By Mwenda Tevin.
On June 30, 2021 KICTANET together with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) held a policy roundtable with Policy Makers and ICT Practitioners to discuss the theme: The Digital Market Economy: Influence of Governance on the Digital Ecosystem in Kenya. The aim of the meeting was to enhance better involvement and partnership between policymakers and ICT experts in order to enhance democratic digital governance and discuss how the digital space has influenced governance in Kenya, the recent reforms, their nature and implications/expected outcome.
The meeting focused on two thematic areas mainly: What is the intersection of Human Rights and Digital Development? (Social Market Economy and Sustainable Development, as a tool against corruption) and How can good governance enable a conducive ecosystem for the Digital Market Economy?
In the first thematic area, the attendees which constituted members of county assemblies, private sector, and civil society agreed that technology can be a powerful tool in tackling corruption one of the policy initiatives that stood out from the discussion on the first thematic area was the suggestion that the members of the legislature and civil society should be given access to the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) this would be through granting them non-transactional accounts. This would enable them to monitor the flow of funds through the system given that it is the main platform used by the government for procurement purposes. This would create transparency in the procurement system as other stakeholders would be able to monitor and flag any illegal payments; it would also enable ease of investigations and prosecution of corrupt individuals. The attendees also recognized the need to democratize and break down the budget in a manner that can be understood by everyone. Technology platforms can be used to hold events on the budget-making process and the proposes in the budget.
In relation to the second thematic area on how good governance can enable a conducive ecosystem for the digital economy, the participants called for the need for collaboration especially at the county level to create bylaws that enable and spur the digital economy in the counties and also ensure the protection of buyers when conducting online transactions for example protection against purchasing fake good online.
In conclusion, KICTANET and KAS will develop a policy white paper from the information gathered from the round table. The policy whitepaper will enable the various stakeholders to identify the gaps and the area in which they can work together to enhance the rule of law in Kenya through the use of technology and consequently allow the digital economy to thrive.