Kenya IGF week 2019

The Kenya IGF week shall be held from 29th July to 1st August 2019 at the Panafric Hotel, in Nairobi.

The IGF week has a series of activities including the Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG), policy briefs dissemination workshops, and culminates in the flagship Kenya Internet Governance Forum.

Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeSIG)

KeSIG has grown to be among KICTANet’s flagship programmes, and its success has not been only in bringing in new voices but also encouraging those whose work has been disrupted by the internet to understand and contribute to internet policy making processes. In its 4th edition, KeSIG deliberately targets law enforcement officers, civil society organisation officers, traditional and new media practitioners, the tech community and academics. Its aim remains to build capacity for local and global internet governance by leveraging on existing policy advocates from areas such as media, human rights, devolved government and law enforcement and adding new voices Areas to be covered in the training include: introduction and main issues in internet governance; internet governance processes and how to get involved; and Kenya’s internet governance frameworks. The faculty is sourced from local and African actors such as the regulators, the executive, civil society leaders , digital rights activists, lawyers and technical community.

KeSIG’s mission is to increase capacity of key actors and potential actors in the local internet governance space. These include traditional human rights defenders and civil society organisations, students, academia, tech community and government departments. These actors are also commissioned to participate in international internet policy making for a thereby contributing African perspectives in global debates.

Kenya IGF

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is an open and inclusive multi-stakeholder forum where public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance issues, such as the Internet’s sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development. The United Nations Secretary-General formally announced the establishment of the IGF in July 2006 and the first meeting was convened in October 2006.

The purpose of the IGF is to maximize the opportunity for open and inclusive dialogue and the exchange of ideas on Internet Governance (IG) related issues; create opportunities to share best practices and experiences; identify emerging issues and bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public; and contribute to capacity building for Internet governance. 

The event brings together stakeholders representing government, the private sector, civil society, the technical and academic community, and the public in an informal setting for policy dialogue on Internet governance issues on an equal basis through an open and inclusive process. This type of cooperative engagement is usually referred to as the multistakeholder model of Internet Governance, which is one of the key features for the Internet’s success. This model is paramount to ensure that the Internet remains sustainable for economic and social development.

The forums are localised and their outcomes feed into each other from country to the global level. The outcomes of the country level (Kenya IGF) feed into the regional level (East Africa IGF), continental level (Africa IGF) and ultimately at the global level (IGF). Previously, Kenya hosted the East Africa IGF in 2009 and thereafter, the global IGF in 2011 in Nairobi. 

This year, the 14th Annual Global IGF Meeting convened by the United Nations, will be hosted by the Government of Germany and is scheduled to take place from 25 – 29 November 2019 in Berlin.

Side events: Policy briefs dissemination workshops

Several side events will be held during the IGF week. One of them will be the policy brief on Regulation OTTs – the challenges and recommendations.

More to follow …

Call for Volunteers for the 2019 Kenya IGF MAG

KICTANet wishes to invite volunteers from the different stakeholder groups to assist in the preparation of the Kenya Internet Governance Forum (KIGF) 2019, which will be held on Thursday, 1 August 2019. 

The Kenya Internet Governance Forum (KIGF) is an annual meeting that brings together various stakeholder groups to dialogue on ICT and Internet policy. The Steering Team otherwise known as the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG) role is to assist in convening the Kenya IGF by preparing the programme and schedule and to improve the IGF process through community consultations, outreach and stakeholder engagement. MAG members volunteer and serve in their personal capacity, and are expected to have established linkages with their respective stakeholder groups. Please review the MAG TOR.

To express interest, please send an email to info@kictanet.or.ke with the subject line “Kenya IGF 2019 MAG” indicating your stakeholder group, expertise and why you are interested in joining the steering committee of KIGF 2019 by Tuesday, June 25 2019. 

Membership to the steering team is voluntary and all materials produced by KICTANet are published under creative commons licenses. Organisations from various stakeholder groups are encouraged to nominate representatives.

