Kenya digitizes 5k government services, to issue digital IDs ‘in next 90 days’
Up to 5,000 government services in Kenya can now be accessed through digital means after President William Ruto launched a dedicated platform dubbed ‘Gava Mkononi’ in fulfillment of a promise he made last year to accelerate the country’s digital innovation efforts. Gava Mkononi is a local expression meaning ‘government on touch.’ At the launch of the platform at the Kenyatta International Convention Center in Nairobi, Ruto also directed two cabinet secretaries to make sure the process to issue digital IDs begins within the next 90 days.
Digital government platform will eliminate inefficiencies
According to Ruto, the new platform will facilitate access to a variety of government services by allowing users to access a digital signature that will permit them sign for the services they seek, writes The Star.
The novelty, according to the president, will enhance efficiency, transparency and customer satisfaction in the way services such as payments with the treasury, tax registration, civil registration, and online transactions happen. Part of the idea is to discourage cash payments, which will not be available for public services in a month.
He said there will be a program to train citizens on how to access and use the digital signatures.
Kenyan communities which have been marginalized for years will be able to make use of the platform, Capital News quotes the president as saying. It is also possible for users without smartphone to access the platform, he assured.
New digital ID expected in 90 days
While assuring that more government services will be digitized in the months ahead, Ruto called on Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and his counterpart of ICT and Digital Economy Eliud Owalo to ensure that the issuance of digital IDs begins “in the next 90 days.”
The President took some time to emphasize the importance of the new system which is meant to replace the contentious Huduma Namba system. He picked holes in the Huduma Namba saying it was needlessly expensive and fraught with fraud and red tape.
“Huduma Namba was a complete fraud because we lost almost 15 billion [Kenyan] shillings (US$106 million) and got very little out of it. We can have a Digital ID without spending 15 billion and without defrauding the people of Kenya. Those who did that should be ashamed of themselves,” ITWeb quoted Ruto as lamenting, citing Citizen TV.
Plans about the rollout of the new digital ID in Kenya were elaborately discussed at the ID4Africa Augmented General Meeting hosted in the country’s capital in May. The country is seeking the expertise and collaboration of Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), and possibly India’s UIDAI for the project.