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Machakos residents urged to embrace digitization

Residents of Machakos County have been urged to take advantage of the emerging opportunities in the digital economy to create job opportunities for the youth.

Machakos Deputy Governor Francis Mwangangi, speaking during a County Digitization Forum held at a Machakos hotel, said the country must now go back to the drawing board and think of alternative ways of job creation while also empowering businesses to enhance access to capital and make them more innovative and competitive.

The forum was convened by the Ajira Digital Programme in partnership with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), under the theme: Digital Transformation for SMEs and Job Creation for Machakos People.

Mwangangi said that, in line with their campaign manifesto of expanding opportunities and having a working population with a decent living, they were keen to work with several partners, including KEPSA, Mastercard, and the World Bank.

He pointed out that as a county government, they will explore institutional frameworks that support growth and adoption of digital technologies and also partner with the national government through fibre connections, thus creating efficient systems and improving economic growth in Machakos.

“In a period that is engulfed by rapid technological evolution, the ability of government and businesses to adapt and harness digital transformation is critical to societal success,” he said.

On his part, KEPSA Director of Youth Employment and Digital Economy Dr. Ehud Gachugu said part of the work they do is to support the Kenyan Government in the creation of jobs for young people.

Gachugu said that as the private sector, they have a crucial role to play because they work together with county governments, development partners, and other actors in the economy to make sure they are inclusive and driving the agenda as a united front.

He highlighted that they were in Machakos to improve the county’s prospects by digitally transforming businesses using digital technology so that they can become globally competitive, expand their market, and increase job opportunities.

He said they cannot drive any development without the creativity and talent in Machakos because young people have an opportunity to be innovative and solve business problems facing businesses, especially small enterprises, while making sure they are leveraging technology.

“Young people are able to see the world through different lenses and are able to solve complex problems facing businesses, so they are best suited to work together with traders who are willing to take advantage of the globalised market, which can only happen if young people are at the centre of all our discussions,” he added.

The director emphasised that part of their job is also to enable young people to have the right mindset to be job creators and be able to solve problems.

He added that for the Ajira digital programme, they train young people on relevant digital skills such as cybersecurity, software development, and coding, which are relevant for businesses, organisations, and governments.

Other leaders who were present included Machakos town MCA and majority leader Nzioka Wangondi, Chief Officer for ICT Ian Obare, and his digital economy counterpart Sheikh Ifran.

By Anne Kangero

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