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African economies will be transformed by ICTs

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on African countries to prioritize the integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in their development plans because they hold immense economic transformation potential.

The President spoke when he unveiled Kenya’s digital economy blueprint to investors and Heads of State attending the Transform Africa Summit 2019 of the Smart Africa Initiative in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Heads of State present at the unveiling included President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Boubakar Keita of Mali. The Rwandan President is the current chairman of the Smart Africa Initiative, a continental body that aims at creating a single digital market.

Kenya’s digital economy strategy themed “powering Kenya’s transformation” was unveiled in the presence of over 4,000 participants among them government bureaucrats, policymakers, innovators and technology investors who are meeting to discuss how ICT resources can be harnessed to boost African economies.

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Through the blueprint, the government aims at enhancing the contribution of ICTs to the economy through digital governance solutions, digitizing business processes, facilitating infrastructure delivery, innovation-driven entrepreneurship and promotion of digital skills and values.

As a champion of the digital economy on the continent, President Kenyatta told a summit panel discussion that Kenya has invested heavily in its digital network and is partnering with various organizations to ensure efficient connectivity for all.

“Our vision is that in the next five years, every part of the country will be connected, thus allowing all citizens partake in the digital movement,” said President Kenyatta.

The President also spoke about the central role of the youth in the digital economy in Africa saying Kenya had fashioned a special intervention targeted at empowering her young people with practical ICT skills.

“We are encouraging the youth to be proactive and tap into the digital market through our Ajira programme that has seen many get online jobs,” he added.

Earlier, President Kenyatta toured various exhibition stands at the summit including that of Kenya where various products that enhance efficiency and use of technology in various sectors of the economy including agriculture were showcased.

In his address, President Kenyatta said Kenya will be at the forefront in driving Africa’s digital economy adding that the country’s globally acknowledged and revolutionary innovations such as MPESA mobile money ecosystem are a demonstration of the continent’s limitless ICTs potential.

He said Africa stands on the brink of a major transformation, not only as a new frontier for investment but as a continent driven by a young, vibrant and aggressively innovative population, brimming with immense potential.

“We are the new frontier for trade and investment with estimates indicating that by 2025, business opportunities in Africa will be about US$ 5.6 trillion.  More importantly, we have evolved platforms for driving this collective destiny of our prosperity,” said President Kenyatta.

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President Kenyatta underscored the importance of technology as a fundamental element of Africa’s economic journey to prosperity saying he looked forward the rollout of a Pan-African digital economy strategy.

The Head of State said Kenya’s proactive digital economy strategy gives prominence to five pillars among them an infrastructure that is available affordable, resilient and reliable.

“Achieving ubiquitous, fast, and inexpensive internet connectivity for African businesses and households is critical to unlocking the potential of the digital economy.  Connectivity needs to reach a certain threshold in order for users to access digital service,” said President Kenyatta.

Besides infrastructure, the Head of State said the availability and use of digital services and platforms to enable public service delivery is of immense importance.

“Currently, the Kenya Government has over 200 digitized services offered through Huduma Centres countrywide as well as an online self-service platform, E-Citizen,” he told the summit.

The President said Kenya had taken a bold move to digitize core government services such as filing of tax returns where the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) provides services through the iTax system that is linked to the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and the Central Bank.

“This digital system has helped to speed up assessment and service delivery of the country’s tax administration,” he said.

On electronic commerce, President Kenyatta noted that it would be very difficult to conduct business across Africa without the ability to pay remotely through digital channels.

“Indeed, 39% of private enterprises in Kenya are engaged in e-commerce and 70% of all e-commerce payments in Kenya are settled through various mobile money payment platforms,” he said.

President Kenyatta said that the future of African economies will largely depend on innovation-driven entrepreneurship and called for policies that support local innovations.

“The presence of an ecosystem that supports home-grown firms to generate world-class products and services has greatly helped in widening and deepening of digital and economic transformation. Kenya boasts of a robust innovation ecosystem,” the President said.

The Kenyan leader, however, cautioned against the growing misuse of technology saying social vices propagated, especially by young people, threaten to widen divisions based on African narratives of ethnicity, social class, religion and race.

The President is accompanied by ICTs Cabinet Secretary Joseph Mucheru among other senior government officials.

