President Uhuru underscores need to drive digital growth

President Uhuru Kenyatta (Left): (PHOTO ; Facebook)
NAIROBI, KENYA: President Uhuru Kenyatta has witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the CBK and MAS to co-develop “foundational infrastructure on identity, data and electronic Know-Your Customer procedures (e-KYC).”

Identity and e-KYC are critical prerequisites to enhancing financial inclusion while ensuring financial integrity at both national and cross-border levels.

“This initiative between our two Central Banks aligns well with the ongoing drive by my Government to introduce a ‘‘single source of truth’’ digital identity,” Uhuru said.

The President encouraged more public and private sector partnerships to drive the growth of digital technology, a sector where Kenya plays a global lead role.

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“It is only through such public and private sector collaborations and partnerships that we can build truly robust and resilient digital economies that leave no one behind and score astounding accomplishments for our citizenry,” Uhuru said.

The President on Monday delivered keynote address at the ongoing inaugural Afro-Asia FinTech Festival.

The two-day financial technology (Fintech) conference is the first of its kind globally and is jointly organised by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and brings together thousands of delegates from Africa and Asia.

He called on Africa and Asia to work together to build more robust digital economies adding that Kenya is open to work with other governments and private bodies in leveraging innovations for technology driven financial inclusion.

While citing several of Kenya's leading innovations among them MPesa, the President said the country will continue leveraging on technology to enhance its tax collection through the iTax and provision of services to the public through the e-Citizen platforms.

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He listed several other Kenyan innovations such as M-KOPA, a service delivery innovation in the power and lighting sub sector that has enabled many rural households to receive solar lighting gadgets.

President Uhuru also talked about M-Akiba, which provides a savings mechanism for ordinary Kenyans who can save a dollar a day, and at the end of 30 days invest in government securities.

“For my Government, our key motivation in rolling out this product was to democratise access to financial services and to give a space at the heart of the financial system to every Kenyan no matter their location, social or economic status,” the President said.

The President also spoke about Stawi, whose pilot was launched in May 2019, that targets to provide MSMEs with an ‘anytime-anywhere’ product that leverages on both traditional and non-traditional sources of credit information.

“The use of big data and artificial intelligence that the product (Stawi) is built on in effect de-risks the MSMEs and enables the reduction of credit cost,” President Kenyatta said.

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Delegates attending the seminal conference include inventors,entrepreneurs, technology scholars, researchers, media and university students drawn from 30 countries spread across five continents.

He said digital economies would help Africa expand opportunities to bring prosperity for more people.

He called on Asian governments and companies to collaborate with Africa to build stronger digital bridges between the economies of the two continents.

“Africa is open for business and we urge you to join hands with us in building a better and more prosperous World for All our People,” said the President.

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Uhuru KenyattaM-PesaCBK