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[looks like a “pay to network with government officials” event + economic intelligence gathering] Annual ICT conference

I agree Patrick

*Victor Kapiyo*
Partner | *Lawmark Partners LLP*
*Suite No. 8, Centro House, Westlands, Nairobi | **Web: www.lawmark.co.ke
<www.lawmark.co.ke> *
====================================================

*“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude” Zig
Ziglar*

On Wed, 15 May 2019 at 07:37, Patrick A. M. Maina via kictanet <
kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:

> I’ve made some enquiries and noted two potential issues that I would like
> to bring to the attention of fellow listers (especially those in
> government). My opinion is based on a brief exchange with the Dubai-based
> organizing company, as well as my understanding of the information
> published on their website as at today:
>
> ISSUE 1:
> It costs USD $1,495/- per delegate just to attend. Networking is pitched
> as a benefit and included in the agenda. That combination makes the event
> look like a “pay to network with government officials” business. Some
> questions..
>
> a. Is this model of “exclusive networking” with public officials *for
> payment* not some form of corruption?
>
> b. Are events that, by design (whether intentional or not), appear to
> offer special access to government officials, for payment, not unlawful
> and/or unconstitutional? Perhaps legal experts can shed some light on
> this.
>
> c. Assuming attendees are attending in official capacity, as is appearent,
> why are government resources (time, expertise, human resources) being used
> to enrich a foreign company?
>
> d. Further, I noted that the organizing company official refers to the
> delegate attendance fee (~Ksh 150,000/-) as an “*investment*”.
> Investments have returns. What is the expected return that attendees are
> looking at?
>
> e. Is this how people get preferential access (to unfairly influence
> skewed policies / strategies and/or unfairly win tenders)?
>
> f. I thought government officials would be sensitive/alert to such
> apparent traps, now that there is an ongoing war on corruption…? Is there
> a formal vetting/screening process for such events to avoid trapping or
> embarrassing senior officials? If not, please see suggested checklist below
> which can be used as a stop-gap measure.
>
> ISSUE 2:
> The event is organized by a “consulting” company in DUBAI whose business
> is (according to their website): ” to provide *business insight and
> intelligence* to our clients and give them *visibility in uncharted
> terrains*.”
>
> The speaker line up comprises high profile public officials from Kenya,
> Uganda and Ethiopia – who apparently will be giving “presentations” on a
> broad range of public sector initiatives (as well as strategies and public
> policy issues), to an exclusive audience of paid up delegates.
>
> Since *it is the speakers who come from the “uncharted terrains” (and
> have been screened to maximize public sector participation), it follows,
> logically, that they cannot be the “clients”* – they are the SOURCE of
> the sought insights. So who are the “clients” / recipients and how do they
> plan to use the information gathered? Has anyone asked that question?
>
> I inquired about the speaking slots and was advised that the company has a
> *policy* that only Government officials and sponsors can give
> presentations. To me that signals an economic intelligence gathering
> event (with very broad scope!).
>
> DISCUSSION:
> This is the kind of meeting that government should organize with local
> (citizen owned) businesses, startups, final-year students, researchers
> and/or innovators to show them where they can explore opportunities and try
> offer them home-ground advantage and a foundation for rapid growth. But
> what are we doing instead?
>
> I fear that we are literally giving away valuable economic information
> that could be used to disadvantage our own local businesses competitiveness
> (and lead to greater unemployment, increased poverty and associated
> political risks). I think this casualness with potentially sensitive
> economic information is one major reason our country remains poor and our
> businesses struggle to compete regionally and globally.
>
> This is not about “protectionism” or “nationalism” (terms that
> neo-liberals use to influence bad policies in poor countries). It’s about *developing
> sources of competitive advantage at nation level.* Ever wondered, for
> example, why prosperous (non-oil dependent) countries don’t do such kind of
> events – unless they are (or have strictly vetted) the organizers and are
> in full control?
>
> What if foreign businesses (and/or top management in co-owned enterprises)
