The government seeks to roll out 1450 digital hubs and harness skills in a bid to create over one million online jobs for the country’s teeming youth.
The centres championed by the Konza City and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Authority seek to promote digital skills for the youth through the connected computer hubs.
Information, communications, and the Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo says the facilities that would be domiciled in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres aim to redefine the digital ecosystem in the country.
CS Owalo says the digital hubs, dubbed ‘Jitume’ are a government initiative aimed at providing access to digital skills, e-services, and online opportunities to the youth.
He says global companies are putting work online because it is cheaper and more efficient for them, and ‘that is why we are empowering young people to grab those web-based opportunities’.
The Minister urged the youth to be conscious of the digital revolution and the information superhighway and become employers through entrepreneurship and innovation.
Mr. Owalo spoke at the Kenya Coast National Polytechnic in Mombasa during the inauguration of a new digital skills laboratory.
During the center’s inauguration, Owalo was accompanied by the State Department for ICT and Digital Economy Principal Secretary Eng John Tanui, Ag Chief Executive Officer Konza City John Okwiri, and ICT Authority Board Chairman Sylvanus Maritim.
The CS disclosed that the government is working on several technological projects to transform the country’s digital landscape.
He revealed that the government is rolling out over 25,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the country as part of the digital acceleration programme to extend the internet to remote areas.
“We are confident that the innovation hubs will contribute towards efficiency in e-governance and e-commerce and create jobs for the youth,” he said, adding that the country is seeking to promote itself as a tech hub for Africa.
He says the goal of the digital skills drive is to create a platform for young people to gain in-demand employable skills towards improving their livelihood.
Owalo said the 1450 digital hubs that would be set up evenly across the 47 counties are part of the digital acceleration agenda championed by the national government.
He says the emergence of artificial intelligence and increased interconnectivity mean that young people will also need to acquire technical skills to be relevant in today’s digital world and deliver effectively.
PS Tanui says the ICT Authority is leveraging the national fibre-optic infrastructure to support internet connectivity.
Eng Tanui said the spread of the national fibre optic network and the rise of the internet will enable many Kenyans to formalise their businesses and embrace e-commerce.
He said the fast internet is creating many income-generating opportunities for thousands of Kenyans, especially the youth.
The PS said the Jitume digital skills training programme will enable young people to secure freelance online work and help tackle the country’s acute youth unemployment problem.