UNESCO Regional Director for Eastern Africa meets Kenya Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs

On 29 September 2021, UNESCO Regional Director for Eastern Africa and Representative to Kenya, Prof. Hubert Gijzen, paid a courtesy call to Kenya Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Mr. Joe Mucheru.

The Cabinet Secretary warmly welcomed the UNESCO Regional Director for Eastern Africa and Representative to Kenya. This high-level meeting and engagement between UNESCO and the Ministry was timely as connectivity is central to building forward better, said the Cabinet Secretary. He stressed that COVID-19 showed the importance of being connected.

Prof. Gijzen shared his vision on how UNESCO can partner with the Ministry to ensure that the use of ICT is affordable and fair especially to the people left behind – people in rural Kenya, refugees and young people. He further noted that for a country to benefit from the theory of change, Ministries of Energy and ICT must work together to incorporate renewable energy to give “communities the ability to dream” and capacity to pay to be connected and also contribute to green TVET and support young people, who are the majority in the country.

Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru expressed his enthusiasm for UNESCO proposition, which he said will scale up some of the ongoing government projects, such as the Ajira acceleration hubs located in various areas in the country, which have provided online jobs to 1.2 million youths in Kenya. The hubs also provide coaching and mentorship for young people enabling them to earn up to USD 200-250 a month.

Governments must ensure that the use of ICT is fair and proportional not only during the times of the pandemic, but also in the post-COVID-19 period. ICT will champion activities for all sectors, offline solutions, Internet, digital access among others. To make this happen, we need strong leadership and strong partnerships. For example, the gaming industry provide an untapped potential that can be leveraged through the UNESCO Memory of the World Project.

Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru and Prof. Hubert Gijzen agreed to continue to partner in the fields of competence of UNESCO.

 

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