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MP, DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE CONNECTED GOVERNMENT SUMMIT AT THE LEISURE LODGE MOMBASA – 29TH MARCH 2010 Hon James Rege, Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Energy, Transport & Communications, Hon Members Of Parliament Present, Permanent Secretaries Present ,CEO Kenya ICT Board, Mr. Paul Kukubo, CEO Safaricom, Mr. Michael Joseph, Members Of The Fourth Estate, Good Morning. . It gives me great pleasure to join you this morning as we officially open the Connected Government ICT Summit 2010. Allow me from the onset to congratulate Kenya ICT Board on this initiative and sponsors including Safaricom, Oracle, SevenSeas, NetApp, Huawei, as well as other leading private sector companies and government agencies, who have partnered to make this workshop a reality for the second year. Ladies and gentlemen, last year, when I officiated the opening session of this Summit, we reiterated our commitment as Government to continuously embrace technology as a way of delivering services in Government and to working with the private sector in a structured manner to ensure that ICT projects deliver to the priorities in government. I am glad to note that indeed progress has been made on all these fronts. Several projects aimed at delivering better services and bringing services closer to the people are well underway. Among the main objectives of this Summit is to establish a platform for collaboration, capacity building and knowledge sharing between the government and players in the ICT sector. With good infrastructure now in place, the ICT sector has seen phenomenal growth over the past year both from local and international investors. We encourage our local ICT entrepreneurs to invest in coming up with innovation so as to create competitive advantage in the region and globally.
Ladies and Gentlemen, We can see that in Kenya, and indeed in Africa, when ICTs become affordable to low-income users, new employment, micro-entrepreneurial and social development opportunities emerge. Further, it is clear that ICT-induced growth should be reinforced by targeted policies for effective poverty reduction and my Ministry in collaboration with other Ministries is working to ensure that such policies take root. The Government in collaboration with international partners has prioritized ICT access and effective use at all levels, including the provision of public access facilities, through digital villages, relevant content, and increased capacities. The success of this Summit and the implementation of its recommendations will surely open a new chapter in the way government delivers services to Kenyans. With Shared Services being the central theme of this summit, I am positive that you will seek ways of consolidating information and pooling resources in government so as to deliver seamless efficient services to wananchi. Ladies and gentlemen, in the recent past, private entities have partnered with the Government to come up with services and solutions that have gone a long way in tackling the challenges that face our people. These private public partnerships have proved the only way towards development in most successful countries. As a government we value these partnerships and even call for more. It is important to realize that the government attaches a lot of importance to these partnerships. Towards this end the regulations governing public private partnerships have been gazetted and these present an opportunity for government to work closely with private sector to implement key projects to help Kenya attain the goals of the Kenya vision 2030 – especially to create wealth and employment for our people. Ladies and Gentlemen: The importance of ICT in Kenya and indeed, in Africa, and the world as a driver of growth, entrepreneurship and job creation cannot be overemphasized. ICT is increasingly being the lifeline of most economies especially in developing countries like in our case. It is my hope that this workshop will equip players in the IT sector with the necessary ideas of hastening the implementation of projects both public and private to achieve the aspirations of our national Vision 2030 in regard to communications. Already, we are proud to see that since the last Connected Government Workshop, several milestones have been achieved and others are in progress. The digitization of records at the company registry, Ministry of Lands and the Judiciary are projects which are well underway and already demonstrating remarkable results in improving efficiencies , transparency and eventually, lowering the cost to citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen, we can see several other examples of completed projects where ICT has played a crucial role in increasing efficiency I am happy to note that a lot of work has been done both by government and the private sector. In particular, government has recognized that without adequate infrastructure the dream of becoming a leading ICT hub would not be realized. We have witnessed the landing of three lucrative fibre optic cables and the last of which landed here in Mombasa last week. We encourage more investors to come on board as we realize that this will form the backbone of our communication solutions development. Ladies and Gentlemen, the opportunities in the areas of content development, software development, e-commerce among others, will change the way we consume ICT in Kenya forever. The government has made remarkable strides in the areas of realizing and providing digital educational, health and agricultural content to be delivered online using the nation’s fibre optic network. The successful realization of these projects will essentially bring services closer to the citizens particularly those living in remote areas, in an efficient, cost effective and timely manner. We call for even more investment in the digital villages which have now become very popular with the rural populations. In conclusion, I want to reiterate the fact that the government is still committed to offering a good investment environment. We believe it is only through increased investment that we will realize unrivalled economic development and prosperity for all. Ladies and Gentlemen, It’s is now my pleasure and duty to declare this summit officially open and I wish you all fruitful deliberations during this summit Thank you.