Connected Kenya Summit to address the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic

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The 11th edition Connected Kenya Summit, which kicked off today in Diani, Kwale after a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought over 1000 ICT thought leaders and experts to discuss how ICT will support the different sectors of the economy and society after the horrendous COVID-19 pandemic.

Through policy, digital skills, digital infrastructure as well as ICT innovations, the delegates will discuss how ICT solutions can be used to address challenges facing the country especially after the Covid pandemic negatively impacted the different sectors of the economy.

Speaking at the Summit’s opening ceremony, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said the Summit will help shape discussions around data privacy and regulation and the experts will help review The National Digital Master Plan (2022-32), a ten year national digital master plan centered around leveraging technology to grow the economy, achieve vision 2030 targets, create wealth and jobs in the country.

“The Kenya National Digital Masterplan is important because collection, privacy and utilisation of citizen’s data has become a leading concern and this ever-changing reality demands we safeguard and reconnect with our cultural values. Our discussions this week will help define the way forward for an ICT driven future in Kenya,” said Mr Mucheru.

The Kenya National Digital Masterplan 2020-2030, set to be launched during this year’s Connected Summit 2022 and expected tol cost  Ksh 5 billion to implement, is envisaged to become a single point of reference for all government ICT plans to ease coordination and management and takes into account Kenya Vision 2030 economic blueprint and ICT initiatives not achieved under the previous ICT masterplan. It provide a structure for ICT delivery and fast track of the realization of the vision 2030 and agenda 2063 goals.

The master plan is projected to create six ICT flagship digital infrastructure projects by 2030 through construction of 100,000 kms of national fibre optic connectivity network and other technologies of which 52,000Km will be government networks and 48,000Km private networks. There will also be 25,000 hotspots in public areas and a government digitization Centre to automate 500 million government records annually or 5 billion records by 2030 to ensure paperless government offices as well as build digital literacy capacity for 20 million Kenyans and the creation of 1,450 community training centres, 290 Constituency hubs in five years.

Under the Master plan, the government will set up manufacture and assemble  plants for laptops in a bid to supply 1.2 million laptops to schools, train 350,000 teachers in ICT and connect 40,000 schools to the internet. Over 10,000 public servants will be trained in high end specialized ICT areas and 20,000 ICT professionals as well as 300,000 civil servants and 250,000 county staff.

Other conversations held today at the Connected Summit  included a Women in Technology forum and County Forums on ICT. The four day forum will look into new technologies such as Blockchain, Internet of Things, big data and Artificial Intelligence, among others.

The inaugural theme in 2009, for example, were “Great minds come together”. In 2010 the theme was “Shared services to drive down cost to citizen; 2011 innovating for the citizen; 2012 Knowledge & beyond; 2013, county citizen served; 2014 breaking the barriers and in 2015 “Strength in our networks; in 2016 the theme was “Bridging the service gap” while the theme for Connected Kenya Summit 2017 was “Shaping the future”. In 2018 the theme was “Using technology to preserve our heritage”. This year’s summit is themed “Accelerating Digital Transformation”.

Supported by the ICT Authority, the Connected Summits have seen the birth of key public service innovations namely:  the Huduma Initiative, the e- citizen portal, Digital Literacy Program as well as the National ICT Master Plan. Other achievements include the increased number of locally assembled devices at the JKUAT & Moi university assembly plants, which have both assembled  the over one million digital learning devices.

Follow updates on @ICTAuthorityKE #ConnectedSummit