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Digital devices and services improving Kenyans livelihoods

A recent survey has shown that digital devices and services have greatly improved the daily lives of at least 84 per cent of Kenyans and boosted incomes for nearly one third of the country’s population.

Partner and Regional Director for Africa Dalberg Advisors, Ms Naoko Koyama said with Kenya now embracing its digital economy as the foundation for creating an empowered society, it’s critical for the country to capture daily digital experiences taking place in order to improve the lives of citizenry through information technology.

“Given Kenya’s role as a regional leader in digital penetration and usage, we recognize the importance of capturing Kenyan’s perception on access, usage and impact of digital devices and services on their social and economic lives,” she said.

Speaking during the launch of the report ‘Kenya’s Digital Economy: A People’s Perspective’ in Nairobi, Koyama said the report is based on responses to a nationally representative survey conducted between November to December 2020 that involved more than 2400 Kenyans.

“This survey offers a “people-centered” perspective that can be used by stakeholders to understand where to direct new investments as well as develop relevant policies that can accelerate Kenya’s next stage of digital development,” she said.

The report highlights uptake in areas beyond mobile money including usage of digital services for supporting livelihoods, e-commerce and e-governance.

The report also reveals that 94 per cent of Kenyans use mobile money, 27 per cent use e-governance services, while 45 per cent anticipate that the Huduma Namba will improve access to and usage of digital services.

In his remarks Robert Karanja, Director of Responsible Technology at Omidyar Network said the next few years offer an opportunity to build on Kenya’s exceptional digital progress and to embrace lessons from surveys to advance the nation’s commitment by ensuring every citizen, enterprise and organization is participating in the digital economy.

According to the report, Kenyans who are geographically, financially, or socially vulnerable are more likely to use only basic digital services such as sending and receiving payment on their mobile phones or topping up air-time.

The study goes a step further by pointing out where the divide is most evident, citing eighty-five per cent of rural residents with lower than primary education, 45 per cent of people with disabilities, 44 per cent of older people, and 37per cent of adult farmers and homemakers, who only use basic digital services or no digital services at all.

By Hamdi Mohamud

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