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A Kenyan IT firm, Techno Brain Ltd, has acquired the intellectual property (IP) rights of a customs and tax software from a UK company at a cost of Sh683 million, giving it ability to customise the system to its local clients’ needs.
Techno Brain Ltd previously had a consultancy agreement with Crown Agents — the owners of the software.
Manoj Shanker, the CEO Techno Brain, however, said the partnership did not allow the company to interfere with the software’s coding, which made it impossible to customise the software to their clients’ needs.
Under the deal, Techno Brain will serve the former trips suite software clients across the globe.
The software’s core development team will also transition to Techno Brain. This will bring in a fresh pool of specialised talent that Techno Brain could have found difficult to poach without the deal.
The team will be stationed at Techno Brain’s office in Sutton, UK. The customs and revenue software mainly targets governments and their agencies as it supports delivery of e-services to taxpayers.
Techno Brain is among Kenyan IT firms that are making inroads into the continent and are now spreading their footprints globally. Other locally grown IT multinationals include Craft Silicon, Cellulant and Seven Seas.
“Customs is at the heart of the global trade network. Our goal is to have the broadest and best portfolio of solutions to improve trade facilitation and strengthen public financial management. The acquisition is a perfect fit with that strategy,” said Mr Shanker.
Techno Brain has operations in 19 countries in Africa, with offices in UK, USA, Dubai and India. In Kenya, the firm offers off-the-shelf ICT solutions, ICT training and business process outsourcing services to NGOs, governments and businesses.
The firms’ solution portfolio offerings include passport issuance system, central motor vehicle registration system and a help line platform for local and international clients.
“This partnership will leverage Crown Agents’ considerable tax and customs domain expertise together with Techno Brain’s global technology delivery capability to deliver outstanding outcomes for revenue authorities across the world,” said Ken Coveney, Crown Agents chief financial officer.
The potential of local IT firms has attracted the eyes of the government, which together with foreign partners such as Netherlands Trust Fund, are providing financial and market support.
Last month, the ICT ministry signed a three-year export deal worth Sh93 million ($1.26 million) with the Netherlands Trust Fund aimed at creating new markets for their services.
Under the partnership, to be implemented by ICT Authority— a government agency mandated to promote and market ICT services and products locally and abroad, the firms will benefit from training and advisory services such as on export marketing and access to finance.
The firms that will benefit from this programme including Techno Brain, Digital Divide Data and Data Science Ltd which will be linked to new markets through facilitating business to business (B2B) matchmaking events in Europe and Africa as well as participation in trade fairs organised in Kenya and target information technology and services (ITES) markets.
These firms mainly offer IT-enabled services such as research, software development, animation and social media campaigns or marketing to third party firms.
Other firms that have been listed to benefit from the fund include Savvy Media Kenya, Lynxbits Global Ltd and ENI Systems Africa among others.
– Business Daily