President Uhuru Kenyatta has hailed the contribution of digital technologies to Kenya’s transformation saying ICTs are helping the country to create employment opportunities for its youth and enhance the delivery of public services.
On the African continent, the President observed that digital technologies have enabled both Governments and the private sector to continue operating optimally despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In the face of containment measures necessitated by the pandemic (Covid-19), technology has kept governments and businesses running; and enabled international cooperation and engagements, such as we are involved in today to be sustained,” the President said.
In order to accelerate the creation of a common market, the President said African economies need to harmonize their ICT standards so as to achieve inter-operability of their digital infrastructure.
The Head of State spoke Monday at State House, Nairobi during the 2021 Africa Business Forum held virtually on the sidelines of the 34th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
President Kenyatta said Kenya had made progress in the delivery of public services digitally adding that the country is hinging on technology to transform its economy.
“Currently, the Kenya Government has over 200 digitized services offered through Huduma Centres countrywide as well as an online self-service E-Citizen platform.
“Both platforms, which are widely utilized, offer one-stop access to essential services such as applying for Passports or National Identification Cards; and registering businesses, births, or deaths.
“Kenya is also progressively digitizing core government services such as filing of tax returns, land registries, court procedures and rulings, and public service records,” the President said.
He said the cost-effective nature of digital technologies is helping African nations to solve the challenge of scarce finances needed to provide infrastructure, institutions and human resources to power economic growth.
While highlighting the transformative nature of digital technologies, President Kenyatta pointed out that 40 percent of private enterprises in Kenya are engaged in e-commerce and 70 percent of all e-commerce payments in the country are settled through various mobile money payment platforms.
The President said his Government is working on ensuring that digital technologies are not abused by investing in training and capacity building of service providers and technology users.
“To ensure technology is embraced, holistically by all business sectors we must contain misuse/abuse of technology. We, therefore, in our training pay particular attention on ethics and values as it is key to sustainable adoption of technology,” the President said.
To support digital entrepreneurship in the country, the President said the Kenyan Government is working with partners to lower entry barriers for ICT entrepreneurs.
“To strengthen our digital technology footprint, we have established several strategic partnerships. The Smart Africa Initiative is a network of some 30 African countries seeking to leverage technology to create a single digital market on the continent.
“Similarly, the UNDP-led SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Accelerator Lab provides a vehicle for partnerships, investments, and business linkages to accelerate local innovations and ideas; including twinning Silicon Valley with the Kenyan tech community,” the President said.
Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa Vera Songwe who also spoke at the virtual meeting commended President Kenyatta for championing usage of ICT in service delivery and called on other African nations to emulate Kenya.