Big transformational projects are seldom conceptualized or actualized by a single entity. Vision 2030 and the current government’s digital manifesto are indeed transformational and require the orchestration of multiple partners from different sectors and agendas, which can easily create an environment for a lot of talk and no action. Headline projects have been identified, private public partnerships forged and project plans laid out with some already well underway.
However there are some basics that may get lost in the race and focus on the big picture. These seemingly no brainer moves can greatly impact the last mile delivery of services. Digital is synonymous with connectivity and ease of access. Beyond the heavy lifting on the services front where we deploy backend systems that will run the software and data infrastructure, we must look at other augmenting actions that while difficult to directly correlate with a benefit, are obvious after they are mentioned.
Physical infrastructure projects continue to top the governments agenda with a new model adopted where contractors close on funding with government as guarantor to the facility. This is an excellent model that can deliver more value if all the contractors have it mentioned explicitly in their statement of work that all roads must feature secure conduits that will allow for the laying of new fibre. Essentially, wherever there is a road, connectivity of the digital kind can swiftly follow, with all players having shared access reducing the investment needed individually to dig up dirt every time.
Digital services are consumed by individuals whether at work or on the home front. Commercial property developers have the brief and have been ensuring building readiness knowing that a good percentage of tenants consume services that are pegged on connectivity. Residential property developers are yet to catch up and perhaps we need to have standards entrenched in legislation that will ensure connectivity preparedness is factored into any residential property development.
The move to cashless also provides yet another opportunity to power the adoption of digital services. The national identity card is a physical item and technology is sufficiently advanced to see the rollout of an EMV chip identity card with NFC functionality that would with one tight integration, have a domino effect on many sectors. Some of the immediate beneficiary sectors are; mass transportation that has attracted many players each with their own infrastructure and feature set, healthcare that is to trickle down to the rural citizen and government service provision. Layered on top of the public key infrastructure whose pilot has been marked as successfully at the Kenya Revenue Authority, the consumer sees immediate value with least inconvenience and vendors benefit from an already onboarded consumer and they can then compete on value added services and price.