> have been doing better than their local counterparts, not because they have
> talent for better business models, but because they, and their governments,
> play a *smarter strategic game* that leverages our gullibility / shortsightedness
> for unfair INFORMATION ADVANTAGE?
>
> Don’t our CEOs have any interest in competing / expanding outside Kenya?
>
> SUGGESTED INTERIM SOLUTION:
> As a stop-gap solution, I’d like to propose the following 10-point EVENT
> VETTING CHECKLIST for government institutions to help screen all proposed
> events / conferences. This could be a starting point for the development of
> a robust information management framework:
>
> 1. What exactly is the purpose of the conference / event?
>
> 2. Who is organizing it and why that particular entity (what unique value
> proposition does it offer to Kenya)?
>
> 3. How will the Kenyan people and businesses benefit (Short, mid and
> long-term)? There should be someone assigned to follow up on these benefits
> and give a status report within the identified milestones.
>
> 4. Why can’t Government (relevant Ministry) organize an alternative event
> – on its own terms, and in public interest?
>
> 5. Is it a for-profit event? Are attendees paying? If yes, refer to 4.
>
> 6. If the entity is profiting from government participation, was there a
> competitive bidding to give local event organizers a fair chance?
>
> 7. Is it in line with the constitution (or other laws) for Government
> officials to be the main participants in a private, *exclusive*,
> for-profit event? Does it create opportunities for a privileged few to gain
> unfair economic advantage?
>
> 8. Has a sensitivity analysis been conducted on the event, its organizers
> (if foreign), affiliations (if foreign), goals, objectives? Has the
> company signed a conflict of interest disclosure form? Are the company
> shareholders local residents (or have sufficient local assents if foreign)
> to guarantee legal recourse for breach?
>
> 9. Have risks been identified and planned for (accept, mitigate, transfer,
> avoid)? Is there a risk matrix for the event?
>
> 10. Are contributors trained on intellectual property, its value to
> businesses and economic risks associated with conferences/events? Will
> there be a post event debriefing, where high risks have been identified?
>
> Links:
>
> 1. Event link:
>
> bricsaconsulting.com/event/3rd-annual-information-communication-technology-africa/
>
> 2. For a company that has been organizing high profile international
> public-sector events over several years, their twitter page has only 128
> followers. https://twitter.com/bricsaconsultin
>
> Brgds,
> Patrick.
>
> Patrick A. M. Maina
> [Cross-domain Innovator | Public Policy Analyst – Indigenous Innovations]
>
>
> On Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 12:34:42 AM GMT+3, Barrack Otieno via kictanet <
> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>
>
> Hi Fiona,
>
> Many thanks for your email. Is it open to the public? Just come across the
> information for the first time.
>
> Best Regards
>
> On Sat, May 11, 2019 at 10:20 AM Fiona Makaka via kictanet <
> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>
>
>
> Good morning Listers,
> Do we have a representative participating in this conference?
>
>
> Regards,
>
> Fiona Makaka
> Associate – Telecommunications, Media and Technology
>
> T: +254 (709) 830 100 | E: fmakaka@tripleoklaw.com
> <branding.tripleoklaw.com/rs/07285j1M>
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> The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform
> for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
> regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
> sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
>
> KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
> online that you follow in real life: respect people’s times and bandwidth,
> share knowledge, don’t flame or abuse or personalize, respect privacy, do
> not spam, do not market your wares or qualifications.
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> The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is a multi-stakeholder platform
> for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy and
> regulation. The network aims to act as a catalyst for reform in the ICT
> sector in support of the national aim of ICT enabled growth and development.
>
> KICTANetiquette : Adhere to the same standards of acceptable behaviors
> online that you follow in real life: respect people’s times and bandwidth,
> share knowledge, don’t flame or abuse or personalize, respect privacy, do
> not spam, do not market your wares or qualifications.
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