Nairobi News


Owalo: Cheap smartphones that Ruto promised Kenyans to be available soon

The cheap smartphones promised to Kenyans by President William Ruto will be available in the markets before the end of the year.

This has been announced by the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Digital Economy, Eliud Owalo.

Mr Owalo made the announcement on Monday during a breakfast meeting with the media while also making public his ministry’s scorecard in the last one year.

The Cabinet Secretary said the ministry has been in talks with mobile network operators to produce low-cost digital phones and other digital devices.

He said the production of such devices is largely a private sector function and the assembly of the phones and related gadgets is ongoing.

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“The Ministry has been assured that the first batch of affordable smart mobile phones, to cost about $40 per unit (Sh5,692), will be ready this year,” Owalo said.

Last year, President Ruto promised Kenyans that his administration would ensure that cheaper smartphones were available to enable them to access the internet.

According to the President’s earlier communication, Kenya will be biggest producer of Africa’s cheapest smartphones in the next one year.

This comes as the Ministry of ICT continuous to install free public Wi-Fi across the country to enable Kenyans to have access to internet, hence lowering the cost of data.

According to Mr Owalo, 421 free public Wi-Fi hotspots have been installed across the country, out of which 194 have been established in partnership with County Governments in Markets and County headquarters.

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Mr Owalo said 172 Wi-Fi connections have been established as part of Community Innovation Hubs, and 55 directly by ICT department.

Also, 14,690 public Wi-Fi hotspot sites have been identified across the country in close collaboration between the Ministry and County Governments.

During the briefing, the Cabinet Secretary also said more than 5,000 government services have been moved to the eCitizen platform.

On the planned Digital Identifications, Mr Owalo asked Kenyans to differentiate it from the failed Huduma Number which was unveiled by the previous regime.

“We will not force Kenyans to take a digital ID. But you must decide as a Kenyan whether you want to have government services virtually by identification of your bio data, or you want to visit government offices. Our benchmark countries didn’t force people,” Owalo said.

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