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State calls for partnership with private investors in funding digital projects

Cabinet Secretary for Information Communication and the Digital Economy Eliud Owalo has called upon the private sector and investors to come on board and put in resources in revamping digital projects.

Owalo said investing in projects like the Konza Technopolis will make it better for Kenyans to benefit and realize their IT related goals.

He further emphasized on a symbiotic working relationship between the government and the private sector asking them to channel resources that will help the government fast track its policies and implementation of digitizing its operations.

He said the state will go out of its way to facilitate partnerships with investors to achieve the dream of Kenya being ICT sufficient.

Speaking during a high-level consultative meeting between the Council of Governor’s (CoG) ICT and Knowledge Management Committee, Senate Standing Committee on ICT and Sector Partners in Mombasa, Owalo said that the government has sufficient pilot projects that need funding for them to be operational.

“The mutual relationship will go a long way to achieving the mandate of digitizing the country. The agenda of this meeting is to facilitate discussions between the two levels of government and key stakeholders on the strategies for adopting ICT and identifying opportunities in the sector,” he said.

The CS noted that Kenya has made a major step in service delivery whereby a total of 5700 services are boarded on the E-citizen platform with initial emphasis on KRA services, health services, creative economy, E-learning and digital business platforms.

The CS also pointed out that digital entrepreneurship is another important element to be embraced in the digitalization of the economy adding that the government’s efforts to leverage on technology will make the country a producer of both computer hardware and software.

“We have partnered with the private sector so that in the not-so-distant future we are soon going to locally assemble smart enabled phones available in the Kenyan market at a unit cost of about Sh. 4000,” he said.

Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ministry of Information Communication and The Digital Economy Eliud Owalo (R), Chairperson, ICT and Knowledge management CoG Wesley Rotich (L) and Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo in consultation on the sidelines of the high-level meeting between the Council of Governors (CoG) ICT committee, Senate standing committee on ICT and sector partners. Photos by Andrew Hinga

Owalo added that the state will soon unveil a smart university which will produce technological graduates who will be responsive to the demands of the market.

Chairperson, ICT and Knowledge Management Committee, Council of Governors, Wisley Rotich said that the Ministry of Information Communication & the Digital Economy in collaboration with the County Governments will expedite the full roll-out of 100,000 kilometers of fiber optic network within the digital superhighway to ensure realization of last mile internet connectivity across the counties.

Rotich said that the counties have committed to work hand in hand with both the national government and private investors to provide the much-needed resources.

According to Rotich, who is the Elgeyo Marakwet governor, the devolved units have collaborated with the ministry to establish a minimum of two WIFI hotspots per county by end of June 2023 to target bus termini and markets.

“The two levels of government will leverage on partnerships with the private sector and other development partners in digitizing and rebranding of the existing TVETs including vocational training centers and youth friendly institutions to help bridge the skills gap, improve quality and relevance of training and enhance their employability,” he said

In order to promote the growth of Information Communications and digital economy in Kenya, the national and county governments have pledged to create a conducive technological environment to enhance service delivery for all Kenyans.

Furthermore, the two levels of government have agreed to collaborate closely with key stakeholders in the advancement of the digital economy through a consultative approach.

By Fatuma Said

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