Kenya is laying out an ambitious plan to tap the rapidly expanding digital economy.
President William Ruto has repeatedly indicated that the government will tap technology in the revival of the economy, provision of government services and in efforts to address the rampant joblessness among the youth.
The President has already announced that coding will be part of Kenya’s school curriculum next year. He said this will impart children with important learn problem-solving skills early in their lives.
“We need to know how to grow our technology from primary school,” he said.
“You have heard about coding that is now going to be part of our curriculum to ensure technology becomes part of our journey from primary school all the way to university.”
To underline Dr. Ruto administration’s seriousness with digital transformation, the theme of this year’s Jamhuri Day celebrations was “Connect, Innovate and Inspire,”. And to celebrate the event, several exhibition programmes on innovation were lined up, including the presidential launch of the innovation outlook for Kenya at the Sarit Centre Expo in Nairobi.
“We are developing relevant policies that will nurture and stimulate innovation in Kenya. This is in appreciation that innovation has the power to accelerate productivity, generate gainful employment and create wealth for millions of ordinary people,” said Dr. Ruto.
The innovators participated in exhibitions that took place on Tuesday to Thursday last week as a curtain raiser to the celebrations to mark 59 years of independence.
Global technology leaders from various companies joined President Ruto in discussing partnerships and opportunities for Kenyans before meeting various innovators at KICC, Nairobi, for further engagement on relevant issues concerning the sector.
“Kenya is a strong leader in the information, communication and technology space. We are the proud regional and continental hub of innovation,” the president said.
“We have the appropriate policy framework, constitutionally protected freedoms of expression, media, information and communication to dominate the creative arts and entertainment arena.”
The government, he noted, will explore ways to ensure the youth earn decently from their work of art.
“Our youth have consistently shown robust interest in this field and are engaged on various platforms, generating captivating content that is appreciated globally,” Dr Ruto said.
“There is tremendous potential for our country to become a global leader, employ hundreds of thousands of young people and generate immense wealth if we facilitate the young people to plug into the global digital economy.”
He added that to realise the tech goals, the Government will invest in the digital superhighway and the creative economy, “which will be enablers of transformation, productivity and overall competitiveness. Over the next 5 years, the Government will ensure universal broadband availability by hastening the roll-out of connectivity throughout the country”.
He said the laying out of an additional 100,000 km of the national fibre-optic network is expected to deliver this target.