Kenya Urged To Embrace ICT Trends And Global Standards To Combat Counterfeit Equipment

By Lavin Atieno

The Kenyan government is under pressure to align with international ICT standards and technological advancements to prevent the influx of counterfeit and substandard equipment into the country. Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications, and the Digital Economy, Eliud Owalo, emphasized the importance of keeping pace with global telecommunications standards during a regional preparatory meeting for the upcoming World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly.

Owalo highlighted the government’s commitment to enhancing access to technology, citing the distribution and commercialization of locally assembled smartphones as a pivotal step. With approximately 194,000 units already assembled and a production capacity of 4,500 units per day, the assembly plant aims to facilitate effective last-mile connectivity, particularly in underserved communities.

Addressing concerns about the quality of telecommunications equipment, Owalo emphasized the need for proactive measures to ensure that equipment meets Kenya’s communication needs and standards. He acknowledged Africa’s status as a net consumer of standards and stressed the importance of aligning standards with the continent’s specific requirements.

“In a proactive manner, we foresaw a situation where we may have a deficit in the market in terms of the number of Kenyans who have access to smart, enabled telephones,” Owalo stated. “To facilitate universal connectivity, we must engage in conversations with the rest of the world, ensuring that the equipment brought into Kenya meets our standards and communication needs.”

The call to embrace global standards comes amid growing concerns about the proliferation of counterfeit and substandard equipment, which pose risks to consumers and hinder technological progress. By aligning with international ICT trends and standards, Kenya aims to safeguard its telecommunications infrastructure and promote the widespread adoption of reliable and high-quality technology across the country.