Report: Kenya tops peers in youth digital potential

The ranking is attributed to Kenya’s widespread use of the mobile money system, government investments in infrastructure, and initiatives focused on digital literacy. [iStockphoto]

Kenya has been ranked the top country pioneering in the digital revolution in the 2023 Eastern Africa Youth Digital Readiness Index.

The ranking is attributed to Kenya’s widespread use of the mobile money system, government investments in infrastructure, and initiatives focused on digital literacy.

Despite obtaining a 26.75 score, Kenya is still faced with challenges of  unequal access to technology in rural areas which is a common hurdle across the region.

It was followed by Rwanda and Uganda in second and third positions respectively.

The report indicates that Ethiopia and Tanzania ranked fourth and fifth as Sudan, DRC, and Somalia occupied the sixth, seventh, and eighth positions.

The 2023 Eastern Africa Youth Digital Readiness Index Report by Qhala - a digital transformation firm gauged the digital potential and performance of Eastern African countries. It covered Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sudan, DRC, Somalia, Burundi, and South Sudan

It analyses factors such as digital skills, government support, and online safety.

Its goal was to identify areas for improvement and promote collaboration across the region to bridge the digital divide and empower young people. According to the study, several countries saw an increase in mobile money adoption that fostered financial inclusion.

The study shows a rise in mobile money penetration in Sudan, with platforms like MTN Mobile Money and Zain Cash gaining traction.

DRC Congo is also experiencing a rise in mobile money adoption with platforms like M-Pesa and Orange Money. This mobile money usage surge fosters a cashless society and boosts financial security for the Congolese.

According to Dr Shikoh Gitau, founder and CEO of Qhala, the 2023 index serves as a valuable tool for policymakers, businesses, civil society, and educational institutions, providing nuanced insights into the digital landscape of Eastern African countries and offering a roadmap for strategic interventions to foster digital readiness and innovation

“The essence of digital readiness extends beyond mere technological adoption. It encompasses a country’s potential to evolve into a digitally driven, skills-endowed, innovation-centric, and sustainable economy.”

In the study, the youth’s adaptability to new technologies, strong affinity for digital tools, and higher likelihood of engaging in entrepreneurial activities make them a key driving force for the region’s digital development.

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