Kenya recently made waves in the technology industry by winning the top seat for ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in Africa. Mr. John Omo was elected the new Secretary General for the African telecommunications union. He claimed this victory after securing 23 votes, to beat his only competitor for the position Burundi’s Constaque Hakizimana who managed only two votes against the new secretary general at the 5th ordinary session of the African Telecommunications Union plenipotentiary conference held in Nairobi.
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Mr. Omo was thrilled, and in his acceptance speech, he described his humility in being bestowed the great honor for winning the confidence of the members present to grace his new role. He acknowledged the responsibility comes with the role, stating that he is ‘privileged and honored to be entrusted with such a great role with such a great responsibility’.
As the leader in position for technology advancements in the country, he also beckoned member states to support him as he seeks to rebuild the Africa telecommunications union to position it as the sole voice of the continent. Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Mr. Abdoulkarim Soumaila, he seeks to ensure the continent reaps the huge benefits accompanied by the regions socio-economic development presented by information, communication, and technology.
At the same event, former candidates for the position included Nigeria’s Minister of communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu candidate Dr. Abubakar Sadiq Hussein who withdrew at the last minute, and the Republic of Congo’s Dr. Eric Ndoumba. The latter was deemed ineligible for the race due to the fact that his country was due for their membership contribution. As expected with any union, the member states that have fully paid up their financial obligations are the ones allowed to vote and field candidates.
It was also earlier discussed and agreed upon that Kenya will act as the temporary headquarters of the ATU until a permanent decision is made. Kenya will serve as temporary HQ for the next four years. The ATU headquarters was previously stationed at DRC but was relocated to Kenya in 1999, due to the political instability. The union endorsed Kenya to continue housing the member states. During the meeting, the plenipotentiary conference had made a proposal to ratify the ICT seat be permanently held in Kenya but Congo put up a fight to allow for more time to prepare. They argued for time to host the seat, as it was prior.
Kenya has continued to make a move to qualify as one of the top countries on the continent in ICT, and the East African Hub for IT. Local telecoms, banks, and fintech investors have created a competitive environment in both the IT and finance sector of the company. There have been several new entrants in the financial technology sector, from national investors to international startups set on changing the face of Africa. Kenya has always been a frontrunner for change. As a country, we have invested heavily in our own mobile money technology to encourage the kind of progress that the world marvels about and brings tech innovators like Mark Zuckerberg around.
Since the introduction of M-Pesa, we have seen the new addition of M-Shwari, KCB loans, and Eazzy banking to mention a few. One of Kenya’s leading telecoms companies, Telkom recently made a deal with Google to roll out the Project Loon that uses huge balloons to incorporate Wi-Fi services to people in rural areas in the country. The government also gave approval after this partnership, citing that the country was moving in the right direction with regard to connectivity in the digital space. As more and more Kenyans get connected to the internet, the country’s requirements for a robust data center will grow due to the high volume of data being used.
With such a culture to back the new secretary general, much is expected of him. However, competition is rife among the member states who are all striving to do better, whilst supporting one another. Being the overall agenda.
Source: Biztech Africa