SEACOM, the Pan-Africa ICT enabler has given 100 mbps of internet connectivity to 4 innovation centers in Kenya to enhance their capacity to generate local content for a global audience.
The Centers - iHub, m:Lab, naiLab and 88mph – will now benefit from super fast internet speeds to launch their applications on the internet.“With this 100mbps of internet connectivity, Kenya’s technology entrepreneurs and innovators will now for example, be able to work on online graphical design projects that would have otherwise been difficult to test before deploying, a process called rendering”, said SEACOM’s Sales Account Manager, Michael Otieno.
Otieno said that SEACOM believes in the application development, design, coding, and programming talent available in Africa and as a key catalyst of ICT development, was keen to build this talent in Kenya and across the continent under its Corporate Social Investment program.
“One of the core drivers of SEACOM’s CSI strategy is to fast track African ICT skills and enterprise development by leveraging its existing internet infrastructure to provide internet connectivity in-kind, support to universities, high schools, ICT innovation centers, plus ICT learning and training centers throughout Africa”, said Joseph Muriithi, SEACOM Kenya Country Manager.
“ICT is a key development pillar in Kenya’s vision 2030. SEACOM will support the Government in its commitment to ICT development in the country by providing accelerated Internet connectivity to the Internet community at large”, said Muriithi. He noted that the youth consider themselves as global citizens and through the innovation centers, they are now able to use the internet as a tool for research, testing, deployments and communication with the global citizen.
“Nailab is an innovation space, targeting early stage startups, primarily working with developers and programmers who are striving to build novel innovations, economically viable products, targeting health, education, social and environmental problems faced in emerging markets", Otieno explained.
Mr. Otieno commented that it was for that reason that there was a great need for internet access that is consistent meaning little or no down time high speed internet access which is a key success factor in stimulating innovations in the tech sector.
Mr. Sam Gichuru, Nailab CEO, hailed the partnership with SEACOM terming it as timely in dealing with the issue of down time and high-speed Internet access."The availability of high speed internet access in the last month has seen an increase in product development speeds and a couple of cloud hosted solutions go online at Nailab. We can only imagine what impact this will have in the long run", Mr. Gichuru said.
On his part, iHub's Erik Hersman said the strategic partnership demonstrated SEACOM's dedication towards helping catalyze the Kenyan tech community’s growth. "It provides the lifeblood for the tech community, through the iHub broadband connection besides letting the Kenyan tech community make the products and services for the rest of Kenya", said Hersman.
Jimmy Gitonga, the iHub Manager added, “The tech community is evolving very fast. As we look into solving bigger problems with in the social economic areas, such as health, education and agriculture, and engaging enterprise clients, the increased bandwidth can only be seen as a good thing.
Similar sentiments were shared by 88mph Nairobi Program Manager, Mr. Nikolai Barnwell, saying, “It was great to see companies like SEACOM with an enthusiasm for the African web come in the game with concrete sponsorships to help startups".
m:Lab East Africa welcomed the connectivity link saying prior to SEACOM donating it, they often faced uncertain outcomes, as startups and trainees hosted at their facilities were affected by congestion and disconnection. "The capacity and quality of the connection contributes much to a great experience to people working at the Innovation Hub”, said m:lab East Africa's Lead Mr. John Kieti.