The taskforce on Distributed Ledgers Technology and Artificial Intelligence has released its much anticipated report which could transform the country into a technological giant.
Speaking on Thursday while receiving the report, Information Communications and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary (CS) Joe Mucheru said that after going through the report, he found it good and having looked at all the opportunities that “we are going to have as a country and the ability it has to tackle our main problems like corruption and election disputes”.
“I feel it is a report I can forward to the President comfortably knowing that it covers the many important areas that we as a country must address for technology to move us forward,” said Mucheru. I have been sued for not releasing the report. People can now know officially that the report has been handed over to me and that we can now release it to the country and to the world,” said the CS.
Mucheru said that he is excited by some of the proposals in the report like the likelihood of having an electronic election come 2022. “This means that by midnight of the Election Day we can know who has won, which will be great if it comes to pass,” he added.
“The great challenge is now passing the information to the political class and explaining to them how this is going to work. If people can be able to trust technology like M-pesa then we should also trust technology to deliver free, fair and transparent elections,” posed Mucheru.
The CS highlighted that the taskforce wants the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge to become the governor of the digital currency for the world and from the learnings and experience from M-pesa, there is no reason why “we should not be able to export that to the rest of the world.”
“These are the recommendations that have come from the industry and we will support it. We will put the report to the public and hope we can get a lot of feedback from them so that we can give the direction as government,” said Mucheru.
Mucheru hailed the report’s recommendation to have a digital register saying that if someone has charged their land title deed with one bank and want to get a better interest rate from another bank then they don’t have to go through the same process again since one bank can pass the information to the next one making it easy to get loans, mortgages and other financial services.
“The adoption of technology as detailed in the report will lead to the creation of many job. As a country we are leading especially in the field of freelancers and being able to provide the skilled manpower for many of the Artificial Intelligence companies globally and many of them have set up shops here creating hundreds of thousands of jobs for our youth,” said Mucheru.
Taskforce on the Distributed Ledgers Technology and Artificial Intelligence chairman Dr. Bitange Ndemo said that in Kenya there are several companies that have begun adopting these technologies and they are solving real problems.
“We have been having problems with elections in Kenya and through the creation of the Huduma Namba the developing of the trusted identity will help in the creation of many solutions,” Ndemo said.
He explained that political parties will be receiving the election results as they stream in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and by the time the results are announced the political parties will have known the winner, thus reducing electoral disputes.
“We can also use Block chain and AI to deal with issues around corruption, for example if IFMIS can use the technology we can eliminate corruption since other organizations like the Auditor General can be able to see the transactions real time and stop the theft of funds before it happens instead of chasing already stolen funds,” explained Ndemo.
He added that issue of food safety like the recent contamination of meat can be handled by technology since there will be traceability of products from production to consumption.
The government spokesperson Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna said that Block chain and AI technology is tamper proof and key in enhancing government processes.
“The report is based on instruction by the president to the CS to put together a task force mandated to look at block chain and AI and to see how the country can be able to move in the direction which the rest of the world is moving,” said Oguna.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a