By Bob Aston
Deputy President H.E William Samoei Ruto has said that Kenya is determined to bridge the gap between possibility and achievement in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The Deputy president made the remarks while opening the Global ICT capacity Building Symposium (CBS) themed:” Embracing capacity building opportunities in the digital era” that is taking place at Safari Park Hotel and Casino in Nairobi on September 6-8, 2016.
|Participants at the Global ICT Capacity Building Symposium following proceedings|
He said that the 2016 Kenya Economic Survey indicated that the value of ICT output expanded from 259 million shillings in 2014 to 280 million in 2015. In addition, this year’s projection indicates that the sector will contribute at least 8 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“There are young people across the country doing phenomenal work and rolling out important apps, websites and solutions that are transforming our society into an easier one to live, work and prosper,” said the Deputy President.
He said that ICT is the enabling sector towards the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals and Vision 2030 in Kenya. In addition, the more connected people are, the higher the likelihood of more innovation and transformation.
He noted that various sectors in the economy like finance, health, education, agriculture and the government are quickly embracing technology to enable dissemination of information, enhancement of service delivery and effective reach to customers.
He noted that mobile technology has revolutionized financial inclusion with two out of three adult Kenyans being part of the formal financial ecosystem. This phenomenon has up-ended the traditional business models of financial institutions and retail outlets.
“As a country, we have embraced ICTs because of our firm belief in their transformative power. Kenya's ICT sector is vibrant, ambitious, and innovative, and is underpinned by sound and progressive National ICT Policy,” said the Deputy President.
On his part, Mr. Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology said that the mobile and internet connectivity currently stands at 89.2 and 87.2 percent in the Country while more than 78 percent of Kenyans have access to 3G services.
He said that his ministry is reviewing the National ICT Sector Policy in consultation with stakeholders. The revised ICT policy will drive the pace of ICT innovations in the country and resonate with the rapid technological advances, changing public needs and evolving global trends.
He touched on the government’s initiative in producing quality ICT leaders in public service through the Presidential Digital Talent Program (PDTP). This year the project has overseen the recruitment of 400 ICT management trainees who are now working in both the public and private sectors.
He emphasized on the importance of the Digital Literacy Program (DLP), which aims to build 21st century skills amongst primary school students through use of digital technologies in education.
The Symposium has brought together stakeholders across 70 Countries to discuss trends and developments in the sector and their implications for human and institutional capacity building.
The outcome of the Symposium will provide strategic guidance to the national and international community on capacity building in the field of ICT, and on strengthening collaboration among the global ICT capacity building community.