Building ICTs Better in a Post-COVID-19 Era

KICTANet Thought Leadership Series
Building ICTs Better in a Post-COVID-19 Era
Date:  31 March 2022 | Time: 1100hrs – 1330hrs
Place: Zoom Webinar Link

FREE Registration

Introduction.

The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) is pleased to host a Roundtable meeting on Sustainable internet using emerging technologies, themed “Building ICTs Better in a Post-COVID-19 Era”.

Background.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all sectors of the economy including the ICT sector, which has to a large extent remained afloat. This has been partly due to the widespread digitisation and adoption of ICTs across all sectors. For example, more organizations migrated to the digital space including by establishing e-commerce platforms during the pandemic. In addition, the use of video-conferencing services became more widespread as people shifted to remote work, judicial services shifted online, conferences and meetings became virtual, and schools offered lessons through these platforms. Further, learners can now access Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) e-content and lessons at home.

The increased adoption of digital services has led to an increased demand for digital services, affordable devices but also put a strain on internet infrastructure. It has also resulted in a push for more affordable, accessible, and secure broadband internet access. The pandemic has also highlighted the increasing digital divide, especially for the digitally excluded communities and marginalized groups.

Moreover, when pandemic struck, few individuals and organizations were able to organize themselves quickly to shift activities online, given the cost of digitalisation. As a result, some individuals and organizations, especially in rural areas, found themselves excluded from access to essential e-government services, healthcare and education. People in rural and other low-income areas are further excluded due to cost and the lack of essential infrastructure for connectivity, including access to devices, networks, and electricity. In addition, the rapid digitalisation further excluded persons with disability for whom online portals have not taken their needs into consideration. Also, the increased use of digital services presents several cyber security risks for individuals and organizations who have not enhanced their security measures.

In August 2020, Kenya established an ICT Advisory Committee to coordinate ICT specific responses on the effects of COVID-19 in Kenya. Despite the effort and achievements by Government and other stakeholders, several barriers still exist and are on the way to Kenya’s full digital transformation journey. The main ones include lack of affordable internet access, lack of local relevant digital content, lack of digital literacy among the excluded populations. Further, recent developments such as the introduction of the 1.5% digital services tax on online marketplaces, and the increase of excise duty from 15% to 20% on airtime, mobile data, and internet services are likely to increase consumer costs and widen the digital divide.

It is therefore an opportune time for stakeholders within the sector, to examine the issues, challenges, effects and impact of the pandemic on the sector and identify priority actions to mitigate the effects and opportunities to promote ICT sector growth and greater inclusion.

Objectives of the Meeting.

  • The main objectives of this action are to:
  • To amplify the understanding and engagement on the issues, challenges, effects and impact of COVID-19 on Kenya’s ICT Sector.
  • To review progress and priority actions, measures and best practices to promote the development of the ICT sector post-COVID-19.

Expected Outcomes.

  • Enhanced understanding and engagement on the issues, challenges, effects, and impact of COVID-19 on Kenya’s ICT Sector.
  • Identified priority actions, measures, and best practices to promote the development of the ICT sector post-COVID-19.

Format of the Event.
The event shall be a roundtable discussion, with key panel discussions followed by a plenary session and key recommendations shall be consolidated into a policy brief which shall be shared with stakeholders.

Participants.
The meeting targets to bring together at least 40 key stakeholders such as government agencies, private sector, technical community, professional associations, industry bodies, academia, civil society, DAP Partners, KICTANet Community, etc. to enhance partnerships, sharing of knowledge and emerging best practice.

About KICTANet.
KICTANet is a multistakeholder platform for people and institutions interested in ICT policy. The network acts as a think tank that catalyzes policy reforms in the ICT sector, and it is guided by four pillars: policy advocacy, stakeholder engagement, capacity building and research. KICTAnet’s guiding philosophy encourages synergies for ICT policy-related activities and initiatives. As such, the network provides mechanisms and a framework for continuing cooperation and collaboration in ICT matters among industry, technical community, academia, media, development partners, and Government.

Draft Program

Time DESCRIPTION
11:00 am – 11:20 am Welcome and Introduction

  • Victor Kapiyo
  • Charles Juma, UK DAP
11:20 am – 12:20 pm Panel Discussion. 

Building ICTs Better in a Post-COVID-19 Era: Experiences from Stakeholders – Recommendations for Better Policies & Regulations

  • Mercy Wanjau, Chairperson, ICT Advisory Committee on COVID-19, & Communications Authority
  • Dr Martha Suarez, Dynamic Spectrum Alliance 
  • Ali Hussein, Executive Board member, Africa Fintech Network
  • Mercy Ndegwa, Public Policy Director, East & Horn of Africa · Meta
  • Dr Vincent Omwenga, Inspire Africa Initiative, DAP Partners (COVID-19 audit)

Moderator: Barrack Otieno

12:20 pm – 12:50 pm Plenary Discussion

  • Questions and Answers
12:50 pm – 1:00 pm Closing and Way forward

  • Mwendwa Kivuva, KICTANet

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