Kenya IGF

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is an open and inclusive multi-stakeholder forum where public policy issues related to key elements of Internet governance issues, such as the Internet’s sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development. The United Nations Secretary-General formally announced the establishment of the IGF in July 2006 and the first meeting was convened in October 2006.

The purpose of the IGF is to maximize the opportunity for open and inclusive dialogue and the exchange of ideas on Internet Governance (IG) related issues; create opportunities to share best practices and experiences; identify emerging issues and bring them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public; and contribute to capacity building for Internet governance.

The event brings together stakeholders representing government, the private sector, civil society, the technical and academic community, and the public in an informal setting  for policy dialogue on Internet governance issues on an equal basis through an open and inclusive process. This type of cooperative engagement is usually referred to as the multistakeholder model of Internet Governance, which is one of the key features for the Internet’s success. This model is paramount to ensure that the Internet remains sustainable for economic and social development.

The forums are localised and their outcomes feed into each other from country to the global level. The outcomes of the country level (Kenya IGF) feed into the regional level (East Africa IGF), continental level (Africa IGF) and ultimately at the global level (IGF). Previously, Kenya hosted the East Africa IGF in 2009 and thereafter, the global IGF in 2011 in Nairobi.

This year, the 13th Annual Global IGF Meeting convened by the United Nations, will be hosted by the Government of France and is scheduled to take place on 12 – 14 November 2018 at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.

2.0 State of ICT in Kenya

According to the Communications Authority, Kenya has 42 million mobile subscribers; 30 million mobile money subscribers who made 308 million transactions valued at 1.7 trillion between October – December 2017. During the same period the internet data subscriptions stood at 33.3 million while the number of broadband subscriptions stood at 18 million. Kenya’s current international Internet bandwidth available in the country (Lit/equip capacity) stands at to 3,182.592 Gbps. Further, according to the Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC) the total number of domains stood at 73,972 with “.co.ke” recording 68,430 domains and “.go.ke” recording 414 domains as at 31st December 2017. Moreover, during the period, The National KE-CIRT/CC analyzed and validated the 4,589 cyber threats and also identified 539 cyber threats that were critical and required immediate response.

More importantly, ICT contributes significantly to Kenya’s economy. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) 2018 Economic Survey, ICT has transformed society and has spurred the economy by offering services through online platforms whether in the provision of government services, business and e-commerce, research and transfer of knowledge, and so on. As evidenced from the above statistics, these developments, according to KNBS, led to the value of ICT output in the economy increasing by 10.9% to KSh 345.1 billion in 2017.

3.0 Kenya IGF

Given the foregoing, the importance of the internet to the development of the country cannot be gainsaid. Modelled on the IGF structure and principles, the Kenya IGF therefore, is a unique platform for all stakeholders to openly share perspectives and concerns on the key issues that may affect the future of the Internet users in the country and across the globe in general.

KICTAnet in partnership with Industry stakeholders, convenes and organizing the Kenya IGF. This has been the tradition since the 1st edition of the Kenya IGF, which was held in 2009. The Kenya IGF has been hosted and convened by KICTAnet in every successive year since then. This year commemorates the 11th Edition of Kenya IGF. In 2017, the event was attended by close to 250 participants from across the country and a similar number is expected this year. The outcomes of the Kenya IGF will feed into the African IGF and Global IGF later this year.

The Kenya IGF 2018 shall be held on 19 July 2018 at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi.

KICTAnet works with partners and sponsors to make the event a success. The willingness of your organization to partner and support the event is an indication of your commitment to the development and growth of the internet in Kenya.

4.0 Theme

The theme for this year’s IGF will be “ICTs for Kenya’s Development: Getting Everyone on Board”.

The sub-themes prioritized for discussion which will help in framing the discussions are:

  1. Enhancing Cybersecurity for development
  2. Harnessing ICTs in Government (eCitizen, IPRS, IFMIS, iTax etc.)
  3. Safeguarding Privacy and data and the EU GDPR
  4. Content Regulation on the Internet*
  5. Developments in Fintech and E-commerce
  6. Emerging Technologies Trends (AI, distributed ledger, robotics etc.)

