Microsoft has announced participation under gold sponsorship of the 2017 Connected Summit, taking place in Kwale County, Kenya between 9 and 13 April.
Returning as a sponsor for the third time, Microsoft will help lead the discussion around this year’s theme of “Shaping the Future”, which will explore issues that need to be addressed to better harness and manage citizen data for innovation and economic growth in the country.
“Digital technologies are transforming the ways in which emerging markets adapt and grow, from offering new goods, services and business models that drive industry innovation and growth, to providing new ways of connecting and collaborating socially and politically,” says Kunle Awosika, Country Manager, Microsoft Kenya. “Cloud computing amplifies and accelerates this digital transformation and offers a tangible way to harness citizen data for social, economic and environmental impact.”
According to a new report by Microsoft, titled “Digital transformation in South Africa and Kenya: How cloud policy can accelerate innovation and drive economic growth”, cloud markets have gained significant traction in Kenya, contributing to the country’s national development. This has been seen across sectors, from agriculture and energy, to education, healthcare and small business.
However, addressing low levels of access and connectivity, privacy and security concerns, and rights and protection issues, present opportunities for unlocking greater cloud growth.
Access and connectivity: Inconsistent access to broadband services, together with high connectivity costs and limited digital literacy, make it difficult for individuals and businesses to reliably access cloud services. To counter this, policymakers should consider spectrum management, device taxation, targeted subsidies and telecommunications regulation, as well as implementing digital literacy and skills training.
Privacy and security: Concerns around privacy and security leave individuals, businesses and governments reluctant to share their information on the cloud for fear it may be abused. Policymakers need to engage with the private sector to develop and implement transparent, clear and sound privacy and security legislation to improve trust and minimise data localisation.
Rights and protection: Freedom of expression remains an issue, with concerns around surveillance and online fraud when information is stored in the cloud. This calls for governments to recognise citizens’ rights to privacy and freedom of expression, while being transparent about when and how they may impose on these rights.
Microsoft, through its 4Afrika Initiative, has been working closely with the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) to promote a trusted cloud infrastructure across the continent.
In addition to these cloud-based discussions, Microsoft will also explore cybersecurity, big data, and future technology in education at the Summit.
“Technology is positively disrupting economies by creating new solutions to boost growth. Policymakers can follow this lead by designing policies that protect citizens while supporting innovations and building ecosystems for the future,” says Louis Otieno, Corporate Affairs Director, Microsoft 4Afrika. “We look forward to unpacking this during the Connected Summit and believe that with the calibre and mix of delegates, this will be a positive step forward for Kenya’s digital transformation.”