Kenya is rapidly advancing its digital transformation, spearheaded by the Kenya Kwanza Government’s commitment to digitalization as a cornerstone of President Dr. William Ruto’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda. The Ministry of Information, Communication, and the Digital Economy is at the forefront of this digital revolution, with remarkable progress achieved in various key areas.
- Fiber Optic Expansion: Kenya’s ambitious plan to lay an additional 100,000 km of fiber optic is well underway, averaging 25,000 km annually. By June 2023, the target of 5,000 km of fiber optic was surpassed, with 5,780 km successfully rolled out. This expansion bridges connectivity gaps in underserved regions.
- Public Wi-Fi: The government is committed to providing free public Wi-Fi, with a goal of establishing 25,000 hotspots by 2027. Already, 14,690 spots have been identified, with 172 public Wi-Fi hotspots serving as community innovation hubs. An impressive 95 additional hotspots have been installed by the Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA).
- Digitization of Government Services: Kenya is actively digitizing government records and services. Out of 15,125 services identified for digitalization, 9,887 have been fully digitalized, while 5,238 have been partially onboarded. This move enhances efficiency and accessibility for citizens.
- Digital Skills and Entrepreneurship: The Ajira and Jitume programs aim to equip citizens with digital skills for entrepreneurship. One million learners are being empowered with ICT skills through technical and vocational training institutes, supported by the deployment of 23,000 computers.
- Gig Economy Growth: Kenya has seen significant growth in the gig economy, with approximately 1.9 million Kenyans engaged, a substantial increase from 638,000 in 2019. Digital marketing and e-commerce training have prepared 350,794 youth, resulting in the creation of 109,000 digital jobs.
- Local Assembly of Digital Gadgets: To ensure universal access to affordable smartphones, the government is partnering with mobile network operators to locally assemble low-cost digital telephone gadgets priced at USD 40.00 per unit.
- National Addressing System: A draft Policy and Bill have been developed for the National Addressing System, which includes mapping 241 blocks to facilitate e-commerce, streamlining business operations.
- Cabinet Digitalization: The business of the Cabinet has been digitized and automated since January 2023, improving government efficiency.
- Revitalization of Key Institutions: Efforts are underway to revitalize institutions like KBC, POSTA, and KNA by upgrading infrastructure, re-engineering business models, and enhancing staff motivation.
- Policy Framework Enhancement: A comprehensive review of the policy, legal, and regulatory framework governing the information, communications, and digital economy is in progress. Several draft policies and bills are at various stages of development.
- Cybersecurity: Measures to strengthen the risk-mitigation framework for digitalization include the operationalization of the Data Protection Commissioner’s office and the ratification of the African Union Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection (the Malabo Convention).
- National Contact Centre: The establishment of the National Contact Centre will enable citizens to use digital methods of communication, providing 24/7 support for interactions with the government.
- Digital Signatures: Digital signatures are being institutionalized for secure authentication of documents and transactions by government entities.
- Financial Support: Substantial financial support has been secured, including USD 570 million from the World Bank for the Kenya Digital Economy Acceleration Programme (KDEAP) and Ksh. 5 billion from the Universal Service Fund (USF). Collaborations with UNDP and the Government of South Sudan further enhance digital partnerships.
Kenya’s digital transformation agenda aims to streamline business processes, boost efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery, and create jobs. Ultimately, it envisions a paperless government, a thriving gig economy, a 24-hour economy, increased domestic revenues, and sustainable development, positioning Kenya at the forefront of the digital revolution.