President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday said technology will be a major driver for delivering his Big Four plan for growing the country’s economy.
Speaking when he delivered a speech at a symposium on digital technology at the Strathmore College, Nairobi, President Kenyatta said he was confident that the digital revolution will help Kenya achieve the Big Four plan and ensure that growth transforms the lives of the people.
The Big Four include the expansion of manufacturing, affordable housing, food security, and universal health care.
President Kenyatta said technology will support affordable healthcare by driving access to information, better financing, stronger training for health workers, and, ultimately, broader access to services.
He said digital technology will also support efforts to increase food security by playing a key role in agricultural value chains through better access to inputs, more reliable weather and crop information, tracking of counterfeit inputs, more transparent access to markets and fair pricing.
“Digital technology also underpins a range of agro-financing services that are essential for equipping smallholder farmers across the country,” said the President.
The President said Kenya was also positioning itself to reap the most out of the global digital revolution.
He said the government will set up a committee on Blockchain and Internet of Things technologies that will study the benefits and challenges associated with the latest digital innovation trends.
Blockchain is the technology used by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and refers to a continuously growing list of records that are linked and secured using cryptography. A blockchain, by design, is resistant to alteration or modification and some countries have already started applying the technology for official business.
“We need to better understand the opportunities for Blockchain Technology, the risks of cybersecurity and the essential education and skills that our young people will need to make new technology work for them,” said the President.
He said the country has been a leader in digital innovation and would not be left behind in the latest trends.
“To this end, the Ministry of ICT will set up a taskforce on Blockchain and Internet of Things Technology – because, as a country, we cannot let these opportunities pass us by,” said President Kenyatta.
The President said the potential for digital dividends is enormous if its transformational potential is harnessed by creating the right policy framework.
“As a matter of fact, the internet and associated digital trade of goods and services have led up to 10 percent rise in employment in Africa,” said the President.
President Kenyatta made the comments when he delivered a speech Africa’s Digital Syposium at the Strathmore College in Nairobi whose theme was “Digital Drivers, Enabling the Growth of the Digital Economy in Africa”.
The Head of State said new innovations from Kenya have trended in the world, showing that the country Kenya has the potential to continue leading in the digital revolution.
“MPESA, M-Kopa, GroIntelligence, Andela and others, show that we can lead the world with innovations that drive financial inclusion, access to energy, better data to drive our agriculture, and the essential skills required to support the young innovators of the future,” said the President.
The symposium was also addressed by the Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Mr Joe Mucheru and the CEO of General Electric Africa, Mr Jay Ireland.
Mr Ireland, who also represented the US Chamber of Commerce, said American companies see the potential for investment that Kenya provides and are ready to play their part to enable Kenya achieve sustainable growth.