Kenya Connected Summit 2023 has brought together stakeholders in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. During the opening of the summit, speakers talked about the strides that have been made by Kenya in the digital economy and opportunities for innovation, collaboration, and capacity building. Here are the key talking points at the opening of the Kenya Connected Summit 2023:
Government Digitization using eCitizen
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT, John Tanui, discussed how the government was using eCitizen to drive digitization. The online platform enables Kenyan citizens to access various government services, such as passport and ID applications, tax returns, and business registrations, among others.
The Kenya Connected summit has been noted as a platform for capacity building, nurturing, and sharing ideas. The government has initiated many ICT initiatives from previous summits such as eCitizen and Huduma Centers. The summit provides an opportunity for stakeholders to exchange ideas and collaborate on ways to develop the digital economy.
Kenya to Host UNESCO AI Conference
The State Department of Broadcasting and Telecommunications’ Permanent Secretary, Edward Kisiang’ani, announced that Kenya would host the UNESCO AI Conference in June. The conference will focus on artificial intelligence and its potential implications for humanity.
The Intersect between Judiciary and Technology
The use of ICT in the Judiciary has also been mentioned. In the Judiciary, technology has helped transform it into a more efficient service delivery system. For instance, the use of electronic filing systems and virtual courts has reduced the cost of litigation, increased transparency, and improved public confidence in case resolution. However, the use of technology in the judiciary also raises concerns about data privacy and disparities since not everyone has access to technology. Lady Justice Olga Sewe emphasized the need to work closely with experts to develop procedures and policies to set up a legal basis for the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the legal sector.
The use of AI in Kenya’s digital economy was also a topic of discussion. Although it has been acknowledged that every technology comes with its challenges, there was a call to celebrate the challenges posed by AI, as they could pose a threat to humanity. Therefore, it is essential to look at the implications of technology, such as AI, and how far we can use it without endangering human existence.
The Permanent Secretary for Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Edward Kisiangani, emphasized the importance of media independence, asking media houses to desist from peddling rumors and to remain neutral. He also stated that the government was not interested in closing media houses or censoring the media, but media experts must play a critical role in the digital economy and addressing challenges facing the country.
Cisco’s CPS Cloud Builder Accelerator Service
Cisco will be bringing its CPS Cloud Builder Accelerator (CBA) service to Kenya following an MoU with the ICT Authority. The service will help Kenya accelerate cloud adoption and boost the country’s digital transformation.
Cooperation between Safaricom and the Government has resulted in over 18 million Kenyans joining the Hustlers’ Fund. Within the four months that the fund has been active, over 26 billion Kenya shillings have been disbursed. These disbursements have ensured that Kenyans get access to affordable loans between Kshs 500 and Kshs 50,000, which they use to meet their immediate financial needs, just as taking care of emergencies or expanding their businesses.
Fibre Optics and eCitizen Expansion
The government plans to roll out an additional 25,000 km of fiber across Kenya between now and June 2023. The rollout will be done in the hopes that in five years, the laid-down fiber optics will exceed the 100,000 km target. On eCitizen, the government has confirmed that it acquired the eCitizen platform from the private sector, and since then it has expanded the available government services on the platform from 300 to over 4,200 services. The government plans to digitize over 5,000 services through eCitizen in the near future.
More to come
The opening session of Kenya Connected Summit 2023 has just concluded, but the summit has just started. Participants are yet to get into specific topics such as smart cities, cyber security, digitization of services, the future of work in the digital economy, and The economy of tomorrow in the wake of AI (e.g. ChatGPT), among many others.
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