Building Partnerships for Kenya’s Digital Transformation

12.17.2018 | Articles

About the White Paper

To promote dialogue on the governance of technology and the digital space in Kenya, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) hosted a forum, Building Partnerships for Kenya’s Digital Transformation on October 8, 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. The forum was held in cooperation with local business organizations and modeled on the Ouagadougou Declaration approach to strengthen the voice of business in democratic governance through private sector, civil society, and government dialogue. The Ouagadougou Declaration provides a framework for multistakeholder collaboration by cultivating mutual interest among business, civil society, and policymakers to shape sustainable democratic development, policy and build more prosperous societies.

The objective of the forum was to bring stakeholders together to discuss opportunities for Kenya’s digital development and expectations for the governance of digital spaces. The goal of the event was to facilitate consultative discussion during each roundtable on the digital economy themes selected, including legal frameworks, cybersecurity, and data protection. The White Paper developed following the forum captures recommendations on policies to support effective democratic governance of Kenyan’s digital spaces suggested by participants of the forum.

The Digital Landscape in Kenya

Kenya is a leading economy in Africa and has become well known for its innovative entrepreneurial spirit and competitive startup landscape, and yet many of the policies and norms that govern the digital sphere are still in their infancy or hotly contested. For example, at the time of the forum Kenya was considering two data protection bills, one from the Senate and the other from the Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT). These two draft bills have been debated publicly and more recently combined into one draft law, to be reviewed and approved by Parliament. During the forum, stakeholders expressed concerns regarding the draft bills, and provided input on how the policies and principles within the final bill should be shaped. The White Paper synthesizes recommendations regarding technical aspects of the draft law as debated by panelists and participants of the roundtable discussion.

In addition to data protection, the White Paper also includes recommendations for the Kenyan government, its Ministries, the private sector and civil society on how to create legal frameworks that strengthen the digital economy, increase cybersecurity, and enhance digital entrepreneurship across Kenya.

As fostering the development of the digital economy is a key component of Kenya’s Vision 2030 to advance “a democratic political system that is issue based, people-centered, result-oriented and accountable to the public”, it is vital to ensure multistakeholder collaboration to improve the enabling environment of the digital economy.