Kenyans should expect to start receiving their Huduma number in a months’ time, Information Communications and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary (CS), Joe Mucheru has announced.
Mucheru said that in a months’ time or so the government will start issuing out the unique huduma namba for every individual who was registered and added this will be followed by the issuance of the electronic card which will consolidate information on all the other cards issued by different government bodies.
“Huduma Namba is aimed at helping the government improve on service delivery and ensuring that the right people get the right services,” explained Mucheru.
He said that Huduma number has been implemented in other countries like in USA, UK, India, Estonia and even Ghana.
Speaking on Wednesday during the Nairobi Innovation Week, Mucheru said that innovation and embracing the digital changes is the only way for Kenya to succeed in its vision.
“According to an Oxford report Kenya is the most ready country in Africa to embrace Artificial Intelligence and the President is proud of these achievements when he recently launched the digital economy blueprint for Kenya and Africa in Kigali Rwanda during the Transform Africa event,” said Mucheru.
He said that the association of expatriates in the world called inter-nations that analyses all the countries and recommends which are the best places to live in the world as an expatriate, voted Kenya as the best in digital life in Africa.
“Inter-nations cited the speed of the internet, adoption of innovation and freedom of internet usage as some of the advantages Kenya has over her competitors,” said Mucheru.
The CS said, “In my exhibition tour today, I have seen great innovations like one where you take a blood sample and within minutes you can tell whether someone has malaria or not, there is another one where coconut husks are used to make briquettes so that we don’t have to cut down our trees.”
Mucheru called on the media to highlight the many brilliant innovations coming up in the country which will be a positive move away from the gloomy kind of news that Kenyans have been subjected to recently.
He assured innovators that the government will protect Kenyan innovations and commercialise them so that the youth will not have to sell their innovations for peanuts just because they need money to survive.
The Education Cabinet Secretary (CS), Prof. George Magoha said that universities have lost the purpose for which they were created where instead of professors engaging in research and innovations to grow the country there are lecturers teaching theory from one university to another.
“Harvard for example was started in 1636 and up to today only admits 60, 000 students out of a pool of about 500, 000 contrary to some of our universities which take hundreds of thousands. It is not a must for everybody to go to university for us to succeed as a country,” posed Magoha.
Magoha challenged universities to come up with local innovations which can boost the Big 4 agenda saying, “We need to innovate standardised items like doors and locks which the jua kali can produce locally to be used in the affordable housing agenda.”
The Public Service Youth and Gender Cabinet Secretary (CS), Prof. Margaret Kobia said that innovation will provide solutions to unique and complex issues like the bulging unemployed youthful population, demand for good governance and the need for human rights approach to service delivery.
She cited huduma centers as the government’s move to embrace technology and innovation in efficient service delivery saying that almost 100 different services are now available under one roof.
“Once you start an innovation you have to continuously build on it or it will become obsolete, to this effect we realized that huduma centres are located in major towns in all the 47 counties and not everyone is able to travel to the county headquarters and so we came up with Huduma mashinani where we go to where the people are,” explained Prof. Kobia.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a