s Safari Park Hotel. The five-day event will stretch to June 15.
The primary goal of the meet is to provide a platform for sharing experiences on emerging technologies in the region. The interaction will also discuss the impact of those experiences on ICT policies.
For housekeeping purposes, EACO comprises of key ICT players in the said region. Other than Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda, the body is represented by telecom operators, broadcasters and postal service operators, among other stakeholders from the mentioned countries.
The forum targets to discuss the state of network development and regional interconnectivity, harmonization of tariff structures and settlement of accounts, policy advice on issues on the communications sector and quality of service, among other ICT-based concerns.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, EACO’s chairman and Director General of the CA, Mr. Francis Wangusi highlighted the leaps that the region has made. As of 2017, for example, service providers have laid over 21400 km of optic fiber through government funding.
“Of the region’s total population of 160 million, close to 120 million subscribe to mobile services, translating into an average mobile penetration of 75%. It is worth noting that mobile money constitutes the fastest growing service within the region. Mobile money subscription has reached 72 Million with an average penetration of about 48%. The story is, however, different in Kenya, where the penetration of mobile money has already surpassed the 62% mark. In respect to the Internet, the region boasts of more than 78 Million subscribers with an average penetration of 50%,” noted Mr, Wangusi.
Kenya’s ICT Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joe Mucheru who graced the event shed some light on the misuse of ICT services.
“To help law enforcement agencies within the region to track down these criminals, mobile network operators must strictly adhere to the SIM card registration requirements. If some countries or mobile operators do not enforce SIM card registration to the letter, criminal elements shall continue misusing unregistered SIM cards from neighboring countries to perpetrate criminal activities across our borders,” said the CS.
This can also be linked to a recent crackdown on irregularly-registered SIM cards in Uganda, and a similar directive from the CA to Kenya’s carriers.
We will keep you updated on interesting pointers that will emerge from the meeting.