Board of Trustees
2006 Board Election
Candidates: Richard Bell
Richard is currently managing partner of East Africa Capital Partners a private equity firm focused on technology, media and telecommunications investments in East Africa. He previously owned Swift Global (an ISP that he founded in 1995) and Kenya Data Networks (an infrastructure operator that he founded in 2002) both of which he sold in 2004.
He was founding Chairman of several industry organizations including: the Telecommunications Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK), the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP), and, the Kenya Network Information Center (Kenic Kenya's ccTLD). He was a founding member of the board of trustees of AFRINIC (Africa's Regional Internet Registry) and the infrastructure representative on Kenya's Private Sector Alliance ICT Board. He has also published various white papers on ICT development issues in Africa most notable of which was The Halfway Proposition (recently updated to reflect the new reality of global telecommunications and development economics).
Richard believes that ICT can only be the much heralded driver of economic growth in developing countries if the underlying policy, regulatory and investment bottlenecks are unlocked. His stance on EASSy is a good example of his commitment to addressing the real issues: If transit bandwidth in developed economies costs US$ 30 per Mb at any major exchange point, so what if EASSy will drop the prices in East Africa from US$ 3,000 per Mb to 2,000 per Mb. To be globally competitive East Africa needs bandwidth at US$ 30 per Mb. If achieving this means a donor subsidized, state owned, and, private sector operated utility, then that is what needs to be built. Not a private sector consortium monopoly like EASSy which will simply replicate the shortcomings of Sat 3 on the West Coast of Africa. After all the US$ 250m cost of building it would be small change for the US$ 10 billion per annum infrastructure fund proposed by the Africa Commission and the UN Millennium Goals.
He holds a BSc (Hons) from the University of St Andrews and an MSc (Sloan Fellow) from the London Business School. He is a Kenyan citizen, based in Nairobi and married with 3 children.