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Government to launch 25,000 free public Wifi hotspots

The government plans to set up 25,000 free public Wifi hotspots in markets across the country to facilitate e-commerce, Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communications and the Digital Economy Eliud Owalo has said.

CS Owalo said the Wifi hotspots will enable traders across the country to market their goods and services on digital platforms.

“In this digital era it is no longer necessary to have a physical interface between buyers and sellers of products. Traders can now take photos of their products and post them on technological platforms for buyers, who will in turn pay through mobile services and have their goods delivered,” he said.

Speaking Thursday during the launch of public Wifi in Masii market, Mwala sub county the CS reiterated the government’s commitment in leveraging technology to facilitate trade through provision of free Wifi and reduction of internet costs.

 ‘‘One of the challenges that the Kenya Kwanza administration noted during the economic consultative forums during campaigns was the high cost of data. As a government we are fulfilling our pledge by intervening in the market to only reduce the cost of data but also provide free Wifi,’’added Owalo.

He also disclosed that the government had rolled out a comprehensive programme for training the youth on digital skills that will enable them to get jobs online.

The CS said through the programme, the government targets to create one million jobs to curb unemployment among the youth.

‘‘We have a limitation of white collar jobs and the avenue where we have a potential of creating these jobs for the youth is the digital space,” he added.

Owalo further added that the national government was partnering with Members of Parliament to establish 1,450 digital hubs in each ward in the country for the youth to scout for online jobs.

“MPs will provide the facilities and pay the electricity bills while the national government will provide devices in these digital hubs and train the youth and connect them with employers,’’ he said.

The CS said the Kenya Kwanza government was keen on transforming the country into a digital economy saying so far more than 7,543 government services have been digitized in the past one year.

‘‘The plan is to have all government services on digital platforms. When we took over the government, only 350 government services were available online,’’ added Owalo.

He said the digitization of government services will reduce bureaucracy, curb corruption and enhance efficiency.

‘‘It will no longer be necessary for the members of the public to visit government offices for services. They will do it from the comfort of their homes and eliminate cartels .We do not want to have a situation where technocrats demand bribes,’’ Owalo said.

Owalo also disclosed that the government is collaborating with some private companies to provide cheaper smartphones to Kenyans.

‘‘We are aware of the challenges of smartphones and the government is intervening to have phones that go for Sh5,000 in the next two months,’’ he said.

The CS called on Kenyans to support the government and give it ample time to deliver on its pledges.

He was accompanied by Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Alfred Mutua who said free Wifi will connect youths to inline jobs.

Also present were area MP Vincent Musyoka and County Commissioner Josephine Ouko.

  1. By Roselyne Kavoo

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