Use technology to spur economic growth at county level


Kenya has experienced tremendous growth in various sectors, but there is untapped potential across the country. To unlock this potential and spur inclusive economic development, county governments should integrate technology into service delivery and growing economic activity.

With rapid advancements in the digital landscape, leveraging technology presents a golden opportunity for counties to foster efficiencies in service delivery, attract investments, boost own-source revenue mobilisation and enhance the lives of their citizens.

One of the key avenues for spurring economic growth is through efficient and transparent service delivery. County governments can harness technology to streamline administrative processes and create a digital platform for e-governance.

By implementing e-government services, counties have an opportunity to enhance efficiency in revenue collection, combat corruption, and ensure better allocation of resources. A user-friendly online platform can also encourage citizen engagement and foster trust in local authorities, promoting a conducive environment for economic growth.

Technology incubation hubs have become engines of innovation and growth in various economies. County governments can support investment in these hubs to nurture local talent, startups, and entrepreneurs including through the Universal Service Fund.

By providing access to co-working spaces, mentorship, funding opportunities, and advanced technologies, these incubators will help develop cutting-edge solutions tailored to local challenges. Supporting homegrown tech startups will not only create employment opportunities but also foster a culture of innovation that can boost economic diversification and attract investors. A solid digital infrastructure is the backbone of any technology-driven economy. The national government can increase investment in building and expanding broadband networks to ensure reliable internet connectivity.

The 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census estimates internet access in urban areas at 42.5 per cent and rural areas at 13.7 per cent hence the need for more investment. High-speed internet access will facilitate communication, enable remote work opportunities, and expand markets for local businesses. Additionally, investment in smart city initiatives, such as iInternet-enabled infrastructure and data-driven urban planning, can optimise resource management, enhance public services, and improve overall living standards.

Agriculture contributes 21 per cent of gross domestic product, and technology can revolutionise this sector towards strengthening food and nutrition security. County governments can support agri-tech initiatives by promoting the adoption of precision farming, digital supply chains, and market access platforms.

Such measures have the potential to enhance productivity, reduce post-harvest losses, and ensure fair prices for farmers. Moreover, incorporating blockchain technology in agriculture provides an opportunity to boost transparency, providing buyers with confidence in the authenticity and quality of agricultural products, thus opening up new export opportunities.

Mr Duba is a communications officer at Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis