Ladies and Gentlemen,
- It gives me great pleasure to join you here today to the CIO100 Symposium and awards. It always feels great to join top leaders in ICT, especially in such an occasion and environment which presents an ideal opportunity to forge new partnerships and draw inspiration from each other.
- When Laura and Harry stopped by my office to invite me to this event, we engaged in a lively conversation where I lauded CIO’s efforts over the years. I also challenged them to ride the data wave more effectively and use the CIO brand to offer unparalleled insights to governments, enterprises and technologists, on how they can optimize the diverse opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
- Looking across this room I feel right at home because technology is where my heart is. I witnessed the evolution technology from the days internet services were declared illegal by the defunct KPTC, until the government’s acceptance of internet as an integral tool for development, and the establishment of the Communications Commission of Kenya (now CA). I must say this was a battle I enjoyed because its benefits are still flowing – and perhaps it is the reason I was appointed to Government.
- As technologists, entrepreneurs and innovators, you must strive to use your skills and expertise to drive transformation in both the public and private sectors and grow the economy of our country. Digital transformation offers ICT professionals an opportunity to re-imagine and develop holistic ICT solutions that will impact the wider community.
- The rapid digitization witnessed across the country is an affirmation of the commitment from the top most leadership and the opportunities that lie in wait for you, to sustain the citizen’s appetite and uptake of digital services.
- The Government is now engaging local ICT professionals to offer innovative solutions for application in both public and private sectors. During the Connected Summit 2018, I launched the Whitebox, which in essence will be the Government’s reception for collecting and reviewing innovative ideas that can enhance public service delivery.
- The Government has invested heavily ICT infrastructure and will continue to inject more resources, with the expectation that both private and the public sector players will innovate and build value on this infrastructure.
- Broadband connectivity has been implemented up to sub-county level, to reach the rural communities and expose them to the information-rich society. By partnering with Project Loon, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., Kenya aims at being the first country to commercialize a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space to connect underserved communities in the country. Our target through this partnership is to achieve 100% 4G connectivity in the country and offer Internet access is a basic human right.
- In matters of policy and legislation, the Government is working closely with other stakeholders to ensure an enabling environment is in place to support the growth of the sector. The world over, Governments are now reviewing their data protection policies and in May this year, the European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulations commonly known as GDPR, which seeks to strengthen and unify data protection for individuals across the European Union.
- The government is well aware that in order to harness the benefits of the digital economy and mitigate harms consequent to it, formulating a data protection framework is critical for the country. The Ministry established a Taskforce to develop Data Protection Bill and Policy, and this has already gone through the public participation stage.
- It is our hope that the National Assembly will pass this crucial law to protect our citizens against unauthorized access, use or manipulation of their personal data. This proposed Policy and Bill will give effect to Article 31 of the Constitution of Kenya by defining requirements for the protection of Personal Data and sets out the parameters for the protection of the same in manual, electronic or any other form through a Data Protection Regulator.
- In addition, my Ministry also constituted a Taskforce on Distributed Ledgers and AI, to look into emerging technologies and recommend strategies for their implementation by the government. The taskforce has completed this assignment and we will be unveiling its report to the public soon.
- As I conclude, I once more want to appreciate the organizers of CIO100 Annual Symposium and Awards for putting together this event not only to appreciate the use of technology, but also encourage progressive debates that will spur growth for the companies represented here today and also boost the regional economies.
- It is my hope that you will leave this symposium with fresh ideas and be more empowered to enrich the sector further. I also join you in celebrating the 2018 CIO honorees. These awards are indeed symbols of dedication, perseverance, teamwork and leadership.
- With those remarks, ladies and gentlemen, I declare the 2018 CIO100 Annual Symposium and Awards officially opened.