The themes are suggested by subscribers on the KICTAnet listserv based on on topics that are of interest to Kenya. A selected team of members volunteer annually to sit on the Kenya IGF Organising Committee, known as the Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG). The MAG coordinates and organises the event and also moderates the online debate on the KICTAnet listserv. Similar online debates are concurrently held on industry listservs such as skunkworks and the security lists and also on social media. The KICTAnet is open for subscription at https://lists.kictanet.or.ke/mailman/listinfo/kictanet.

5.0 Expected Outcomes

The main outcome of the Kenya IGF is to maximize opportunities for open and inclusive dialogue and the exchange of ideas on Internet Governance (IG) related issues. Others include:

  1. Creation of opportunities to share best practices and experiences;
  2. Identification of emerging issues and bringing them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public; and,
  3. Contribution to capacity building for Internet governance.

6.0 Participants

The participants will consist of 200 individuals representing various sectors including: government, the private sector, civil society, the technical and academic community, and the general public.

Further, the Kenya IGF will feature an award ceremony for the 40 participants of the 2nd edition of the Kenya School of Internet Governance (KESIG) which shall be held on 16 – 18 July 2018. The School is an initiative of KICTAnet and other partners, to promote awareness and knowledge of stakeholders in Kenya to enable them contribute actively to Internet Governance.

7.0 Methodology

The format of the Forum will include:

  1. A High-Level moderated panel session
  2. 4 Thematic moderated panel sessions
  3. Moderated plenary discussions

Registration for the event will start at 8.30am on the material day and the discussions will run 9am-5pm.  A networking lunch and coffee breaks will be provided. It is also expected that a fireside event (evening panel session) will take place followed by a networking cocktail. The event is free to attend.

8.0 Programme

Time Agenda Moderator
8:00 – 8:30 am Arrival and Registration
8:30 – 9:00 am Welcome and Introductions

Background to IGF

Opening Remarks

9:00 – 10:00 am High Level Panel: ICTs for Kenya’s Development: Getting Everyone on Board

Panellists

Francis Wangusi, DG, Communications Authority (CA)

Facebook

Hon. Gideon Moi, Senate ICT Chair/ Sen. Abshiro Halake

COG

Prof. Winnie Mitullah, Head of IDS, UON

Wanjiru Gikonyo, TISA

Hon. Kisang’, Chair ICT Committee

Moderator: Beatrice Marshall

What role can fb/whatsapp play in enhancing devpt

What is the lay of the land

What needs to be done

10:00 – 10:30 am Plenary Session
10:30 – 11:30 am Tea Break
11:30 – 12:30 pm Session 2: Developments in Fintech and E-commerce

Panellists

Moderator: Ali Hussein

Session Questions

Stats on use of services

fintech mobile lending

Data usage and profiling

market response

Regulatory issues

Business models

Cost of services

Financial inclusion

Equality and income distribution in the counties

12:30 – 1:00 pm Plenary
1:00 – 2:00 pm Lunch Break
2:00 – 3:00 pm Session 3: Strengthening Data Security in the Context of Emerging Trends

Panellists

William Makatiani, Serianu

Grace Mutung’u, KICTAnet

Vincent Ngundi, CA

EU*

Safaricom

Rep. Egov services – itax, ecitizen, iprs, ifmis

Moderator: Racheal Nakitare

Session Questions

E-govt services (itax, ecitizen, ehealth, iprs, )

Critical infrastructure

Data in hands of private sector/3rd parties

EU GDPR

 

3:00 – 3:30 pm Plenary Session
3:30 – 4:30 pm Session 4: Content Regulation on the Internet

Panellists

Mercy Wanjau, CA

Ezekiel Mutua, KFCB

Facebook

Dr. Wandia Njoya – HOD Language and Performing Arts, Daystar University

Gbenga Sesan – Paradigm Initiative

 

Moderator: Dr. Wambui Wamunyu

Session Questions

4:30 – 4:45 pm Actions Points and Way Forward

Rapporteurs Summary

Rapporteur
4:45 – 5:00 pm Vote of thanks and Closing of KIGF 2018
5:00 – Tea Break
FIRESIDE CHAT
6:30 – 8:00 pm Session 5: Emerging Technologies Trends (AI, distributed ledger, robotics etc.)  

