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Government plans a national digital master plan to revolutionize ICT

The Ministry of ICT, Youth Affairs and Innovation has developed a ten year national digital master plan centered around leveraging technology to grow the economy, achieve vision 2030 targets, create massive wealth and millions of jobs in the country.

Kenya National Digital Masterplan 2020-2030 is anchored on four pillars of Digital Infrastructure, Digital Services and Data Management, Digital Skills and Digital Innovation, Enterprise & Digital Business.

The four critical pillars are visualized to connect all the unserved and underserved areas with ICT, provisioning and management of e-Government services to enhance efficiency, developing a digitally skilled workforce with ethical practices and academia and industry players’ collaboration in finding sustainable digital solutions.

It will cost Sh5 billion to fully implement the four pillars and other thematic areas of research and development, information security and cyber management and emerging technologies.

The master plan is projected to create six ICT flagship digital infrastructure projects by 2030 through construction of 100,000 kms of national fibre optic connectivity network and other technologies.

The fibre optic connectivity network and other technologies include 52,000Km for government networks and 48,000Km for private networks to provide reliable and affordable connectivity to education institutions, health institutions, metros, government offices, counties, wards, rural areas, businesses and homes.

The digital infrastructure project will also include 25,000 hotspots in public installations, rural areas, businesses and public spaces, development of government cloud, establishment of regional ICT infrastructure hub and sustainable power plan for ICT Installations through green energy plants.

The masterplan proposes the establishment of a government digitization Centre and platforms to digitalize and automate 500 million government records annually, which translates to 5 billion records by 2030.

The digital service and data management services are focused on creating paperless government offices by automating critical government services including integrated health management system, education, immigration, judiciary, parliamentary, tax and revenue, security, agriculture, election, transport, registration of persons and company registrations.

The digital service pillar proposes for development and implementation of a strategy for digital literacy capacity for 20 million Kenyans, including special interest groups and the creation of 1,450 community training centres, 290 Constituency hubs in five years.

The pillar also proposes the setting up of electronic plants to manufacture and assemble laptops and supply 1.2 million laptops to schools, train 350,000 teachers on use of technology and connect 40,000 schools with sustainable internet.

The digital service pillar proposes for development of curriculum and training of 10,000 public servants in high end specialized ICT areas, capacity building of 20,000 ICT professionals, training of 300,000 civil servants on digital skills and 250,000 county staff .

The master plan also offers the establishment of two Kenya software industries, adoption and utilization of smart technologies and establishment of two smart technology coordination centres.

The information security and cyber management pillar proposes for creation of the National Government Cyber Security Operation Centre with regional cyber-security centre of excellence among others.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru noted that the national digital masterplan is envisaged to become a single point of reference for all government ICT plans to ease coordination and management.

“I noted that the masterplan has taken into consideration Kenya Vision 2030 economic blueprint and ICT initiatives not achieved under the previous ICT masterplan. This document is largely informed by the national ICT policy of 2019 which is now guiding how ICT, as a foundation, is creating a robust economy thus improving the livelihoods for Kenyans,” added Mucheru.

While enumerating key ICT priorities and agenda, the CS further stated that the country has gained global recognition for innovation and increased ICT infrastructure.

“On ICT infrastructure, my Ministry has completed under the National Fiber Optic Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI), another ongoing project is the East Africa regional transport trade development facilitation project which is opening up northern Kenya and South Sudan,” he added.

In a speech read by the Ministry’s Secretary of Administration, Lucy Mulili, the CS further indicated that the Horn of Africa Gateway Development Project will open up the entire north Eastern region for ICT enabled businesses adding that the master plan will guide a citizen center delivery of e-government services in a consistent and integrated manner.

“On digital services, Wanjiku is now receiving many government services online. This is happening at Huduma centers in a quick, efficient and safe manner. Kenya is now leading in ICT skilled workforce and the country has bridged the gap between industry requirements and the capabilities of the local workforce,” he added.

Mucheru further stated that the new masterplan will guide a structured ICT delivery and fast track of the realization of the vision 2030 and agenda 2063 and called upon sector players to ensure it is fully implemented for the benefit of the country.

Among those present during a review workshop of the Kenya National Digital Masterplan at Pride Inn Hotel Paradise in Mombasa included Data Protection Commissioner, Immaculate Kassait, and State Department of Youth Affairs, Secretary Administration, Mwongo Chimwaga.

Chief Executive Officers (CEO) representing ICT ministry’ corporation and semi-autonomous agencies present included Eng John Tanui (Konza City), Dr Kiprono Ronoh (ICTA), Christopher Wambua (KFCB) Timothy Owase (KFS) and David Omwoyo (MCK).

The CEOs endorsed the Kenya National Digital Masterplan 2020-2030 saying it will guide their respective agencies in the delivery of the service to the citizenry adding that the ICT is core to driving the country towards full realization of the digital economy.

They further observed the document foundation and pillars are critical to helping the nation achieve social-economic growth and vision 2030 targets besides developing literacy capability of the citizenry to venture on digital business opportunities.

The country’s youthful population is projected to be the biggest beneficiary of the masterplan, a document that would further propel the country as a regional and global vibrant technical and innovation hub.

By Galgalo Bocha

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