By Patrick Chiriba

Information, Communications, and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo has underscored the importance of consultation, cooperation, and coordination between the national and county governments in efforts to make Kenya the digital hub of Africa.

Speaking in Mombasa, when he chaired a consultative meeting with key players in the country’s ICT industry, the CS emphasized the need for synergy and alignment of efforts that will boost the country’s digital economy.

The meeting explored how the government and the corporate sector can work together to establish an integrated ICT system in Kenya.

During the meeting, CS Owalo announced plans to boost ICT skills amongst the youth by establishing at least 1450 digital hubs in villages nationwide.

This initiative, according to Owalo, aims to provide access to ICT training and resources for young people across the country.

“In each and every ward in the country, we are going to have a digital hub where our youth can be trained to acquire requisite ICT skills,” he said.

He added: “We are also reaching out to global technology companies to help them identify digital jobs so that we can match the jobs with the available skills, competencies, and capabilities that are domiciled within our youth.”

Owalo further stated that the government is committed to ensuring that every sector of the economy has access to necessary ICT skills through the Ajira and Jitume digital skills enhancement programs.

The Ajira and Jitume programs aim to provide the youth with access to digital services, digital skills, and opportunities to enable them to take advantage of technology for job creation.

The CS also said that the government is pursuing establishing a digital identity by February next year to enable Kenyans to transact with the government without physically visiting their offices.

“We believe that through the digital identity, we should have an optimal level of uptake of government services digitally, from wherever somebody is, not just within the country, but from residents abroad as well,” said Owalo.

Owalo dismissed claims that the digital identity is a duplicate of the Huduma Namba.

“Digital identity is not the same as Huduma Namba. We must look at it from the rationality perspective. Do we need a digital identity? The answer is yes. Is it the same as Huduma Namba? The answer is no,” he said.

Elgeyo Marakwet, Governor and Chair of CoG ICT Committee Wesley Rotich, who was present at the meeting, said developing e-government systems will boost service delivery and enhance transparency.

Korir commended all 47 counties for embracing the use of social media.

The meeting was a prelude to a week-long induction workshop for County Executive Committees in charge of ICT nationwide.

In attendance were Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber Otichilo, Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok, Trans-Nzoia Senator Allan Chesang – the Senate ICT Chair, and partners from the public and private sectors.