Kenya hosts a dynamic digital ecosystem and has been a longstanding leader in technology innovation across sub-Saharan Africa. The country’s digital ecosystem continues to rapidly evolve. In upcoming years, Kenya’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector will be challenged to grow inclusively, securely, and in ways that support democratic values. Against this backdrop, USAID’s Digital Strategy was launched in April 2020 with the aim to improve USAID development and humanitarian assistance outcomes through the responsible use of digital technology, and to strengthen the openness, inclusiveness, and security of partner countries’ digital ecosystems.
One critical tool under USAID’s Digital Strategy is the Digital Ecosystem Country Assessment (DECA). The DECA is a structured research and assessment process that supports USAID Missions to identify opportunities, maximize benefits, and manage risks associated with digital technology. It aims to help USAID’s partner countries along their journey to self-reliance through a better understanding of each country’s digital ecosystem. The goal of the DECA is to examine how Kenya’s digital ecosystem can be strengthened to create a more inclusive, safe, and enabling environment for pursuing development objectives, and can be leveraged to accelerate the achievement of development goals. It does not aim to evaluate the efficacy of existing program portfolios, nor do a deep dive on digital technology across each development sector.
This report summarizes findings from the DECA pilot in Kenya, which was conducted between November 2019 and April 2020. The pilot combines findings from desk research, consultations with USAID/KEA, data from a nationally representative survey, and two weeks of in country research. A total of 56 key informant interviews were conducted, representing a range of public and private stakeholders and USAID/KEA technical offices. With a focus on devolution, digital divides, the youth bulge, corruption mitigation, economic growth, and private sector engagement, this report outlines key aspects of Kenya’s digital ecosystem.