Study: Kenya Digital Readiness

Governance and Engagement
Governance and Engagement
Project manager
Funded by
Estonian Development Cooperation

The Republic of Kenya is considered a leader in digitalization in Eastern Africa, often referred to as the Silicon Savannah. Building on its good connectivity, a hugely successful mobile money service, and a wide range of electronic services available to the public, Kenya has taken the next step to envisage digital transformation for the next ten years in the National Digital Master Plan for 2022-2032. The current study addresses the questions on how to build an ecosystem that effectively supports the implementation of the Master plan in terms of organizational aspects, digital skills, financing, legal framework, digital infrastructure and other aspects.

The study reviewed the current status of digital governance in Kenya and provides ideas for better supporting the key areas related to the achievement of strategic objectives. The report is based on desk research and interviews conducted with more than a dozen Kenyan stakeholders from the public sector, business sector, academia, and civil society organizations.

The main recommendations for further activities include:

  1. Improved strategic and operational coordination, which includes developing short term implementation plans for the strategic documents, establishing a high-level digital council to mainstream the national digital agenda across sectors, creation of the Government CIO position, conducting a comprehensive legal review, and placing a strong emphasis on strategic digital governance communication.
  2. Establishment of interoperability, which starts from developing an up-to-date inventory of information assets and services as well as agreeing on principles of data governance, and culminates with the mandatory implementation of a data exchange layer to ensure seamless data exchange between registers and information systems.
  3. Digital identity and digital signatures should be considered as core components of public service development and can be further supported by the creation of a national authentication system in a manner that is inclusive and respects rights.
  4. Digital skills form a cornerstone of any digitalization. A digital competency model would help to better manage the ever-chancing digital competences needed in the public sector, but equal attention should be turned to increasing the level of digital skills of the general public.
  5. E-participation and inclusion have proved to be a pitfall in the past. Clear engagement guidelines should be developed by a responsible public organization to involve all relevant actors in the digitalization discussion and implementation. To make sure that everybody benefits from digitalization, the government must lead in an open and inclusive manner.
  6. Global best practices can not only help lead the way but deal with implementation. There is a lot of value in international cooperation – both in the region to boost digital economies through cross-border services, but also internationally, either through bilateral relations or in larger partnerships such as the Team Europe initiative.

The report was developed by the digital government experts of the e-Governance Academy: Marit Lani, Karin Rits, Raimo Reiman, Piret Saartee, Priit Vinkel, Hauke Claus Schulz, and Arvo Ott.