According to Alice Munyua former Chair of the Kenya Internet Governance Forum and Convener of the Kenya ICT Action Network , the Internet Governance Forum has the most impact at national level (Kenya IGF Report, 12 August 2016).
The forum has promoted the use of the multistakeholder model in public policy development across different sectors namely government, civil society, academia, private sector and the technical community. Stakeholders of varied backgrounds who have participated in the annual forum for the last ten years have gone ahead and implemented the model in their respective sectors. In the year 2010 and as a result of increased use of the model across different sectors of the Kenyan economy, multistakeholderism was embedded in the Kenyan constitution thus becoming a mandatory process in public policy development processes. Key sectors that have benefited from the multistakeholder model include information and communications technology through development of the Kenya ICT policy 2006 and 2016, health sector through development of the Kenya Health Policy 2014 – 2030, the private sector which created their own association the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and the Internet Community which created the Kenya Network Information Centre the country code top level domain registry for Kenya.
The Kenya Internet Governance Forum has over the years brought together various actors who had previously been operating in silos rendering them ineffective. Using the multi stakeholder model, the forum has brought together actors from various stakeholder groupings such as government thereby building their capacity on electronic government, private sector (electronic business), academia (electronic learning) Civil Society (online activism), media (online reporting) and the technical community (electronic collaboration). Collaborative efforts that emanated from multi stakeholder processes resulted in projects such as The East African Marine System (TEAMS) a submarine cable built through local public and private sector partnerships which lowered the cost of the Internet in Kenya considerably thus opening up a new world of innovation and electronic commerce in the country.
Another positive outcome of the multi stakeholder framework of collaboration championed by the Kenya Internet Governance Forum was the launch and eventual commissioning of the National Optic Fibre Backbone (NOFBI) which connected all administrative centre’s in the country. The National Optic Fibre Backbone enabled countrywide roll out of electronic government services such as the Integrated Financial Management System IFMIS which is used to manage the government payroll and procurement process and Kenya Revenue Authorities i-tax systems that significantly improved management and stewardship of the country’s financial resources by promoting accountability and effective collection of taxes.
By Barrack Otieno
The writer is an Associate of the Kenya ICT Action Network and a member of the Local Multi Stakeholder Advisory Group