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Digital Superhighway: ICT Committee commits to facilitate legislative reforms

National Assembly’s Communication, Information and Innovation Departmental Committee Chairperson Kiarie Waweru when he visited Sama Delivery Centre.

The National Assembly’s Communication, Information and Innovation Departmental Committee has pledged to consider legislative provisions to facilitate the expansion of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms to all constituencies.

Committee members led by Chairperson Waweru, John Kiarie, speaking during a familiarisation tour of Artificial Intelligence (AI) BPO firm, Sama at Nairobi’s Sameer Business Park, confirmed plans to undertake the necessary legislative reforms to accelerate the expansion of such firms to the constituency and ward levels.

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Noting that Sama employs more than 3400 staffers and serves global technology organisations, including NASA, Walmart, Google and General Motors, among others, the committee, Kiarie said, will consider legislative reforms as part of the National Digital Superhighway and Creative Economy strategy.

Accompanied by other committee members, including Mbooni MP Erastus Kivasu and Tetu MP Geoffrey Wandeto, the Committee Chairperson reiterated the government’s strategic commitment to setting up 1,450 Digital Innovation Hubs equipped for digital innovation in every ward in the country and establishing eight remote working and other online enterprises to enable the youth to find work opportunities in the online space.

As part of the Digital Innovation Hubs strategy, the Committee has also petitioned Sama, among other BPO operators, to consider forging partnerships with Constituency leaders to scale their operations to Constituency and Wards.

National Assembly’s Communication, Information and Innovation Departmental Committee Chairperson Kiarie Waweru and Mbooni MP Erastus Kivasu at Sama Delivery Centre

“The committee is impressed by Sama’s data labelling, annotation, and curation work, and we will work to ensure that we provide a conducive legislative and related investment environment to replicate this success at the constituency level,” Kiarie said.

He added, “The global BPO market commands more than US$262 billion in annual revenues, and this committee will work tirelessly to ensure that Kenya grabs a piece of this pie as more than 56% of global firms prefer to outsource their business processes.”

While welcoming the committee, Sama, Vice President of Global Service Delivery, Ms Annepeace Alwala, disclosed that the firm is currently working with eight of the ten leading global automobile firms on developing autonomous vehicles. The firm also works with major agricultural production firms that have deployed AI-based AgTech solutions for plant husbandry.

With a fully-fledged global service delivery centre in Nairobi, Kenya, Sama, Ms Alwala said, provides quality data annotation solutions for computer vision that power Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) models and is one of the world’s leading AI value chain players.

“Kenya is well positioned to claim a bigger piece of the global AI data collection and labelling market that is estimated to hit the US$18 billion mark in the next six years,” she said, adding that “to gain a bigger share of the market, Kenya must however actively work to promote and market the country as an ideal BPO destination as other countries such as Philippines, India and even Uganda are working very hard to maintain and gain a piece of the market.”

By far, Sama is the single-largest Safaricom broadband data consumer connecting to client virtual and physical data centres worldwide. The firm’s solutions minimise the risk of model failure and lower the total cost of ownership through an enterprise-ready ML-powered platform and SamaIQ™,actionable data insights uncovered by proprietary algorithms and a highly skilled on-staff team of over 5,000 data experts.

Currently, 25% of Fortune 50 companies, including GM,Ford, Microsoft, and Google, trust Sama to help deliver industry-leading ML models driven by a mission to expand opportunities for underserved individuals through the digital economy.

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