Kenyan gov’t embraces open source

TechCentral wraps up the major technology news from around the African continent. Compiled by Duncan McLeod.

The Kenyan government is ditching proprietary software in favour of free and open-source software alternatives in a move it hopes will save it money.

According to a report in Business Daily, the migration away from proprietary systems will see related costs go down by 20% initially but by as much as 80% within three years of the move having taken place.

The report quotes Katherine Getao, the ICT secretary at the directorate of e-government, as saying that it costs a government agency about 237m shillings (about R23m) a year to acquire and upgrade copyrighted software.

Databases that will be shifted to open-source alternatives in the first phase are those of the Kenya Revenue Authority, the Central Bank of Kenya, the ministry of finance and the department of integrated population, Business Daily says. Source: Business Daily

Sanlam, Bharti partner on financial services
Indian-controlled mobile operator Bharti Airtel, which has operations in 17 countries across Africa, has partnered with SA’s Sanlam to offer insurance products on a nonexclusive basis in seven countries on the continent.

Through the alliance, Sanlam will sell general, life and health insurance products to Airtel customers.

The countries that will be offered the services are Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Malawi and Nigeria. Source: DailyNews

Airtel, Essar want lower wholesale rates
Bharti Airtel and Essar Telecom Kenya have written to the Kenyan government asking for a reduction in the country’s mobile termination rates, the fees operators charge each other to carry calls between their networks. The rates are set at 2,21 shillings, or about R0,21/minute.

The rate was halved in July 2010, sparking a price war. It was expected to be cut again in July 2011, but the government stepped in and blocked the further cut.

Essar, which operates yuMobile, Kenya’s smallest mobile operator, says most of its customers make calls to other networks and that it therefore was a net payer on interconnection fees.

The Kenyan market is dominated by Safaricom, which is partly owned by the UK’s Vodafone Group. Source: The Star

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