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Govt to revise labour laws for digital economy job creation

The government, through the State Department for Industry, has assured of its commitment to collaborate with industry stakeholders to address gaps in the country’s labour laws that are hindering job creation in the growing digital economy.

During a site visit to the Sama operating hub, State Department for Industry Principal Secretary Dr. Juma Mukhawana assured of a closer working relationship with Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry stakeholders to address gaps in the labour laws and to prime the rapidly evolving digital economy to create jobs for the youth, in line with the Kenya Kwanza administration’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).

The PS said that the Government acknowledged that current labour laws were formulated in 2007, a time when the digital economy had not been fully envisioned, but now the Government is keen to work with the private sector to modify the laws to align with the realities of the present-day digital economy.

“To fully harness Kenya’s potential, the Government acknowledges the need to identify and address challenges that currently inhibit the creation of jobs within the digital sector. The plan is to work with the industry to create an enabling environment for businesses operating in the digital economy,” stated Mukhawana.

Sama firm Director of Global Service Delivery, Ms. Lilian Kiplangat, observed that as Kenya forges ahead into the digital era, the partnership between the Government and industry stakeholders marks a significant milestone in propelling the nation towards becoming a digital powerhouse and a key player in the global digital economy.

“The digital economy is a catalyst for job creation and economic advancement in Kenya. At Sama, with the right operating environment, we have the potential to create thousands of jobs by 2024. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the Government to develop clear and progressive policies that foster a conducive business environment for the digital economy to ensure it remains competitive on a global scale,” said Kiplang’at.

In recent years, the digital economy has emerged as a transformative force globally due to a pool of talent and good infrastructure.

Kenya has continued to attract global tech companies, including Sama; however, challenges to some labour laws hold the industry back from reaching its optimal potential.

The global BPO market is estimated to be valued at more than US$ 262 billion, with African countries continuing to emerge as the next BPO growth frontiers. Further, the BPO sector is crucial in developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems that power the automotive, retail, agricultural, and food technology sectors.

Sama, a firm which provides data annotation solutions that power the AI models of the future, has been in Kenya for the last 15 years and continues to provide quality formal jobs for Kenyans, providing value chain AI solutions for self-driving cars, virtual reality gaming consoles, fashion segmentation, and agricultural solutions for crop disease protection.

By Michael Omondi

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