Global Gateway: EU launches Digital Economy Package for Kenya to boost connectivity, skills and inclusive governance

05 October 2023
Girl uses tablet at Kilimani Primary School, Nairobi County.
UNICEFKenya/2023/LucasOdhiamabo
Girl uses tablet at Kilimani Primary School, Nairobi County.

Nairobi, Kenya – 5 October 2023

As part of her official visit to Kenya, European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen launched the EU’s Digital Economy Package for Kenya. As part of the Global Gateway investment strategy – the EU’s positive offer to advance the twin digital and green transition and to deliver trusted and sustainable connections to partner countries – the package reflects the EU’s strong commitment to Kenya’s technological transition by expanding the connectivity of schools, providing skills training for students and establishing a green digital innovation hub.

Commissioner Urpilainen said: “I am proud that Team Europe is investing in Kenya’s digital transition under Global Gateway. Expanding digital connectivity, upskilling jobs and driving digital governance and services is at the heart of what our investment strategy is about: creating sustainable connections and local added value, while cutting unsustainable dependencies. Digital inclusion is key for connecting people to public services and making public institutions more accountable. As a former teacher I am particularly happy about the digital opportunities we can offer to learners!”

One of the key deliverables of the Digital Package features the Last Mile Digital Connections to Underserved Areas programme. In Kenya, this programme will reduce the digital gap by providing internet for up to 1,300 schools in underserved areas such as arid and semi-arid lands (ASALS). The EU grant of €9.8 million will finance infrastructure and the development of skills and digital educational services to schools across 47 counties benefitting more than 219,000 children. It is being implemented through the GIGA Programme, a global initiative to connect every school to the Internet by 2030 set up by the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

As part of the Package, the Commissioner also announced €9.9 million Team Europe support to the digitalisation of Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) Centres around the country, which will leverage funds from the German and French Development Finance Institutions and the Government of Kenya to reinforce digital reform in the TVET sector.

The Commissioner announced the Digital Package during her visit to Kilimani Primary School in Nairobi where she visited the Computer Lab. Commissioner Urpilainen was joined at the school by Kenya’s Principal Secretary for Education Belio Kipsang, and Principal Secretary for Information, Communications and The Digital Economy John Tanui as well as the UNICEF Kenya Country Representative, Shaheen Nilofer, EU Ambassadors (Team Europe) and programme partners such as connectivity providers.

“In the past three years, UNICEF and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), through the Giga Project, have supported the Kenyan Government to connect 429 schools to the internet, reaching 230,000 learners. 35 of these schools have now been connected to the national fiber infrastructure thanks to technical support from the Information and Communications Technology Authority of Kenya," said Shaheen Nilofer, UNICEF Kenya Representative.

"This generous support and partnership with the European Union will further build on the learning gains by connecting yet another 1,000 schools, reaching 369,400 children and young people, including those with disabilities," added Ms. Nilofer.

Team Europe’s Digital Economy Package for Kenya aims to increase digital connectivity, provide digital skills support and ensure open and inclusive digital governance. The EU and Germany are jointly supporting the creation of a green digital innovation hub while the EU works on e-government in partnership with Estonia and Germany and Govstack (a community-driven initiative formed from a multi-lateral partnership between Germany, Estonia, ITU and the Digital Impact Alliance) as well as on data protection, digitalisation of land governance, customs processes, procurement and e-justice and cyber security.

The Package will be implemented through the Team Europe Initiative (TEI) on Human Centred Digitalisation in Kenya. Team Europe consists of the European Union and EU Member States including their implementing agencies and public development banks. The expected contributions to the TEI amounts to €430 million and partners include Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Slovakia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Austria, the European Investment Bank, AFD, FMO, FinFund and KfW.

Background

The Global Gateway is a European investment strategy to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital and other sectors for a strong, inclusive, green and digital recovery and transformation. Through Global Gateway, the EU is strengthening connections between Europe and the world and helping partner countries address the digital divide and further integrate into the global digital ecosystem, while advancing sustainable development. The EU supports Kenya to address the digital divide and further integrate into the global digital ecosystem.

Media contacts

Joy Wanja Muraya
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Kenya
Tel: 0721 466 267

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