Panellists

Bitange Ndemo, Fmr. PS ICT, UoN.

Ory Okolloh

Tim Oriedo

Ife Osaga Ondondo – Head of Legal, Sub-Saharan Africa, Google

Networking/ Drinks and Bites

Departure

Moderator: TBC

Session Questions

 

Maintaining Public Order During Internet Shutdown

Image Credit.

Written by Victoria, from the Bloggers Association of Kenya.

Imagine waking up one day and turning on your computer but you cannot get access to the internet; no browsing, no news, no videos, no internet games, no online chat forums, no social media access. Everything online has been locked out in an instant.

Our world relies heavily on the internet. From communicating with each other to having easy access to a wide variety of knowledge, it is hard to tell what we would do without the internet even for a day.

If the internet was to shut down, the first and most noticeable change will be the huge communication issues. Recently, when a popular communications service provider in Kenya shut down for close to 24 hours, the country was out of a major communication platform. Nevertheless, due to the access to other communication service providers, people were able to communicate with each other.

Imagine a situation where we will not be able to communicate with each other when no service providers can be accessed. We can forget about even having cell phone reception since the cables and satellites that support our wireless phone services will not be able to operate without the internet. We also will not be able to send and receive emails and social media. This would mean the end of easy access to fast-paced information and knowledge.

With just the touch of your screen, we can find out what is happening in other parts of the country from occasional events to even the weather just because of internet access. With no internet, we will have to rely on antenna radio and broadcast television. This would be challenging since most people have transitioned to digital television.

When the internet is shut down, even temporarily, it is viewed as very suspicious activity on the government’s part, especially during an electoral year.

There is a real fear of Internet Shutdowns during this election period (either complete or partial). There seems to be doublespeak from the government (the Cabinet Secretary and Communications Authority of Kenya giving contradicting statements). The basis of the shutdown could be brought about by public order justification for instance: to maintain public order as well as initiatives such as National Cohesion and Integration Commission’s gadgets to monitor hate mongers.

If the internet shuts down during the Election Day, transmission of results would definitely be affected and the said Virtual Private Network (VPN) set to be used to transmit tallied votes could equally be compromised. At a National Election Conference hosted by IEBC in early June, Dr Wangusi, a panellist in one of the sessions, assured Kenyans that there would be no censorship or interruption of communication on the day of elections. He also clarified that election results would be transmitted on a VPN which would see that they do not touch on the bandwidth Kenyans would use on the day.

An Internet shutdown is not the right way to maintain public order. This is because, if the internet went out, it would cause panic in the country. People would start looting, burning things down, and having no regard for local authority. The lack of information when the internet is down will force the government to turn to the martial law to restore order. This would include the local police being replaced by the army as well as new rules like curfews being implemented. This is, therefore, detrimental to a country’s economy.

However, it would be nearly impossible for a government to shut down the entire Internet. Some people in the public have access to a wide range of tools such as VPNs that can easily be used to circumvent any blocks put to deny them access to the Internet in case of an internet shutdown. There are, therefore, too many paths into and out of the country using these VPNs, which have independent providers. The providers who would have to be intimidated for a countrywide shutdown to be executed.

Written by Victoria, from http://bake.or.ke

The Kenya Internet Governance Forum (KIGF) 2017 Summary

Image Credit

Written by Victoria, from the Bloggers Association of Kenya.

The Kenya Internet Governance Forum celebrated 10 years of internet governance in the country. The forum always focuses on bringing in new voices and ideas from individuals who understand ICT globally and in Kenya making processes, to ensure the debates and discussions held are consistent and continuous. The KIGF week held a Youth Internet Governance Forum for the first time as well as the School of Internet Governance.

