Saturday, May 20, 2006

Training Kenyans for outsourcing

Yesterday marked the the launch of the Digital Age Institute whose vision is bringing Bangalore to Kenya. It is a joint vesture between SCR and Imatec (Kenya), with support from DANIDA and offers training in software development that meets international outsourcing standards as well exporting the software developed. The institute which has a capacity of 340 students hopes to become a full university within 10 years, and currently software development for mobile phones is one of the most popular courses.

The PS for Informnation & Communications, Dr. Bitange Ndemo was also at the event and revealed that:
- Indian and Chinese companies are setting up outsourcing centres in Kenya since they are cheaper to operate here. It was also mentioned that it takes just 3 weeks to train Kenyans to speak with perfect British or American accents!
- They are encouraging more companies to adopt open source platforms
- Staring with the budget this year, there will be no tax on computers accessories
- Communications costs must come down (In the US a gigabyte costs $20 while it’s about $1,800 in Kenya)
- Incubation centers will be set up at universities


Web2earn said...

Hello and thanks for the opportunity to post on your blog.

I believe call center and answering service outsourcing is the way to go for many US-based companies who want to cut down running costs and thus increase their overall profits. However, one of the main issues that needs to be dealt with is that of staff training. There are a lot of professional answering service training courses that are destined to be attended by the answering service agents in order for these people to be more efficient and to be more specialized in their jobs. Answering service centers are often providing a whole range of external services, such as: call center services, contact center and help desk services.

In case you wish to read more about this I invite you to read my study on outsourcing call center services

Warm regards,

Michael Rad

Anonymous said...

"In the US a gigabyte costs $20 while it’s about $1,800 in Kenya"

This is the most annoying revelation. In fact, it's rapidly inching to under $20 in the US. Why are Kenyans being defrauded so shamelessly? I remember Access Kenya once charging $120 p.m. for a moody 8kbps two years ago; I haven't seen any changes.

@banks, any ideas just what makes bandwidth outragiously expensive in our motherlsnd? This is one constraint we need to sort out before we even dream of prosperity.

bankelele said...

Web2earn: The Institute aims to provide qualkity training, as does the CCK (regulator) at the KTTC college

Anonymous: I think one problem is a lack of regulation and collboration e.g. KDN, Telkom and another company have all laid out fibre optic cable in Nairobi. If they had been mandated to share these resources, the costs may have been lower

kamujinga said...

The optimist in me hopes this will take off. But, devil's advocate says you should look at the relative costs of labour in Inda vs Kenya.

A bank manager in India gets about a quarter of what the same gets in Kenya. How will we compete?

Helpful Mike said...


I think your estimations on charges in Kenya are under-estimated. The cost of a gigabyte is much more than $1,800 in Kenya.

There are 3 reasons for this ridiculous price:

i) All internet access in Kenya comes through satellite connections. We do not (at least not yet) have a connection to a global fiber network.

ii) Satellite connections are significantly more expensive than fiber connections. Depending on how much our providers negotiate with satellite companies, bandwidth costs over satellite transmissions could at best be 25x the cost of a normal fiber bandwidth cost

iii) In addition to this huge internet access cost, add the over heads in providing the service and the providers margins and you arrive at the > $1,800 per 1GB cost in Kenya.

The solution is simple yet very complicated. Build an undersea cable net work. The Eassy Submarine cable network (See more here; has the potential to be our saving grace. Yet it is also a big thorn in our flesh given the complicated and bureaucratic bodies involved in deciding the "how" and "who" to move forward (the 27 organizations involved have been meeting since I guess 4 years ago – with nothing substantial to report to date). (see more here) Who knows if they will ever agree on the who and how of building the cable?

There is good news however: see Kenya's stand
Let us hope Mutahi Kagwe and his team at the ICT ministry can push forward their agenda for Kenyan investors to move on with building a parallel under sea cable and ditching their efforts with the Eassy consortium.

Inexpensive high speed internet access in Kenya will DRAMATICALLY & positively change things for us

Sharad Saxena said...

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Toni Kingo said...

We think the arrival of both Knowledge Process Outsourcing and institutes which at least dares to claim that they provide international level of education are welcome in Kenya.

A lot of the current and ongoing training are using words which can be misunderstood or which are ambiguous in nature to describe the training they are offering.

I saw in Daily Nation, that the institute won the IEEE 1st prize for an automated traffic light control. But time is the best test.

It looks fine for now, but as usual, I suggest to let time show if they are really that good. Let's see if they are still standing a year after start, then probably they were not that bad :-).

Anonymous said...

i believe provision of many other bpo services offers a great chance for kenya to ignite development of the outsourcing "sector".
@bank are you aware that we have a number of firms offering back office operations support? (invoicing/billing, data entry/secretarial, order taking, book keeping etc

Anonymous said...

i believe provision of many other bpo services offers a great chance for kenya to ignite development of the outsourcing "sector".
@bank are you aware that we have a number of firms offering back office operations support? (invoicing/billing, data entry/secretarial, order taking, book keeping etc


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