May 18, 2022

Kenya’s E-citizen Promotes Open Governance, Uhuru Says

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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday told a global summit that Kenya had adopted the e-citizen platform as a tool for promoting open governance by enhancing citizen participation in Government processes.

The President said the online platform provides access to a wide range of services including business registration, filing of taxes, processing births, marriages and death certificates among others.

“This has made access to Government services as well as service delivery cheaper, more inclusive, transparent and efficient,” President Kenyatta said.

The Kenyan Head of State’s message was delivered through a video recording at this year’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit hosted by President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea.

The OGP global summits provide an opportunity for participants including representatives of government and civil society to exchange experiences, best practices and progress on open government initiatives and implementation. The 2021 summit marked the 10th anniversary of OGP.

“When the Open Government Partnership was launched ten years ago, the goal was to renew democracy for and with citizens. This is critical because when our citizens demand progress and service, it is our duty as heads of states and government to respond in practical and concrete ways,” President Kenyatta said.

As part of broad government efforts to address corruption, President Kenyatta said Kenya had fully implemented a beneficial ownership register and put in place the legal and policy framework to support it.

“The register makes it possible for all stakeholders to establish the true beneficiaries of public funds which reduces opportunities for corruption in public procurement,” President Kenyatta said.

To further improve transparency in public procurement, President Kenyatta said he had directed all public institutions to publish details of announcement and award of government contracts.

He pointed out that Kenya’s commitment to open government is reflected both at the national and county levels noting that four of the country’s 47 devolved units had joined the OGP initiative.

“In this context, the Nairobi County is implementing a national addressing system; and it is ensuring that civic engagement remains central to the naming and numbering of public spaces,” President Kenyatta said.

The President informed the summit that Kenya’s open governance efforts are anchored in the country’s constitution which defines national values for the promotion of democratic governance, integrity, accountability, transparency and equal partnership in public governance.

“My administration has made significant progress in translating these values and principles into action as a means to achieving sustainable development,” President Kenyatta said.

The President said the African continent’s future will be shaped by how well it embraces open governance principles largely driven by digital technologies.

“To achieve this, we need to improve access to digital technologies and broadband and expand civic engagement; while protecting the rights and privacy of citizens through responsible data protection policies,” he said.

The President noted that inclusive open government and democratic processes should include specific actions to support women as leaders and champions of reform.

Other Speakers at the global summit included US President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Emmanuel Macron of France and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari among others.

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