NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
More than 500 government, business and academic
and ICT experts kicked off a four-day meeting in Nairobi on
Tuesday to improve digital skills as well as formulate and
optimize human capacity building strategies for the ICT sector.
Organized by the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN specialized
agency for ICTs, and hosted by the Communications Authority of
Kenya, the global ICT Capacity Building Symposium (CBS-2016)
provides an opportunity for stakeholders from across the world
to discuss trends and developments in the sector and their
implications for human and institutional capacity building.
Secretary-General Zhao Houlin told the forum that the meeting
will develop strategies to accelerate progress towards the UN
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a time of major digital
brings together key ICT and education stakeholders to discuss
how emerging technologies are changing the human capacity
building environment. ITU is committed to helping all its
members effectively and rapidly build human ICT capacity and
improve ICT skills,” Zhao said.
He called for a
cross sectorial collaboration and partnerships in prioritizing
ICT programs. “ITU is committed to connecting the world,
bridging the digital divide and spreading emerging
technologies,” Zhao said.
The ITU chief
appealed to ministries concerned with ICT and education to
mainstream ICT in all sectors of the economy worldwide to
improve skills and create a level playing field in technological
The ITU symposium
called for speedy ICT connectivity to bridge the digital and
knowledge divide in the world, noting that growth of the global
economy depended on the rate of ICT connectivity.
President William Ruto, who officially opened the symposium,
said there was need to put in place structures to accelerate
connectivity to mitigate the glaring ICT divide both within
countries and between countries.
partnerships that enable the rural poor to get their first
online experience. A farmer in rural Kenya has as much as
benefit from ICT like his or her counterpart in the Canadian
prairies,” Ruto said.
He said promptness
and affordability is critical and appealed to industry players
to quickly work towards affordable prices, higher speeds, high
capacity Internet to achieve the desired results.
Ruto said access to
electricity was critical in this effort, saying Kenya had made
remarkable strides in connecting people to electricity with 6.7
million households connected to the national grid in the last
He said ICT is
expected to contribute at least 8 percent of Kenya’s Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) this financial year.
“In finance, health,
education, agriculture and Governance, ICT has become the
platform to rate service delivery, on demand dissemination of
information and effective customer service,” he added.
“An economy based on
ICT and internet is a powerful catalyst for innovation, growth
and social prosperity... promoting a more sustainable and
inclusive growth focused on well being and equality of
opportunities,” said Ruto.
Kenya’s ICT Cabinet
Secretary Joseph Mucheru said in an effort to mainstream ICT in
government services, the government had recruited 400 new
management trainees who were under training to add on the 100
trained last year.
“These officers will
be absorbed in government to spearhead ICT programs in various
ministries. Emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things
(IoT) are increasingly becoming a reality,” Mucheru said.
He said governments,
industry, universities and other higher education institutions
need to invest in a range of ICT skills at various levels, to
not only enable increased participation in the economy, but also
ensure the creation of digital citizens for a digital society.