Talking Point
Bugtown UK

Click here for an assessment by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The BBC World Service programme The Works has been to Kenya to assess the situation there.

Kenya faces potential power-supply problems over the New Year as the millennium bug takes effect. Despite being ahead of most other African countries, independent surveys show Y2K preparations lag behind more developed countries.

One big problem facing Kenya is computer dumping. Many businesses rely on second hand computers, imported from Europe. Many are old, reconditioned machines that are not Year 2000 compliant - but few companies can afford new machines.

Government efforts

The Kenyan government started taking steps to eliminate the bug in October 1997, with the launch of a taskforce to look into the effect of the millennium bug within government ministries and departments. Then in November 1998 the Kenya Year 2000 National Co-ordination Initiative was launched.

The taskforce has been looking at private and public sectors, with the aim of making them all millennium compliant.

The Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance's public sector payroll have both been certified compliant.

Despite being commended by a leading American taskforce, it looks likely that full compliance will not be achieved in time and contingency plans are being made in the event of problems.

Used to problems

The consolation for Kenya is that power cuts are not uncommon and many shops and businesses, particularly in Nairobi, have back-up generators to keep computers and electronic tills working.

Another potential problem for Kenya is health care. The health ministry has estimated there are about 200 computers and many items of medical equipment that could be affected.

According to a government report, most private hospitals have eliminated the Y2K bug. But in the public sector, doctors and nurses have been advised to decide on back-up plans in case a particular piece of medical equipment fails.

And one long-term problem is the worry that laboratory testing equipment and ultrasound scanners may have problems well into the new year.

 Compliances Rate 34% (Gartner)
 Gartner Infastructure Problem
 Distribution  Impact
 Power  Moderate  Severe
 Phones  Moderate  Severe
 Gas  Isolated  Severe
 Air  Widespread  Moderate
 Oil  Moderate  Moderate
 Food  Isolated  Severe
 Water  Isolated  Moderate
 Govt  Widespread  Severe
 Banks  Moderate  Moderate
 Unrest  Moderate  Moderate
 Trade  Moderate  Severe
Brazil | China | India | Israel | Italy | Japan | Kenya | Nigeria | United Kingdom | United States
Ringing in the new millennium | Witness | Speaking for the century | Millennium diaries | What happened next? | Y2k | Review of the year | Your millennium | Talking Point