The Government has affirmed its commitment to ensuring effective digital connectivity and access across the country, in a bid to enhance service delivery to Kenyans, State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications, PS, Ms. Esther Koimett has said.
In remarks made on her behalf by Ms. Juliana Yiapan, MOICT, Administration Secretary, during the Digital Access Programme (DAP) partners Day organized by the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) at the Strathmore University, the PS noted that the Government through policies such as the National ICT Policy, the Broadband Strategy and the Digital Economy Blueprint; among others, has continued to enhance digital inclusion.
“In these policy documents, digital inclusion is aimed at facilitating ICT accessibility, connectivity, affordability, and usability for all people and particularly facilitate the participation of women, youth, PWDs, the elderly, people from lower social economic groups, vulnerable people and the minority & marginalized populations of Kenya,” PS Koimett stated.
She pointed out that digital connectivity is at the core of Kenya’s national priorities from healthcare, education and Government services.
The PS further said that the Government, in collaboration with its agencies and other partners, has undertaken several projects to enhance digital inclusion across the country.
She noted that the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) and African Centre for Women in ICT (ACWICT) are jointly implementing a project known as the COVID-19 and Digital Employability-III which aims at empowering 2832 young women with digital skills.
She further said that the ICT Authority and Kenya, KICTANeT are implementing a project aimed towards promoting cyber hygiene awareness among 30,000 excluded and marginalised populations in Kenya.
“We have seen enhanced digital inclusion, cybersecurity and cyber hygiene awareness and privacy through key multiple stakeholder engagement and knowledge,” she said.
The PS reiterated the Government’s commitment to collaborating with the private sector agencies to enhance digital connectivity.
“It is only by working together that we can be able to address the identified access gaps that still exist,” she noted.
PS Koimett noted that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the urgent need to prioritize the digital inclusion agenda in Kenya.
“COVID-19 presented an unprecedented opportunity for cross-sector collaboration to bridge the digital divide and enable unforeseen growth opportunities for the economy and society”, she said.
At the same function, Ms. Nicole Gregory, the British High Commission Head of People and Partnerships, said the UK Government is committed to working with Kenya on digital access programs.
Ms Grace Gitonga, Convenor KICtANet, said KICTANet is committed to working with the Government and other stakeholders to bridge the gap on digital access and connectivity in Kenya.
Other speakers at the event were Mr. Charles Juma, Digital Access Program Manager and Mr. Christopher Kemei, Director, Universal Service Fund at the Communications Authority of Kenya, among others, joining the event virtually.
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