The lockout perpetuated: ICT Procurement Policy done to exclude Kenyan Firms

On an email list of which I am part, trying to lobby the government and other sector players to adopt and local ICT solutions, this came through and can serve as an example of how and why the battle is real in our quest to grow local technology businesses. I share the same verbatim for your digest and opinion.


As we prepare to meet and firm up on the ICT Policies that we would like our Government to take regarding Procurement of ICT solutions, it is sad to see that, even with the creation of the Kenya ICT Authority the modus-operandi of old, still continues!
As an example, the Tender recently advertised by Kenya ICT Authority for Supply & Installation of a Transport Integrated Management System.
The technical specifications by themselves are quite achievable, but, as usual, the procurement regulations are almost un-achievable for Kenyan Software firms. Why?
  1. The requirement that you must have done 3 projects of at least Ksh 457 Million each means there is not a *SINGLE* local software firm that can bid.
  2. The requirement that the annual turnover for this company must be at least Ksh 170M means only but say 3-5 firms can actually bid for this job.
  3. The procurement regulations are absolute and not relative. Meaning, there are no marks to meet these requirements, its either you meet them or you don’t. It doesn’t matter whether you have or can make the best Transport Integrated System globally, it’s all about the money!
  4. Even if  * consortiums of Kenyan software firms partnered to each produce a module, as an example, we still don’t meet Requirement 1.
  5. Even if you tried to partner with an international firm that has done this, why would they need to work with you, when they can just bid directly?
The only person who would be happy with this current arrangement would be a Tenderprenuer ( the cancer that is killing this country), who will get an International Partner for his 25% Cut to meet the right people, while our ‘rich’ country folks out Ksh 500M for a system that could have been developed and implemented at half that cost, employed not less than 30 Software Engineers and subsequently exported to other countries.
If we are serious about lobbying GoK to change the game, this is one golden opportunity that can test our resolve, strategies and also commitment, otherwise we’ll probably just be meeting on end and nothing ever will change.
An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.
Share this:


  1. Well highlighted Mbugua, a friend of mine asked me why I could bid for it or even with other people but my answer was the same “This is not meant for a Kenyan company even if we were to join up”. Its time this has to end.

  2. as long as local IT pple run their businesses with a briefcase model, it will be difficult to convince/win the trust of any budget holder with this kind of money….Our programmers hardly have the patience of growing their their skills to a level that can meet market needs…Delivery of project of this nature is not add/edit/delete affair. You need a team that can handle business,technical,political,social etc…it is difficult to do this when you leave in a while where once a grad can do add/edit/delete or create a word press website, opens up a shop and calls himself ICT solutions provider…..

      • otundo

        The tradition we’ve had in the past has to be done away with and begin to “think win win”. That is Kenya to invest it’s own people. Why would they expect much from one they haven’t invested in just like a company trying to hire a new college student while expecting massive experience. Kenyan entrepreneurs need to be treated as gov’t partners so that as the gov’t invest in them, they also give back their expertise. At the end of the day, everyone is happy “win win”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *