Several things must be coordinated and constantly improved for us to make economic progress as a country. Our economic drivers and government policy must be in constant positive tension moving us forward.
Consumption shows the availability of disposable income. Income is from gainful activity connected to creation, production, or value addition.
Production has a straight line to manufacturing, a key enabler that drives income at the population level through jobs and stabilises the economy, improving the balance of trade through potential export opportunities, hedging the currency from devaluation.
Investments increase capital inflows that also catalyse the flywheel. More and better jobs, increased production capacity at traditional manufacturing and the knowledge industry level, higher local consumption and exports.
The knowledge industry can unlock the growth that we seek as a country.
At this year’s Connected Summit whose theme was Accelerating Digital Transformation, the government launched the National Digital Master Plan 2022-32.
Before you say ‘yet another masterplan’, appreciate that this consolidates previous road maps, and has been distilled into 20 projects that cover digital infrastructure, digital government services, digital skills, and digital innovation.
I am excited most by the installation of 100,000 kilometres of high-speed fiber-optic infrastructure to provide internet to all schools, government institutions, metro cities, health facilities, and public spaces, and the establishment of cloud services, the rollout of the National Physical Addressing System to accelerate e-commerce.
Others are National Spatial Data Infrastructure to provide trusted geospatial data, capacity building for, 10,000 ICT professionals on high-end skills, 300,000 public servants and 350,000 teachers to give them IT proficiency to deliver services effectively.
Also noteworthy is the establishment of software engineering and electronic manufacturing hubs targeting 1,000 engineers and the production of more than 1.2 million electronic devices.
Great ambition! Realised it will see technology-enabled services grow their contribution to the economy by several factors.
That said, an amorphous timeline across a decade is a long time to wait for the ability to run with something.
We should focus on “harmonisation and enactment of policies and legislation to enable ease of doing ICT business” specifically toward emergent technologies — artificial intelligence, internet of things, blockchain...
I believe that we will see the quickest wins this way, driving adoption and trust of a master plan that will take two political cycles to realise.
It will free the private sector to innovate unhinged but properly guided.
Njihia is the head of business and partnerships at Sure Corporation | www.mbuguanjihia.com | @mbuguanjihia