Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi (third right), Busia Deputy Governor Kizito Wangalwa (second right) and Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary Mr.Sammy Itemere (right) at the CA stand at the Busia County ICT forum,Kikao Kikuu today.The initiative by the Authority seeks to create awareness on consumer rights and obligations within the ICT sector in the counties.

The role of innovations in the information and communications technologies (ICT) sector and their role in socio-economic development, was the centre of discussions at the 13th edition of the County ICT Consumer Forum, popularly known as Kikao Kikuu in Busia County.

Themed ICT innovations for digital inclusion, the event saw stakeholders share ideas on how to reap the benefits of ICTs that have now become great enablers of change in communities, individuals, businesses, industry sectors, and governments.

ICTs have revolutionized how daily activities are accomplished and processes executed.  This has drawn tremendous positive impact on social and economic development of various regions.

Kikao Kikuu, which is hosted, by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) and county governments is a platform of engagement between users of ICT services and their service providers as well as government on the access to and quality of ICT services.

Speaking at the event the CA Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi said ICTs now present a great opportunity for even the smallest business, by reducing the cost of transactions leading to added revenue generation.   He added the Authority will continue to partner with County governments to rope in as many Kenyans to access ICTs.

‘‘The Communications Authority of Kenya is very keen to work closely with the County Governments in an effort to ensure that counties take full advantage of ICTs and the potential they have to spur innovation and other sectors,’ said Mr.Wangusi.

As Kenya increasingly becomes an information society, its economic success and social development are heavily driven by availability and accessibility of information and technology.  ICTs have seen the proliferation of e-services in communication, trade, employment, education, government, and health.

It is for this reason that Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary Mr. Sammy Itemere says the government is progressively investing in the deployment of ICT infrastructure as a means of promoting digital inclusion.

‘‘Digital inclusion leads to improved education and employment outcomes. For instance, as individuals enhance their ICT skills, they can greatly improve their earnings and their probability of finding employment,’’ said Mr.Itemere.

He added that besides the laptop programme targeting primary schools in the country, the Ministry of ICT has recently launched a programme dubbed Ajira Digital Program to enable young people gain skills to enable the, work and earn income online.

Mr. Itemere also noted that enhanced access to ICTs increased interaction between citizens as well as their participation in decision-making processes. And in order to achieve greater digital inclusion for the citizens, Mr. Itemere said a number of initiatives can be undertaken, including provision of low cost broadband in the rural areas, promotion of digital literacy and other technology training in trusted and comfortable locations like libraries, community ICT centers, churches and schools, among others.

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojamoong - in a speech read on his behalf by the Deouty governor Kizito Wangalwa- said ICTs have assisted the devolved governments increase revenue collection as well as enhancing service delivery as citizens can now access most of service online.  The County has initiated a number of ICT connectivity projects including establishment of information centres, metro network fibre, among others to boost the ICT uptake.  

‘‘ICTs are an enabler for other sectors of the economy because it has the capacity to accelerate the provision of primary services such as healthcare, education and disaster relief, while strengthening social and economic outcomes,’’ said Governor Ojamoong.

From Busia, the Kikao Kikuu forums head to Baringo, Nyeri and Makueni counties.