Since the launch of M-Pesa in Kenya in 2007, Kenya has entered the world map as an innovation hub, attracting eyes of international investors and media. The announcement of Konza city, a tech city funded by the government and the spread of innovation hubs led by iHub Nairobi and some of their innovations have demonstrated that Africa is no longer the hopeless continent.
In the same light, the Kenyan government though its ICT ministry has launched a new body and appointed its directors to sprearhead ICT innovation and development in the country.
Dr. Fred Matiang’i, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology has appointed six members to ICT Authority Board , an amalgamation of the former KICT Board, Department of e-Government and the Government Information Technology Services (GITS) in a bid to stir innovation and oversee ICT development in the country.
Set to work for three years, the six directors include include Prof Timothy Waema, Ms Esther Kibeere, Ms Bertha Dena, Prof Elijah Omwenga, Mr David Mugo, Mr Ugas Mohamed. Their chairman Mr Edwin Ochieng Yinda was appointed late last year by the President.
For basics, the ICT Authority board is in charge of everything ICT in the country and is expected to market Kenya as a local and international ICT hub via coordination, investment and policy implementation in Government of Kenya ICT institutions. The body is also mandated to enforce ICT standards in Government and enhance the supervision of its electronic communications.
The ICT Authority’s first meal on the plate is a plan to re-brand current bogus Government websites beginning with its own, up Government cyber security and help build capacity in ICT.
Earlier, in a speech Dr. Matiang’i had said the new ICT Authority Board would comprise a non-executive chair and ten members and will ensure continuity of the ICT sector’s decade long achievements.
“I wish to note that in the last seven years, significant strides have been made in the ICT sector and ICT Authority will ensure continuity. These include Digital Inclusion, creation of Local Digital Content, Public Sector Shared Services, e-Applications and the development of BPO/ITES sector capacity. We are on track with the National Backbone fibre-optic cable infrastructural development,” he said.
The authority is also at the centre of enhancing citizens’ participation in decision making on critical public issues such as environmental protection by making data open and accessible to all.
The ICT Authority is a State Corporation under the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology and was established in August 2013 comprising of The Kenya Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Board, the directorate of e-Government and the Government Information Technology Services (GITS) department.
According to a statement, the body will be in charge of setting and enforcing ICT standards & guidelines in the public service, deploy and manage all ICT staff in the public service; facilitate and regulate the design, implementation and use of ICTs in the public service; promote ICT literacy and capacity; promote e-Government services; facilitate optimal electronic, electronic form, electronic record and equipment use in public service; promote ICT Innovation and enterprise; establish, develop & Maintain secure ICT Infrastructure & Systems , supervise the design, development and implementation of critical ICT Projects across the Public Service and implement & manage the Kenya National Spatial Data Initiative