Kenya - Country Commercial Guide
Information, Communications and Technology (ICT)
Last published date:

Kenya is the regional ICT hub of East Africa, with the country being a leader in broadband connectivity, general ICT infrastructure, value added services (VAS), mobile money, and mobile banking and FinTech services. The country’s ICT sector is set to account for up to 7% of the country’s GDP through IT-enabled services. Internet access has continued to spur economic growth which contributed to the government’s development of the Digital Economy Blueprint , a framework to improve Kenya’s ability to leapfrog economic growth in the region.

In April 2022, the government launched its ten-year Digital Masterplan 2022-2032, to align with global technological advancements and enhance the rise of Kenya’s digital economy. The digital masterplan identifies four key pillars - digital infrastructure, digital services and data management, digital skills, and driving digital innovation for entrepreneurship. Other key priority areas under the masterplan include development of a legal, policy & regulatory framework, research & development, information security & cyber management and emerging technologies.

Kenya’s  national budget  allocations for FY2022/2023 have seen the government set aside $132 million for ICT initiatives. Specific allocations included: $5.26 million for government shared services; $76 million to fast-track the development of the Konza Technopolis/Smart city, $22.9 million for the last mile connectivity network, $10 million for maintaining and rehabilitating the national optic-fiber backbone NOFBI phase II expansion cable; $11.8 million for installation and commissioning of the Eldoret-Nadapal fiber optic cable and, $2.6 million for the digital literacy program and ICT integration in secondary schools. See here for more information.

The country’ National Broadband Strategy 2018 –2023 is aimed at transforming Kenya into a knowledge-based economy through the provision of quality broadband services to all citizens in the country. There are currently four undersea fiber optic cables that land off the coast of Kenya: SEACOM, TEAMS, EASSY, and LION2, which are the core drivers of fixed internet penetration in the country making it one of the highest, fastest, and most reliable in the region. NBS 2023 envisions a Kenya where a user in the remotest part of the country can connect with other users within and outside the country at the click of a button to communicate, transact and interact over a fast, reliable, secure and affordable Internet connection.

The country’s telecommunications sector has registered double-digit growth in the last decade with a high penetration of 3G and 4G LTE coverage. Safaricom and Airtel have been testing 5G technology in 2021 however 5G uptake is expected to be slow due to high cost of infrastructure and consumer usage.  The implementation of interoperability of Mobile Financial Services (MFS) platforms will drive growth and boost the application of the service. These leading operators are investing in network upgrades and expansion projects, a development that should sustain subscriber growth and increase use. A robust infrastructure development pipeline will support ICT solutions demand over both the medium and long term.

Table 1: U.S. - Kenya Trade Statistics








Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the US





Total Market Size





Exchange Rates






NB: All figures in millions of USD with exception of exchange rate in Kenya shillings (Kshs) Applicable HS Codes: 370201,370205, 370207, 370232, 370244, 370500, 370790 851711, 851712, 851718, 851761, 851762, 851769, 851770, 852110, 852190, 852849, 852852, 852859, 852869, 852910, 852990, 853670, 854231, 854239,

*Data not available
Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports).

Data Sources:
Total Market Size: Fitch Solutions
Total Local Production: N/A
Total Exports: N/A
Total Imports: Fitch Solutions
Imports from U.S: Global Trade Atlas/KNBS
Exchange Rate:  Central Bank of Kenya

ICT Regulatory Environment

Kenya’s Finance Bill 2020 introduced a new digital services tax (DST) on income from services provided through a digital marketplace in Kenya at the rate of 1.5% on the gross transactional value.

The DST which went into effect in January 2021, is applicable to: streaming and downloadable services of digital content; the provision of a digital marketplace service; website or other online applications that link buyers and sellers ; subscription-based media including news, magazines and journals; electronic data management including website hosting; online data warehousing, file-sharing and cloud storage services; supply of search-engine and automated helpdesk services including supply of customized search engine services; tickets bought for live events, theatres, restaurants, etc. purchased through the internet; online distance teaching via pre-recorded medium or e-learning, including online courses ; and any other service provided or delivered through an online digital or electronic platform excluding any service whose payment is subject to withholding tax under section 35 of the Act.

In August 2020, the Ministry of ICT published a new policy requiring foreign companies to have 30% local shareholding, a move that has been seen as a major setback for long term foreign investments into the ICT sector. The new law further states that all government ICT procurement processes will give preference to local ICT companies in the award of tenders, including sectors like defense and security. Further, where local businesses cannot fulfil tender requirements, foreign companies will now be required to transfer skills and personnel to local firms. Foreign companies have until August 2023 to adhere to this requirement.

In November 2020, the government passed the Data Protection Act (DPA) which saw the establishment of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner whose role will be to oversee the implementation of and enforcement of the Act. The Data Privacy law further provides guidance on data processors, storage, localization criteria and provides guidance to data processors on punishable offences and dispute mechanisms.

Leading Sub-Sectors  

Hardware: Computer hardware accounts for nearly 70% of the IT market in Kenya. Total computer hardware sales were at approx. $549 million at the end of 2021 (KNBTS). With the global pandemic forcing millions of Kenyan students and employees to study and work remotely, the demand for personal computers is expected to continue to rise.

