With 7 billion people in the world today, mull over the notion of nationality and the attendant identity that literally gives you the power to interact with the rest of humanity. Now imagine that very key to your existence has been outsourced to a third party with the powers to extract lifetime value by leveraging your data for profit. This is all justifiable until it is mentioned that the third party is not local and that births a whole slew of issues that should frankly have the attention of everyone in government and private sector.
Last month – August 2014, there was talk of a private public partnership by the Kenya Citizens and Foreign Nationals Management Service, under the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government dubbed Umoja Kenya and a company of Israeli origins that was not mentioned. The value of the PPP was pegged at Ksh 9 billion with our government already reaching out to private entities to form anchor clients for when the revenue taps will be open with a projected Ksh 25 billion payday.
“The government is in talks with an Israeli firm to implement its plan to create an online database of all Kenyans. It would be carried out through a public-private partnership at the cost of Sh9 billion beginning October, when the first phase covering public servants will start. The private firm will provide financing and lead in the execution of the project working closely with government officials.”
“Kenya Citizens & Foreign Nationals Management Service, under the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government, is currently talking to the players in the banking and insurance sectors under the Association of Kenya Credit Providers who will be anchor clients of the service.”
“I am sure we will raise at least Sh25 billion from this service in addition to the other benefits it comes with” – Ms Mwende Gatabaki
The value of a single source of truth from a sanitized database of users is not lost on the private sector. Everyone jealously guards their hard earned verified consumer databases; just look at the mobile network operators, banks and large retailers.
The issue here is that as a presidential initiative, we have missed the point by a mile by working towards engaging a foreign entity. The National ICT Masterplan and Vision 2030 have key deliverables that should form the digital governments KPI’s. A section of the outcomes expected from these plans include but are not limited to;
- the creation of 180,000 direct jobs
- 10 locally built and successfully commercialized ICT platforms
- 55 medium to large ICT companies established of multinational status
- and the retention of at least 60% of revenue from ICT IPs.
KITOS the trade association representing Kenyan Information Technology Enabled Service (ITeS) member businesses with a core purpose of being the industry catalyst for Kenyan ITeS entrepreneurs and companies is fully cognizant of the capabilities of its membership to partner with government on such and many other PPP’s and surpass service delivery expectations.
As local and citizen contractors, we do have vested interest in this as citizens of Kenya and understand our needs and nuances deeply. Supported by the provisions in the constitution on local procurement and a default setting of nationalistic pride, we must realize that citizen data is a core national asset and we must look at adding value from within our borders.
We have local capacity across all fronts to enter into a Public Private Partnership that will realize this and many other projects in sustainable ways that grow our national intellectual property base, enable us to meet numerous Vision 2030 milestones and most importantly power our local companies to be truly global, as the pedigree imbued from undertaking the project successfully will open doors to creating truly exportable value from our ICT, knowledge and service based industries. We must be the true and sole custodians in the creation of our national single source of truth; anything less will be akin to peddling our birthright and sovereignty.