Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communication today launched the National ICT Master Plan, a much-delayed document detailing the country’s ICT course of action for the next five years.
The launch was originally scheduled for November 29 last year but was cancelled at the last moment.
The 37-page document is divided into a three-pronged approach plan with government service delivery to ordinary citizens being the first, followed by the need to strengthen the ICT industry and encourage the creation of ICT businesses.
The creation of the document is also guided by Kenya’s Vision 2030 blueprint and borrows heavily from the social and economic pillars.
Under the social pillar, the document focuses on seven key intervention areas, namely education, health, environment, water and sanitation, housing and urbanisation, gender and social equality. Within the economic pillar, the master plan is tailored along nine sectors, namely tourism, financial services, creative industry, BPOs, wholesale and retail trade, agriculture and manufacturing.
“Indeed, the plan is ambitious and it is an attempt to infuse ICTs and knowledge into Vision 2030 by enhancing citizen value. How? By availing channels that will stimulate the set-up of ICT related businesses and therefore employment creation” said Paul Kukubo, Kenya ICT Board CEO.
According to the authors of the document, once the plan is fully operational, access to ICT to businesses and individuals should have reached 100 percent and to public sector services 80 percent. The country should also have achieved the African ICT hub status, attracting 500 new tier 1 ICT companies and with ICT generating 25 percent of GDP or $2 billion.
The plan is further expected to ensure there is public service for all with ICT enabling an integrated, open and efficient government with the country at large having knowledge based society.
“As a step towards its realisation, the ministry is working on standardising business processes and developing sub-plans that will allow the delivery of innovative public services within government,” said the ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Bitange Ndemo
Ndemo explained that the ministry will come up with additional plans that will focus on specific areas in the ICT sector.
“Strong governance and increasing engagement between the government and private sector will help to remove barriers that would impede execution in order to deliver a society based on knowledge,” he said.
Even with the master plan, the government has been urged to invest more in ICT with the sector receiving just 0.3 percent of the country’s budget, compared to a global average of 5 percent.