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Kenya celebrates freedom day betting on tech for prosperity

By , Kenya-based correspondent
Kenya , 02 Jun 2023
President William Ruto.
President William Ruto.

Kenya celebrated the 60th freedom day yesterday, with President William Ruto acknowledging the impact of technology on governance.

The president appreciated the positive impact of technology in delivering services, saying it holds the key to improving government efficiency, enhancing inclusion, promoting transparency and integrity.

To this end, president Ruto said he is betting on the use of technology in ‘deepening trust and strengthening’ public confidence in government.

The president said his administration has since started digitising government information and taking public services online.

President Ruto underscored the importance of technology during his speech at the 60th Madaraka Day Celebrations at the Moi Stadium Embu.

Madaraka Day is a national holiday celebrating Kenya’s independence from British rule marked every 1 June.

The emphasis on technology by the president comes as Kenya is betting on the digital economy being key to its youth empowerment drive.

Last month, Kenya announced plans to release a million locally assembled smartphones, a move intended to bridge digital divide gap.

Kenya’s technology initiatives have since received the backing of the World Bank, which recently approved $390 million in funding to amplify the country’s growing digital economy.

Yesterday, President Ruto said: “Today, as we celebrate progress in achieving economic freedom, we also celebrate our digital economy, powered by our famous fintech community. Kenya’s legendary spirit of enterprise has entered the digital space.”

The president said given what citizens expect from government, his administration is increasingly resorting to technology as the answer to social problems.

“We must therefore take a moment today to celebrate technology in general, and in particular Kenyan fintech and other innovations that are making it possible for us to serve Kenyans to the best possible standard. We have a duty to deploy the best innovations and technologies to make Kenya efficient, competitive and prosperous,” he said.

President Ruto explained further: “I am persuaded that technology holds the key to improving efficiency, enhancing inclusion, promoting transparency and integrity, deepening trust and strengthening public confidence in government service provision.

“This is the reason why we are digitising government information and taking public services online. On this day, I invite all Kenyans to embrace the new era of e-Governance, which empowers people everywhere, including the majority at the bottom of the socioeconomic structure, to access government services at their convenience, through their mobile devices.

“Since the advent of e-Citizen, government gradually increased the number of services available on the platform to 391. The rate of increase of on-boarded services is now shifting to a new radical trajectory. Today, 3,570 services have been onboarded, and we expect 5,000 services to be online by the end of this month. Our ambition is to offer every government service on the eCitizen platform by the end of 2023.”

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