Census agency floats tenders for 160,000 gadgets


Kenya National Bureau of Statistics director-general Zachary Mwangi (left) with Editors Guild chairman Churchill Otieno during a media briefing on the 2019 census on January 23. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has announced its lucrative population census tenders, setting the stage for a bruising battle among gadget suppliers.

The agency has invited bids from local and foreign firms to tender for supplying software and infrastructure, months after outlining the census timeline.

Kenya will procure about 160,000 digital tablets to conduct its national population census in a switch from the previous manual exercise.

“KNBS invites sealed open national tenders for provision of unified mobile device management software to support 164,700 mobile devices for 2019 Kenya Population Household Census … so as to be received on or before February 19, 2019,” said director-general Zachary Mwangi in a notice published in the local dailies.

The national census is expected to cost the taxpayer Sh18.5 billion.

This is an increase of Sh10 billion from the last census.

Mr Mwangi announced the costs earlier, saying Sh3.3 billion would be used to buy mobile phones for the census.

The KNBS now seeks to source the tablets, which will be installed with a tracking software, area maps and questionnaires. Remote, off-grid areas will be supplied with solar chargers.

Past census involved manual data entry. The survey will also require 170,000 enumerators, 27,000 supervisors and 2,700 ICT supervisors, the agency said earlier.

“The tablets will enable enumerators to key in data and be relayed in real time. It will also minimise the margin of error, results of which will be vital in national planning,” KNBS director of population Macdonald Obudho said earlier.

“The system will be designed in a manner that if you key in the wrong data, the erroneous data is rejected.”

Kenya conducts its household census every 10 years, the last exercise being in 2009, which cost Sh8.4 billion, out of which Sh5 billion went to pay census personnel.

The population data is often shared among key government ministries and departments to guide in resource allocation and wealth distribution.

The 2019 census process, is expected to be completed by 2021, a year before the next General Election.

The 2009 exercise involved 111,696 enumerators, 22,323 supervisors, 5,788 senior supervisors and 100,000 village elders.