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Calm returns in clash-hit Narok : The Standard

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Residents of Ololoipang’i in Narok South during a peace meeting.Three people have been killed in inter-tribal clashes involving Kipsigis/Maasai communities over cattle theft. [Robert Kiplagat]  
Rift ValleyAuthorities issued a three-day ultimatum to residents in possession of illegal weapons to surrender them or face forceful disarmament.

An uneasy calm has returned to troubled Narok South where violent conflicts between local communities had erupted, leaving eight people dead and more than 20 houses razed down. Dozens others were injured in the skirmshes.

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Area Deputy County Commissioner Felix Kisalu said in past four days, no incident has been reported in Ololoipang’i and Olooruasi villages following deployment of security personnel to the area.
Yesterday, authorities issued a three-day ultimatum to residents in possession of illegal weapons to surrender them or face forceful disarmament.
“We held a series of meetings at the affected areas and residents agreed to turn in their weapons, and that is why we gave them three days to surrender them or face forceful disarmament,” said the administrator.
SEE ALSO: State extends curfew hours in clash-hit Trans Mara area
He said the security personnel and chiefs will go from door to door to collect the weapons should residents fail to surrender them within the stipulated time.
The move comes barely days after the Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya toured the area at the height of the violence and revealed that majority of the deaths were caused by gun wounds indicating presence of illegal arms in the hands of the locals.
During a spot check over the weekend in the affected areas including Ololoipang’i, Olooruasi, Nkoben, Mekenyu and Olashapani revealed that relative calm had returned and people were slowly going back to their normal lives.
The administrator’s sentiments were echoed by Narok Peace Task Force Chairman Bishop Peter Nakola who called on the government to mop up all illegal firearms and other crude weapons in the hands of civilians.
Underlying issues
Bishop Nakola also asked the government to investigate the underlying issues behind the skirmishes expressing fears that cattle theft was being used as a scapegoat for the tribal flare ups.
“How is it that people are killing each other because of one stolen cow? Innocent lives should not be lost because of a cow. I believe there could be some other underlying issues that the government should get into the bottom and tell us,” said Nakola.

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Water line upgrade to serve more: The Standard

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CS Water and Irrigation Sicily Kariuki speaks to farmers and Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu during her tour of Riamukurwe Water Project in Nyeri town on 29/05/2020. [Lydiah Nyawira/Standard]
CentralThe CS was accompanied by Kieni MP Kanini Kega. Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua skipped the event.

A multi-billion shilling water project in Mt Kenya Forest that was initially meant to benefit over 30,000 Mathira residents in Nyeri County will be upgraded to serve more people.

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Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the project upgrade estimated at Sh1.2 billion will benefit residents of neighbouring Kieni constituency.
Speaking on Friday during a visit to the site, the CS said the Sagana river regeneration project will be redesigned afresh to accommodate Kieni Constituency.
The CS was accompanied by Kieni MP Kanini Kega. Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua skipped the event.
“This project is among those permitted by President Uhuru Kenyatta to supply water to Mathira and Kieni sub-counties. It was started six months ago but stalled over a dispute between Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and ministry officials over the conservation aspect of it,” the CS said.
Shared resource
The decision to restructure the project, she said, was informed by multiple petitions her ministry had received from Kieni residents calling for shared resources between the two neighbouring constituencies.
The CS instructed CEO of Tana Water Service Board Moses Naivasha to ensure the work of redesigning the project commences immediately.  “We are working with KFS on a conservation plan that will see us plant trees in over 60 acres of land to compensate for what will be destroyed during construction of the dam,” she said.
In 2015, the government launched the Mathira water project to benefit residents of Mutathi-ini, Thaiti, Ngandu Kiria and Mbogo-ini.
But residents in Tetu sabotaged the project, noting they were not beneficiaries yet it was drawing water from their area.

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Thousands join new US anti-racism protests as Trump vows crackdown » Capital News

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Demonstrators near the White House protest over the death of George Floyd © AFP / MANDEL NGAN

Minneapolis, United States, May 29 – Anti-racism protestors again took to the streets in cities across the United States Sunday to voice their fury at police brutality as the Trump administration branded the instigators of five nights of rioting domestic terrorists.

While local leaders appealed to citizens to give constructive outlet to their rage over the death of an unarmed black man, night-time curfews were again imposed in cities such as Los Angeles, Houston and Minneapolis, which has been the epicenter of unrest.

