The government plans to move all its services onto digital platforms to make public services convenient and easily available to all citizens,

Cabinet Secretary for ICT Joe Mucheru has said. Mr. Mucheru was speaking at a Webinar organized by KARA on the theme: “Technology and COVID 19: Leveraging on Innovative Technology Solutions to Mitigate Risks of the Pandemic.” Other speakers who addressed the forum were Mrs. Mercy Wanjau, Ag. Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya, and Mr. Steve Chege, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Safaricom PLC.

Mr. Mucheru emphasized the government’s commitment to digitization to enable citizens access services from the comfort of their homes or business premises during the pandemic. He said that currently, there are over 200 government services that can be accessed on-line at the Huduma Centers across the country and on mobile handsets. He informed participants that the Government initiated several measures to cushion Kenyans against the negative effects of the pandemic, and adoption of technology was among them.  For instance, the Government enhanced internet connectivity across the country through partnership with Telkom Kenya and Google East Africa, which has enabled many youths across the country to access job opportunities through the Ajira Digital Platform, and also supported online learning through the digital literacy programme.

On her part, Mrs. Mercy Wanjau, Ag. Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya, said that the Covid-19 pandemic has created opportunities for growth and innovations, especially in the areas of health, education, transport, e-commerce, entertainment etc. She shared some of the initiatives that the Authority has put in place to respond to the Covid19 pandemic such as,enhancement of cyber security surveillance to protect internet users; waived fees for toll free numbers offering Covid19 related advisories; designated a short code as an emergency number to facilitate business continuity for small medium enterprises.

Mr. Steve Chege thanked Kara for organizing the Webinar, and was grateful for the renewed partnership between the two organizations. He stated that the Company took several measures to help Kenyans navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic. For instance the Telco was identified by government as a critical infrastructure provider for seamless communication during the pandemic. In this regard the company expanded its network and enhanced data connectivity by doubling internet speeds for all its home fiber customers. The company also enabled customers to use their bonga points to purchase food to feed other needy Kenyans affected by the pandemic. He noted that the crisis had hastened the adoption of initiatives that were planned for the future, for instance fiber connectivity to the homes and working with other stakeholders in the energy sector to ensure most homes have access to power. He also informed participants that the company partnered with the national government to rollout the National Security Surveillance, Communication and Control System to enhance security within the Country. He noted that the company will also work with Kara to rollout security surveillance initiatives at neighborhood level.