The annual Connected Kenya Summit, the only platform that brings over 500 ICT thought leaders and experts under one roof will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. This year’s forum will take place in Nairobi with over 1000 delegates, local and international, expected to attend.

This year’s edition will not only be bigger but the greatest meeting of ICT minds ever in the East African region who will take part in three days of intensive engagements on ICT support for the Big four agenda, recently outlined by HE President Uhuru Kenyatta. In addition, the Summit’s thematic tracks will include: Manufacturing, food security, Universal healthcare and affordable housing. There will also be conversations around emerging technologies such as Blockchain, Internet of Things, big data and Artificial Intelligence, among others.

Under the theme Preserving our Heritage, Pioneering Technology, a great deal of earnest discussion that will go on under Connected Kenya Summit, 2018, will shape how the industry will engage together and provide solutions on the use of ICT to attain the big four plus create a golden networking opportunity for government,students,investors and so give life to the events’ theme.

It is noteworthy that Connected Kenya Summit, 2018 that is hosted by the ICT Authority has grown from humble beginnings in 2009 to a now sprawling annual gathering of over 500 ICT thought leaders and experts to a current high level forum of renowned ICT experts from overseas and the region.

The journey of Connected Kenya Summit to where it is now has been one of collaboration and partnerships. The event has provided a platform where the ICT industry players, government, innovators and other stakeholders mingle freely, share and exchange ideas on how ICT can continue to be a catalyst of service delivery to citizens and attain a knowledge economy.

The conversations that have happened during past Connected Kenya Summit benefitted the sector and clarified its role in the delivery of the country’s economic growth as well as driving business agenda.

The inaugural theme in 2009, for example, were “Great minds come together”. In 2010 the theme was “Shared services to drive down cost to citizen; 2011 innovating for the citizen; 2012 Knowledge & beyond; 2013, County Citizen Served; 2014 breaking the barriers and in 2015 “Strength in our networks; in 2016 the theme was “Bridging the service gap” while the theme for Connected Kenya Summit 2017 was “Shaping the future”. This year, the theme, as already pointed out is “Building for Prosperity” and seeks to build on foundations set in the previous themes.

In addition, the objectives of Connected Kenya, 2018 Summit are clearly spelt out: To review progress and achievements in the sector in the last decade; share knowledge, case studies, best practice and lessons learnt based on experiences; develop and recommend policy, regulatory and operational interventions where necessary; Charter a future Kenya of economic prosperity using ICTs based on review of achievements and lessons learnt in both public and private sector; and provide a platform for meaningful networking that will result in fruitful relationships that contribute to economic development.

It is also noteworthy that Kenya is already a regional ICT hub and developing into a globally competitive digital economy. This can be confirmed by the mobile revolution and innovations, growth and investment in broadband infrastructure and the uptake of new concepts such as blockchain. These developments provide additional economic interactions, raise new frontiers, invite questions and seek to invite novel responses from the leaders, legislators, policy makers, regulators and industry players.

Further, the past Connected Summits have seen the birth of key public service innovations namely: Huduma, e- citizen, Digital Literacy Program as well as the National ICT Master Plan. It is therefore anticipated that this year’s forum will add to this bucket of innovations.

Specifically, under the big four, it is expected that the following will be realized :(a) increased number of locally assembled devices at the JKUAT & Moi university assembly plants, which have both rolled out the over 200,000 digital learning devices distributed to learners in all corners of the country under the Digital Literacy Program;(b) utilization of the NOFBI infrastructure to enable health institutions, countrywide, to share data and create healthcare management systems and so improve efficient institutions (c) Using ICTs to enable farmers get value for their produce through tracking of their products right from harvesting to the payment and so cut off brokers and middle men who eat into their profit margins.

The ICT Authority is therefore encouraging all ICT sector players to be present at the summit and contribute to the sharing of knowledge and so arrive at solutions on how best we can complete Kenya’s journey to being a knowledge economy and regional ICT Hub.