May 31, 2021

Connectivity leads to job creation in Kenya

By Tonny Tugee, Managing Director at SEACOM East and North East Africa.

High unemployment, particularly among Kenya's youth, is still one of the most significant socioeconomic challenges that Kenya faces. According to data from June 2020, the global pandemic compounded this, causing Kenya's unemployment rate to rise to 21%. Even though East Africa has proven to be the most resilient in terms of post-pandemic recovery, more has to be done to encourage job creation in Kenya's ever-expanding digital sector.

Digital technology is transforming global economies in a variety of ways, resulting in new digitally focused markets, job opportunities and business models. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses around the globe have had to rapidly alter the way they do business. This includes enabling employees to work remotely while finding effective solutions to meet virtually, as well as the way in which businesses interact with clients.

The digital age of modern business

Businesses all around the globe are becoming increasingly dependent on connectivity to conduct business transactions, run applications and services in cloud environments, promote their business and simply share information.

African businesses will be left behind as the rest of the world accelerates into a digital future if it does not have the fundamental infrastructure required to support revolutionary technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation, The Internet of Things (IoT), quantum computing, big data and smart factories.

The internet, in particular fast and reliable fibre connectivity, is pivotal for economic growth and entrepreneurship in Africa as it allows large businesses and smaller enterprises to streamline their operations due to access to global markets and technologies.

Kenya's ICT industry has grown significantly over the last decade, but there is still a lack of nationwide broadband infrastructure and more digital skills are required to fully realise the country's full economic potential in this sector. In order to solve this, connectivity and partnering with an expert ICT solutions provider are essential.

ICT in Africa: Where do we currently stand?

Africa, as a whole, has yet to fully develop the necessary infrastructure, digital literacy and comprehensive policy frameworks to effectively support digital businesses. While Kenya's total mobile Internet subscribers increased by 4.8 percent from the second to the third quarter of 2020, the country only has 551,715 wired internet subscriptions, within a population of over 53 million people, as of September 2020.

Provided the infrastructure is available, wired connections (such as fibre) are much faster, more reliable and cost-effective than mobile internet. We must first build the infrastructure if we want to revolutionize the African economy by harnessing new digital opportunities.

People will be building their businesses on unstable foundations if they do not have inclusive access to fixed Internet infrastructure. We also need to make sure that those who do have access understand how to utilize it effectively.

The relationship between digital skills and future job opportunities

The lack of digital skills is one of Africa's most significant hurdles to technology adoption. As a result, in 2017, the Kenyan government launched the Ajira Digital Programme to address the skills gap in the digital job market. The programme introduces Kenya's young people to digital employment by offering training and certifications in areas such as IT and networking, software development, sales and marketing, accounting, writing and creative design.

Due to platforms like Ajira and Upwork, more Kenyans have found work through digital opportunities. Many of these jobs are also listed globally, making them accessible to anyone with an internet connection and the necessary skills. We can offer Kenyans millions more employment opportunities if we can achieve a knowledge-based economy by promoting digital literacy.

With the world moving inexorably toward digitisation, providing Kenyans with reliable internet infrastructure and the necessary digital skills will be the only way for them to take advantage of present and future job opportunities. The expansion of the ICT industry has the potential to bring about significant socioeconomic change and technological advancements will only continue to expand digital prospects.

We need to empower more African people and businesses with access to fast and reliable connectivity if we are to unlock the true potential of Africa's workforce. For more information or to get a quote for our connectivity solutions, email us at or leave us a message.

SEACOM owns Africa’s most extensive network of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including subsea cables and secure internet connections. We offer a diverse range of flexible, scalable and high-quality solutions for businesses that meet world-class standards for connectivity.

SEACOM is privately owned and operated, making it agile and adaptable to the needs of the customer. This makes us the preferred ICT and internet connectivity partner for African businesses and peripheral service providers. We can guarantee high-speed, low-latency and secure internet connections to corporates and small enterprises.

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