IGF: Kalonzo says technology vital for economy growth

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 27- Kenya’s vice President Kalonzo Musyoka on Tuesday underscored the importance of internet and related technologies as a potential tool for economic growth and social change.

Musyoka consequently noted that internet has played critical role in the promotion of good governance through access to information thus restoring the public trust in political process.

Addressing the ongoing 6th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) at the United Nations Office in Nairobi as it marked its official opening, the deputy leader stated, “This significant development creatively interfaced with mobile telephony can achieve enormous results in record time and to a great majority.”

Kalonzo stressed the net has become an indispensable facet of modern day life and singled out information and education resource, commerce, employment, design and deployment of efficient administrative systems and access to public and official information as some of the benefits.

The Vice president observed that access to knowledge, information and communication is critical to the development of any country and initiatives such as the Open Data Portal could give great impetus to public participation in translating government data and information into a reservoir of development ideas.

He underscored the need for concerted effort in tackling emergent cyber-based security issues as he urged all stakeholders to come up with innovative ways of protecting children online.

“I call upon all stakeholders to pay special attention to protect children on line as well as develop ways to address other forms of attacks against the integrity of the infrastructure, networks and services of the internet” Mr. Musyoka said.

The three-day IGF, the first in Sub-Saharan Africa has the theme of “Internet as a catalyst for change, Access, Development, Freedom and Innovation and has drawn over 1,500 participants from across the world to share ideas on the emerging trends in the cyber world.

“The impact continues to have dramatic effects including the overwhelmingly successful mobile telephony cash transfer platform M-Pesa pioneered in Kenya a few years ago. In Kenya, we have made great strides towards making Internet accessibility readily and cost effectively available to every region in the country,” he stated.

He said this had been possible by the installation of three undersea fibre optic cables along the coast of East Africa.

The Vice President added that the fibre connectivity via long-distance wireless communication technologies such as WiMAX and 3G has increased internet access tremendously, and encouraged more initiatives and partnership on the use of the internet for development purposes and in particular, in areas such as healthcare and education.

He told the IT experts to come up with innovative programmes that will make the internet the watershed of ideas that will determine how effectively human capital, talents, skills and other resources could provide solutions to challenges facing them.

Musyoka lauded the Kenya Internet Governance Forum for actively representing Kenya in all Internet governance processes.

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