Kenya Commits To Bridge Gender Digital Divide

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ICT and The Digital Economy Principal Secretary of Kenya John Tanui on Tuesday joined women leaders from across East Africa on an Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality virtual panel discussion.

The panel discussion, convened by the World Bank Group as part of its Gender Dialogue Series, discussed steps the region is taking to bridge the gender digital divide.

PS Tanui said Kenya had mainstreamed gender in its ICT programs and was taking affirmative actions to ensure that women and girls are equal beneficiaries of the various projects.

Through the Digital Superhighway Project, which seeks to expand Kenya’s fibre optic network by an additional 100,000 kilometres, PS Tanui said the project will grow e-commerce and access to digital jobs, especially for women and girls.

“Digitalisation and digitisation of Government services will enable people to access services from anywhere. Providing this access to women and girls will augment our efforts to close the gender gap,” Tanui said.

At the same time, PS Tanui reiterated the Government’s determination to set up 25,000 free public WiFi hotspots across the country to support the majority of women-led MSMEs.

He said the National Government digital hubs being set up nationwide will empower Kenyans, especially women and girls, to access an expanded online market for their goods and services.

Eng. Tanui also spoke about the Presidential Digital Talent, Ajira and Jitume Kazi, saying these initiatives have strong gender and affirmative action components for women and girls, aiming to narrow the digital gender divide.

Concerning regulating the ICT sector and promoting innovations, PS Tanui said his State Department was exploring opportunities for greater participation of women and girls in creating digital solutions to challenges facing the country.

The panellists for the discussion, held to mark this year’s International Women’s Month, were drawn from Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and Rwanda and hosted at the World Bank’s Nairobi office.

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