Inside Politics

Leveraging power of digital economy to achieve Vision 2030

Friday, February 5th, 2021 00:00 |
Digital economy. Photo/Courtesy

The year 2020 was extremely difficult and unusual for everyone owing to the ravages of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

People’s way of life changed greatly, challenging economic development to an unprecedented extent.

Traditional industries struggled, and new business models such as online education, e-commerce, and telemedicine developed disruptively.

In 2020, the fight against the pandemic and economic recovery was the top priorities of every country, and Kenya set an example who was one of the first African countries to adopt and implement a string of rigorous policies, and one of the few countries to have positive economic growth.

Crisis often stimulates change and brings new momentum for economic growth. These new business models have accelerated digital transformation among traditional industries. Globally, the digital economy has become the growth engine for the entire economy.

It has become a key tool for countries to drive economic recovery and growth. According to the Oxford Economics, the long-term return on investment for digital technologies is 6.7 times more than that of non-digital investments. During the pandemic many countries have revised their digital economy strategies and increased investments.

Kenya is also on the road to digital transformation. In 2019, President Kenyatta released the Digital Economy Blueprint at the Transform Africa Summit, making Kenya the first country in Africa to do so.

Towards the end of 2020, the government released the draft Digital Economy Strategy, updated based on what has happened during the pandemic.

Treasury statistics

In a recent presentation, National Treasury statistics showed that Kenya's overall economic growth rate was predicted to be 0.6% for 2020. The ICT industry growth was 8.8%, the second fastest growing industry.

The construction of digital infrastructure is a top priority when developing the digital economy and ecosystem. For this reason, Huawei has been working in Kenya for over 20 years to build telecom networks and support critical services such as M-PESA with telecommunications companies and with the Ministry of ICT to build the National Optical Fiber Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI), connecting local government offices across all 47 counties. Huawei is helping Kenya build a leading communications network and making significant contributions to Kenya's digital economy.

Huawei has always held both cyber security and privacy protection to be of paramount importance. We have implemented and maintained a comprehensive end-to-end cyber security assurance system.

For decades, we have maintained a solid track record in security in Kenya and across the globe. We have complied with applicable security and privacy laws, international telecom standards, and industry best practices.

Various donations

In addition, Huawei has pro-actively contributed with various donations in 2020 including of videoconferencing equipment and thermal imaging thermometers to various organizations, including the Ministry of Health who has used them to co-ordinate the pandemic response, and share experiences with international partners globally.

Umoja ni nguvu; umoja ni maendeleo; umoja katika kazi ni mafanikio, na kwa haya yote, talanta pia ni muhimu. From the beginning of the pandemic, we have provided training to more than 5,000 people through online learning including nearly 800 civil servants and 4,000+ students and graduates. We also sponsored and supported the "Fursa vs Virus Challenge" nationwide innovation competition, receiving accolades from President Kenyatta.

We recently closed the curtains on 2020 and are currently embarking on a new journey, 2021, which we hope will be a promising year. Huawei will continue to focus on the Digital Economy Blueprint proposed by President Kenyatta to help achieve Vision 2030.

First, we will continue to work with governments and telecommunication companies to build more advanced infrastructure to bridge the digital divide, and complete the Konza Technopolis data center further digitizing Kenya's government’s operations.

Second, we will focus on developing digital business in the tourism, health, education, finance and energy sectors amongst others. We will collaborate with the Ministry of Tourism and Safaricom on a digital tourism we hope to attract more tourists from around the world. We will also work with the Ministries of ICT, Health, and Education on a series of projects to help connect hospitals and schools to high-speed internet to bring better services to users.

Third, we will use Huawei public cloud services to help small and medium-sized enterprises with digital innovation.

Finally, as the digital economy becomes more important, so does enhancing digital skills and values. In 2021, Huawei will continue to cooperate with universities and various Ministries to provide more training and practical opportunities to students and civil servants. The Huawei DigiTruck will also be dispatched to more counties to train young people on basic IT skills.

As a part of Kenya, Huawei will continue to participate in its development. I am convinced that Kenya ni mimi, Kenya ni wewe, Kenya ni sisi sote. Together, we can all contribute together to the realization of Vision 2030.

— The writer is Huawei Kenya Chief Executive Officer

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