President Uhuru Kenyatta officiated the launch of Ken’sya Digital Economy Blueprint at the fifth Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
The blueprint, whose vision is stated as: “A digitally empowered citizenry, living in a digitally enabled society”, seeks to provide a conceptual framework adopted by Kenya in its quest towards the realization of a successful and sustainable digital economy.
The blueprint defines the digital economy as “the entirety of sectors that operate using digitally-enabled communications and networks leveraging the internet, mobile and other technologies” irrespective of industry. This is the first time the Government is making an attempt to formulate structure around the digital economy.
When launching the blueprint, the President said: “Africa is at the cast of a major transformation. Unlike the rest of the world we have a young vibrant, innovative population that is breeding immense potential and we are the new frontier for trade and innovation with estimates indicating that by 2023 business opportunities will stand at an average US$ 5.6trillion.
Of importance according to the President Kenya is the need to have devolved platforms for driving this collective destiny of our prosperity. “Fundamental elements of this economic prosperity and our journey forward will be technology. And it gives us the means to circumvent deficit of current physical infra as well as institutional capability and also enables us to leapfrog,” the President averred.
The blue print comprises five pillars – Digital Government, Digital Business, Infrastructure, Innovation-driven entrepreneurship and Digital skills and values.
President Kenyatta further emphasized the importance of a verifiable legal digital identity saying only a few African countries have made progress in developing digital ID systems as a unique identifier for their citizens. Unfortunately, this hinders the ability to fully exploit the opportunities of the digital economy which relies heavily on trust. “The adoption of robust digital ID systems will mitigate the low level of trust between different actors in the digital chain and in particular it will promote business to customer e-commerce”, he concluded.
Compilation of the blueprint was spearheaded by the National Communication Secretariat (NCS) under the Ministry of ICT with support from other government ministries and agencies including the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Education, the National Treasury and the Communication Authority among others. Some of the private sector contributors included Safaricom, Cisco, DellEMC, Telkom, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), the Technology Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK) and the Kenya Education Network (KENET).