The first discussion held at the forum focused on Technology Use in the upcoming elections. The role and contribution of technology in the elections were the main topics of the discussion. Citizens expect elections to be transparent and accountable. The use of technology in elections ensures these are achieved. In the upcoming general elections, Chris Musandu of IEBC clarified that the election process was semi-electronic since the method of casting a vote is purely manual. The electoral process cannot fully depend on technology which only complements this process making it free and fair.

The issue of fake news or alternative news was also a topic in the use of technology in elections discussions. People who run these platforms earn a living from it. Therefore, stopping this news from spreading can be challenging. However, an individual who propagates alternative news and is charged for this offence faces a 1 million Kenyan Shillings fine or a five-year jail term.

The second topic of discussion was on enhancing cyber security in Kenya. Cyber threats have become rampant over the years. The threats can face any individual including government entities. Most individuals in the ICT industry face challenges pertaining to cyber threats but prefer to face them alone without telling others. This should otherwise be avoided and the knowledge and information learnt should be shared with other concerned parties. Concerned parties in the ICT sector should work more on collaboration since individuals who disseminate cyber threats are increasing and there needs to be collaboration and togetherness to fight these threats.

However, today, people are targeting customers instead of the system. This is a form of social engineering, which uses fear and urgency to get information from customers.

The case of online bullying was also mentioned. This particular subtopic focused on protecting children from online content that is harmful to them from online games, online betting to being targeted on their social media platforms. This includes gaming channels like the previous ‘Blue Whale’ that led to the death of a teenager in Kenya. Education and awareness on online use are therefore important to not only the children but also the teacher, parents and guardians because it is everyone’s responsibility to protect them.

The next topic of discussion was on how to safeguard free speech and privacy online, especially, in the electoral context. How many times have we heard or read about the hate speech and online defamation particularly targeted at politicians this year? Are there laws and regulations that bind the use of these words? We all need to be responsible while using online platforms. The public should also be well informed on what hate speech is and how they pose a threat to the country considering the fact that freedom of expression and free speech are constitutional. The election is a very competitive contest where individuals are seeking power, how they communicate on online platforms should be well monitored if they are propagating any certain threats.

Information controls was the final topic of discussion for the day. The question about who is responsible for Internet control was raised. Freedom is not absolute and everyone is responsible for enjoying these freedoms because when we choose to publish or tweet we have chosen to share our opinions.

The government assured us that there would be no internet shut down during the upcoming elections. It was pointed out that, an internet shutdown would lead to the loss of investor confidence to a country besides the loss of revenue, which is measured to a country’s GDP.

There are many harmful websites on the internet and we cannot be able to have control to all of them. Therefore, we have to be responsible to ensure we always use the freedom we have online to achieve the best in aspects. There also need to be trust within the government and the people, because if we are not truthful, there will not be any trust. There is also a place for everyone in the ICT ecosystem and we should all be involved in keeping it safe for everyone.

The Kenya Internet Governance Forum was a success. It was not just a social event but also an informative event full of discussions from the panel and the audience alike.

Written by Victoria, from http://bake.or.ke

The Growth of Fintech Ecosystem in Kenya

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Written by Victoria, from the Bloggers Association of Kenya.

Kenya is the birthplace of some of the most revolutionary FinTech ideas. The FinTech ecosystem is fast growing in the country.

Investopedia defines the term ‘FinTech’ as, ‘a portmanteau of financial technology that describes an emerging financial services sector in the 21st century. Originally, the term applied to technology applied to the back-end of established consumer and trade financial institutions. Since the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the term has expanded to include any technological innovation in the financial sector, including innovations in financial literacy and education, retail banking, investment and even crypto-currencies like bitcoin.’

These are discussions held online concerning the Kenya Internet Governance Forum by Kenya ICT Action Network on the topic ‘FinTech Ecosystems in Kenya’.

Fintech seems to be technical but because we are all involved in it one way or another, we definitely have lessons and opinions on what needs to be done.

Is the business environment in Kenya conducive for FinTech business?

