Partnerships will help Kenya achieve digital ambitions, CS Owalo says

ICT CS Eliud Owalo with Kenya's envoy to Switzerland Dr Cleophas Mailu. [Courtesy, ICT Ministry]

ICT CS Eliud Owalo has invited global development partners and investors to participate in Kenya's ongoing digitalization agenda.

Speaking in Geneva Switzerland at the 2023 International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Council Meeting on Meaningful Connectivity for All, he hailed ITU for spearheading humane global digital transformation.

"We will continue to leverage the various digital transformation programmes by ITU to augment our own efforts in rolling out sustainable and meaningful universal connectivity in Kenya," he said.

According to Owalo, Kenya's digital network is ahead of most of its neighbours, 45 per cent of the people still lack access to smart devices.

"This is a challenge we must solve urgently, for meaningful universal digital transformation."

He said that in Kenya 98 per cent of the population has access to cellular mobile and broadband services but about 1.7 million people are not yet covered.

"We are committed to sustainable meaningful access to digital services and are addressing the digital divide in our country."

He said some of the efforts that Kenya has embarked on is the production of affordable smartphones which he said will help bridge the exclusion gap.

According to the CS, in order for there to be sustainable meaningful connectivity, the global community must address a matrix of concerns, including digital infrastructure, digital skills, affordability of connectivity and access, as well as cybersecurity and enabling legal, policy and regulatory environment.

Tanzania's Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Nape Nnauye, said there was a need to avail digital platforms in languages that enable a majority of disadvantaged rural and urban populations to access the technology.

Outlining Kenya's ambitious efforts towards meaningful digital connectivity and access, Owalo invited the global community to work with Kenya on this agenda.

"We recognize that we cannot achieve our ambitious targets on our own. We recognize, further, that our goals will be easier to achieve through viable partnerships and collaborations with others," he said.

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