Chairman of the ITU PP-18, H.E. Mr Majed Sultan Almesmar;
Secretary General of the ITU;
Elected officials of the ITU;
Honourable Ministers;
Your Excellencies;
Heads of Delegations;
Distinguished Delegates;
Ladies and Gentlemen 

On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of Kenya, I wish to commend the ITU on its decades of work in the development and co-ordination of global ICT networks and services, and for the tremendous benefits we are witnessing today through that work.  

We are happy to be part of the 20th Plenipotentiary Conference of the ITU in this beautiful city of Dubai. On behalf of my delegation, allow me to express our profound gratitude to the Government and the people of the United Arab Emirates for the warm hospitality we continue to receive since our arrival.  We note with great appreciation, the detailed level of attention in the organization of this conference and the smooth facilitation. 

I also take this opportunity to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your election as chair of this conference, and the able stewardship you have demonstrated so far. The unique opportunity that the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference provides for member states and industry experts, irrespective of the levels of ICT development, enables the fusion of ideas and best practices.  Through this we can articulate a global vision for the development of ICTs over the ensuing years of this decade. 

Today, Kenya as one of the developing countries whose economy is increasingly dependent on strong ICT foundations, delights in this opportunity to determine the progression of the Connect 2020 agenda, which is mirrored in many ways to with ITU’s big five agenda.   

 With the enthusiasm in the uptake of ICTs in our County’s social economic development, the Government has re-dedicated its’ efforts towards scaling up ICT infrastructure development and universal access. Our Country therefore affirms her commitment to the development of ICTs in line with the ITU Member States’ common vision of an empowered society interconnected by telecommunication/ICTs. 

The Government of Kenya acknowledges the crucial role of ICT and therefore categorizes it as an enabler and driver of our economy, as articulated in our economic blueprint – Vision 2030, and indeed the current Administration’s Big 4 Agenda as well. 

My Country’s Big 4 Agenda specifically focuses on Enhancing Manufacturing; Food Security and Nutrition; Universal Health Coverage and; Affordable Housing.  In our Big 4 Agenda, ICTs are recognized as the common denominator that brings Vision 2030 and the Big 4 together. The ever-increasing products and services from the ICTs such as, emerging mobile commerce transactions, growth in mobile money services and increasing innovative products in the country, are providing us with key indications of the uptake of ICTs in Kenya. 

We are equally positioning ourselves to leverage on the emerging technologies and services such as cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence, Distributed Ledgers (such as Blockchain), and many others, not withstanding the risks and challenges to leapfrog in our sustainable social-economic development.   At the core is the collaborative spirit between Government and the private sector. 

In furtherance of innovation strategy, we are keen to build the capacity of young people and harness their potential in the promotion of telecommunication/ICTs applications.  Through our Presidential Digital Talent Programme, we have invested in training young people and creating an environment for higher absorption rate into the job market.  On the other hand, we have initiated programmes such as , ‘Ajira Digital Programme’ to train and also sensitize youth on the need to take advantage of online work and digitally enabled jobs.

 In less than 6 years, our citizens are now able to access more than 80 government services at one-stop following the implementation of an e-citizen portal complemented with a chain of public access points commonly known as ‘Huduma Centres’,. We are currently digitizing our land registry to increase efficiency in processing land records, as well as automation of government services.  

In an effort to improve on our inclusivity goals, our Country has embarked on the policy and legal frameworks that will continually support further development of the existing innovation on mobile money services including seamless interoperability for ease of access by consumers. 

Through USF strategies, the Country is making efforts to close less than six percent of the population that are not currently covered by basic communication services. 

In our pursuit to achieve inclusivity, my country has also embarked on the role out of broadband to schools and improvement on the fiber optic footprint. All our three mobile operators are now rolling out the 4G footprints under targets given by the industry regulator. Our goal is to not only increase Internet and broadband penetration, but also continuously empower the community of SMEs to increasingly participate in this digital economy, as they are a repository of Kenya’s innovation potential.  

May I take this opportunity on behalf of my country to thank ITU and those member states that have partnered with us in the development and mapping of our ICT innovation ecosystem. I want to assure that we have embarked on our progressive establishment of initiatives that are expected to support local young entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovators who carry the great digital economy promise for Kenya.  

 Convinced that broadband connectivity and a thriving environment for new technologies and services are what we need, I urge our deliberations at this conference not lose sight of the need for the world’s citizens, communities and governments in partnership with private sector to pool efforts to help realize the socio-economic benefits of ICTs.  

As we build on past successes and achievements along the path to beyond the Connect 2020 agenda, let us all remain united in purpose to create an integrated ICT industry that can drive economies, close digital gaps at a faster rate  and ultimately create an ICT atmosphere  that supports the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Let me take this opportunity to wish this conference successful deliberations. 

Thank you.