CS Owalo launches Public Wifi at Nairobi City Market

The government plans to help micro and small business to digitize their operations, by giving them access to free internet and support to build essential skills for businesses on the worldwide web.

Information, Communications and The Digital Economy (IC-DE) CS Eliud Owalo, while launching a free WIFI hotspot at the Nairobi’s City Market, urged the Small and Medium Enterprises sector to take full advantage of the digital hubs that the government is setting up across the country and join the E-commerce model.

Owalo disclosed that the Kenya Kwanza Government intends to establish up to 25,000 free hotspots throughout the country, over the next ten years.

“There is need to develop digital business skills and to transform traditional businesses to digital enterprises,” he told traders at the City Market during the function Wednesday.

The CS said the hotspots project was part of the Kenya Kwanza Government’s promise and effort to transform Kenya into a globally competitive digital economy.

“Our vision is to create a reliable and secure high speed digital infrastructure, as the avenue for the envisaged transformation,” he said, adding that, “To achieve this, we also need to develop digital business skills and transform traditional businesses to digital enterprises.

The government intends to convert the whole country into a one giant network of digital hubs, through provisions of hotspots,” noted Owalo.

The Nairobi City Market hotspot has been up for a month in a testing mode, alongside ten other hotspots in various parts of the city of Nairobi.

The CS said that all the 11 platforms have proved to be stable and reliable. “As the Ministry of IC-DE, we are confident that we are off to a solid start,” he said.

Other hotspots will be set up at various markets within the city and elsewhere in the country. “We will take the hotspots to schools, hospitals, and to all major government and public installations,” he added.

He disclosed that the hotspot connectivity was the start of the fulfillment of the promise by President William Ruto and the Kenya Kwanza government to incorporate people living at the lowest levels of the social and economic ladder into the national digital economy.

“The notion of uplifting the hustler population through the digital economy is a practical commitment of President Ruto’s government,” he stated.

In his remarks, the Dagoretti South Member of Parliament and Chairman Parliamentary ICT Committee, John Kiarie, while lauding the government for launching the free Public Wifi digital hotspot at City Market, urged local traders to fully utilize it to advertise and market their businesses on twitter, tik-tok, Facebook and other social media networks in both local and international markets.

“Even though curio business is not doing so well locally, your items are required abroad. I advise you to take photos of the curios and your shops and advertise them on social media as this will enable you to expand your businesses,” he said.

Mr Kiarie said the hotspots that will be connected in the city should not only be used for trading, but also for security purposes to reduce criminal activities.

He also called upon Nairobi County government to reserve a parking place for the Nairobi City market shoppers without charges.

Others present at the event included the ICT and The Digital Economy PS nominee Eng John Tanui, the outgoing ICT and Innovation PS Jerome Ochieng, Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna, Starehe MP Amos Mwago, his Nandi Hills counterpart Bernard Kitur and the Nairobi Deputy Governor Njoroge Muchiri, among other senior government officials.