The survey highlights uptake in areas beyond mobile money including usage of digital services for supporting livelihoods, e-commerce and e-governance
NAIROBI, Kenya, August 10, 2021/ — Digital devices and services have improved the daily lives of 84% of Kenyans – while nearly one third said that it had boosted their incomes. These are among the key findings of a unique cross-country survey that provides a comprehensive and timely assessment of how Kenya’s aggressive investments in core digital infrastructure are having an impact at the level of individual Kenyans.
“With Kenya now embracing its digital economy as the foundation for creating an empowered society, it’s critical to capture how that is currently playing out in the everyday digital experience of Kenyans across the country,” said Naoko Koyama of Dalberg Advisors. Naoko is the lead author of a report: “Kenya’s Digital Economy: A People’s Perspective” which has been funded by the Omidyar Network. “Given Kenya’s role as a regional leader in digital penetration and usage, we recognise the importance of capturing Kenyan’s perception on access, usage and impact of digital devices and services on their social and economic lives,” she added.
The survey highlights uptake in areas beyond mobile money including usage of digital services for supporting livelihoods, e-commerce and e-governance. The Study reveals that 94% of Kenyans use mobile money and 27% use e-governance services. 45% anticipate that the Huduma Namba will improve access to and usage of digital services.
The report is based on responses to a nationally representative survey conducted between November-December 2020 of more than 2400 Kenyans. This survey offers a “people-centred” perspective that can be used by stakeholders to understand where to direct new investments as well as develop relevant policies that can accelerate Kenya’s next stage of digital development—one that can boost the livelihoods of Kenyans across the country at all income levels.
Despite the country’s undisputable digital transformation, the study revealed critical areas that if addressed would further deepen Kenyans’ participation in digital economy.
With regards to the gender divide, our study also corroborates the commonly understood gender divide in Kenya – 35% of women are advanced digital services users, compared to 54% of men. The study sheds light on how through concerted effort and intervention, some advanced digital services that are reaching some portions of “typically left-behind” segments and helping to improve lives. A case in point being the agtech platforms which are transforming small-scale farmers, most of whom are female farmers, into agribusiness through digital capacity building and access to markets.
“The next few years offer an opportunity to build on Kenya’s exceptional digital progress–and to embrace lessons from surveys like this to advance the nation’s commitment to ensuring every citizen, enterprise and organization is participating in the digital economy,” said Robert Karanja, Director of Responsible Technology at Omidyar Network.