Tapping into ICT to drive the new normalKSG-admin
At the time when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Kenya was at the climax of an accelerated digital transformation. The country had already recorded over 90 per cent internet penetration up from a paltry 200,000 internet users in the year 2000. This Information and Communication Technology (ICT) explosion propels Kenya to the league of truly global ICT leaders. Much of this is courtesy of the current government commitment to harness digital technologies as drivers of the country’s development blue print, Vision 2030, and the Big Four Agenda.
Among the principal beneficiaries of the digital transformation are government ministries and key institutions which are now accessible via the internet. From e-government services, to strengthening of the digital economy ecosystem, and creation of employment opportunities for ICT professionals, technology has become a cornerstone of government interaction with individuals and organizations at home and abroad.
Like many other countries around the world, COVID-19 has abruptly disrupted various aspects of lives of Kenyans. As we begin to take stock of uncertain health implications of he pandemic, it is imperative that we accord equal importance to the significant role that the ICT sector will play in shaping Kenya and, indeed, the world’s ‘new normal’.
In order to steer our economy back to an upward trajectory, parastatals and government agencies need to adopt ICT friendly policies including digitization of more government services and enable issuing and receiving of online payments. This should be harmonized to facilitate public service delivery at county, national and international levels in light of the extended travel restrictions. With sufficient controls, this can ultimately enhance institutional capacity by creating efficiency and generating useful data to inform decision making.
Institutional heads must also conduct infrastructural audits to evaluate their organizations ability to adjust to the postCOVID reality. Teleworking tools and video conferencing solutions are now a must have and their adoption must be carefully managed to facilitate a seamless workplace transition.
Implementing these changes will require close collaboration between the respective institutions and relevant government departments such as the Ministry of ICT as well as ICT centric private sector players. The education sector is undoubtedly one of the areas that has been most affected by the pandemic.
At the Kenya School of Government, we have already embraced and are leveraging on technology to deliver our services. Going forward we shall explore practical training methodologies that adhere to our mission to contribute to transformation of the public service. Indeed, the world is becoming rapidly digitized and it is imperative that we equip public service officers with the skills necessary to effectively perform duties and responsibilities during this pandemic and beyond.
Now more than ever, we must embrace innovation to deliver bold solutions that will improve public service delivery and reinforce Kenya’s position as a regional ICT powerhouse while supporting the African continent’s efforts to stem the coronavirus pandemic.