ICT Ministry Seeks to Recognize ‘Gig’ Economy in Draft Digital Strategy

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The Ministry of ICT and Youth Affairs has drafted the Digital Economy Strategy.

The first draft went live a few weeks ago. It is developed following Kenya’s adoption of the Digital Economy Blueprint for Africa that was launched by President Kenyatta in May 2019.

The strategy has been developed collaboratively between the public and private sector. Should it be approved, it will be implemented collaboratively too.


On the whole, the strategy is based on six pillars: Digital Government, Digital Business, Infrastructure, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Digital Skills and Values and Digital Inclusion.

The strategy also focuses on the following key themes: Integrated Ecosystem, Data, Emerging Trends, Green ICT, Security and, Policy and Regulatory Framework.

The pillars and themes have been developed to take advantage of the nation’s digital economy.

Digital Government

The pillar aims to facilitate the improvement of public service delivery through automation and digitization. The wheels on this sector are already rolling with services such as iTax, the ongoing NIIMS exercise (Huduma Namba), TIMS and the e-citizen platform, to mention a few.

The digital government seeks to attend to the following areas:

  • Integrated front-end and back-end government systems.
  • Centralized data infrastructure/sources for enhanced government planning and enhanced efficiency in service delivery.
  • Expanded e-government services.
  • Enhanced transparency and accountability in public service delivery through ICT.
  • Citizen-centric services.

Digital Business

The cornerstone of a digital economy is a vibrant marketplace that leverages technology to ensure that residents and business can trade goods, information and other products. The space is broad, and covers sectors such as digital financial services and mobile money infrastructure, mobile apps, SACCOs, to mention a few.

The pillar seeks to focus on the following elements: digital trade, digital financial services and digital content.

Infrastructure

This pillar is fronted as a system that recognizes the relationship between a robust infrastructure and the delivery of digital services. The draft mentions major infrastructure networks such as National Addressing System, Logistics (Airports, Ports, Railways, Postal and Courier services), appropriate and affordable devices, enabling utilities (roads, power, water etc.) and management of Digital Assets.

Its focus areas are”

  • Robust ICT infrastructure and Connectivity.
  • Devices.
  • Data Standards.
  • Logistics infrastructure.
  • Integrated ICT infrastructure development.

Innovation-driven Entrepreneurship

Its focus areas include:

  • Efficiency gains in the innovation system through collaborative mechanisms.
  • SME multiplier effects afforded by the application of technology.
  • Fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in innovators both within formal education and within the society to turn ideas into scalable and sustainable businesses.
  • Increased availability of seed capital, angel investment, venture capital, to provide capital for research and development and for investments.
  • Fiscal and other incentives (including subsidies and waivers), for ICT-centric local innovations for companies involved in production of digital products.
  • Support for business models that leverage on both open access and intellectual property systems.
  • Strengthened incubators and accelerators for innovation.

Digital Skills and Values

Focus areas have been split into three areas:

  • Basic skills – are fundamental skills that enable the populace to function at a minimum level in society and are the foundational skills for performing basic task.
  • Intermediate skills – enable the use of digital technologies in an even more meaningful and beneficial manner, including the ability to critically evaluate technology or create content.
  • Advanced skills – acquired through advanced formal education, but also through other channels for learning, such as coding boot camps, that are viable options for many countries.

Digital Inclusion


This focus area reiterates what the people have always known for an extended period, the youth, women, minorities, the elderly, rural communities and persons with disability are disproportionately affected by digital transformation of the economy.

The pillar seeks to revitalize the narrative by revising the approach to digital inclusion via the following focus areas:

  • Establish an Inclusive ICT Development Ecosystem.
  • Revise or Establish Existing Legal Framework to Support Youth Participation in the Digital Economy.

Presently, various ‘gig economy’ platforms have been expanding in, and into, Kenya, facilitating 677, 9613 digital/online workers and thousands more engaging in digitally-enabled work, such as ride hailing taxi drivers, and providing accountability and traceability to jobs which previously would have been exclusively in the informal sector. However, the ICT sector target, to contribute over 10% to the country’s GDP remains unachieved as the sector has so far only been able to reach 2%. This has been attributed to a number of factors and challenges that include slow adoption of the use of digital services, underdevelopment of the ecosystem for creation of local content, lack of access of broadband connectivity, and skills gaps.

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