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Kenya’s Progress On Digital Rights and Inclusion: How Badly Are We Doing?

The Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum 2022, which was organized by Paradigm Initiative (PIN) and a host of country partners across 17 African countries from April 12th to May 20th, was concluded in Kenya with the launch of PIN’s 2021 Annual Digital Rights and Inclusion Report that we found interesting.

The report rounded up the following points after examining themes of privacy, freedom of expression, access to information, segmentation and exclusion, digital transformation, affordability, gender, and others within existing legislative frameworks, and against the backdrop of a widening digital divide:

  1. There is a need for the government to put in place policy measures, which ensure that the infrastructural development that is being witnessed in the major cities in the country is cascaded down to other parts of rural Kenya that have not benefited from the digital inclusion programs.
  2. There is a need for all stakeholders-public authorities, the private sector, and the general population in Kenya to lead efforts to reduce the spread of hate speech and misinformation online. This is critical, especially during this period when the country is in an electioneering period that will be done over August 2022.
  3. The Government of Kenya must adopt a multi-stakeholder approach to gearing toward an ICT-centered economy as envisioned in the country’s development blueprint that seeks to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment.
  4. There is a need for the national government to spur ICT development at the local county level by initiating programs in partnership with the county governments.
  5. There is a need for promotion and encouragement of self-regulation and strengthening of professional bodies to support the government to ensure adherence to certain guidelines and ethics.

These are some of the issues that the state has pursued in terms of data protection, and here and some of our insights that we have explored in the past:


4 Things You Need To Know About The New Data Protection Law

Regulations Under the Data Protection Act, 2019 Published for National Assembly Scrutiny

Quotes

Mr. Gbenga Sesan, Paradigm Initiative’s Executive Director highlighted the importance of Londa in Africa, and the need for groundbreaking rights-respecting frameworks saying;

“Africa needs to make an urgent choice between focusing on clampdowns and maximizing digital opportunities so we don’t miss out on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). As Paradigm Initiative’s 2021 Londa report shows, yet again, many of the 22 African countries featured in the report are too busy violating digital rights to focus on the digital opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on their relevance. The report is timely as it assesses the state of digital rights and inclusion in Africa, and also provides recommendations on what each country must do to move towards realizing the huge gains that rights-respecting and inclusive digital policies and practices bring.”

The report can be read here.


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