With the rapid growth of digitalization and the race by governments not to be left out in the fourth industrial revolution, African countries such as Kenya have placed key priority on ICT and digitalization – The Kenyan government has in the recent past invested in the ICT and Digitalization sector, the sector takes centre stage in the East African Nation’s government’s Bottom-up Economic Transformation agenda – with the Digital Super Highway.
Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies are at the forefront of the Kenyan Digitalization Agenda one such is the Kenya ICT Authority – a State Corporation established in August 2013 under the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology that has for the past ten years been responsible for rationalizing and streamlining the management of all Government of Kenya ICT functions. Its broad mandate entails enforcing ICT standards in Government and enhancing the supervision of its electronic communication.
The Authority, anchored on the core values of Integrity, community, action, and thoughts promotes ICT literacy, capacity, innovation, and enterprise. It was since its establishment focused on its vision to transform lives using ICT.
Focused on its mission to champion and harness ICT to enable efficient and effective access in the delivery of public service for the public office and public service the authority continuously implements major government policies and projects aimed at achieving its mandate to set and enforce ICT standards and guidelines for the human resources, infrastructure, processes, and system and technology for the public office and public service.
It also deploys and manages all ICT staff in the public service, facilitates and regulates the design, implementation, and use of ICTs in the public service, promotes e-government services, facilitates optimal electronic, electronic form, electronic record, and equipment use in public service, promotes ICT Innovation and enterprise, establishes, develops and maintains secure ICT infrastructure and systems, supervises the design, development, and implementation of critical ICT projects across the public service, and implements and manages the Kenya National Spatial Data Initiative.
The Kenya ICT Authority is made up of the Department of Standards through which ICT standards and guidelines are set and enforced for human resources, infrastructure, processes & systems across the Public Service. The Department of Innovation is responsible for introducing viable ICT innovations to the government for adoption. They also receive innovations and products/solutions from all over Kenya and evaluate them to determine their viability and potential for scaling. In addition, the department facilitates technical assistance, linkage to markets, and marketing expertise for innovators. They also provide access to legal guidance, research institutions, investors, and hubs through a network of partners and subject matter experts. The department collaborates with investment partners to identify suitable hubs and accelerator programs for innovators based on their needs.
The ICT Capacity Department is responsible for promoting ICT literacy among citizens. They currently run the Presidential Digital Talent Programme (PDTP), which provides internships for fresh ICT and engineering graduates. The program equips interns with hands-on skills that boost their entrepreneurial skills and increase their chances of employability. The goal of the PDTP is to transform the use of ICT for effective service delivery in the government by providing a skilled workforce. The program is currently on its 6th cycle, and 1,300 interns have completed their internship through cohorts I to IV. The mentoring and coaching of 400 Cohort VI interns is currently ongoing.
The Project Management Office is responsible for implementing ICT Programmes/Projects on behalf of the Government of Kenya. These include the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP), which aims to equip learners in Kenya with 21st-century ICT skills, the National Optic Fiber Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI), and the Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade, and Development Facilitation Program (EARTTDFP). Additionally, there are three more departments within the ICT Authority: the Information Security Department, the Application and System Department, and the ICT Infrastructure Department. All these departments see to the establishment and enforcement of ICT standards and guidelines for the public office’s infrastructure.
The Authority has undertaken various projects to enforce ICT standards in Kenya, such as Kenya Open Data, Smart County, White Box, Public Key Infrastructure, Government Unified Communication System, Connectivity Infrastructure, TIMS, IFMIS, The Government Data Centre (GDC), and the Centre of Excellence. These projects aim to bridge the gap between industry needs and talent in the ICT sector.
The Authority collaborates with Oracle and Huawei Technologies to promote ICT literacy and capacity, develop ICT infrastructure, provide access to devices and the internet, and support ICT research, innovation, and enterprise development.
With a clear vision and mission, the Authority is championing the use of technology to enhance the delivery of public services, promote innovation and enterprise, and establish secure ICT infrastructure and systems, its administration has been decentralised with offices around the country in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nakuru that see to the even enforcement of the ICT standards. The Authority is headed by Hon. Sylvanus Maritim as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Stanley Kamanguya as Chief Executive Officer.
By: Alexander Bombande & Goodness Eniola / Digital Economy Magazine