Kiambu County has taken the lead in the Kenyan Government’s digital transformation drive with the recent launch of a new digital platform. The Kiambu Digital Platform includes the enablement of cashless payments, an online citizen services portal, and a robust back-end management system to support it.
Kiambu County is one of 47 counties in Kenya, and one of the four counties neighboring Nairobi County – Kenya’s most populous city and a contributor of 60% of Kenya’s wealth. The Kiambu County Government has an ambitious target of creating 50,000 jobs through sustainable economic initiatives within the next five years as part of its vision to be “the best county to live, work and grow”. To achieve this target, it is critical that the available resources are used effectively and that waste is minimized.
In 2013, Kiambu County Government identified that it needed to embrace technology in order address five key challenges, namely: better collection of revenue to bridge the revenue collection gap; improved service delivery to the citizens of Kiambu; higher fiscal accountability for the people of Kiambu; better control over expenses, sealing ‘leaks’ reducing waste, and; realizing the vision of making Kiambu the best county to grow, live and work.
According to Kiambu County Governor, William Kabogo, the first step of meeting these challenges was to implement a new system that would allow for better revenue collection. “Our existing collection systems were consuming most of the revenue, leaving us with little to apply to much-needed development programs. It is our duty as elected representatives to meet our citizens’ needs for better living conditions, a lower unemployment rate, better infrastructure, and improved education and health services. Since implementing the new revenue collection solution, we have freed up budget and resources that were tied to internal operations, leading to the county recording a 90% growth in revenue collection for the financial year 2014-2015.”
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance shows that the delivery of public goods and services, the rule of law, the opportunity for participation in government, the protection of human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and potential for human development on the continent is improving. Key aspect such as transparent public budgets and their execution, effective revenue collection as well as the fight against fraud, waste and abuse are critical to this process of further improvement – and sadly ones with which all African governments are grappling.
Kiambu County Government’s ICT Roadmap incorporates two phases, the first of which involved revenue automation and business intelligence. The results from Phase 1 are outstanding: aside from the 90% growth in revenue for the financial year 2014/15, the analytical reports created by the implementation allow for accurate enforcement, greater compliance, improved admin efficiency and more transparent and accurate decision-making. In addition, Phase 1 brought a citizen-centric element to the County’s operations, which includes a better view of payment history, greater ease of payment and compliance, reduced need for commuting, and less opportunity for corruption and pilfering of funds. These benefits resulted in increased funding for development.
Phase 2 of the project is underway and involves the complete automation of devolved County functions with the stated objective of 600% growth in revenue collection within five years. The proceeds of this will be allocated to development projects within Kiambu County.
Andrew Waititu, Managing Director of SAP East Africa, says Kiambu County’s success is testament to the immense possibilities for positive transformation inherent in the Digital Economy. “Through a combination of our Business Intelligence and Data warehouse solutions, we are able to provide a real-time reporting interface delivered via a dashboard that can be accessed on desktop, iPad / tablet or mobile. County officials can now have a 360-degree view of citizens, all delivered to a master register and enabling accurate reporting for better resource planning and less waste. The Digital Economy and digital transformation provide a perfect stepping stone for countries to become more competitive, and we look forward to exploring further opportunities for innovation with African governments, corporations and entrepreneurs.”