Our internet penetration levels are high compared other African states. Keeping in mind how mobile money has also picked up, there is definitely a conducive environment for FinTech.

A new law needs to be enacted to enable Africa’s first virtual bank to be born in Kenya. Kenya is the birthplace of Mpesa. Where we account for 10% of all global mobile money transactions. Yet we have a policy and regulatory regime that is still steeped in the physical cash economy.

Today, we do not visit banks anymore, we do not line up at Kenya Power; Nairobi Water or other utilities to pay our bills; we do not send money via Rift Valley Express, Coast Bus or Posta; we even pay our taxes virtually and we use Uber to travel within the city. We only need to simply use Mpesa or Pesalink to pay for these services.

However, the Kenyan FinTech environment needed to make it conducive is simply archaic from a regulatory point of view. For example, getting a mobile wallet approved by the regulator is somewhat a long process.

We need to consolidate our gains by opening up the policy and regulatory framework to make it easy and fast to move to the next phase of this Fintech Innovation.

Kenya should, therefore, have an enabling policy environment or framework that will foster growth in this sector because what we are currently doing is playing in the periphery.

Disruption is as much a form of social evolution as it is of technological improvements. We are all evolving socially and/or otherwise.

What is the experience of companies scaling & deploying FinTech to other countries in the region?

Collaboration in the FinTech industry unlocks digital growth because Fintech innovation opens up new opportunities. FinTech has helped drive tremendous advances across the financial services ecosystem through reshaping the status quo in a complex and highly regulated industry. Fintech companies are delivering more tailored, convenient and affordable solutions for underserved populations and communities.

Neither start-ups nor traditional financial institutions will be able to independently provide the range of specialised products and services that are needed to address the increasingly fragmented financial lives of 21st-century individuals and businesses.

In order to effectively navigate an increasingly complex financial system and meet changing customer expectations, companies today must build upon and extend their own unique areas of expertise by pursuing opportunities to partner. 

However, with collaboration, new customer expectations are drawing traditional institutions out of their comfort zones; the ability to scale remains a challenge for FinTech start-ups and the global economy is in a constant state of uncertainty.

Fintech startups should remember, successful partnerships put the customer first.

Have banks finally caught on FinTech with their solutions?

Banks have not really caught up but they are trying to blend their products with technological solutions. This wake-up call may have occurred when interest rates were capped. It is however quite clear banks will lead to this new product and not the FinTechs as much touted.

Kenyan banks seem to be playing a catch-up game to Mpesa in the area of mobile banking with their innovative product Pesalink. Banks are actually not charging any transaction costs, unlike Mpesa, when you transfer money between accounts in the same bank. One can even buy more M-AKIBA bonds on PesaLink than when you use Mpesa.

How will bitcoins & blockchain technology affect the market?

Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have started being hyped by block chain enthusiasts. However, when CBK will recognise it, it’s true effect will be seen.

The transformation of the financial services industry is top-of-mind for everyone in the field and blockchain might be the hottest topic in the rapidly changing world of Fintech. Nevertheless, how can this technology really help financial firms? A report from World Economic Forum takes a pragmatic approach to highlight more on this question.

When you converse with people in the Bitcoin community, there is only one thing mentioned – as was during the dot.com era, “Bitcoin is here and will change everything“. What all those Crypto-pundits fail to remember or read about is, at the beginning of the dot.com boom there was Netscape, Yahoo, AOL, Lycos, Alsta, Vista among others. The outcome yielded different top players: Amazon, Google and Salesforce.

Again, as with the dot.com era, the larger public does not clearly understand what is happening. While the media mulls over Bitcoin and gives credence to a slew of people proclaiming a “decentralised network that no one will own” to a naive public and convince them to dump millions into “ICO”, there is something else happening. Considering Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google, do you think it’s a coincidence they are major deployments for many block chain networks?

