Eliud Owalo, the Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry of ICT and Digital Economy, graced the second day of the dx5 SmartGov Summit where he talked about the Government of Kenya’s project for a digital economy.
During his speech where he officially opened the second day of the event, the CS expressed his trust in the current Kenyan government (Kenya-Kwanza government) to take the country towards the next digital step. CS Owalo talked of the importance of the private sector in achieving this and why it is crucial for the government to have a good relationship with the private sector.
“We are a digital generation at crossroads also because the decisions we make today will impact on the future generations. The digital revolution has not only changed the way we live, work, and interact but has also ignited a powerful transformation within the public sector,” the Cabinet Secretary said in his address.
“As we embrace the concept of Smart government, we are essentially acknowledging that our responsibility goes beyond governance, it extends to fostering innovation, enhancing service delivery, and ensuring that no citizen is left behind in the digital revolution. Digitalisation is only useful if it is inclusive so inclusivity is a crucial part of digital transformation,” he further added.
The dx5 SmartGov Summit was mostly characterized by members of the private sector who shared their visions on how Kenya can become a smart nation. Representing the government, CS Owalo agrees with the visions of making Kenya a smart nation and also realizes that partnerships between the private and public sector are crucial to achieving this goal.
“The government of the future must be smart and the smartness needs to begin with the current government. In all that we are doing as government, we are aware that we cannot succeed without strategic alliances with the private sector,” CS Owalo said aiming at the representatives of the private sector at the event.
Kenya as a nation aims to become the Pan-African leader in digital technology adoption and technology growth. This is why the current government has the digital superhighway as one of the fivce thematic pillars in its economic transformation strategy.
The CS also talked of how the government is committed to providing a universal broadband connectivity throughout the country. In fact, he reported that the government has already embarked on rolling out 100,000kms of fibre optic cable to the areas in the country that are struggling with connectivity.
“The government is also setting up village digital hubs in each and every ward, which is the lowest administrative level of governance. We are establishing a digital hub in these areas to develop the skills for our youth,” he explained, “We are also pursuing a digital identity and we are at the tail end of that project which will be ready for roll out in about a month or so. We are also operationalizing digital signatures.”
The CS said that the ministry is on a threshold of facilitating a paperless government. In all these advancements in technology, the goal is to have a paperless government and enable Kenyans to access government services without necessarily having to physically go to government offices.
“The government also recognizes the challenge Kenyans have of accessing smartphones and will be rolling out its own version of affordable smartphones that will be going for approximately $40,” CS Owalo said winding up the milestones that he has been able to achieve during his time as ICT CS.