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Government takes over e-Citizen in the push to digitize 5,000 services

 Government takes over e-Citizen in the push to digitize 5,000 services

ICT and Digital Economy CS Eliud Owalo.

The Ministry of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Digital Economy has assumed control of the e-Citizen platform as it gears up to make around 5,000 government services available online in six months.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo revealed this during an interview with Citizen TV’s Waihiga Mwaura on Tuesday night saying the site is slated for upgrades before it can host additional capabilities.

E-Citizen is a digital payments platform that enables Kenyan citizens , residents and visitors access and pay for government services online.

“We have just taken over the e-Citizen platform and we want to upgrade the infrastructure and by next week, we will be onboarding additional services,” said Mr Owalo.

The CS reiterated that broad-based digital transformation of the economy is a key pillar of Kenya Kwanza bottom-up economic model, which was President William Ruto’s main campaign slogan.

“ICT is not just an enabler but a critical success factor going forward,” noted Mr Owalo.

The CS added that the process will at some point involve various service providers with the necessary technical capacity.

He explained: “There are two components here; you start by digitizing government records. Once you digitize government records, you digitize the services.”

“Once we have the infrastructure in place, we get into working arrangements with service providers to help us onboard the services.”

So far, the government has partnered with Google and Telkom Kenya in the provision of free WIFI across 17 hotspots that Mr Owalo has recently unveiled in places such as Muthurwa and Marikiti markets in Nairobi, and elsewhere in Nyeri, Bondo, Ahero, Kapsabet and Kericho.

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Dr Ruto’s administration plans to launch 5,000 hotspots in a calendar year to realize the ambitious target of 25,000 sites across Kenya by 2027.

CS Owalo asserted that better internet access for Kenyans by way of public WiFi will promote virtual commerce and greatily eliminate physical transactions.

“Once you have the internet in place, then you can have somebody showcasing what he or she has in the market, including mama mboga and other itinerary traders. The buyer or target market are able to see what somebody is selling, they engage using the technology and even go a step further and ensure the goods are transported to the buyer,” he explained.

Mr Owalo urged the youth to exploit opportunities available in the digital space, pointing out that classic white-collar jobs are fewer nowadays and are less rewarding due to talent saturation.

Concerning Konza Technopolis, which drags on 14 years later, the CS said critical groundwork such as fibre optic and a data center is set, with private investments being rolled out.

Mr Owalo noted that Kenya will also start manufacturing smartphones worth $40 (about Kes4,000-Kes5,000) in July this year at Konza.

“It is not a question of trying out your luck. It is a feasible, bankable proposal that is in place. The feasibility study has already been done. That is what is informing the cost proposition that is envisaged. The market demand envisaged cost of production, as well as the envisaged profit levels by the telcos has been assessed,” Mr Owalo noted.

newsroom@maudhui.co.ke

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