Kenya Rolls Out Digital Villages Project

The Kenya Government has launched an ambitious Digital Villages project, which is specifically designed to connect the whole country, from rural to urban areas, and accelerate growth of ICT. The project is a government and private-sector initiative, mapped out using political districts.

Every constituency represented in Parliament will get a minimum of eight workstations, either PCs or monitors hooked to PCs, grouped within a 15-kilometer radius. The first Digital Villages are expected to go online by the end of June, 2008. The Ministry of Youth Affairs’ Youth Enterprise Fund (YEF) is financing the project and rolling it out in 40 constituencies before moving to other areas. The experiences of the first constituencies will inform implementation in other areas. The Ministry of Youth Affairs is financing private microfinance institutions, and prospective businesspeople are expected to invest at least US$1,550 to set up a “digital village” with two PCs. The project will have far-reaching effects for online activities in agriculture, health, education and commerce, according to Ndemo. The Ministry will provide training in entrepreneurship, and the microfinance institutions have existing training programmes.