Thousands of National Guards troops have been deployed across the country in a bid to restore calm but protesters and police were involved in stand-offs in several cities while there were also fresh reports of looting.

The most closely-watched protest was outside the state capitol in Minneapolis’ twin city of St. Paul where several thousand people gathered before marching down a highway.

“We have black sons, black brothers, black friends, we don’t want them to die. We are tired of this happening, this generation is not having it, we are tired of oppression,” said Muna Abdi, a 31-year-old black woman who joined the protest.

“I want to make sure he stays alive,” she added in reference to her son aged three.

Detroit police arrest a protestor during marches © AFP / SETH HERALD

Hundreds of police and National Guard troops were deployed ahead of the protest although there were no immediate reports of unrest.

There were other large-scale protests in cities such as Miami and Washington DC where riot police lined up outside the White House as the crowds gathered at a nearby park.

– Stores ransacked –

While there was no immediate repeat of the large-scale violence that has rocked cities in recent days, looters ransacked stores in a neighborhood of Philadelphia.

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And in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, looting was reported at stores in a popular beachside shopping center with people running out of stores that had been broken into.

Officials in LA — a city scarred by riots over the police killing of Rodney King nearly three decades ago — imposed a curfew from 4:00 pm Sunday until dawn.

The shocking videotaped death Monday of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis ignited the nationwide wave of outrage over law enforcement’s repeated use of lethal force against unarmed African Americans.

California National Guard on patrol at the Los Angeles Convention Center © AFP / Agustin PAULLIER

Floyd stopped breathing after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder; three other officers with him have been fired but for now face no charges.

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Governor Tim Walz has mobilized all of Minnesota’s National Guard troops — the state guard’s biggest mobilization ever — to help restore order.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to clear streets of curfew violators Saturday night in Minneapolis.

Walz extended a curfew for a third night Sunday and praised police and guardsmen for holding down violence, saying, “They did so in a professional manner. They did so without a single loss of life and minimal property damage.”

“Congratulations to our National Guard for the great job they did immediately upon arriving in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last night,” President Donald Trump said in a tweet adding that they “should be used in other States before it is too late!”

The Department of Defense said that around 5,000 National Guard troops had been mobilized in 15 states as well as the capital Washington, with another 2,000 on standby.

The widespread resort to uniformed National Guards units is rare, and it evoked disturbing memories of the rioting in US cities in 1967 and 1968 in a turbulent time of protest over racial and economic disparities.

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Trump blamed the extreme left for the violence, saying he planned to designate a group known as Antifa as a terrorist organization.

“The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly,” added Attorney General Bill Barr.

– ‘A nation in pain’ –

But Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that Trump, who has often urged police to use tough tactics, was not helping matters.

Demonstrators hold up signs as they protest the death of George Floyd, near the White House © AFP / MANDEL NGAN

“We are beyond a tipping point in this country, and his rhetoric only enflames that,” she said on CBS. “And he should just sometimes stop talking.”

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden visited the scene of an anti-racism protest in the state of Delaware on Sunday.

“We are a nation in pain right now, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us,” Biden wrote on Twitter, posting a picture of him speaking with a black family at the cordoned-off site where a protesters had gathered on Saturday night.

“As President, I will help lead this conversation — and more importantly, I will listen.”

Police in Houston, Texas, made more than 130 arrests overnight. The Denver mayor said people had been stopped while bringing “assault weapons, handguns (and) baseball bats” into the city.

In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said a video showing a police car forcing its way through protesters in Brooklyn was “upsetting” but that he did not blame the officers, who faced “an extremely dangerous situation.”

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But unlike other mayors, de Blasio declined to declare a curfew and said he opposed bringing in “outside military forces” to help local police.

The death of Floyd has triggered protests beyond the US, with hundreds rallying outside the US embassy in London on Sunday in solidarity.

“I’m here because I’m tired, I’m fed up with it. “When does this stop?” Doreen Pierre told AFP at the London protest.

In Germany, England football internatinal Jadon Sancho marked one of his three goals for Borussia Dortmund against Paderborn by lifting his jersey to reveal a T-shirt bearing the words “Justice for George Floyd”.

burs-co/bgs

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