Grasping a digital economy for Kenya

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Kenya’s digital future holds a tremendous potential which when tapped, will help soar its development and economic growth, even making it an AI hub for Africa.

This is the apparent message passed during the first day of an ICT conference, hosted by Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTAnet) in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. The conference, held in the country, is set to end on Friday 14th September 14, 2018 and will be discussing the framework for digital markets in Kenya.

Statistics show that the ICT sector expanded by 10% in 2016 and 22% in 2017 in Kenya while contributing to a 1.6% of the GDP. It further illustrates an internet penetration of 85% in the country. This makes eCommerce and digital services stand out as the strongest elements of the country’s economic development.

This indicates that the country’s digital economy has room to grow and attract substantial venture capital interest. The venture capital would in turn help grow new businesses that will consequently contribute to the country’s gross domestic product.

ICT in Education

An ICT inclusive education system will achieve fitness to the country’s digital economic space. The inclusive system will enhance quality of education over the normal quantity so that a trainer attends few trainees but to whom they can render full attention and support as opposed to flocking many learners for one trainer who then offers no personalized or rather customized attention.

Tertiary education should also incorporate technology lessons that will equip learners with strong vocational skills to make them competent with market demand skills. Academic institutions should also enhance training analytics AI.

License ICT players

To increase ICT access and decrease the gaps in ICT skills, the Communication Authority of Kenya should issue lincenses to more ICT firms in the country. This will not only help in promoting e-Governance, it will also strengthen competion of innovation in the industry and develop the business process outsourcing (BPO) and information technology enabled services (ITES). The two will generate income to the economy and create employment opportunities.

Open Data

Kenya has a high score for the absorption of technology giving it a strong latent potential for economic growth. Using anonymized data from public databases, the country can spur innovation that will enhance analytics.  These analytics would then help evaluate the performance of technology in improving the economic growth. Set a regulatory virtual space in which new software or coding can be run securely in the country.

 Female empowerment

The contribution of women into the ICT sector will help mentoring the tech space which will in turn propel the ICT industry. This will also reduce gender stereotyping against women in ICT, owing that women have proved to have a relatively high labor force participation rate compared to their male counterparts.

Though digital development is not a likely substitute for industrialization in Kenya, it can provide an important catalyst for the country’s development and revenue source to fund economic progress.

 

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