By Christine Muchira
The government will by August this year set up a component of the Shared Services Platform to be utilised by government ministries, departments, agencies and counties.
Under the centralised platform ICT Authority will be able to provide various ICT services to both National and County Governments starting with 16,000 licences.
This will be the first step towards advancing economies of scale; maintaining standards as well promoting security of Government information.
The government, through the ICT Authority, will also be providing training targeted at various levels of ICT Officers within the County over the next four month period.
For 14 select Counties the Authority will support the deployment of a platform that will support emails, web hosting and various other collaboration tools. Additionally is support to counties for computing equipment (desktops and printers) by September, 2016.
This was announced today, at a meeting with County ICT Management in which ICT Roadmaps were handed to each of the counties to guide them as they adopt and implement ICT projects across their devolved units.
The support is part of gaps identified in the new guidelines the County ICT Roadmaps that are expected to deepen the use of technology among Counties and enhance Kenya’s profile as a technology hub globally.
One of the major gaps identified while developing the Roadmaps was that of funding support, where in some counties budgetary allocation was below one per cent.
Eng Victor Kyalo Principal Secretary, ICT and Innovation, Ministry of ICT called on County Governments to allocate at least five (5) per cent allocation of the budget to ICT Projects as is the international benchmark, noting that in addition to better service delivery, increased investment in ICT is also expected to provide County residents with the best and most cost-effective ICT-enabled services and resources.
It would also ensure local ICT investment produces maximum value, is integrated with national and neighbouring County ICT infrastructure and systems.
“We are all in agreement that technology is the way to go and we have to invest in technology as individuals and also as a country. We have seen how transformative technology can be and it is this transformation that we are seeking for the Counties through the ICT County Roadmaps being presented to the counties today,” said Kyalo.
He added that the money set aside by the Counties for ICT Projects will be complemented by funds from the National Government, development partners, private institutions through Public Private Partnerships, direct investments and the Universal Service Access Fund.
There will also be funds that will be availed from the Equalization Fund to fund ICT projects in marginalised counties.
The County Government ICT Roadmaps were handed over today and have been developed jointly by the ICT Authority and the 47 County Governments with financing from the World Bank.
The guidelines are expected to provide the counties with high quality and cost effective ICT enabled services, foster innovation and provide a framework for sharing and optimising ICT infrastructure within as well as among Counties.
The roadmaps were officially presented to the County officials in a ceremony also graced PS, Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Mr Sammy Itemere, ICT Authority, Ag CEO, Mr Robert Mugo and heads of ICT from the various counties.
“The ICT Roadmaps underscore the need for Counties to adopt a focused approach to key ICT technology areas. These key areas will help spur counties’ transition towards a knowledge-based economy,” said Mr Itemere.
Robert Mugo, Ag Chief Executive ICT Authority said the Roadmaps will enable county Governments to visualise their critical assets; the relationships between the assets and the skills, technologies and the competencies required to meet future market demands.
“We have worked with every County in developing a roadmap that is unique to them and capitalises on the strengths of the County while adequately addressing the challenges that they experience. That is to say that the plan for one county does not resemble that of another County,” he said.
The county ICT Roadmaps will also link strategic initiatives in the counties with ICT, offer a framework of planned ICT investments in the county and a framework for capacity building. Mr Kyalo called on support from the highest level of County leadership in implementing the ICT plans over the next years.