Kenya will partner with the private sector to foster the country’s digital economy, President William Ruto has said.
President Ruto said the Government has made a deliberate decision to use technology to thrive its policy, program and agenda in accelerating development.
He singled out the move to ensure all Government services are moved to a digital platform as a clear indication that technology was now thriving the country’s economy.
Speaking during the IBM Research-Africa Labs’ 10th anniversary celebrations, at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Karen, Nairobi, on Thursday, the President said Kenyans could now access 10,000 services online.
“We are keen to ensuring that all our Government services are moved to a digital platform for efficiency,” said President Ruto.
He said digitalization would ensure efficiency thus eliminating inefficiency, corruption and wastage of public resources.
The Head of State noted that for the first time in the history of Kenya, farmers were able to receive their fertilizer from the Government without interference from cartels that bought them at cheaper prices and sold to them at exorbitant prices.
“This year’s fertilizer subsidy program was the most successful as farmers used e-voucher to access the commodity. This is why brokers and cartels had no room in the exercise,” said President Ruto.
Dr Ruto said he was confident that a bill on the universal healthcare, which is in Parliament, once passed into law would be implemented efficiently because it would be executed on a digital platform.
He said the Government was committed to securing the country’s future by deploying technology to deliver solutions that enrich human experience and well being, keep the economy competitive, diverse and robust and enhance the resilience and security of communities and the nation against all threats.
The Head of State said it is the work of leadership to imagine a future of opportunities and solutions, and it is the work of innovators to design it, while it is the function of technology to reconcile the two to deliver a vision of the future that is safe, secure and sustainable.
“This event brings together all the necessary parties in one place, and it is only appropriate that technology, research, development and innovation be at the heart of our quest for a prosperous, resilient and dynamic Kenya,” said President Ruto.
At the same time, President Ruto, urged investors to exploit the digital potentiality in the African Continent.
He said over the past year, he has used numerous occasions to make a strong case for investors, multinational corporations and technology companies to shift their strategic focus to Africa, the young, green continent of the future, and in so doing, capitalize on Kenya’s geostrategic advantage as the gateway to the region and continent.
“A landscape of opportunity is unfolding on our continent. A vast market of 1.4 billion people has emerged under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and the various interlocking regional economic blocs,” said Dr Ruto.
He argued that Africa’s population is famously young, educated, skilled and motivated.
President Ruto added that the continent is abundantly endowed with natural resources, including critical minerals required by the global transition into clean, green industrialization.
“Our continent also has tremendous renewable energy potential,” he said.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo said his ministry would continue to partner with the private sector on matters of research with a view to meeting the technological needs of the country.
US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman said companies from her country would take advantage of opportunities in Kenya for the mutual benefits of the citizens of the two countries.
She praised the Government of President Ruto for creating a conducive environment for IBM among other companies to establish their working bases in the country.
“Kenya will continue to be the ideal destination for US companies exploring opportunities in various sectors of the economy,” said Ambassador Whitman.
Dr Dario Gil, Senior Vice President and Director, IBM Research said his organization was committed to working closely with the Government in transforming the economy through technology.
“We are ready to mitigate the challenges of climate change together with other stakeholders as well as exploit opportunities available so as the country meets the technological needs of its people,” said Dr Gil.
Present were Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, Dr Charity Wayua, Director IBM Research- Africa and Solomon Assefa, Vice President IBM Research among others.