The Connected Kenya Summit is back. Hosted by the ICT Authority (ICTA), the 12th edition of this regional summit will be hosted from the 2nd to the 5th of April 2023 in Kwale County.
The Summit seeks to review progress and achievements in the ICT sector, and share knowledge, case studies, best practice, and lessons learned based on experiences by ICT practitioners. It also seeks to develop and recommend policy, regulatory, and operational interventions and provide a platform for meaningful networking that will result in fruitful relationships that contribute to economic development.
Connected Kenya Summit was first held in 2009. Since then, it has continued to bring together industry players from the Private, Public sectors, Academia, ICT thought leaders and experts under one roof.
This year’s summit will be hosted under the theme The Digital Economy: Endless opportunities shaping the future. This theme is particularly very important as it aligns with one of the government’s key pillars of the Digital superhighway and creative economy. Other top ICT priorities for the government include Digitization of Government Services, Digitalization, and building a digitally skilled workforce.
Kenya has been termed among the leading countries in the continent that have been at the forefront in putting up ICT infrastructure for the benefit of its people and government functions. Taking advantage of this, the government aims to invest massively in ICT infrastructure to the tune of 100,000 kms of fiber-optic cable as well as 25,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces.
While launching one of the WI-FI hotspots at Wakulima Market in Nairobi County’s Muthurwa area in December last year, Cabinet Secretary for ICT & the Digital Economy, Hon Eliud Owalo noted that the government was paying unprecedented attention to facilitating improved livelihoods for Kenyans. This attention, the CS noted will be given to every sector of the economy while emphasizing that access to affordable, stable, and safe Internet is a critical integral enabler, in this regard.
‘’We are going to move from one corner of the country to the other, not only ensuring that our proposed extra 100,000 km of fibre optic cable are being laid out, but also that we are enabling Kenyans to access the superhighway through Government funded hotspots. ‘’ the CS said.
‘’The success of the recently launched Hustler Fund, for example, depends heavily on functional digital technology, everywhere in the country. My ministry is, accordingly, focused on availing this technology to every Kenyan, regardless of where they may be in the country,” he added.
So far about, 1,650 key public institutions and offices have been connected. In Nairobi, the ICT Authority has implemented the Government Core Central Network intended to serve as a shared and secure service that seeks to improve the exchange of information across Government institutions. The ICT Authority also has plans to install 25,000 internet hotspots in business centers, rural areas, and other public spaces.
This is very important as connectivity plays a very important role in the growth of the digital economy of any country. It provides fresh opportunities for small SMEs helping them access the online marketplace hence reaching more customers which in turn helps them grow their revenues.
Speaking during the Connected Kenya breakfast launch, recently, CS Owalo noted that the country’s collective efforts in digital technology have placed Kenya on the global map as a leading ICT hub.
“We are home to innovative and unique technologies, such as M-Pesa. This ground-breaking innovation has disrupted the Fintech sector, not only in Kenya but globally. Because of our robust digital ecosystem, molded by our enabling legal, regulatory, and policy framework, Kenya has become a favourite host to several multinational tech companies,” said Owalo.
Connected Kenya Summit 2023 will therefore be very important as it will provide a great opportunity for industry stakeholders to network and share experiences while looking for solutions to challenges in the ICT sector.
Some of the outcomes of previous Connected Summits are Huduma Secretariat and Presidential Digital Talent Programme (Digitalent) through which the government in collaboration with the private sector, is building the country’s digital skills and a digital workforce. Others include Huduma Centre Initiative and the e-citizen platform that is being used to deliver e-government services.
This Year’s Connected Summit is meant to provide outcomes that will define how ICT will continue to enable Kenya realize the objectives of the Government’s Digital Transformation Agenda, in line with Vision 2030 as well as the Kenya National Digital Master Plan (2022-32).
The forum will take place in Kwale County with over 1000 delegates, local and international, expected to attend.