In a transformative move aimed at propelling Kenya's digital economy, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Authority has inked a landmark Memorandum of Understanding with Microsoft.

The collaboration seeks to usher in a cloud-first strategy in the delivery of public services, marking a significant step in the country's digital transformation journey.

Under the agreement formalized on Tuesday, Microsoft will collaborate with the national government, ministries, departments, and agencies through the ICT Authority.

This partnership is set to operate within a comprehensive framework, with expectations of finalization by February 2024.

Principal Secretary John Tanui, responsible for ICT and the Digital Economy, emphasized the strategic importance of collaboration in accelerating the nation's digital economy.

Tanui highlighted the existing groundwork for a conducive digital environment, revealing the successful digitization of over 14,000 government services. He articulated the crucial role Microsoft plays in fostering further development in Kenya's digital landscape.

"As a country, we have laid the foundation for a conducive digital economy environment which requires stakeholders like you to use in developing our sector. So far, we have managed to digitize over 14,000 government services, and this partnership is crucial in seeing more development in our digital economy," he stated.

Tanui urged the involved institutions to extend their support to local innovators and start-ups, emphasizing the collaborative framework's potential impact on fostering growth within the sector.

Stanley Kamanguya, CEO of the ICT Authority, expressed gratitude for the timely nature of the partnership, affirming its alignment with the country's digital transformation agenda.

Kamanguya envisioned enhanced cybersecurity awareness, improved digital skills, and the development of key technology areas as outcomes of the collaboration.

"I would like to thank Microsoft for this engagement which has come at the right time. We believe that towards the end of this partnership, we shall enhance our cybersecurity awareness, enhance our digital skills and develop key technology areas for a vibrant digital sector," Kamanguya remarked.

Kunle Awosika, Head of Public Sector in Africa at Microsoft, shed light on the partnership's core objective — creating an open and enabling environment for government departments to make informed technology and cloud platform choices through the ICT Authority.

Awosika expressed optimism about the development of a fruitful framework agreement, ensuring mutual benefits for both institutions.

"Through the framework agreement which will be developed, we look forward to ensuring that this MoU becomes fruitful for the mutual benefits of our institutions," Awosika affirmed.

Phyllis Migwi, Country Manager of Microsoft in Kenya, embraced the collaboration, pledging joint efforts with the ICT Authority to advance the government's agenda on the digital economy.

The ICT Authority, a state corporation under the Ministry of ICT, holds the responsibility of rationalizing and streamlining the management of all government ICT functions. This pioneering partnership with Microsoft is poised to reshape Kenya's digital landscape, marking a strategic leap towards a cloud-centric approach in public service delivery.