The new administration will confront the existential challenge of modernising university curricula to meet the needs of the fourth industrial revolution, blockchain, web3 and crypto in Kenya.
- Kenya stands tall as a global leader in P2P cryptocurrency transactions in matters of the crypto ecosystem.
- President Ruto’s government intends to reduce the cost of internet connection in Kenya.
- Kenya’s new government has vowed to implement the frontier’s digital master plan for 2022-2031.
The new administration under Kenya’s fifth president William Samoei Ruto has taken over amid a global digital revolution. Globally, technologies such as the metaverse and crypto are slowly but steadily taking root.
Kenya has not been left behind in the growth and development of technology. East Africa’s most prosperous economy stands tall within the fourth industrial revolution and web3. Kenya stands tall as a global leader in P2P cryptocurrency transactions in matters of the crypto ecosystem.
However, a lot needs to be done, and the new administration has enough space to execute its plan regarding advancing the Kenyan digital space and the place of blockchain, web3, and crypto.
Making Kenya an African digital hub
As per President Ruto’s manifesto, the new administration plans to develop Kenya as an African digital powerhouse. The $400 million initiative indicates a robust tech approach that will go as far as building digital software with export potential.
This ambitious plan is no small task. The project represents a tremendous challenge for Kenya’s most educated President since independence. To accomplish the goal of transforming Kenya into a local software development centre and marketing it worldwide as an epicentre of tech goods, services, and people, the new administration’s big strategy on technology would need concentrated efforts to overcome a series of difficulties.
The previous government had a plan for building Kenya’s digital ecosystem. However, it was not explicit. Indeed, President Kenyatta’s government-supervised Kenya’s rise to become one of Africa’s most thriving innovation ecosystems. Nonetheless, President Ruto has admitted that Kenya has not yet attained its full digital development potential. The President has thus committed to raising Kenya’s technology capability to global levels.
Talent retention is crucial for Kenya’s new administration
For decades, brain drain has been a big concern in Africa. Due to this drain, Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya have lost considerable talent in critical sectors. As a result, the different economies have remained severely stretched. Retaining technological expertise poses a serious concern in Kenya and Africa.
According to the 2021 Google Africa Developer Ecosystem study, 38% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 716,000 software developers work for companies outside the region. As a result, the government under Ruto’s leadership must restructure the local developer environment to reduce the talent drain.
Technology and software developers working for foreign firms earn 1.4 times more per month than their counterparts in local companies. As a result, Kenya’s new leadership must address the issues that local corporations and startups have in keeping the finest digital personnel.
With the normalisation of cryptocurrencies, the need for blockchain developers is increasing. Kenya’s new leadership has the potential to reverse the brain drain trend in technology and create a more favourable environment from early childhood through formal education. The new President has committed to putting Kenyan ICT talent at the forefront of the digital evolution wave.
The government of President Ruto has committed to lowering education costs while boosting research spending from 0.8% to 2%. The administration also intends to establish a one-year paid internship program for all university students. The government will be in charge of integrating the new coding program into the school curriculum to improve Kenya’s digital realm.
Kenya is the first African nation to teach coding in public schools. To achieve comprehensive coverage in technology education, the new government will confront the existential challenge of modernising university curricula to meet the needs of the fourth industrial revolution, blockchain, web3 and crypto in Kenya. This will assist Kenyan graduates in meeting current technology content and labour market expectations.
Lowering mobile and internet connectivity costs
Internet connectivity remains a vital component of the digital age. However, many individuals still struggle to acquire a good, affordable connection. Rural communities often suffer from slow speeds and limited choices, while soaring broadband provider and contract fees hinder others from having a consistent, reliable internet connection.
Over the next five years, the President committed to installing 100,000 kilometres of broadband fibre nationwide. This initiative will continue the progress in internet connection made by the previous government.
One critical step will be to upgrade rural regions in all 47 counties from 2G and 3G networks to 4G to compete with their urban counterparts, who enjoy one of Kenya’s fastest internet speeds.
Kenya continues to have the highest mobile internet costs in the East African region. Thus, President Ruto’s government intends to reduce the cost of internet connection in Kenya. Seven subsea internet cables connect the nation. As of August 2022, overall fibre optic coverage is around 10,000 kilometres.
Kenya has the highest smartphone penetration rate in Africa. However, the previous government imposed a 10% tax on mobile phone exports into the nation in June, raising the cost of cell phones.
The incoming government must keep an eye on how this plays out as it attempts to provide more people with internet access services through affordable smartphones. Smartphone affordability and stable internet also remain key to the growth and adoption of blockchain, web3, and crypto in Kenya.
The place of blockchain, web3, and crypto under the new government
Frontier technologies are those that rely on interconnectivity and digitisation. These technologies include Artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), blockchain, robotics, drones, and nanotechnology.
The frontier technologies market might exceed $3.2 trillion by 2025, up from $350 billion. Northern America and Europe have the best economies for this rapidly expanding technology. However, Sub-Saharan Africa and other rising economies have the worst.
Kenya’s new government has vowed to implement the frontier’s digital master plan for 2022-2031. The plan pushes for the implementation of frontier technologies such as blockchain, AI, and quantum computing. This is a big step since the previous administration showed little signs of adopting the AI and blockchain taskforce recommendations from three years ago to deploy the technologies in all sectors to harness the nation’s digital potential.
Furthermore, whether or not to launch a retail central bank digital currency is one of the next administration’s important considerations (CBDC). Kenya’s central bank launched discussions in February 2021 about potentially establishing an eShilling, an equivalent of Nigeria’s eNaira.