February 21, 2022

The digital projects that are shaping Kenya's future

By Francis Wainaina, SEACOM East Africa Senior Product Manager

Despite Kenya's status as an e-commerce and digital services leader, the majority of the country's key online platforms are still foreign-owned. With the emergence of Kenya's digitally-enabled start-ups, fostering local entrepreneurship is critical to the country's digital transformation success.

Kenya's rapidly growing tech landscape is brimming with opportunities for hard-working entrepreneurs, but even the most tech-savvy among them might benefit from further support. Here are some of Kenya's most prominent programmes for developing local talent and ushering Kenyans into the digital future.

Kenya Industry and Entrepreneurship Project

Through each of our 'big four' sectors, as outlined by President Kenyatta, this $50 million project (implemented by the Kenyan government and backed by the World Bank) aims to convert Kenya into an industrialised and middle-income country. The project's main goal is to help businesses enhance their managerial and technical abilities, as well as their technology use and access.

Incubation hubs and accelerators that connect start-ups with traditional sectors and worldwide networks are also part of the plan to boost creativity and productivity. This programme will provide individual subsidies of up to $50 000 to 250 Kenyan small businesses to help get them off the ground. This will contribute significantly to the development of our country's entrepreneurship ecosystem and digital skills.

The Presidential Digital Talent Programme

With the purpose of cultivating talent in government offices, the Presidential Digital Talent Program provides training and mentorship to graduates. It will serve as a training ground and aims to boost the government's information and communications technology (ICT) skills by bringing in new talent.

Annastacia Muisyo earned the program's Innovation Award in July 2020 for her Traffic E-court system, which employs intelligent speed cameras to alert drivers via smartphone to pay their fine within a set time frame or face a court summons. Innovative ideas like this demonstrate how the program can improve public service delivery while also increasing youth employability and entrepreneurship.

Co-creation Hub

We can only create talent if we collaborate and share our ideas. This is why Co-creation Hub (CcHub) has established a pan-African internet of things (IoT) community platform, with the goal of facilitating discussion about Africa's technological growth and allowing stakeholders to share their knowledge and ideas with other entrepreneurs.

CcHub, which originated in Nigeria, recently acquired iHub - a Nairobi-based innovation hub that was one of the first digital hubs in Africa to provide mentorship, workshops and venture capital to local start-ups. CcHub also acquired eLimu - a Kenyan ed-tech start-up that uses new technologies to enable interactive learning in an African context. This acquisition represents a huge investment in digitalising education for future generations, with an annual audience of around 500 000 teachers and learners, both online and offline.

Mastercard partnerships

Start Path is an award-winning start-up program with over 1500 applicants each year that connects entrepreneurs with experts to help them create and scale their businesses. Lipa Later - a Kenyan fintech startup that allows customers to purchase goods online and pay later - was chosen as one of the programme's eight later-stage start-ups.

This has provided Lipa Later with invaluable access to Mastercard's global partners and technical expertise, as well as the ability to acquire larger investments. More importantly, this fintech start-up has benefited everyday people by increasing their access to finance.

Microsoft’s Global Entrepreneurship Programme

Many small-scale African farmers have benefited from Microsoft's venture capital programme, which has helped them obtain access to new markets while increasing their yields by up to 300%. Microsoft has also supported business-to-business (B2B) food supply platforms such as Twiga Foods, which connect farmers in rural Kenya with informal vendors in cities, opening up previously untapped markets.

Microsoft has pledged its support to the World Bank in a shared ambition to "bring one million farmers onto the digital platform within the next three years, and... to bring food security to the countries that need it most," according to Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of Microsoft 4Afrika.

Why these programmes are beneficial to Kenya

Kenya is regarded as one of Africa's most important trade hubs. Nairobi has developed into a thriving ecosystem of start-ups, with the number of digitally enabled businesses increasing daily. Educating and assisting local entrepreneurs in the usage and understanding of new technology is critical to sustaining our economic progress at the grassroots level.

The more the public and private sectors collaborate to develop African entrepreneurs with digital skills, the closer we move to Africa's Digital Age. For more information or to get a quote for our connectivity solutions, email us at marketing@seacom.com or leave us a message.

SEACOM owns Africa’s largest network of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including fibre optic networks and subsea cables. We offer a wide range of industry-leading scalable ICT solutions for large companies that operate throughout the region.

SEACOM is privately owned - making it adaptable to the needs of the client. We are the preferred ICT and internet connectivity supplier for African enterprises. We can guarantee fast, reliable and secure internet and networking services at affordable prices.

For‌ ‌more‌ ‌information‌ ‌on‌ these solutions, ‌follow‌ ‌us‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌LinkedIn‌,‌ ‌‌Facebook‌ ‌or‌ ‌‌Twitter.‌ ‌Keep‌ ‌an‌ ‌eye‌ ‌on‌ ‌our‌ ‌‌news‌ ‌section‌‌ ‌for‌ ‌industry news and announcements on African ICT, internet connectivity, cloud services and security solutions.