Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis (right) at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) stand during the Baringo county ICT consumer forum,Kikao Kikuu.The event is platform for engagement between ICT consumers and service providers, among other stakeholders.

More than 23,000 residents from six sub-locations in Baringo County who have been not been to make or receive calls within their localities can now call this a thing of the past.

This follows announcement Authority yesterday that it has embarked on an initiative that will see these sub-locations connected to mobile voice coverage.

Christopher Kemei the acting Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), said this today in Baringo County during the CA’s ICT consumer forum, commonly known as the Kikao Kikuu and whose theme was Innovation and Inclusive Socio-economic Development.

“The access to ICTs will contribute greatly to the economy through, reduced transaction costs, increased efficiency through digitization of government services and improved living standards,” Mr Kemei said.

Senator Abshiro Halakhe, the vice chairperson of Senate ICT Committee, and Baringo Governor, Stanley Kiptis, representatives from the mobile network operators, among others were also in attendance.

The six-sub locations with zero mobile coverage are part of 22 sub-locations identified to be covered in the first year of the rollout of Universal Service Fund USF, that will see a total of over thirty nine thousand residents in Baringo access mobile voice coverage.

The Authority intends to spend KSh 85 million to connect the 22 sub-locations. Kenya has over 41 million mobile subscribers that translate to 90.6 per cent mobile penetration rate, however there are still pockets of regions with zero coverage.

Senator Halakhe said the Senate ICT committee would do its part to ensure the benefits of ICT reach even the far-flung areas.

“As a committee, we are very keen to align our work to the real needs and issues as well as to the opportunities that have potential and positive impact on our country, counties and the citizens in general” Senator Halakhe said.

Governor Kiptis noted that County Government is also keen to increase public sector productivity by enabling the delivery of services through utilization and management of information systems to run its operations.

“Baringo has created the right environment for ICT to thrive and we are therefore positive that the Communications Authority of Kenya will encourage more service providers to invest in the ICT sector here to increase coverage and usage,” Governor Mr Kiptis said.

The Baringo Kikao Kikuu was the 15th of such forums that the Authority has held across the country. The Authority has also supported the establishment of an ICT Centre in Meisori and Kabarnet Community Centre libraries as part of effort to enhance access to communications services.