Africa should learn from Kenya’s digital transformation, says President Kenyatta

Africa should learn from Kenya’s digital transformation, says President Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged the rest of the continent to learn from Kenya’s experience in digital transformation to drive its agenda for integration, industrialization, structural transformation and economic diversification.

The President spoke on Tuesday when he opened the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Africa Regional Electronic Commerce Week at the United Nations Headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi.

He said his administration has been at the forefront in promoting the use of digital technology to enhance service delivery.

“This is evidenced by the substantial investment resources we have put over the years in the development of ICT infrastructure such as fibre-optic network connection between Kenya and the rest of the world, as well as the development of the national digital infrastructure that connects all counties in Kenya,” said the President.

The Head of State said the investment in ICT infrastructure development has led to enhanced use of technology to file tax returns through the iTax platform, issuance of government documents such as passports and visas through the e-citizen platform.

“I cannot fail to underscore the now world famous M-Pesa money transfer service, an innovation that has put Kenya on the global technology map,” said the President.

President Kenyatta said the Kenyan government will continue to promote technological innovations by ensuring a conducive policy environment which balance between innovation and regulation to ensure the country remains ahead in ICT.

He added that digital technologies is critical in enabling Africa to achieve its objective of promoting intra-Africa trade, adding that it will accelerate communication and facilitate payments; two factors that are critical for cross-border trade.

He also called on African governments to give appropriate attention to the digital sector if the continent is to benefit from e-commerce and the digital economy.

“I consider it appropriate for Africa to begin a meaningful debate and engagement on e-Commerce and Digital Economy, focusing, as a starting point, on policy areas identified by the UNCTAD e-Trade Readiness Assessment Programme that was launched in 2016,” said the President.

President Kenyatta also called for the removal of all barriers to digital technologies necessary to drive trade across borders saying Africa must seize every opportunity to secure its rightful place in the global digital transformation.

“Africa must jealously guard against being marginalized in the designing and setting up of global rules for e-Commerce,” said the President.

UNCTAD Secretary General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, who also spoke at the event, thanked President Kenyatta for his continued support for UN bodies.