As with previous players, the winners are already taking in massive rewards because they are already hooked into an existing Information Technology and Banking Infrastructure. Currently, investments are only flowing into blockchain infrastructure that must be enterprise grade. This is similar to when the Internet did not make IT departments irrelevant and blockchain will not replace IT departments. What will change is the speed and types of skillset needed in it. There will be no immediate shift to everything block chain – there will be long periods of co-existing and integration with existing IT systems. However, block chain will lead to a strong surge in cloud adoption.

The consequence of block chain among consumers will be most felt in Infrastructure were developments relating to Identity, Privacy and Security are taking shape.

Bitcoin, therefore, does not have a fur fetching future

Written by Victoria, from http://bake.or.ke

ICT in the Kenyan Counties

Image Credit

Written by Victoria, from the Bloggers Association of Kenya.

The globe is experiencing an exceptional growth in the information and technology (ICT) sector. This has seen immense growth in the social, economic, and business operations happening due to this global digitisation. The Kenyan government has not being left behind as it has embraced digitisation in their practices and processes. The ICT sector in the country has helped to reduce the cost of communication, increase market information and facilitate doing business.

E-citizen is one of Kenya’s ICT online platforms that have seen Kenyans get easy access to government services. The e-Citizen portal has grown immensely since it was launched in 2014. So far,1.23 million Kenyans have registered on the portal up from 400,000 Kenyans as at June 2015, while 2.4 billion shillings have been collected.

Services are accessible by registering on an online portal or via USSD on a mobile device using the existing Paybill transaction type. Payment technologies available include mobile money, cards and PayPal. Other services available on separate platforms include M-Service, a web portal for filing and making payments for domestic taxes, customs and vehicle logbook fees, and M-AKIBA, the highly anticipated $5 million infrastructure bond that is been issued and traded exclusively via mobile money.

In the counties, the ‘Huduma Centres’ has been a supporting structure making it easier for citizens to access government services. Huduma Centers are one-stop shops set up countrywide by the government to complement the eCitizen portal by providing additional services and those requiring physical presence or special assistance. This means that citizens are able to get birth certificates, national identity cards, passports, registration of business names, and applications for marriage certificates, drivers’ licences, police abstract and many other services in one place.

Each county (47) has Huduma Centres comprising mainly of upgraded post office outlets, with mobile units serving extremely remote areas. On average, 12,000 people are served daily at Huduma Centers, and as of June 2015, payments for services rendered totalled $50 million.

Some counties have adopted ICT quite well while other lag behind through free internet access and usage. Some counties, such as Nakuru, Kiambu and Kisumu have tried offering free WiFi to residents.

A document on the Government E-payments Adoption Ranking (GEAR) 2011, outlines the positive impact of digitising government service payments on the integration of the informal economy. Nairobi, is one of the counties, that has improved its revenue collection through the e-payments system.

Despite all these success’, the ICT sector in Kenya faces challenges, especially, at the county level. Digitisation is challenged by many factors including financial restraints, inadequate personnel in the projects, poor handling of original documents and material and inadequate resources and infrastructure for digitisation. Technical expertise of project staff and procurement procedures are other challenges which hinder effective digitisation in government.

It has been revealed that various county departments in Kenya undertaking digitisation projects have formulated strategies, which have enabled them to cope with some of the challenges faced in the ICT sector. Effective strategies have included documenting standards and best practices to be applied uniformly and planning, monitoring, and operational budgeting in the project. Other strategies usually applied include having digital and quality standards and policy enactment before digitisation starts. These improve coordinating with other departments that could use ICT effectively. Counties, which have passionate ICT officers, can be of assistance in coordination with other staff in other counties.

To ensure the digitisation process in Kenya is successful, the county government departments should ensure that proper planning, and budgeting is done even before the project starts. In addition, every department engaged in digitisation should ensure a consistent, high level of image quality across collections. Not forgetting to mention, all digitisation projects in government should decrease the likelihood of re-digitizing in the future by promoting best practices for conversion of materials into digital format and the long-term preservation of these digital resources.

Information Source:

nextbillion.net

uonbi.ac.ke

Written by Victoria, from http://bake.or.ke