Kenya at the Forefront of Digital Innovation, Latest Study Reveals


Kenya holds the top spot in digital advancement within Eastern Africa, as highlighted by the 2023 Eastern Africa Youth Digital Readiness Index, boasting a leading score of 26.75. This positions Kenya at the forefront of the region’s digital infrastructure development, which includes an extensive mobile money network.

Hot on Kenya’s heels, Rwanda has captured the second place with a score of 19.85. Not far behind, Uganda and Ethiopia have also shown impressive progress, securing the third and fourth positions with scores of 19.4 and 18.25, respectively.

The report reveals that Tanzania secured the fifth position with a score of 17.75, while Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Somalia were ranked sixth, seventh, and eighth, scoring 16.5, 15.95, and 10.05, respectively. Despite these rankings, significant differences are evident within the region. Specifically, Burundi and South Sudan are trailing behind, with scores of 9.25 and 7.6, respectively.

The 2023 Eastern Africa Youth Digital Readiness Index, presented by Qhala, a firm specializing in digital transformation and innovation management, scrutinizes elements like digital competencies, government backing, and cyber safety. Its purpose is to pinpoint areas needing enhancement and to foster regional collaboration to narrow the digital gap and fortify the youth.

Kenya’s top rank in Eastern Africa is due to its solid digital infrastructure, which encompasses an extensive mobile money network, significant government investment in digital facilities, and active efforts to improve digital literacy among its citizens. Despite its forefront position, Kenya continues to face the challenge of providing equal technology access, especially in its rural locales.

The research also shows a rise in the adoption of mobile money across several nations, contributing to financial inclusion. In Sudan, the penetration of mobile money is on the upswing, with services such as MTN Mobile Money and Zain Cash becoming increasingly popular. Similarly, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is witnessing an increase in the usage of mobile money, with platforms like M-Pesa and Orange Money gaining momentum. This increase in the utilization of mobile money is promoting a shift towards a cashless society and enhancing financial security for a significant number of people in Congo.

In South Sudan, the adoption of mobile money is rapidly increasing, with services like Equitel Mobile Money and mJang playing a crucial role in bringing financial services to those in rural areas where access to conventional banking is limited.

Dr. Shikoh Gitau, the Founder and CEO of Qhala, has highlighted the importance of the 2023 Eastern Africa Youth Digital Readiness Index. This tool is instrumental for policymakers, businesses, civil society, and educational institutions by providing detailed insights into the digital environment of Eastern African nations. It serves as a guide for crafting strategic actions to enhance digital readiness and encourage innovation.

“Dr. Gitau highlights that digital readiness is more than just embracing technology; it involves a country’s capacity to transition towards a digitally empowered, skill-rich, innovation-driven, and sustainable economy. To acknowledge this pivotal shift, we introduce the 2023 Eastern Africa Youth Digital Readiness Index. This index is a quantitative tool crafted to assess the digital capabilities and achievements of Eastern African nations.”

The Annual Youth Digital Readiness Index Report is set to be unveiled, providing updated insights into each country’s advancement in digital readiness. This release serves the purpose of guiding policy-making, fostering regional development, empowering young people, and tracking advancements over time. Through pinpointing areas in need of enhancement and fostering cross-regional collaboration, the index aims to unleash the transformative capabilities of digital technologies.



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