Huawei DigiTruck training helps boost income, employment and entrepreneurship in Kenya

Cabinet Secretary ICT Eliud Owalo and Huawei Kenya Deputy CEO Steven Zhang unveil the Huawei DigiTruck Impact Report along with ICT Ministers from Lesotho, Sahrawi and South Sudan; PS ICT John Tanui along with PSs from Malawi, Sahrawi, South Sudan and Zimbabwe; and the Chair of the Communications Authority. [Courtesy, Huawei]

On the last day of the Connected Africa Summit 2024 held in Nairobi, the Kenyan government and Huawei Kenya launched an independent evaluation report of digital skills training provided by the DigiTruck program.

 The unveiling of the DigiTruck Impact Report was presided over by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital Economy Eliud Owalo and Huawei Kenya Deputy CEO Steven Zhang. The launch was also attended by Information, Communication & Technology (ICT) Ministers from Lesotho, Sahrawi and South Sudan; Principal Secretary (PS) ICT John Tanui along with his peers from Malawi, Sahrawi, South Sudan and Zimbabwe; Chair of the Communications Authority, and CEO of the ICT Authority. Accompanying the government officials were Huawei Deputy CEO for Public Affairs, Steven Zhang, MD for Enterprise Business Kevin Wen, Ian Korir, the Huawei DigiTruck Project Manager and youth who have been trained on the DigiTruck.

“To facilitate optimal uptake of digital infrastructure it is imperative that we have commensurate level of digital skilling; that is why this DigiTruck program comes in handy because through this program we are able to reach very remote areas that ordinarily we would not access for purposes of digital skilling. So we want to thank Huawei for this innovative digital skilling program and we want to assure you that we will continue working with you in the program of digital skilling as we roll out our digital transformation agenda” said Mr. Owalo.

Positive impact on beneficiaries

Launched in 2019 in Kenya under Huawei’s TECH4ALL initiative, the DigiTruck is a mobile, solar-powered classroom equipped with Internet connectivity, laptops, and smartphones. Converted from a used shipping container mounted on the back of a truck, the DigiTruck travels to remote communities in Kenya, providing free training in digital skills to youth, empowering them to participate more fully in the digital economy.

ICT CS Eliud Owalo along with his Lesotho, Sahrawi and South Sudan counterparts,  PSs, Chair of the Communications Authority and CEO of the ICT Authority during the launch of the DigiTruck program. [Courtesy, Huawei]

Each course lasts 40 hours, and provides training in digital skills and soft skills like starting an online business, writing resumes, and applying for jobs online. A survey of 800 of the 4,000+ youth trained over four years revealed significant positive tangible outcomes for beneficiaries. Some of the key findings are; 

  • 93% of respondents reported enhanced work capabilities.
  • 79% stated that they passed on their digital skills to others in their communities, fostering a culture of empowerment.
  • Respondents reported a 6% decline in the unemployment rate and a 7% decline in self-employment.
  • 35% of respondents attribute an income boost due to starting a business with their new digital skills. 

“From its inception, the aim of the DigiTruck was to reach remote areas; to reach youth who normally don’t have many opportunities; and to reach all across the country,” said Steven Zhang, Deputy CEO of Huawei Kenya. “The aim of this DigiTruck is not only to provide digital skills, but also to spread the message about the importance of digital skills and to rally others to our cause.”

In his remarks to the delegates at the Connected Africa Summit 2024 H.E. President William Ruto highlighted the findings of the DigiTruck Impact Report and praised the program: “This is the impact of a simple intervention in terms of empowering the youth, and it affirms the promise of our collaborative approach and the power of partnerships in achieving ambitious goals.”

As Kenya embraces the digital age, the need for digital skills has evolved from a luxury to a necessity. 

The DigiTruck initiative, a collaborative effort between The Ministry of Information, Communications & the Digital Economy, Huawei and other partners, has been at the forefront of empowering Kenyan youth with these essential skills.