Evaluating Kenya’s new digital economy blueprint

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Kenya has unveiled yet another beautifully crafted policy document to guide adoption of technology in the country.  The new digital economy blueprint was unveiled to investors and guests attending the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. The blueprint themed “powering Kenya’s transformation” moves to harness more uses of ICT to boost Kenya’s economy.

The blueprint was unveiled in the presence of over 4,000 participants among them government bureaucrats, policymakers, innovators and technology investors who are meeting to discuss how ICT resources can be harnessed to boost African economies.

Through the blueprint, the government aims at enhancing the contribution of ICTs to the economy through digital governance solutions, digitizing business processes, facilitating infrastructure delivery, innovation driven entrepreneurship and promotion of digital skills and values.

“We are the new frontier for trade and investment with estimates indicating that by 2025, business opportunities in Africa will be about US$ 5.6 trillion. More importantly, we have evolved platforms for driving this collective destiny of our prosperity,” said President Kenyatta.

Kenya has stood as a great driver of ICT growth in Africa with various initiatives driving economic growth and employment.

According to Cabinet Secretary of Information and Communication JoeMucheru, Kenya stands a great chance of harnesing the use of ICT to create new industries.

“New industries are being created a variety of new products and services, both for the Kenyan and the increasingly accessible global market. The adoption of new technologies is also creating well-paying jobs for professionals of diverse backgrounds, translating into improvement in quality of life, increased connectedness and other auxiliary benefits to citizens.”

This Blueprint relies on a much broader concept and defines the Digital Economy as “the entirety of sectors that operate using digitally-enabled communications and networks leveraging internet, mobile and other technologies”. Digital technologies have been deployed in different parts of national economies for decades, notably in communications networks, but it was the Internet and Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled networks that created a universal platform to form the foundation of the digital economy for all sectors.

Major technologies emanating from Kenya has been driven by private sector and innovation hubs present in the country but are guided by a strong policy framework that has supported innovation.

On electronic commerce, President Kenyatta noted that it would be very difficult to conduct business across Africa without the ability to pay remotely through digital channels. “Indeed, 39% of private enterprises in Kenya are engaged in e-commerce and 70% of all e-commerce payments in Kenya are settled through various mobile money payment platforms,” he said.

Read also: Challenge: Kenya’s smartest ICT students heading to South Africa

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