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Each university in Kenya has developed its own ICT policy. How will current trends shape our lives as citizens and businesses for the economy, society and jobs of the future? Vision 2030 Blueprint views ICT and innovation as an economic enabler for the growth of other sectors.

Known as the Silicon Savannah of Africa, Kenya has seen its ICT sector grow an average of 10.8% annually since 2016, becoming a significant source of economic development and job creation with spillover effects in almost every sector of the economy. County and national government efforts must be more investment in digital infrastructure and thus result in increased competition and falling prices for internet access and ICT products.

To encourage technology innovation and the growth of the global digital economy will require stronger digital foundations, such as new regulations and policy guidelines designed to support the digital transformation. Following the President’s action to grant charter to the National Defence College, ICT and Innovation PS, Jerome Ochieng said, “the ministry prides itself in being able to impact the lives of all Kenyans, young and old, to experience technology in its full capacity.”

 “As Kenya looks forward to becoming newly industrialized middle-income economy in less than a decade, the ICT sector is key in the attainment of the country’s development blueprint, the Vision 2030.”

“In this regard, the Ministry of ICT, Innovations and Youth Affairs has prioritized the key areas of the development of the National ICT policies and legal framework, infrastructure development, capacity building, content and application development, employment and wealth creation, and public private partnerships,” PS Jerome Ochieng

Currently telecommunications regulation has struggled to keep pace with the evolving market dynamics and emerging technologies, and the digital entrepreneurship space faces limited growth-oriented financing and lacks a firm pipeline of digitally-skilled talent.

Dynamic Reforms Are Crucial to Streamline Rapid Growth of the Industry

According to the PS, “the ICT ministry also aspires to develop a world-class ICT infrastructure that ensures availability, efficient, reliable and affordable ICT services. All this will be done in an effort to foster development of ICT applications and innovations in Kenya.” This will provide a larger customer base for Kenya’s digitally enabled firms and enable wider access to e-commerce and digital services for Kenyan consumers. 

According to recommendations by the World Bank Economic Update, several critical reforms and investments aimed at accelerating a dynamic and inclusive digital economy for Kenya include:

  • Enhancing regulation and policy in line with rapid market evolution: Speed up the adoption of modernized telecommunications regulations to facilitate private sector investment, competition and consumer protection of not only big market players like Safaricom, and Airtel but also inspire and provide space for upcoming FinTechs to grow.
  • Transition from startups to growth: Enhance the entrepreneurship ecosystem to capitalize on increasing technology adoption and to build the companies of the future. This includes improving access to capital for startups and reviewing existing taxation and procurement policies which are not tailored for the unique start up business models.
  • Invest in and develop human digital capital: Build a digitally savvy workforce for Kenya to capitalize on emerging opportunities in high growth sectors and create more jobs for the youth in both public and private sectors.
  • Close the digital divide: Every individual, business and government institution needs access to affordable, high-quality broadband connectivity to participate in the digital economy. Women, the poor, rural populations and other marginalized groups need to be better served if they are to reap the benefits of a digital economy. 
  • Think regional and global: Kenya’s digital firms face a challenge of small market scale relative to many competitors. 

Among the various tasks involving ICT Policies and Regulatory Framework whose development his State Department has already coordinated include the Draft Digital Economy Strategy, Block Chain Report, Huduma Bill, Draft Huduma Namba regulations and Public Participation, Operationalization of the Data Protection Policy (MCK developed an internal Data Protection Policy).

There remains widespread gaps in basic digital skills still limit wider usage and application of digital tools, and services and gaps in advanced digital skills limit business development.

Author: ibrahim

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