Kenya topples giant African economies with digitizationSeptember 12, 2019
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 12 – Kenya has seen the greatest amount of digital change over the past decade, ahead of South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Rwanda.
This is according to the African Leapfrog Index (ALI) which however says the country can improve its education and skill-building capacity to enhance its ability to grow higher-skilled digital services jobs.
The index highlights some of Kenya’s key strengths among them wide internet penetration at 80 percent, and high numbers of mobile money accounts at 70 percent of the population.
For instance, in the last ten years, Kenya has advanced quickly as a digital contender, with many innovative enterprises; these include M-Pesa, Ushahidi, M-KOPA, M-TIBA, among others.
The country is also home to a “Silicon Savanah” in Nairobi and has a growing, tech-savvy population.
Additionally, 200 digitized services are offered through Huduma Centres countrywide as well as an online self-service platform, E-Citizen.
“In the Ease of Creating Digital Jobs, Kenya’s institutions have enabled a favorable regulatory environment, and promoted a high use of digital payments. The government has preserved internet freedoms and even harnessed social media to fight disinformation,” says the finding.
The research however emphasizes on making education, digital skills and healthcare a priority, against a finding that a Kenyan born today is likely to achieve at most 52 percent of his potential if they survive to adulthood given the shortfalls in the education and health systems.
It also urges the government to address the barriers in the value chain such as lack of credit.
“Despite its leadership with M-Pesa, there is still enormous potential for the digitization of payments: cash accounts for 71 percent of Kenya’s total payments,” says the index.
The research was sponsored by Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth in collaboration with the Institute for Business in the Global Context at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, USA.