The number of registered Kenyan domains grew by 38.5 percent in 2020, a new report shows, at a time when companies embraced digital platforms in the wake of Covid-19's restrictions.
Official data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that a total of 101,123 local domains were established in 2020, up from 62,636 in 2016, representing a 38.5 per cent increase.
Companies recorded the highest number of applications at 35,611 followed by government entities (243), institutions of higher learning (236), not-for-profit organisations (70), blogs (12), and lower and middle institutions of learning (five) in the period.
”Total registered Kenyan domains continued to increase for the fifth year in a row to stand at 101,123 in 2020. Second Level Domain (SLD) had the highest increase of 15.9 per cent followed by Institution of Higher Learning at 8.2 per cent,” the 2021 Economic Survey shows.
After the government announced stringent lockdown measures such as social distancing, closure of schools and movement restrictions, firms adopted digital solutions to reach new and existing customers.
Some of the digital solutions that were adopted include e-commerce platforms, virtual consultations, tele-medicines, remote working, among others.
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To support this, firms had to get registered or open new websites as well as revamp older ones, catapulting the number of new domains, which rose to an all-time high of five years.
In Kenya, some of the firms that strengthened their digital solutions to minimise physical contact between their customers and employees included Naivas Supermarket, Jubilee Insurance, Kenya Power and Safaricom, among others.
The growing use of virtual services is linked to Kenya's high internet penetration and speed in the region.
A report conducted by Speadchecker titled 'Africa’s Mobile Network Champion' showed that country download speed topped the East African region at 10.66 mb/s, ahead of Rwanda (7.65 mb/s), Uganda (7.55 mb/s), Tanzania (6.95 mb/s) and Burundi (5.1 mb/s).
Kenya’s mobile network sample was collected from 137,495 Safaricom Internet users.
Likewise, 65 percent of Kenyans over the age of 15 have access to the internet, 98 percent older than 15 years own a SIM card, 52 percent own a smartphone and 94 percent of people older than 15 years use mobile money.
This is according to Dalberg’s nationally representative survey ‘Kenya’s Digital Economy: A People’s Perspective’.
Despite high internet speed and coverage in the region, data charges remain high on the continent, denying millions access to internet connection.
A 2020 report by technology think tank, Research ICT Africa, 1GB Basket Statistics showed that Kenya is among EA countries with costly mobile internet data per 1GB.
The report revealed that Tanzania charges the lowest in East Africa at Sh218, followed by Rwanda at Sh220, Kenya at Sh244, Uganda Sh273 and Burundi Sh302 as at September 2019. The countries rank fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth and eleventh respectively in Africa with Egypt, which charges Sh121, leading the park.
However, the KNBS report shows that network devices registered the largest drop of 46.9 percent to 51 domains followed by personal websites and email at 16.9 per cent to 182 in 2020.
“The slow uptake was due to inability to execute physical marketing activities for the domains due to measures imposed on movement and gathering in the review period. The number of registrars declined by 6.4 per cent from 203 in 2019 to 190 in 2020.”
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The report also shows that the number of domain registrars dropped by 177 to 190 with domain renewal fee rising to Sh1,160 from Sh580. However, the annual average fee to maintain a domain remained flat at Sh650.
As the use of digital platforms rises, institutions and businesses are facing an increase in ransomware as online criminals take advantage of firms’ weak security systems to steal data and money.
In 2019, for example, cybercriminals attacked some 18 Kenyan government websites, leaving their homepages dysfunctional.
The State websites were hacked by an Indonesian hacker group "Kurd Electronic Team', but it is still unclear whether the attack was State-drive.