Opening remarks by Mr. Francis Wangusi, Director General, Communications Authority of Kenya
During the opening of the Global ICT Capacity Building Symposium
6th September 2016, the Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya
Our Chief Guest, H.E. Hon. William Samoei Ruto, Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya,
Mr. Houlin Zhao, Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union,
Mr. Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology,
Dr. Fred Matiang’i, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers present,
Mr. Brahima Sanou, Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau,
Members of the Fourth Estate,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to welcome you all to Nairobi for the 2016 Global ICT Capacity Building Symposium, organized by the Telecommunication Development Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union and hosted by Government of Kenya.
As the ICT regulatory agency in Kenya, we are indeed greatly honoured to be part of the team hosting this important global meeting for this dynamic sector.
Ladies and gentlemen, the aspirations of this symposium coupled with the theme "Embracing capacity building opportunities in the digital era" goes a long way to reaffirm that ICT is crosscutting and an enabler for growth and development and therefore critical for the achievement of sustainable development goals.
In support of this aspiration, Communications Authority of Kenya whose vision is to enable access to and use of information and communications services by all in Kenya by 2018. Strongly, subscribes to the principle of building widespread ICT literacy as well as human and institutional capacity in the development and use of ICTs as being key.
Increasingly, we are witnessing ICTs exerting considerable pressure on the orthodox structures of our educational systems, challenging traditional service provision and heightening the demand for the transformational e-government services across jurisdictions.
Owing to the above inevitable push experienced in this digital era, concerted care must be taken to urgently address both short and long-term possible risk of ICT skills shortage. This imminent challenge therefore makes this symposium key, not only for Kenya but for the entire global ICT fraternity.
Speaking of the long-term human capacity solutions distinguished ladies and gentlemen, you may all be aware of the African saying that 'if you want to go FAST, go alone, but if you want to go FAR, go together".
In line with the above saying, it has come to our realization that partnerships and collaborations are inevitable if we are to address the challenge of ICT skills gap today and for the future.
As a result, the Authority under its Universal Service Obligation objective to 'Promote Skills Development' is partnering with other stakeholders key among these being our Ministry of Education, who are well represented here, to roll out schools broadband connectivity project. This current project is utilizing the Universal Service Fund to connect upto 1000 public secondary schools. The Long-term vision is to connect many more schools and training institutions.
The above ladies and gentlemen, is only but one among our many other collaborative initiatives. Our focus is to create an enabling environment, which will facilitate the building of a sustainable pool of key ICT competencies of industry-ready and globally competitive ICT professionals for posterity.
In the same vein through partnerships, we have rolled out initiatives that have seen us establish; 16 School-based ICT Centres; 4 Community ICT Centers; 8 ICT Centres in Learning Institutions for Persons with Disabilities; 10 e-Resource Centres in Public Libraries; digitized our Secondary Education curriculum and at the moment, we are just about to launch additional 46 e-Resource Centers in our public libraries across the country. These projects have greatly supported ICT capacity building, most important being amongst some our rural and marginalized areas for which a number of these projects were deliberately targeted for.
Reflecting back on the objectives and the expected outcomes of this symposium, I am glad to note that we are presented with an opportunity to further augment the already established efforts, to step up this ICT development agenda.
That said distinguished delegates, I wish to rally us to also explore solutions to the inherent challenges such as cyber security, that readily present with us as we rapidly adopt ICTs and champion for a skilled and technologically-savvy populace.
As I conclude, allow me to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to our Chief Guest for sparing time to officiate the opening of this forum, our guests of honour and distinguished delegates for accepting our invitation, the International Telecommunication Union, for convening this symposium in Kenya, not forgetting the support teams that have tirelessly worked to ensure the seamless execution of activities at the forum.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I cannot end my remarks without, reminding us that Kenya and Nairobi in particular has a lot to offer. I therefore invite you to spare some time before returning home, to sample interesting locations and the warm hospitality of our people, without missing to experience the vibrant social life in 'Nairobi city - The City in the Sun".
With those remarks, I wish you all fruitful deliberations.
Thank you all for your attention.