CS Owalo

Owalo initiates process to reform ICT sector laws

The Ministry of ICT and the Digital Economy has moved to overhaul the legal and policy frameworks that govern the technology sector in bid to align them to the constitution as the country moves into a bold digital future.

Mr Eliud Owalo, the ICT CS, said there is an urgent need to undertake the reform as he inaugurated a sector working group to spearhead the process. The group has two teams; one that will look at the ICT sector laws and the other broadcasting.

“There is need for an integrated approach to policy and legal propositions to enhance synergy and avoid duplication of laws and responsibilities,” he noted.

He explained that the ministry had brought together a team of technocrats, experts, and stakeholders from various sectors to lead the transformation.

“Their mandate is to examine existing policies, legislative decisions, and operational structures to identify areas in need of reform. The entire team will recommend comprehensive policies and legislative proposals to align Kenya’s digital framework with the 21st century,” he said.

One of the motivations behind the process is the need to harmonize existing laws with the constitution, promulgated in 2010.

Mr Owalo said the initiative recognizes the importance of creating a supportive environment for both government entities and private sector players.

“The government’s role is to enable rather than compete with the private sector. The aim is to develop policies that foster growth, innovation, and job creation while addressing emerging challenges like cyber security,” said Mr Owalo.

The catalyst for this reform effort is the realization that technology, in all its forms, is continuously reshaping our lives. From artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to the Internet of Things (IoT) and cryptocurrencies. Kenya must, therefore, adapt its policies and regulations to remain competitive on the global stage, added Mr Owalo.

The group will hold consultations with stakeholders, including technical experts and industry players, to gather insights and recommendations. Their work will result in a clear implementation plan with timelines, responsibilities, and performance indicators.

In the face of rapid technological advancements, Kenya is taking a bold step to secure its position as a digital leader in Africa. The ministry’s commitment to reforming its policies and regulations reflects the country’s determination to harness the opportunities of the digital age while addressing its challenges head-on.

The country, often referred to as the “Silicon Savannah of Africa”, has long been recognized as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. However, the legal and regulatory landscape hadn’t kept pace with the dynamic technology environment. Some of the existing laws are over three decades old, making them inadequate for addressing contemporary challenges and opportunities.

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