Kenya’s New ICT Internship Program

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  • 4 years ago
  • Posted: January 14, 2015 at 5:10 pm

The Private Sector as well as the Kenyan Government have combined powers together and developed a program to build ICT capacity in the public sector as well as improve upon efficiency and service delivery. Hopefully, we’ll start hearing more of it in mainstream media in 2015 (the deadline for application was 9 January 2015, now you know it exists if you didn’t).
The Presidential Digital Talent Program (PDTP), incepted last year, is expected to train graduates through an internship to develop ICT leadership skills. Through the initiative, 100 interns will be trained for a year in four quarters. This reminds me of the Presidential Innovation Fellows run by White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi revealed that the initiative is expected to develop an ICT talent pool. According to Matiangi, the Program is designed to use ICT for efficient and effective government, economic growth and job creation in line with the Jubilee manifesto.
Matiangi reports that the benefits include increased skills, public/private sector collaboration and economic growth that are aimed at elevating ICT’s contribution to the country’s GDP. President Kenyatta lauded and welcomed the initiative as an important method for imparting skills on young talent. “The program is at the core of young people as it assists them to build capacity to participate fully in nation building,” Kenyatta said. President Kenyatta directed that key ICT players should be involved with the national and county governments. President Kenyatta also declared that: “The public service of the future will require innovative use of ICT skills for efficiency in service delivery.”
The role played by ICTs in supporting economic development is crucial. In addition to supporting productivity and innovation across sectors, ICTs are also essential enablers of trade development itself as they help correct, improve and make more relevant the very processes with which trade is conducted. Such technologies are a tool that extends beyond basic infrastructure elements and builds an extra layer on top of the physical infrastructure that provides end-to-end transactional services aimed at supporting economic development through simplifying, hosting and integrating activities at multi-sectoral levels, thusly, electronically smoothing and coordinating global supply chains between a wide range of services and products on the one hand and a broad market on the other hand. And when the two hands come together, we have veritable clap of ‘Good Times’ in economic terms.
From a regional perspective, in particular, it is important to know whether these changes caused by ICT have any impact in terms of economic development and innovation dynamics differentials across African regions. The diffusion of ICT across the African economy appears to be a major lever for improving both productivity levels and competitiveness, while encouraging the re organization of production methods and the emergence of new activities. The existing empirical evidence is, still to a large extent, only available at country level. However, there is an increasing awareness of the need to adopt, together with country-level initiatives, regional policies. Given the fact that on-going technological change and innovation dynamics have a strong local/regional component; public policies need to be designed at this level as well, and hence we see this initiative by the current government. However, an important challenge for African governments is how to seize greater benefits of information and communications technology (ICT) for economic growth and development. The rapid diffusion of the Internet, of mobile telephony and of broadband networks all demonstrate how pervasive this technology has become. But how precisely does ICT affect economic growth and the efficiency of firms? How well can these impacts be measured? And under which conditions do the impacts of ICT emerge? These are some of the queries that the government of the day needs to ask of itself. The number of internet users on the African continent grew at seven times the global average, hitting a 3,600% growth between 2000 and 2012, to a totality of 167 million users according to data from the International World Statistics. This year puts Kenya as having more than 16 million internet users, having a 16% growth in one year and a user growth of over two million, not to mention a 36.70% population with internet, whose population share in world population is 0.63% and internet share is 0.57%.  Africa leads in mobile broadband growth reaching close to 20% in 2014, up 2% since 2010. You can see that in Kenya which has over 93% phone subscriptions, a 67% Smartphone penetration and a burgeoning ICT sector. By end of 2014, 55% of all mobile broadband are expected to be in the developing world. In Africa, 20% of Africa’s population will be online, up from 10% since 2010. By year’s end, 44% of the world’s households will have internet access at home. Almost a third (31%) of all households in the developing world will be connected to the internet. In Africa, only 1 out of 10 households will be connected to the internet, however, you should note that household internet access in Africa continues to grow at double-digit rates- at 18% in 2014, more than twice the growth of the world average.
As a matter-of-factly, we can see that the ICT future of Africa and by extension, Kenya shines resplendently, and the region no longer remains dark, but continues to be a beacon of hope, if only the governments of the day and the peoples see beyond region and look to themselves as children of the same Mother Africa.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Stefan Wolf
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