New Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta used his inauguration speech to say technology will be central to the growth of Kenya and reaffirm his pledge to improve access to technology in schools.
Furthermore, Kenyatta included technology-based promises in his first 100 day plan, pledging to provide one laptop for each child joining Form One in public schools in time for the coming school year.
Kenyatta dedicated the KSh6 billion (US$70.8 million) which had been allocated for the election run-offs – which did not take place – to a new Youth and Women Fund, under the remit of which the laptop programme will be rolled out over the coming 100 days.
“We believe early exposure to technology, will inspire future innovation and be a catalyst for growth and prosperity,” Kenyatta said, explaining the decision to place such importance on technological education and access.
Turning to the importance of strengthening the country’s national unity, Kenyatta again made reference to the role which technology will have to play, noting that in order to achieve food security and agricultural efficiency, technological measures must be implemented in efforts to build a unified country.
“It [national unity] will be realised when we become a food-secure nation by investing in and modernising the agricultural sector by equipping it with the relevant information and technology that it needs to grow,” the new president said.
Kenyatta also made reference to the protracted and controversial election process, which saw technological systems such as electronic voter registration, and electronic transmission of vote counts fail entirely, resulting in regional electoral officials being airlifted to Nairobi to the central tallying centre to transmit constituency vote counts.
“Where systems failed, Kenyans did not. Where decisions were delayed and ambiguity prevailed, Kenyans were patient – seeking and waiting for clarity,” he said.