Software: Software solutions are expected to rise with the huge demand for computer hardware and computer systems for various industry verticals. The government announced plans to set up a local software industry in support of investments made by various U.S. companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, among others who have established software engineering training hubs in Kenya.

Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is arguably the fastest-growing segment in Kenya’s IT services sector based on the number of investments it has attracted in recent months. This is mostly driven by better broadband connectivity and strong value propositions for cloud-based services in the country. Investment in data centers by U.S. tech firms continues to drive the cloud market.

Consumer Electronics and Smart Devices: The consumer electronics market is expected to register double digit growth by the end of 2022. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of smart devices such as tablets, smart TVs, smart phones and accessories continues to grow. U.S. mobile devices are available and competing for the middle to upper income brackets, with U.S. brands like Apple now being used widely in the market. However, the lower- to middle-end of the market is price sensitive, resulting in wide use of cheap and often counterfeit mobile devices that are easily available and often sold as original devices to unsuspecting customers.

Services: The IT services market has been on an upward trajectory as more small and medium size businesses are entering the online space via creative company websites. More small and mid-sized (SMEs) companies have adopted remote working which has driven the uptake of internet and networking services including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools. The adoption of e-commerce has driven revenues for most businesses, with some only holding virtual offices as they conduct their trade through online and mobile platforms. The pandemic era has spurred the disruptive use of social media in marketing, driving the uptake of data services.

Cybersecurity: Online crime in Kenya has increased significantly in the last few years due to the rapid digitization of the financial sector and increased online payment transactions.  Cybersecurity solutions will be required to secure data and online applications for both the government and its citizens. Banks and service providers will also continue to invest in various cyber solutions to address cybercrime and cyber security vulnerabilities.

Table 2: Summary of IT industry expenditure 2019-2025

Table 1: Summary of IT industry expenditure 2019-2025
Summary of IT industry expenditure 2019-2025

Source: Fitch Solutions


ICT has been a critical enabler in the achievement of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and has played a central role in supporting the country’s developmental agenda across other sectors.

Education sector:  The Digital Literacy Program (DLP), commonly referred to as Digi-School, is a program borne out of GOK’s vision to make sure every pupil is prepared for today’s digital world. The program introduces primary school children to the use of digital technology and communications in their learning. DLP is targeted at learners in all public primary schools in Kenya and will cover over 24,000 primary schools. The Education Broadband Connectivity project is another holistic, multi-faceted and national approach to provide internet connectivity for the nation’s secondary schools and tertiary institutions. A particular focus will be secondary schools that are already teaching the computer studies curriculum which will be examinable at the end of their four-years of study.

Health IT: Health IT continues to gain momentum as the government of Kenya rolls out it’s eHealth strategy. The Ministry of Health (MoH) has a well-defined eHealth strategy (2016-2030) that identifies five main areas of focus and implementation: Telemedicine; Health Information Systems; Information for Citizens; mHealth; and eLearning. With the COVID-19 pandemic posing major challenges in Kenya’s healthcare systems solutions for logistics and transportation of critical drugs and tests, contact tracing applications, patient monitoring and others will be required by the public health facilities as well as private hospitals.

Cybersecurity: Kenya’s Digital Masterplan 2022-2032 outlines cybersecurity as a key pillar. The government under its new digital masterplan seeks to establish a government Cyber Security Operation Centre (Gov-Soc) and regional Cyber-security center of excellence (Cyber Excellence Centre). The increase in the number of advisories given by Kenya’s CIRT/CC on botnet/DDoS attacks, online impersonation, online abuse, website application attacks, and other vulnerabilities suggests increased demand for cybersecurity services, an opportunity for U.S. companies.

Post COVID 19 pandemic IT solutions: In the wake of the pandemic, the Ministry of ICT appointed a COVID-19 ICT Advisory Committee led by the Communications Authority to seek private sector partnerships in providing innovative solutions for health, the economy, food, livelihoods, logistics/transport, and security.

Key Government Institutions in the ICT Sector:

  • Ministry of Information and Communications (MoICT)
  • Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is a regulatory body for the Communications sector responsible for regulating Telecommunications, Postal and Radio Communication Services.
  • Information Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) manages all Government of Kenya ICT functions.  The Authority is tasked with rationalizing and streamlining the management of all Government of Kenya ICT functions.
  • National Communications Secretariat (NCS) is responsible for advising the government on ICT policies.
  • Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) is responsible for coordination of the planning and development of the Konza Smart city.
  • Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) is responsible for public broadcasting services to inform, educate and entertain the public through radio and television.
  • Kenya Music Copyright Society is responsible for supporting the Musical fraternity within Kenya through enhancing their earning for their works.
  • Media Council of Kenya is responsible for regulating media, conducts and disciplines journalists.
  • Communications Appeal Tribunal (CAT) under the MoICT is responsible for arbitration of disputes between parties in the Communications sector.


Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs  (MoICT)

Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK)

ICT Authority (ICTA)


For More Information on the ICT sector, please contact:

Janet Mwangi
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Embassy Nairobi
U.S. Department of Commerce | International Trade Administration
Tel: +254 (20) 363-6725.