May 15th 2019

By Cheruiyot Korir

President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on Governments,businesses and individuals in the Continent to adapt to realities of the growing digital technologies and leverage on the platform to enhance productivity, enhance economic inclusion and promote innovation.

Presidents Kenyatta said the digital space offer immense future possibilities to Africa as the technologies become the cornerstone of the daily lives of people of the Continent.

Speaking at the opening of the Transform Africa Summit in Rwanda today Presidents noted that Africa was a global leader in some of the most advanced applications such as the MPESA technology , a world renowned revolutionary mobile money ecosystem pioneered by Kenya.

The Head of State said the Mpesa technology has radically transformed businesses and increased financial inclusion and spurred economic growth. The Presidents observed that new industries are being created for new products and services, both for the Kenyan market accessible global market.

He said the adoption of new technologies is also generating well-paying jobs for people of all qualifications and leading to improved quality of life, increased connectedness among other auxiliary benefits to consumers.

However, the President noted that, although the technologies bring great opportunities, the platform also introduce new threats. He said people of Africa must work together and sieze the advantages of technolgy to bridge divisions and provide equal opportunities. He explained that there should be no disparities in access to technology and information amongst the rich and poor or those in urban and rural areas.

Presidents Kenyatta said while Africa’s digital revolution has been impressive, the continent still has more unexploited potential. He urged African government to focus on targeted interventions spur faster economic growth, generate innovations and services, create jobs and become internationally competitive. He said such advancements can be achieved through formulation of enabling policies and creation of friendly investment climate and effective digital infrastructure

The President observed that, as a strong proponent of the SMART Africa Alliance, and a champion for Digital Economy, Kenya has developed a Digital Economy Blueprint for Africa aimed at accelerating Africa’s Digital Economy. The President said, the document that was launched today, critically outlines the opportunities and the challenges to maximize the benefits offered by digital economy. He said, the document highlights the significant work across Government, private sector, civil society, businesses, academia among other areas. He added that the Blueprint is aimed at among many other things, fast tracking development plans in the continent, identifies action required to enable all African citizens and residents to thrive in a global digital economy.

He said key recommendations in the Blueprint include reliable and ultra-fast broadband service as key to unlocking the potential of the digital economy and a fast, and inexpensive internet connectivity for African businesses and households to unlock the potential of the digital economy. The head of State said, the document also provides recommendations on measures to enhance competition in the broadband market, upgrade existing infrastructure for lower prices and better quality, and improve access to Internet for rural communities.

On some of the digital development in Kenya, the presidents said the government has embarked on the implementation of a Digital Identification referred to as the “Huduma Namba”. He said the number that will be given to each registered Kenyan is unique and verifiable through digital Identity. He said the digital transformation strategy efforts are aimed at moving Kenyans into a smart government where all payments will be cashless. He said the digital transformation will reduce costs, eliminating corruption and increase efficiency and effectiveness.

President Kenyatta said Kenya is ready to partner with other countries to share experiences in the digital transformation. He called on collaboration to ensue citizens of the continent reap the full benefits of new technologies. He urged Member states to engage citizens and be flexible and responsive to new opportunities and challenges.