Thursday, March 12, 2015

New Digital Registry To Limit Identity Theft, Catch Aliens

The government has launched a national registry that could help minimise identity fraud by integrating personal information databases held by all State agencies.

The registry, expected to be operational by March next year, is expected to ease verification of individuals’ details and help catch and deter fraudsters and illegal immigrants.

The Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS) unveiled on Wednesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta will record Kenyan citizen’s details at birth and over their lifetime, periodically updating their digital files with copies of their documentation.

The government hopes the new system will help in nabbing identity thieves and fraudsters and protect the country from the recent wave of insecurity, crimes that have been blamed on the lack of an organised central citizenry database.

The IPRS will also be used to clean up the election registry by automatically erasing the names of deceased Kenyans who have in past elections been illegally registered as voters.

“Our civil data was contained in old manual systems maintained under different agencies held by different institutions,” said Mr Kenyatta directing all State agencies to connect to the system by March 2016.

“Anyone desiring information on an individual has to navigate huge volumes of manual data, making verification and due diligence processes difficult. This hampers the capacity of stakeholders to detect or prevent fraud, impersonation and other criminal activities.”

The new registry was developed a year ago and has since then been tested by institutions like KCB Group (using it for their mobile money platform) and City Hall (for their e-wallet initiative).

When a newborn is registered, their birth certificate data will be fed into the IPRS system, which will allocate the child an 11-digit code that will remain their unique identifier for life.

Their file will continually be updated with digital copies of documents like their secondary and primary school certificates as they attain them and national identity card when they hit 18 years.

Copies of the individual’s Personal Identification Number (PIN), National Social Security Fund and National Hospital Insurance Fund cards, marriage certificates, driving licences as well as their passports will also be fed into the system.

George Anyango, the IPRS Director, said the system has already documented one million newborns while details of another 17 million citizens aged below 18 years will be uploaded in six months.

The details of 24 million Kenyans who have ID cards have also been fed into the system.

“When State and private agencies connect to the IPRS system, they will be able to pull the information on an individual in real time and be able to compare what is being presented to them with the digital records,” said Mr Anyango.

The IPRS system will be connected to the smart national identity cards registry, a database that will see Kenyans receive one ID containing information from the tax office, Registrar of Motor Vehicles and the Registrar of Persons.

Registering for the new cards was meant to begin last month but is yet to kick off, with President Kenyatta on Wednesday directing that “the process should begin without further delay”.

Courtesy of: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/New-digital-registry-to-minimise-identity-theft-/-/539546/2650136/-/in78br/-/index.html

Friday, March 06, 2015

The Blind Spot

The President in his speech to the ICT Sector Innovation Forum (March 3, 2015) rightly acknowledges that Kenya’s ICT sector has transformed the country. More importantly he acknowledges that ICT is an important pillar in the future development of Kenya as exemplified in the National Vision 2030.

The President also states that the Digital Talent Program aims at spearheading the development of higher achievers into public servants of great impact. My interpretation is that talented Kenyan ICT prodigies are also set to benefit from this program.

Inasmuch as we appreciate the commendable effort by the government to “technologize” Kenya there is a fundamental blind spot in its strategy.

The President’s speech made no mention of how his government will professionalize the ICT sector in Kenya.

The ICT accomplishments that the President extols have therefore, by default, been achieved by non-professionals.

The innovations we are all benefiting from have been facilitated by Kenyans who are classified as non-professionals by the Government.

ICT professionals in Kenya are spurring economic development and saving lives. They are making life easier and more productive. Despite all these they are not recognized as professionals because there is no statute entrenching ICT as a profession in Kenya.

My request to the Government of Kenya is that Kenya will not fully realize its ICT potential unless ICT workers are legally recognized as professionals just like teachers, lawyers etc.

This sector needs a solid legal bedrock on which we can build a knowledge based economy. A bedrock that will regulate and promote its member.

It is high time the Government acknowledged this blind spot.

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President’s speech – ICT Innovation Forum

March 3, 2015/in News, Press /by PSCU

SPEECH BY H.E. HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H., PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE ICT INNOVATION FORUM, KENYATTA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, NAIROBI, 3RD MARCH, 2015

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to join you at our very first national ICT sector Innovation Forum.

This is an important event coming at a critical time in our quest to transform our country to a truly middle-income industrial nation.

