As African heads of state continue to show a commitment to promoting local content within their geographies, the Kenyan government is set to direct TV broadcasters to increase the transmission ratio of local content to 60 percent of total content, up from 40 percent, in the local TV stations.

This was revealed by Mr Francis Wangusi, Director General of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), in a recent press briefing where the most recent amendment of the Kenya Information and Communications Act was put forward for public consultations with stakeholders.

This is a series of moves captured as part of a five-year strategic plan aimed at increasing the contribution of the ICT sector to the country’s gross domestic growth (GDP) by 100 per cent, it was developed by the Authority two years ago.

In terms of current local content transmission, Citizen TV leads the rest of the 15 licensed Kenyan TV Stations as the ratio of its local content to that of the total content stands at 38 per cent. The station enjoys a huge patronage from the inhabitants of the largest east African economy, a feat clearly demonstrated in October 2014 when it boasted of 1.42 million viewers per 30-minute time block, a 162 percentage point gap over the next station.

With the new TV stations coming on board after the Digital Migration, the CA believes that the 60 per cent local content transmission by the local TV stations is achievable. In line with this aspiration, the Authority has raised the bar for any content to be termed as local; according to its latest suggestion, such content must have at least 30 percent of its productions owned by Kenyans.

“As a country which is ahead of the curve across the region, we should be in a position to produce local content that is not only consumable locally but can also be exported in other markets,” Wangusi said.

The Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Act, 2013, was enacted in January 2014 amidst opposition from certain stakeholder groups, mostly journalists. The regulator is looking to extend the regulations to new areas spanning cybercrime and cyber security, frequency spectrum, licensing and broadcasting.

Local content laws are becoming increasingly popular in Africa, with Nigeria having set the National Oil and Gas Industry Content (NOGIC) act in 2010. These regulations ensure that a stipulated amount of local raw materials, suppliers and human resources generally are involved in the production activities of foreign firms operating within the country in order to combat exploitative tendencies and enforce a win-win deal for both parties.

By Emmanuel Iruobe

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