Cheaper Smartphones and Free Wi-Fi For Kenyans Promise Remains

ICT week Eliud Owalo

Cabinet Secretary of ICT, Eliud Owalo opened this year’s ICT Week by underlining the government’s commitment to digital inclusion for all. CS Owalo noted that the ICT sector is a critical cog for the Kenya Kwanza government to deliver on its promises to Kenya.

Indeed, the theme of the ICT Week, Digital Inclusion: Enhancing Access and Usage of ICTs for All, is aligned with the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA). Essentially, BETA is focused on improving the lives of a greater percentage of the Kenyan population.

Furthermore, the Cabinet Secretary noted the importance of ICT as the government implements a digitization plan.

He stated: “Indeed, the Government recognizes the ICT sector as a cog in our economic engine and has identified priorities through the Government Digital Transformation Agenda (GoDTA).

This agenda seeks to digitize at least 80% of government services in five (5) years, support last-mile fibre connectivity through the deployment of 100,000 kilometers of fibre, 25,000 WIFI hotspots across the country, and ICT hubs in each of the 1,450 Wards in the country.”

Cheaper Smartphones and Data

For Kenyans to access the digitized government services they need smart devices. The Cabinet Secretary stated that they are in active conversations with manufacturers and ICT stakeholders with the aim of developing low-cost smartphones.

The government is also working to lower data costs and avail free Wi-Fi. Obviously, these efforts are meant to enhance Kenyans’ access to ICT services.

“Without access to ICT services, without connectivity, all our efforts would be in vain. By availing free WIFI, for instance, we enable citizens to access government services from wherever they are and leverage online platforms for work and e-commerce.” said Mr. Owalo

Indeed, this is important as we have recently seen Huduma Centre making online bookings mandatory for all its customers.

During the Opening Ceremony of the ICT Week on 17th May 2023 at the Safari Park Hotel & Casino, Nairobi, the CS also said they are working to make smartphones accessible to the elderly and those abled differently.

We must think about how ICT devices can have features that make it easy for our people to make the best out of them and transform their lives,” the Cabinet Secretary stated.

Actualization of these efforts is seen as another step to enhance Digital inclusion in Kenya.

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