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By Winnie Kabintie

Digital literacy has been touted as one of the key pillars that will lay the foundation for the growth of Kenya’s digital economy and Business Mogul and philanthropist Manu Chandaria has stepped out to ensure that marginalized youths across the country are empowered with ICT skills.

Through a fully equipped mobile digital caravan in a project dubbed; Chandaria Youth Empowerment Programme, 791 youths have been trained not just on ICT skills but empowered to become entrepreneurs as well, since the project kicked off last year.

“The team trains 60 students in a week and they get 20 hours a week between Monday to Friday evening on IT and entrepreneurship,” Manu Chandaria said.

Mr. Chandaria, who was speaking in the sidelines of the UN Assembly, at the launch of the Youth Tent, emphasized on the need to keep pressing forward and advancing with technology.

“The minute you stop pressing forward is the minute you lose in getting closer to your goals,” he said.

Chandaria said the initiative was inspired by a need not just to empower the youth with ICT skills but to equip them with the right capacities in order to help them implement their ideas and come up with sustainable income generating projects to improve their livelihoods and their communities.

“We cannot be telling young people what they need to do, we must also start showing them how to do it,” He said.

The Chandaria Youth Empowerment Programme plans to acquire more caravans so that they can reach out to youths in all the 47 counties.

UN Executive Director, Maimunah Sharif lauded the initiative and urged youths to take up the opportunities and utilize the digital skills gained to come up with innovative solutions to solve challenges in the societies.


The government of Kenya has acknowledged the potential a digital economy has in the country’s economic growth and the Ministry of ICT together with other stakeholders launched a blueprint on the digital economy,  which presents a framework to improve Kenya’s and Africa’s ability to leapfrog economic growth.

A digital economy offers Kenya a leapfrogging opportunity on economic development,” the Blueprint reads in part.

There are five pillars of the digital economy, outlined in the blueprint namely; Digital Government, Digital Business, Infrastructure, Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship and Digital Skills and Values.

According  to President Uhuru Kenyatta, this new ecosystem presents a unique opportunity for our
economic growth.

“Worldwide, digital technologies are quickly changing the way we conduct business, a situation we
could not foresee only a generation ago,” President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Digital Economy is growing faster than overall economies especially in the developing countries. According to a 2016 report by World Bank, information and communications technologies (ICTs) account for 17% of GDP growth
in developing countries.


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