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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Best Option for Kenya's Interconnectivity Dream

Kenya should stop mucking around with the S.Africans on EaSSy & find an alternative.

I propose Kenya links up to the network established by Reliance Communications of India. They have become the 800-pound gorilla of Telecom connectivity in the local Indian market & a major regional player in the Indian Ocean region. In any event, who can beat the Indians at cost-effective IT?

Reliance purchased assets for pennies on the dollar from various failed players & own their own network that connects them from USA to Europe to India. In addition they have expanded regionally to the Middle East & are looking towards Africa.

By using their network, Kenya can have a gateway to most of the Mid-East countries (including Qatar & UAE) as well as UK, Germany, China & USA. The benefits are enormous since ALL our largest trading partners will be connected through the Reliance network much sooner than EaSSy (or not so eassy).

Leveraging Indian BPO expertise, Kenya should strive to become the provider of choice for various call-centers since the time difference from the UK is only 2 hours. The USA might be harder to crack but the potential remains. Kenya is a major tourist destination for the Brits & Germans so what better way than have a Kenyan "operator" provide the necessary info to a potential tourist!

Kenya needs to establish a major program to teach German - I bet the German embassy would be happy to assist! - & whose grads could be employed by firms targetting the German BPO market!


kenyanentrepreneur said...

I thought they already said they were going to go it alone? I posted the article where this was mentioned on my blog. I believe it was a BBC article.

As for German....I think people would be better of trying to learn Chinese (big economic opportunities there)

coldtusker said...

Kenya did talk the talk but will they walk the walk?

Kenya should start the process & ask Uganda, Rwanda & Burundi to join up.
Tanzania can go to SA like they do for everything else!

Kenya needs to leverage Reliance's (or Hutchings Whampoa of HK) expertise in such a venture...

I like Reliance since they have substantial experience in the domestic (India) & international arena. They have been responsible for lowering the costs of call to, from & within India for landlines & cellphones. The Indian marketplace is price driven with lots of "poor" thus they would understand Kenya better than many other firms.

Reliance (if they got a telecommunications license) could reshape our telecoms (faster, better & cheaper).

German beats Chinese coz you want jobs from Germany. The Chinese have no need for Kenyan labour!

The Chinese are fluent enough in English to do business with but the trend will be "imports" not exports! They only want our raw materials not anything else!

Tiomin could process the ores in Kenya but the entire production has been bought by the Chinese who will process in China NOT Kenya!

Careful... the Chinese will try and "dominate" many African countries. Why does China use Chinese construction workers/labourers in Kenya?

Kudrinketh said...

I agree, we're better of with Reliance. After all, the world's economic power is shifting to the East, and Kenya is well positioned to be the East's gateway to Africa.

Come to think of it, China and India's trade and investment in Africa is growing tremendously,so its in our best economic interest to improve our communications infrastructure by alligning ourselves with India.

On the other hand, Africa should ensure that India and China eliminate tarriffs on African exports.

coldtusker said...

I don't trust China's current government. Simple as that!

It places severe restrictions on its own citizens that makes danny moi look like a reformer!

Indian firms have less State interference & being global firms forces them to conform to international standards rather than the Communist Party's dictates!

All that aside, it is the amazing story of how Reliance shook up the Indian telecom marketplace (in less than 10 years) which if duplicated in Kenya will substantially lower costs for both businesses & individuals. This will enable Kenyans exploit greater opportunities within the EA region.

I strongly believe Kenya can become a serious player in the (English-speaking) market for BPO services IF we can get our Telecoms up to speed.

Kudrinketh said...

China is growing despite all the restrictions,I dont think western-style democracy is for everyone,just look at the American's attempt to spread democracy to the Middle-East!

I seriously think China can continue to grow despite the lack of freedom.Remember how the Asian Tigers prospered despite having tyrant leaders.

Having said that, China does need to ensure equtable distribution of its wealth coz its biggest threat would be an uprising by the poor peasant/underclass citizens.

The Chinese authority would then mercilessly crush the dissidents aka Tianamene square style but a billion times over.I read somewhere that Mao told Stalin he could sacrifice millions of Chinese to slaughter thousands of Americans for years on end.That's the problem with having too many people,they become just numbers,colateral damage!

Hopefully, cooler minds will prevail to prevent this ominous catastrophe.

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