Connected Kenya will have a special session on the state of ICT in counties, what needs to be done, how the private sector stakeholders can come into the picture and what role the academia will play. This session will attempt to come up with a possible roadmap geared towards equiping counties with clear pointers on areas they need to adopt ICT to increase service delivery and efficiency and more so, make business processes a smoother experience to spur growth at the grassroots.

1) Using ICT to make it easier for investors to do business Counties are positioning themselves to uniquely be in a position to attract investors. This is a key area of growth for the county economies and Connected Kenya will be expected to look at ways to make it smoother for businesses to operate. One such way is creating digital business registry and making any required registration of businesses an on-demand online process. Permit, Environmental impact assessments and health certicate applications and processing should also be undertaken online with the status of applications for potential investors being provided as an on-demand service through online portals or USSD services.

2) County Services Access and Payment Services offered by the counties should adopt ICT to increase service delivery. Connected Kenya is expected to look at current service delivery in areas of road maintainance, security, parking services, water & sewarage services provision and many others from an ICT point of view with the aim of seeing ways in which this can be made more efficient using easy to deploy ICT solutions. For example automated parking – or using handheld POS systems for the same would increase revenue collection and accountability. Community policing can employ simple methods for members of the public to annonymously report security threats and offer tips to police using either SMS or USSD services. Bills payment for services provided by the counties should also adopt modern methods of payment like ecommerce and mobile payments to make it easier for county residents to make payments.

3) Project Management and Governance With over 30% of the national budget being directed to counties, massive projects are bound to be taken up – as is already the case – at county level. Issues of misappropriation of funds and lack of accountability are already rife at county level. Connected Kenya can look at ways to provide project management solutions with in-built reporting and auditing at various stages to make it easier to manage the projects and check revenue leaks. With such a system, benchmarks can be set and expenditure can be measured against set benchmarks. Suppliers can be pre-approved and quotes for various services checked against benchmarked prices to prevent revenue leaks from over-priced goods.

These and others are issues stakeholders at the County Session at Connected Kenya are expected to tackle next week.

03 April, 2014