Nairobi, Wednesday, July 11th 2012: The Government has today awarded loans to 26 new ICT centres in various counties around Kenya. This brings the total number of Pasha centres incepted since 2011 to 63, accounting for 30 percent ICT coverage in the country.
The announcement at a Nairobi Hotel was officiated by Dr Bitange Ndemo, PS Ministry of Information and Communications while Victor Kyalo, Deputy CEO and Ms Eunice Kariuki, Marketing Director all of Kenya ICT Board were in attendance.
“Electronic voting and access of government services through the web, is only possible if digital villages are near the people. That’s why we are serious about improving Internet connectivity, building local digital content and creating awareness about ICT products and services in rural Kenya,” the PS, said.
Dr Ndemo, challenged the new entrepreneurs to be innovative at the services they will be offering at their constituencies in order to be able to create sustainable businesses. The PS reported that already treasury had approved the MTE project and this would help connect schools, health and pasha centres in all parts of the country.
Speaking during the announcement, Digital inclusion Project Manager at Kenya ICT Board, Mr. Kwame Shiroya said the selection of the new Pasha Managers was done openly through a competitive process. “The online application saw more than 10,000 Kenyans sign up for the loans,” said Mr. Shiroya.
Each successful entrepreneur will receive an average of 1 million shillings with total loans of Kshs 27, 955,000 being set aside cumulatively. The revolving fund that is run through the Kenya ICT Board Digital Villages Project (DVP), started disbursing funds in 2011 and is aimed at addressing disparities in the information flow between rural and urban areas.
In the first round, 37 Pasha Managers were awarded loans, and a total of Kshs 47,889,147 was approved for disbursement in April 2011. To date a total of 34,389,740 has been disbursed through Family Bank which is the administering institution for the fund.
The project run through the Ministry of Information and Communication is a blueprint to achieving Vision 2030, which recognizes that the provision of ICT goods and services in Kenya is important for enabling economic and social development.
The digital village project is an integral part of an innovative public private partnership for taking ICTs to the rural communities in Kenya. Already, the board is collaborating with CISCO and Intel and is currently in talks with Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) to further advance the ICT skills of the Pasha Managers and increase ICT advocacy in the rural areas.
All 210 constituencies are earmarked to benefit from the initiative