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ICT sector tapped Sh536b into economy in 2020, says report

By Barry Silah
Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
Covid-19 vaccine.

The value of output from the information and communications technology (ICT) sector rose by 2.5 per cent to Sh535.5 billion in 2020 compared to a growth of 5.7 per cent registered in 2019 on Covid-19 shocks.

However, uptake of most digital services increased as a result of measures put in place to contain the pandemic during the period, according to the Economic Survey 2021.

“Activities of teleworking, online learning, online video streaming and e-commerce increased across the country and as a result the uptake of digital tools went up significantly,” it says.

The internet-based and bandwidth intensive activities increased demand for high quality connectivity, this as digital reinforcement was called upon.

Total domestic telephone traffic increased from 58.7 billion minutes in 2019 to 60.3 billion minutes in 2020 whereas the International telephone traffic declined marginally from 1,054.0 million minutes in 2019 to 1,024.4 million minutes in 2020.

Cumulative mobile money transfers grew by 20 per cent in 2020, which is one of the largest increments recorded in the last five years to stand at Sh5.2 trillion. 

The economic survey says that the value of mobile commerce transactions grew by 35 per cent to Sh9.4 trillion in the same period.

This increment was driven by preferences to cashless transactions in the wake of Covid-19 and the reduction of mobile money transfer tariffs.

Domestic short messaging services sent increased by 4.4 per cent to 68.1 billion while international SMS sent declined by 8.3 per cent to 36.3 million SMSs in 2020.

Internet subscribers grew by 7.81 percentage points from 83.38 per cent in 2019 to 91.19 per cent in 2020. 

Service providers

Internet service providers grew from 302 in 2019 to 366 in 2020 driven by demand for internet services during the period under review.

Demand for internet services experienced in the review period led to increased total fixed and wireless internet and broadband subscribers by 12 and 16.8 per cent to 44.4 million and 25.8 million, respectively. 

In the review period, 49.5 per cent of the available bandwidth capacity was utilised compared to 43.5 per cent in 2019.

Digital TV subscribers increased by 7.2 per cent to 5.5 million in 2020 compared to a 11.5 per cent decline registered in 2019. 

Average online newspaper visitors per day increased by 28 per cent in 2020 compared to an increase of 1.8 per cent in 2019.

Information and Communication sector’s growth slowed to 4.8 per cent in 2020 compared to 7.5 per cent growth in 2019. 

The growth was mainly supported by increased uptake of digital services as the Covid-19 measures which resulted in increased remote working and learning activities as well as rise in cashless payments for financial transactions. 

Total number of mobile money and commerce transactions increased by 20 per cent and 35 per cent to stand at Sh5.2 trillion and Sh9.4 billion, respectively in 2020.

Barry Silah

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