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Kenyan President bets on technology to spur growth agenda

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday that technology will be a major driver for delivering his Big Four priorities of manufacturing, affordable housing, universal healthcare and food security plan for growing the country’s economy.

Kenyatta said he was confident that the digital revolution will help Kenya achieve the Big Four plan and ensure that growth transforms the lives of the people.

“Digital technology also underpins a range of agro-financing services that are essential for equipping smallholder farmers across the country,” he said in Nairobi when he delivered a speech at a symposium on digital technology.

Kenyatta said his government will set up a committee on Blockchain and Internet of Things technologies that will study the benefits and challenges associated with the latest digital innovation trends.

“We need to better understand the opportunities for Blockchain Technology, the risks of cyber security and the essential education and skills that our young people will need to make new technology work for them,” he said.

Blockchain is the technology used by cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and refers to a continuously growing list of records that are linked and secured using cryptography.

A blockchain, by design, is resistant to alteration or modification and some countries have already started applying the technology for official business.

“The ministry of ICT will set up a task force on Blockchain and Internet of Things Technology—because, as a country, we cannot let these opportunities pass us by,” said Kenyatta.

He said technology will support affordable healthcare by driving access to information, better financing, stronger training for health workers, and, ultimately, broader access to services.

He said digital technology will also support efforts to increase food security by playing a key role in agricultural value chains through better access to inputs, more reliable weather and crop information, tracking of counterfeit inputs, more transparent access to markets and fair pricing.

The Kenyan leader said Nairobi was also positioning itself to reap the most out of the global digital revolution. He said the country has been a leader in digital innovation and would not be left behind in the latest trends.

He said the potential for digital dividends is enormous if its transformational potential is harnessed by creating the right policy framework.

“As a matter of fact, the internet and associated digital trade of goods and services have led up to 10 percent rise in employment in Africa,” said the president.



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