Residents of Kwale County will start enjoying free WIFI thanks to a new partnership between the County government and Liquid Telecom. The county government also launched an online services known as KwalePay that will be a one-stop online gateway to all the county government’s services. This means residents will now be able to get business licenses pay land rent and access council services straight from the portal by using either their mobile phones, home computers and cybercafés.
The new Internet services from Kwale County Government follow Liquid Telecom Kenya’s delivery of a 25Mbps fibre network connecting the county government headquarters and regional offices, and servicing Kwale’s new street Wi-Fi and digitalised services.
“The county’s Revenue Management System (RMS) will enable residents do all payments online, cutting long queues at the headquarters, and enhancing revenue collection and transparency,” Juma Kingi the County ICT Director said.
“In this, ICT is removing the human interface from revenue collection. We have developed a payment solution and integrated an SMS platform that will send reminders to residents to pay their renewals fees before their due dates, in a system we believe will now double our revenue collection,” Kingi added.
Liquid Telecom has also installed a Wide Area Network (WAN) for the county government, connecting its headquarters with its regional offices in Msambweni, Matuga, Lunga Lunga and Kinango via a 36km-radius network.
The installations now see Kwale join 39 counties across Kenya that have rolled out digitalised systems offering their services online, but the county is among the first few – notably including Nakuru and Kiambu – to additionally develop free street Wi-Fi.
“Our aim is to make county services accessible on mobile phones and in grassroot cybercafés, saving the residents time and money spent travelling to our headquarters. This will cut out long journeys, for instance, from Lunga Lunga to headquarters saving residents about Sh440 on transport alone,” Anthony Mwamunga the Kwale County Government Chief of Staff said.
The new network has also meant county staff are now able to use staff emails, where previously they had only personal Gmail or Yahoo accounts. “The county is also working on installing a call extension service across its offices to cut down its mobile phone calls costs,” said Kingi.
The development of high-speed Internet in Kwale has additionally opened up the county to new business opportunities and enabled residents to access services previously only available in Kenya’s major cities and towns.
“We genuinely believe in the role that Internet connectivity plays in developing the economic prospects of a region through job creation and greater ease of doing business. This has been seen all around the world. But taking these services into some of Kenya’s must unequal counties is a mission of which we are very proud, and one that we shall continue to pursue with vigour,” Adil Youssefi, CEO of Liquid Telecom Kenya said.
The free street WIFI will be available in Baraza Park and Ukunda.
Featured Image: Ben Roberts, Chief Technical Officer – Liquid Telecom