At the dx5 Smart Gov Summit, held at the Edge Convention Centre in Nairobi, much talk was around Digital Transformation in government, which was also the theme of the event. However, Microsoft’s Country Manager for Kenya took a different approach saying that we should be working towards making Kenya a Smart Nation.
So, what exactly does it take to be a Smart Nation? There is much talk in Kenya about going digital, and doing more than just a classic digital economy. Phyllis talked of the few corners the country needs to straighten out to make Kenya a Smart Nation. Phyllis said that for a country to truly become a smart nation, it is important that all the sectors of it participate in the digital transformation journey.
Phyllis Migwi terms Digital Transformation as maximizing the effectiveness of digital technologies to; streamline, innovate, and improve the quality of services for citizens. Digital Transformation should also aim to optimize operations within the government and gain & act on data insights. All these different aspects of digital transformation are what drives a nation to become a smart nation.
The Microsoft Kenya Country Manager believes that the East African nation is already ahead of the curve, compared to the vast majority of African nations. Carefully and excellently effecting the digital transformation journey is what will give Kenya an edge and make it a technology leader in the continent. This means that Kenya needs to set the foundation for the coming generation who will be the real technology leaders in the continent.
“This is where Smart Education comes in,” explained Migwi in her presentation, “the skilling conversation needs to be a side conversation and also needs to be engraved into our system.” She went forward to give an example of India which decided to be the source of all tech in the 90s and the results can be seen today.
“Kenya has an opportunity and we say that we’re going to be the tech leader for Africa, we need to say we are going to have Smart Education,” she said, “Smart Society is also equally important. In as much as we have the front ends for citizen services, we need to streamline all records and be able to see the digital journey of a specific citizen over time.”
When it comes to driving digital transformation in government, Phyllis gave the plenary examples of trends that are currently driving dx in government. They are; Managing security & privacy, redesigning service delivery, prioritizing responsible use of new technologies, leveraging data, optimizing employee time & skills, building resiliency and flexible approaches.
The Smart Gov Summit featured other key tech leaders and government officials as well as they all shared their thoughts on how to make Kenya a Smart Nation