Kenya's digitisation plan is aligned to SDG 8, Bottom-Up agenda

Fiber optic cable

A worker lays a fiber optic cable in Nyeri town on August 18, 2020. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

As Kenya embarks on a transformative journey, the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Digital Economy takes pride in leading at this pivotal time.

Our mandate focuses on leveraging digital technology for inclusive growth and aligns with the Kenya Kwanza government's ambitious Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (Beta) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The country's digital transformation, under the leadership of President William Ruto, is a technological revolution. But it is also pivotal in fostering the ideals under SDG 8, which focuses on promoting consistent, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Through the expansion of digital infrastructure, fostering digital literacy and creating economic opportunities, we are laying the groundwork for a future where every Kenyan thrives in the Digital Age.

Key to our mission is the expansion of digital connectivity. In partnership with the World Bank and others, we are embarking on a plan to add 100,000 kilometres of digital connectivity and rejuvenate the National Optical Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI). This is more than an infrastructure project; it's a lifeline connecting the most remote areas of the country to the global digital economy.

Digital connectivity is a right, not a privilege, and crucial for promoting decent work and economic growth. Therefore, beyond the fibreoptic backbone, the establishment of 247 digital hubs and 518 public Wi-Fi hotspots in all 47 counties democratises access to digital resources, empowering communities and creating employment opportunities. 

Digitising 16,691 government services redefines citizen-government interaction, advancing the Kenya Kwanza agenda’s focus on effective governance and contributing to inclusive economic growth.

On youth development, initiatives such as the Jitume Digital Enablement and the Ajira Digital programmes equip over 390,000 young people with vital ICT skills. Collaborating with mobile network operators to produce low-cost digital devices supports digital entrepreneurship, fostering innovation and economic growth. The Open University of Kenya, a digital learning platform, transforms education accessibility.

While celebrating milestones, we acknowledge challenges. The gig economy, while offering flexibility and new opportunities, also brings to the fore issues of job security and fair wages. We are committed to creating a balanced ecosystem where innovation thrives alongside the protection of workers' rights.

Looking ahead, we continue to explore emerging technologies like AI and blockchain. These technologies are not just about keeping up with global trends, they are about reimagining the future of Kenya's economy, governance, and society.

Our united efforts must be unwaveringly directed towards steering Kenya into a digital future that epitomises ambition, inclusivity and sustainability. This journey signifies a transformative leap in establishing a resilient digital economy that benefits every Kenyan.

In this era, digital technology transcends its role as a mere tool, emerging as a pivotal force for inclusive growth and development. This transformative phase demands more than just technological advancements; it calls for elevating the digital skills of every Kenyan, enabling them to navigate the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities of our times.

Mr Owalo is the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication and the Digital Economy.