The Kenya National Digital Master Plan for the next decade (2022 to 2032) has since been released for national consumption. It is an extensive document that was released during the start of the ongoing (and ending today) Connected Kenya Summit 2022. The plan was revealed in the presence of several key ICT dignitaries and stakeholders in the country, including ICT CS Joe Mucheru and his PS, Jerome Ochieng’.
As we discussed in yesterday’s piece, the plan is based on four primary pillars: digital infrastructure, which we explored in the same story; digital government services, products, and data management; digital innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital business; and digital skills.
However, what has been done so far in terms of imparting key digital skills to locals, and what is the plan for the people in that direction?
While more work needs to be done in expanding digital skills access to Kenyans, it doesn’t mean that some strides have not been made.
For context and housekeeping purposes, Kenya’s population is near 50 million people (47.6 million according to the 2019 census). This is up from 39 million people that were counted in 2010.
The jump in the number of people has been a challenge for the government, especially in terms of job creation for young people, who constitute 72 percent of the population.
More than 2.5 million Kenyans are actively searching for job opportunities, an 18.2% rise in the number of unemployed Kenyans over the last decade.
Kenya is also, and only able to inject 800K job opportunities each year against an unemployed population of 7 million locals.
Furthermore, young people, women, the elderly and minorities, and people with disabilities are among the groups that are most affected by the digital transformation, bearing in mind that they constitute the lion’s share of the overall population.
“Some of the challenges that perpetuate digital exclusion amongst these marginalized groups include, but are not limited to: cost of access, skills, lack of content, poor connectivity, information gaps, and limited mobility, limited ownership, and control of assets, as well as safety and security concerns,” reads part of the plan.
Existing Digital Skills Programs
There are programs that have been developed by the government to expand digital literacy across the state, but they are not limited to the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP).
Nonetheless, the following developments have been made so far:
- Young people are currently actively engaged in digital skills development through PDTP Graduate Internship; online jobs through the Ajira Digital initiative; and incubating innovative ideas through the Whitebox initiative. These are programs that have been running for more than a decade and have imparted ICT skills to thousands of Kenyans.
- The Government says it has built a capacity of 92,000 youths under the Ajira initiative and currently over 1.2 million working on digital and digitally-enabled jobs, 2100 Presidential Digital talent graduates Trainees, and with over 15000 civil servants trained.
- Through DLP, the government has distributed over 1.1 million learners’ devices to over 22,000 public primary schools and these benefited over 3 million learners at basic primary for grades 1-3.
- There are over 228,000 teachers trained on the utilization of technology in learning and over 47000 teacher’s devices distributed in primary schools.
- More than 24,000 primary schools have been connected with electricity to enable the use of technology in schools.
- Konza Technopolis launched the Konza Innovation Ecosystem Initiative which seeks to enable Kenyans undertaking innovation in different parts of the country to find the support needed to scale. According to the Master Plan, the program has advanced several initiatives impacting over 5000 youth in skills development, innovation incubation, and acceleration from all 47 counties since 2018 in partnership with other actors in the country.
These developments have been echoed by the ICT Joe Mucheru in all his presentations at the summit.
“To create job opportunities for the Youth and spur local manufacturing and growth of SMEs, the Master Plan proposes the establishment of two software factories and another two electronic manufacturing factories that will service Kenya and the region. It is estimated that these two factories will hire over 10,000 software engineers among others,” says CS Joe Mucheru.