Communication and Technology

Kenya’s digital economy blueprint to set the pace for Africa

By Michael Okidi
Kenya’s Digital Economy Blueprint is set to be adopted by other African countries as a foundation for full adoption of the digital economy.
According to Government Spokesman, Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, this follows last week’s launch of the Digital Economy Blueprint for Africa by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
Col (Rtd) Oguna said Kenya has been at the forefront in the growth and development of digital skills necessary for digital economy, which sits at the heart of the Government’s Big Four Agenda.

Addressing his first press conference at the Government Media Center at Teleposta Towers, Nairobi, Col. (Rtd) Oguna insisted that digital economy is no longer a choice, but an inevitable function of today and future markets.

“Digital economy has gained immense importance as the driver of innovation and global competitiveness. It is a future idea that has already come,” he said.

The one-time Military Spokesman said Kenya’s Digital Economy Blueprint focuses on five key pillars, namely; Digital Government that provides digital service platforms for ease of service delivery; Digital Business for developing digital trade and digital financial services; and Infrastructure.

Other pillars, he said, include Innovation driven Entrepreneurship to establish an environment that supports local firms to generate high quality goods of international standards; and Digital Skills and Values to help develop and maintain a digitally skilled workforce.

He reiterated the importance of ICT infrastructure as the backbone of digital economy, saying the value of the local ICT sector had expanded by 12% from Kshs 345.6 billion in 2017 to Kshs 390.2 billion in 20018, according to the Economic Survey Report, 2019.

Kenyans, he noted, are already reaping the fruits of digital economy, and cited job creation, consolidation of markets, improved access to professional consultation, especially telemedicine, improved security especially in combating organized crime and secure, fraud-free financial transactions.

The Government Spokesman cited the registration of Kenyans for the National Integrated Identity Management Systems (NIIMS), christened Huduma Namba, as a key step towards achieving the Government’s goal of a complete digital economic transformation.

“The centralized database generated by the NIIMS will ease service delivery to Kenyans seeking government related services and even private business transactions,” said Col. (Rtd) Oguna, who was introduced to the media by his predecessor, Mr Erick Kiraithe and Principal Secretary for ICT, Mr Jerome Ochieng.

The new Government Spokesperson has hit the ground running, promising that his office will focus on dialogue as opposed to monologue in an interactive approach that should share in the expectations and aspirations of the Kenyan public.

He promised to ensure information emanating from National Government and released to the media for public consumption is relevant, prompt and comprehensive, with strict fidelity to verifiable facts.

“To serve Kenyans in the best way, this office shall endeavor to share accurate information on all matters pertaining to National Government,” said Col. (Rtd) Oguna.