Ruto pledges to enact policies towards technology-led growth

President William Ruto speaks during the Africa Heads of State Summit in Nairobi on April 29, 2024. [Samson Wire, Standard]

The government is implementing new laws and policies that will facilitate growth in IT-enabled services in the country, President William Ruto has said.

The objective, the President said, is for these measures to help the government unlock opportunities in the business process outsourcing (BPO) services sector.

Consequently, the government is enhancing the country’s competitiveness and aligning it with global standards to accelerate the growth of the BPO market and other IT-enabled services.

The goal, President Ruto noted, is to scale up government investments in the relevant infrastructure, including the national broadband and digital hubs, to create jobs for at least one million digital workers in the next five years.

“We are determined to claim our fair share of the BPO pie for the benefit of our young men and women who are eager to contribute to growing our economy,” he said.

He said Kenya’s strength is in a large, skilled youthful workforce, government policies which give priority to the digital economy as a strategic pillar of the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, an education system that stresses digital skills, a strategic geographical location aligning with global time zones and proficiency in English, a language widely used in major economies.

Ruto made the remarks during the launch of Call Centre International (CCI) Global Contact Centre at Tatu City in Ruiru, Kiambu County, which it was reported has already created more than 5,000 jobs.

Present were Cabinet Secretaries Rebecca Miano and Eliud Owalo, Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi and United States Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman, among others.

The President said the government is strengthening existing laws to create a conducive environment for the ICT-BPO industry to thrive.

“Our goal is to develop sector-specific legislation that aligns with international standards in the short, medium and long term,” he said.

Government efforts in strengthening the sector, President Ruto explained, include enforcing BPO standards that meet international best practices, updating fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to keep pace with technological advancements and investing in green energy.

He said the government is also working with the private sector in enhanced skills training for Kenyan youth to ensure that they are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.

“These efforts demonstrate our commitment to fostering a thriving, sustainable and globally competitive BPO sector in Kenya,” he said.

The President appealed to investors to collaborate with the government in its digital hubs programme for BPO operations to succeed and expand.

“Join us in shaping a digitally empowered Kenya,” he said.

Ms Whitman said the United States is committed to scaling up economic ties with Kenya for shared benefits among citizens of both nations.

Bearing fruit

She noted that Kenya’s efforts to improve the business environment are bearing fruit, stating that the international community is taking note and responding positively.

“I remain very bullish on Kenya’s economic prospects. But I am not the only one. You may have seen an article in Bloomberg that touted Kenya as the Singapore of Africa,” she said.

The ambassador added that the Economist Intelligence Unit has listed Kenya as the best place for doing business in 2024, one of only two African countries that made it to the list.

Ms Miano said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry will double its efforts to attract quality investments into the country.

Governor Wamatangi said most leaders, including himself, were skeptical about the President’s directive to build ICT hubs, including in markets.

However, the governor said, after touring the CCI centre in Tatu City and witnessing its potential, he has since appreciated the President’s digital agenda.

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