President Uhuru Kenyatta today addressed the Nation at parliament buildings and key among the issues mentioned was the value of ICT in the economy. Last month during the ICT Innovation forum, the president lauded the role ICT continues to play in creation of employment. The president also directed various government ministries and departments to buy local ICT solutions.
In today’s address, the President reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the laptop project. The government has released over 1.2 Billion to facilitate the construction of ICT Hardware storage rooms, and more than 2,500 teachers have undergone ICT training. This action will provide a qualified workforce that guarantees the swift rollout of the Laptop Project.
The president also touched on the thorny issue of the digital migration which last month saw three major media houses in the country shut off for three weeks in protest of the migration. He stated that 70% of the areas previously covered by analogue TV to digital TV broadcasting have since migrated. The target is to migrate the remaining 30% by 30th March 2015. The President talked of the opportunities available with digital TV which include high quality television, enabled more television channels, driven down the barriers to entry, and created more entrepreneurial and employment opportunities from the creation of local content.
The president also applauded Kenya’s leadership in mobile money transactions which stood at 2.1 trillion shillings in 2014 accounting for nearly 50% of global mobile money transactions. “These startling statistics, coupled with the total number of mobile phones, exceeding one for every citizen, means that Kenya is at the global frontier of mobile technology”, he added.
The president also spoke of the gains made with E-government such as the launch of the IPRS that allows service delivery, business processing and security for the government banking, telecoms, insurance and other sectors of our economy. He also spoke of the e-Citizen Government Services Portal that allows for the renewal of driving licenses, business-name searches and registration of marriages, passport applications, and official land searches in Nairobi.
The role being played by incubators such as iHub and Nailab in promoting innovation was also underscored. The president also urged government ministries and agencies, and the private sector to explore and support these home-grown innovations.