According to Joe Mucheru, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Information and Communications Technology, the country's government will start issuing the Huduma Namba for all those who registered, in approximately a month's time. Once the unique numbers have been issued, an electronic card contain a citizen's personally identifying data and also consolidating all the other data held by different government organizations.

Mucheru mentioned this as he was speaking during Nairobi Innovation Week.

“According to an Oxford report Kenya is the most ready country in Africa to embrace Artificial Intelligence and the President is proud of these achievements when he recently launched the digital economy blueprint for Kenya and Africa in Kigali Rwanda during the Transform Africa event. Inter-nations cited the speed of the internet, adoption of innovation and freedom of internet usage as some of the advantages Kenya has over her competitors," Mucheru is reported to have said.

Huduma Namba concerns

With Kenya's government having recently embarked on the Huduma Namba initiative to collect and digitize citizen data including some biometric data, several concerns among some citizens have been raised. Some have highlighted that Kenya already has a unique identifier for citizens with the national ID number.

Other concerns include the alleged possibility that the government is going to sell citizen data to the highest corporate bidder.

More worrying however is the safety of citizen data for potential hackers. This is especially a concern given how recently a group calling itself the Kurd Electronic Army managed to hack and deface 18 government websites in Kenya.

“In my exhibition tour today, I have seen great innovations like one where you take a blood sample and  within minutes you can tell whether someone has malaria or not, there is another one where coconut husks are used to make briquettes so that we don’t have to cut down our trees," said Mucheru.

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