SPEECH BY Hon. ADEN DUALE, MP Majority Leader in the National Assembly

All protocols observed

Ladies and Gentlemen, Good evening to you all.

I wish to express my appreciation to the ICT Association of Kenya for this invitation to preside over this Dinner Gala. It is indeed a great honor for me to address this professional gathering of ICT practitioners.

I am informed that a number of you will be taking home prestigious awards for your outstanding contributions that have inspired excellence within the Industry. I take this early opportunity to congratulate those of you who will be celebrated this evening and to encourage those who will miss an opportunity today not to give up.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Last week, the country celebrated its Golden Jubilee. It was a time when as a nation we took stock of our achievements in the different sectors and identified measures with which to effectively defeat the challenges we face as a nation.

Research and experience has shown the importance of embracing technology. Indeed, it is even entrenched in our national blue print Vision 2030. National economic development and prosperity cannot be fully realized in the absence of a robust and vibrant technological ecosystem.

We have seen the country transit from the era where we only had Kenya Posts and Telecommunication Company to a vibrant ICT market where private entities have revolutionized the way we do business. Online services have made transactions and communications fast and convenient hence increasing the pace of development.

Ladies and Gentlemen

You will agree with me when I say that the best years as a country are surely ahead of us. This I confidently say considering the government's policy to promote ICT in schools from the basic level. It has been lauded as a way of increasing the effectiveness of teaching and improving pupils learning experience.

This compliments the recent launch of the Kenya Education Network Trust (KENET) that provides connectivity to 78 public and private institutions. Besides providing access to affordable connectivity, the move has increased the research and educational experience of students in institutions of higher learning. All this draws us closer to our objective of becoming a technology hub and moving to a middle income economy..

Furthermore, connectivity is spreading to the counties as the government implements a KSh1.2 billion project known as the County Connectivity Project. I understand about 28 counties have already been covered while the rest will be completed in the second phase.

Ladies and Gentlemen

From these activities, it is evident that the government is committed towards expanding connectivity. It is therefore imperative that as an industry we take the initiative of availing not only the human capital but also a professionally regulated initiative needed to face challenges and opportunities created by the adoption of sophisticated technology.

Existing challenges such as food insecurity, access to quality healthcare services among others will be solved through innovative IT solutions.

I strongly commend ICTAK for this noble initiative meant to acknowledge and celebrate individuals and corporate bodies that have made commendable efforts in the sector. This will not only encourage practitioners to strive for excellence in developing innovative and creative ICT solutions but also uplift the image of the country's ICT industry, both locally and internationally.

Ladies and gentlemen

As I conclude, I wish to challenge ICTAK to more explicitly align ICT's contribution in realizing the aspirations set out in the following blue prints:

  1. The Kenya Constitution – You have opportunities especially in realizing the law's spirit of stakeholder involvement in all matters as enshrined in our constitution
  2. The vision 2030 – Look beyond the economic pillar where you have made great strides in ICT application in the six priority sectors. Realizing the political pillar needs us to harness ICT for openness in governance, citizen engagement, participatory development and capacity development. In the social pillar we expect ICT to be harnessed for overall well being of Kenyans in health, education, and all other facets of daily human life.

Ladies and gentlemen

c) For my last Challenge, I refer you to the Jubilee manifesto:

As a jubilee government we are committed to harnessing of ICT. Our Harmonized Manifesto is very clear. The adoption of ICT across all our policy positions is critical if we are to meaningfully utilize ICT in the way we do business. The challenge will be how to translate ICT into programs that add value to the education system, the Agricultural sector, the Health Sector, Business and Finance, Governance, Leadership and ultimately achieve the overall goal of driving economic growth.

You should seize the opportunity and use ICT to promote unity, economic progress and Openness (Uwazi) as clearly defined in the three pillars of our manifesto. The jubilee government has provided a framework for ICT use in government. There is already consolidation of all ICT work in one Authority bringing together eGoverment directorate, ICT board and the Governement IT services.

The jubilee government believes in ICT and we support your work. Stand to be counted in Transforming Kenya: Securing Kenya's prosperity as embodied in our manifesto's slogan

Finally Ladies and gentlemen, let me express my sincere congratulations to the winners of the inaugural ICT Value awards tonight and thank the event organizers for a job well done.

Thank You and God bless you. God Bless Kenya!

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