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Ruto's plan to connect homes, towns to internet

The connectivity will be made possible by adding 100,000 kilometres of fibre optic network. [iStockphoto]

President William Ruto has said the government will maximise the country's potential in the digital economy which will include connecting schools, shopping centres and homes to the internet in a digital superhighway plan.

The President, while speaking during the launch of digital economy programmes by Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) at Kabete Technical Institute, Kikuyu said he has an elaborate plan in place to connect all the 27,000 schools and 8.5 million homes already connected to power to the internet.

"We want to lay our fibre network on Kenya Power transmission lines so we want our 8.5 million homes connected to electricity to equally be connected to the internet."

He said his administration will also ensure that Kenyans have access to internet-ready gadgets that will give them access to the digital economy.

This connectivity will be made possible by adding 100,000 kilometres of fibre optic network. "We want to make sure every shopping centre, and we have 29,000 of them, are on the internet. And will have a hotspot," said Ruto.

The said the potential that the digital economy has for the country has already been seen in how government services have moved online and the number of Kenyans who rely on online work.

He cited a 2014 survey that ranked Kenya first in Africa and tenth globally on online work.

He said digitisation of government services and departments expanded this space by providing micro work in data entry and transcription.

He said the relevant ministry headed by Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo is under instructions to ensure in the next six months all government services are digitised.

So far, only about 300 government services can be accessed remotely. "That is not even 10 per cent but in six months, we are going to engage the tech community, people in digital space to work with us as we digitise the 5,000 government services or so," said the president.

The head of State said the digital economy has the potential to enhance productivity, expand incomes and improve the socio-economic well-being of people.

He said the global digital outsourcing market which was valued at $330 billion (Sh39.6 trillion) in 2019, expanded to $520 billion (Sh62.4 trillion) in 2021 and is expected to grow further to $680 billion (Sh81.6 trillion) in 2027.

"Kenya must be technology ready to take part in this huge enterprise," Ruto said.