Why technology is not working: World Bank

Thursday January 14 2016

i-Hub office in Nairobi. 18 Kenyan software developers are among finalists competing for $100,000 in the Citi Mobile Challenge. PHOTO | FILE

The i-Hub offices in Nairobi. PHOTO | FILE 

By BRIAN NGUGI
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Digital technologies are failing to increase overall productivity despite rising job losses, a new World Bank report says.

Despite the remarkable penetration of digital technologies in Kenya and other parts of the world the study says the anticipated digital dividends of higher growth, more jobs, and better public services have fallen short of expectations.

The bank says there is need for governments to bridge the remaining digital divide in internet access and adopting workers' skills to the demands of the new economy.

For digital technologies to benefit everyone everywhere requires closing the remaining digital divide, especially in internet access," notes the World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends.

Kenya's economic data however shows that the contribution of the sector to GDP now stands at 7.5 per cent compared to 3.8 per cent in 2013 which does not entirely support the report.

The report adds that to get the most out of the digital revolution, countries also need to work on the “analog complements”—by strengthening regulations that ensure competition among businesses, by adapting workers’ skills to the demands of the new economy.

“While the internet, mobile phones and other digital technologies are spreading rapidly throughout the developing world, the benefits of rapid digital expansion have been skewed towards the wealthy, skilled, and influential around the world, who are better positioned to take advantage of the new technologies,” says the report.

The latest statistics by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) show that mobile penetration stood at 88.1 per cent with 37.8 million subscribers.

The number of Internet users has similarly grown to 31.9 million from 29.6 million in the previous quarter.

Consequently, the portion of the Kenyan population accessing Internet services reached 74.2 per 100 inhabitants up from 69.0 per 100 inhabitants recorded in the previous quarter.