SPEECH BY MR JOE MUCHERU, EGH, CABINET SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY DURING THE LAUNCH OF EAST AFRICA DATA CENTER ON THURSDAY 19TH APRIL 2018
Ladies and gentlemen
I am pleased to join the Phase III launch of the East Africa Data Centre (EADC) this evening. This is a commendable development in the country because the facility affirms Kenya’s ability to host cloud data locally. With EADC’s already proven experience, I believe that this additional facility will attract content and cloud vendors keen on establishing their presence in East Africa, and effectively position Kenya as a regional gateway.
I am informed that EADC is currently the only Data Centre facility certified by the Data Centre accreditation body, Uptime Institute. Further, I note that EADC intends to set up the first of its kind Data Analytics Centre in partnership with Strathmore Business School, whose primary focus will be to ensure that public and private organizations institutions are “Data Driven and enabled”. This is definitely the way to go!
I believe that this center will help in reducing the Capital and Operating expenditure to run and operate proprietary data centres and similarly assist in freeing up of finances for innovations and investments to thrive.
As we all know, the rapidly evolving IT industry has given rise to the proliferation of cybercrime, and there is pressure on organizations to develop mechanisms to conform to industry best practice and controls. With the current debate about the possible breach of security of private information through social media, companies must demonstrate the ability to adequately protect user privacy and data. A facility such as this must therefore be backed by global best practices. The EADC should contribute towards shaping the discourse of emerging issues around Data Protection and sovereignty, IOT, Big Data, Cyber Security. This of course can only fully succeed with support from engaging and inclusive regulatory frameworks, which my Ministry is fully committed to.
This Data Centre is hosting Kenya’s local Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) that enables the exchange of local traffic of all Local Internet Carries and Internet Service providers. It is noteworthy that it has given a platform to the Tier 1 and Tier 2 connectivity partners to establish their presence locally. This development has impacted positively on the sector because there is a drop in bandwidth costs and the local ISPs now have an opportunity to offer services at more affordable rates.
One of the Government’s key priorities is job creation. I am therefore pleased to note that through this multi-million-dollar investment, the EADC has created jobs for our citizens and enhanced their expertise in the communications sector.
Ladies and gentlemen
As we mark the achievement of this center, I call upon other ICT stakeholders not to shy away from investing heavily in Kenya. Through the President’s Big 4 Agenda, the Government has put in place reliable infrastructural networks to support ICT investments and attractive incentives can be provided to support establishment and growth of start-ups.
I am a strong proponent finding viable means to harness local content to a point where it can be commercialized. I support the establishment of additional data centers in the country as this will ensure that we build and secure African content by hosting it in Africa.
Indeed, data centers will support and speed up the growth of industrialization as well as Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). They will also enhance Economic Research through analytics and Big Data, that influence evidence-based policy making.
Ladies and gentlemen
I want to assure you that as government we have continued to hold consultations with various stakeholders to develop workable policy and legal frameworks that catalyze ICT innovations and responsive to demands of the society. The Data Protection Bill is currently undergoing a stakeholder review while the Computer and Cybercrime Bill 2016 has already been presented to Parliament for review. These frameworks will accord citizens with their constitutional right to access to information and give them a voice in national debates.
As I conclude, I wish to reaffirm the Government’s commitment to ensuring that all Kenyans have access to ICT services. I appeal for enhanced collaboration between the Government and the private sector in ensuring that the underserved areas, which represent the next business frontier, are penetrated.
As a Ministry, we share in your pride and joy of launching this facility. Let us embrace a shared vision and commitment to harness the potential of ICTs to transform our country.
With those remarks, it is now my pleasure to declare Phase III of the East Africa Data Center Officially open.