The Laptop Project

Well it would appear that the Schools laptop project is off to a rocky start


The Sh9.7 billion laptop project has run into a procurement crisis after all bidders quoted more money than the budget.

Only nine companies are bidding for the lucrative tender, ……

……The overall project budget is Sh17.5 billion, which includes infrastructure, security, content and training.

The Ministry of Education officially opened the tender for the procurement of 1.3 million laptops on Tuesday.

HP Commercial is the lowest bidder quoting Sh28.7 billion, with a unit price of Sh20,639 — almost double what the government has budgeted for.

Chinese company Huawei PTE Ltd is the highest bidder quoting Sh60.5 billion.

Others are Samsung Electronics (Sh39.1 billion), Symphony Technologies (Sh38 billion), Haier Technologies (Sh34 billion), ZTE Corporation (Sh33 billion) and Telcom Kenya (Sh32 billion).

Mastec EA Ltd placed two bids quoting Sh32.6 billion in one and Sh31.3 billion in another while Shen Zhen Auto Digital quoted Sh30.3 billion……

……“At the moment we want to wait for the tender report to come. We may have come up with a budget, but now we are faced with the actual reality as dictated by market factors. We will give advice as and when the report is ready,” Dr Kipsang’ told the Nation.

…..According to the ministry’s budget, Sh9.8 billion had been set aside for buying the laptops, Sh800 million for training, Sh500 million for digital content and Sh5.8 billion for setting up computer laboratories in 10 primary schools in each of the country’s 290 constituencies.

The ministry also seeks to procure 20,637 printers and to distribute a similar number of projectors to each primary school across the country.

The ministry had set high standards for the vendors after placing a Sh228 million bid bond for the laptop tender, locking out many potential bidders from the process.

Bidders were also required to place Sh14 million for the printers tender security bond and another Sh20.4 million bond for the projectors tender.


After due diligence (never trust the DN or EAS for accurate reporting) and although we are not in possession of the actual tender documents, we can safely conclude that the DN report is grossly inaccurate in its reporting, but however the facts are that the project is significantly under-budgeted

See the two articles below for more realistic information

The facts are that the project intends to purchase a total of 1.3m laptops under the program. A total of Kshs.55bn is budgeted for this exercise, but is broken into 4 phases. Assuming equal distribution that amounts to about 325,000 laptops per phase

WIthout looking at the quotes, it is not clear whether the 9 quotes submitted are for the entire project (1.3m laptops) or a single phase (325k laptops)

Looking at the math, lowest bidder quotes 28.7 bn which amounts to sh.88,000 or approx $1000 per laptop (assume 1 phase of 325,000 laptops) which is almost reasonable considering that these laptops are supposed to be solar driven or some other longer life battery devices (hehehe we need to get IEBC expertise on efficacy of such laptops but I digress)

If we divide this amount by 1.3m laptops (as the DN report suggests then it) gives a total of Kshs 22,000 or approx $280.0 per laptop. Heck even an X-box or Playstation costs more than this, I doubt any useful and durable laptop can cost this amount, leave alone solar driven, extended life battery etc whatever requirements considered desirable for handling by a 7 year old living in some remote village where there is no electricity or even proper shelter, and in constant fear of cattle rustling or something.

In either case, compare this with the governments provisional budget of Sh9.8b which translates to $93.00 for 1.3m laptops or $380 for 325k laptops. (who was the clown that priced this anyway)

In my view a laptop deployed to a 7 yr old for academic work will be in the region of about $1100 to $1700 if is intended to be durable and reusable i.e carried forward to 2nd year or left behind at the end of the year for the incoming 7 yr olds. (by the way how many years before they are either obsolete or beyond repair ? anyone ?… will it be depreciated or will these guys have to carry pieces of metal and plastics held together by super glue, nails, and duct tape through 8th grade? But again I digress) Does anyone know whether its only 1 class that will get these laptops and carry them to 8th grade or its only 1st grade that will ever use these laptops. Or will there be an exponentially increasing budget i.e starting at year 1 and then all 1st graders will be given a laptop every year with replacement in year 3 ( double of “double double” cost every year thereafter). Total madness I say but no am sure someone somewhere has this figured out.

So if phase 1 is underbudgeted by a factor of 50%, what will be the net cost of 1st year of implementation? What about for subsequent years? what about replacement/upgrade costs as they get to year 3? Will this project just like the IEBC/TNA servers (hehehe) IT procurement shoot up in cost from 54bn to 100bn in the first year and then God knows what in future?

Is there anyone that has actually sat down and actually costed this project? And we will not even go into other areas like training, software, deployment etc, where the estimates are even more frightening.

Tender invite

4 comments on “The Laptop Project

  1. just to bookmark this article and come back to it later

    KIGALI, Rwanda, Oct 29 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has said his administration will use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to transform Kenya and improve the lives of its citizens.
    The President said ICT is no longer a luxury but a powerful tool that will help address most of the problems facing Kenya and Africa at large.

    “We are determined to ensure that our people fully benefit from the advantages to ICT and related technology,” President Kenyatta said.

    The President spoke on Tuesday in Kigali, Rwanda during an interactive session for Heads of State at the Transform Africa Summit.

    He said Kenya has prioritised the use of ICT in its development agenda because of its potential to trigger an industrial revolution necessary for the country’s transformation. The President said ICT was also crucial in reducing the cost of doing business, a key ingredient in economic growth.

    The President cited job creation for Kenyan youth as one of the most important benefits that Kenya expects to derive from fully embracing ICT.

    He said that was why the laptop project featured prominently in the Jubilee Coalition’s manifesto and underscored his personal determination to ensure its implementation is successful.

    “We are introducing laptops to our children because we want them to begin, right from their basic education, to know that this is one of the greatest tools that have the power to significantly improve life,” the President said.

    He said allowing children to use ICT at an early age would enable them to interact across Africa, leading to faster integration of the continent.

    President Kenyatta said ICT is equally important in boosting security and fighting corruption, two of the challenges that retard development.

    The President observed that ICT powers economic growth and Africa must quickly integrate it in all their development policies. He emphasized that ICT is not only a strategic resource but also the foundation of every individual and institutional activity.

    Speaking at the meeting, other African Heads of State led by host President Paul Kagame concurred that Africa must embrace ICT in order to compete effectively with the rest of the world.

    They said the continent can no long afford to lag behind in ICT, saying it is the driving force that would ensure Africa achieved its development targets.

    President Salva Kiir of South Sudan said although his country was the youngest nation in the continent, his Government has entered into an agreement with Kenya to have the fibre optic construction from Mombasa extended to Juba. President Kiir said this would greatly improve internet connectivity in the young nation.

    President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda applauded the rapid uptake of ICT by African countries but said that it should not be done at the expense of other key sectors of the economy including agriculture, industry and the service sector.

    “There is need to balance our implementation of ICT so that we do not end up concentrating too much effort on one area while ignoring other areas that are equally important in development our endeavours,” President Museveni said.

    President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon commended Rwanda for successfully implementing the one laptop per child programme, saying the initiative should be replicated across the continent.

    Other speakers included Presidents Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali, Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso and the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, Hamadoun Touré.

    (Story by Kazungu Chai)


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