, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 28 – ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has emphasised the crucial role technology plays in achievement of the Jubilee Government’s Big Four Agenda and announced plans to help in the realization increased Manufacturing, Universal Health Care, affordable Housing, and Food Security.
Speaking to Capital In The Morning on Monday, Mucheru explained that the ministry intends to collect all farmers’ biodata, amount of land and crops produced as well as create an agricultural management system to increase food productivity.
He said that ICT will enable collation of biometric data of all Kenyans covered from birth and there will be electronic medical records where Kenyans can access healthcare from over 7,000 health centres countrywide.
“We have over 42 million mobile subscribers out of a population of maybe 45 to 50 million. Then almost everyone is digital. We have this opportunity using technology to identify people, identify what produce farmers have, ensure that when you are going to any health centre, you are easily given your service quickly because you are easily identified,” he stated.
He observed that ICT will also facilitate telemedicine, where a patient in one part of the country can be diagnosed by a medical expert in a different part of the country without having to travel long distances.
He stressed that technology can also add value to manufacturing industries by improving the packaging of products.
“With the digital literacy programme, we have already introduced a local assembly, the laptops and tablets are even assembled here. So in all this, technology is going to help in even manufacturing and in value addition. If you look at software, today you take your phone, you buy bundles then you send your information to Google. They then package it and sell it back to you. We are going into the same method,” he said.
In the area of housing, he explained that ICT will be used to provide sufficient information to potential homeowners thereby driving down the cost of mortgages where one can convert rent into a mortgage.
The CS also revealed that the ministry has also set up the Blockchain Task Force whose role is to explore the development potential of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI) in Kenya.
He stated that the role of this task force is to produce an extensive roadmap for the practical application and integration of these technologies across various sectors in Kenya.
Mucheru also noted that the government is involved in driving the digital agenda and that the ministry has come up with a ‘White Box Initiative’ where any innovator or tech entrepreneur can share their ideas which can then be considered.