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The GSM Association (GSMA) which represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry has given tips to African countries on how to position their telecom sectors to grow their economies.

The Association advises African nations to eliminate short term taxation on mobile phones to increase affordability and drive medium terms gains in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the total tax contribution by the sector. African nations were further advised to make available harmonised spectrum for mobile broadband as well as to support investment in land-based and undersea fibre optic cables by liberalising the international gateway.

For doing just this, Kenya received the GSMA,s 2010 Leadership Award at the just concluded GSM World Congress. Samuel Poghisio, Minister for Information and Communications for Kenya, was presented with the mobile industry's prestigious annual Government Leadership Award.
Read More The Award recognises the leadership role played by Kenya in extending the benefits of mobile technology to more consumers by cutting tax on mobile phones and information communication technology (ICT) equipment and promoting the early roll-out of mobile broadband.

During 2009, Kenya eliminated both import duty and sales taxes on mobile phones and other ICT equipment, making access for consumers more affordable. The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has also demonstrated an established and ongoing programme of modernisation of the telecoms sector.

The CCK facilitated the landing of two fibre optic cables, TEAMs and SEACOM, heralding a new era of abundant broadband capacity for Kenya and the East African region. The CCK also enabled the development of a vibrant mobile broadband market by licensing new spectrum and by launching a number of ICT/mobile projects aimed at promoting education and health in rural communities. This programme of initiatives will boost the Kenyan economy and improve the well-being and future prosperity of its citizens.

"This award acknowledges the pioneering leadership of the Kenyan government and its determination to improve the lives of Kenyans by making access to mobile broadband and ICT more available and more affordable," said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board of the GSMA. "Mobile broadband is a great enabler, and it is imperative that government and industry work together to realise its potential to positively transform society."

"I am delighted that the great efforts and progressive policies of the Kenyan Government have been recognised by the presentation of this award, which I accept on behalf of all those involved in our programme," said Samuel Poghisio, Minister for Information and Communications of Kenya. "Kenya is developing and investing in the mobile and ICT technology tools that we need to deliver modern and innovative social and economic improvements for all our citizens."