There is no way we can expect to achieve this ambitious dream without fully automating our production and governance systems.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to say we as a country have recognized the place of ICT in our development agenda. Indeed, Kenya’s ICT sector is vibrant, ambitious and visionary. This is what has enabled it to transform this country into one of the world’s smartest societies. It has made life easier, work more productive and enterprise more efficient and
profitable for our people.

For corporations and other organizations in the public and private sector and even in government, ICT has transformed how we work and deliver. Indeed, through ICT, Government has become more efficient, more accountable and more transparent.

Moreover, ICT remains the home of great promise for us as Kenyans. Given our positive ICT experience, we fully expect the sector to play an even greater role in national development and governance.

That is why ICT is an integral component of our National Vision2030. Our ICT Masterplan projects that the sector can comfortably generate more than 180,000 jobs between now and 2017.

It is also expected to contribute at least 8% of our Gross Domestic Product in the same period. By all accounts, therefore, ICT is a big deal in Kenya.

Innovation is the cornerstone of every transformative and visionary development strategy. Innovation is the catalyst of civilizational evolution. The entire history of socioeconomic revolutions rests on inventions and strategies borne of innovative minds.

The Digital Revolution currently underway throughout the world is the single most transformative, large-scale and multidisciplinary force of change ever witnessed by humanity. It is powered solely by bold innovation in the ICT sector.

As a regional and international hub, Kenya is an inevitable intersection of global trends and influences. The ICT revolution found us ready and able to run with the world’s fastest innovators and entrepreneurs in the sector.

This has seen us become a leader in ICT entrepreneurship and innovation. The Silicon Savannah is a reality confirmed by transformative innovations conceived in the minds of Kenyans and implemented by Kenyan firms. When it comes to ICT, Kenya requires no introduction to the world. When it comes to innovation, we count among the leaders.

I am happy to know that this is a forum dedicated to innovation.

Innovation leads to wonderful solutions and reduces challenges.

Innovation expands opportunities and spreads them among the people.

Innovation promotes equality and integration. Innovation increases productivity and wealth. It is the way to the future.

My Government has taken deliberate steps to support private entrepreneurs to thrive and employ more Kenyans.

We are committed to making this country one of the world’s best investment destinations. To do this, we have made substantial progress in facilitating all entrepreneurs navigate the requisites of setting up in Kenya.

We have invested tremendously in the infrastructure required to drastically lower the cost of production. We are supporting young people through Uwezo Fund and the Youth Fund to start their own enterprises and apply their talent to profitable innovations.

The Digital Talent Programme is aimed at spearheading the development of high achievers into public servants of great impact.

The ICT Authority is tasked with leading the charge in accelerating the growth of our ICT sector. A proper environment for excellence in ICT is my Government’s priority.

The private sector has been a critical driver of ICT growth in Kenya.

We expect that the private sector will maintain its leading role by stepping up efforts to develop talent and support entrepreneurship.

Our higher education institutions continue the excellent work of training brilliant ICT leaders.

I look forward to greater partnership between Government, the private sector and educational institutions to strengthen Kenya’s leadership position in ICT.

I urge all stakeholders to contribute to the addition of more ICT incubation hubs into the existing network. This will enable more people engage in innovative activity throughout Kenya.

The ICT Ministry must lead efforts by various stakeholders to ensure that Enterprise Kenya takes off and begins to nurture innovation in the sector.

We are determined to expanding our ICT exports by directing our innovations to the regional and global market.
We look to ICT to transform the way we do things in all sectors.

Innovation will continue to transform service delivery in agriculture and food production, transportation, health, education, security,fiscal and financial management, justice, law and order among other sectors. ICT also enables more people to contribute to development.

It extends opportunity to all irrespective of location, background, gender or disability. Indeed, by supporting innovation in the ICT sector, we are transforming opportunity.

My Government is keen to expand and transform opportunity for all Kenyans.

Thank you all for being here. As I conclude, I urge you to roll up your sleeves and proceed expeditiously with the business at hand.

Innovation is a vital, urgent task that must not wait.

Expectations are high, but you are more than capable of exceeding them. Do not hold back. Enjoy the adventure.

It is now my pleasure to declare the ICT Innovation Forum is now officially opened.

Thank you, and God bless you.


Thursday, March 05, 2015


Eight years have passed on...Kachumbari - The True Kenyan Villager...we remember.