The Government of Kenya has announced a significant allocation of Sh2.8 billion from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to enhance digital connectivity throughout the country. Professor Edward Kisiang’ani, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunications, unveiled this initiative aimed at improving access to technology across underserved areas.

According to Prof. Kisiang’ani, this funding, scheduled for release by the Treasury, is pivotal for digitally connecting marginalized regions, ensuring they also benefit from technological advancements.

The PS emphasized the Government’s commitment to establishing 25,000 WiFi hotspots and 1,450 digital hubs nationwide. These initiatives aim to bridge the digital divide, providing access to high-speed internet and digital services even in remote constituencies.

Notably, the National Government-Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) will allocate three percent of its funds to upgrade infrastructure in these digital hubs, fostering local development and connectivity.

Prof. Kisiang’ani highlighted the importance of the digital hubs, especially the centers of excellence located in villages, as they bring internet services closer to underserved communities. He emphasized that these initiatives would empower communities economically and enhance their quality of life.

The announcement was made during a stakeholders’ workshop organized by Parliament in Naivasha, focusing on the Ministry of Information, Communication, and the Digital Economy.

Furthermore, the implementation of Information Communications Technology (ICT) hubs across all wards will facilitate digital literacy training, film production, and access to government services. This initiative is part of the broader digital superhighway project, which involves laying 10,000 kilometers of fiber to support digital infrastructure development.

In addition to these infrastructure investments, Prof. Kisiang’ani revealed plans for restructuring the State Department of Broadcasting and Telecommunications, aiming to enhance operational efficiency and employee advancement.

However, the PS expressed concerns about the negative portrayal of the Government by the media and urged for a more balanced coverage of national developments, emphasizing the importance of showcasing positive achievements.

John Kiarie Waweru, Chair of the Communication, Information Innovation Committee in the National Assembly, raised concerns about the Ministry’s funding. He stressed the critical role of the Ministry in facilitating digitization and increasing internet connectivity, especially given the sector’s expected contribution to the national GDP.

Mr. Kiarie highlighted various achievements, including the digitization of government services and the distribution of Digital Literacy (DL) devices to schools, aiming to enhance digital literacy among students.

Furthermore, he reiterated the Government’s commitment to enhancing connectivity through the establishment of WiFi hotspots, digital hubs, and the rollout of fiber infrastructure. These initiatives align with Kenya’s digital master plan, focusing on digital infrastructure, services, skills, and innovation to drive economic growth and development.

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