Earlier last year, the Smart Africa Initiative tasked Kenya to develop a blueprint for a digital economy in Africa. This blueprint will present a framework to improve Kenya’s and Africa’s ability to spur economic growth along the pillars of Digital Government, Digital Business, Infrastructure, Innovation-Driven Entrepreneurship and Digital Skills and Values.
Kenya’s transition to a fully digital economy would yield greater results for the country, especially through the use of the latest technological trends which hold promise for productivity and systemic efficiency in diverse sectors.
To see this become a reality, a legislative framework is required that gears public policy towards new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, autonomous vehicles, as well as artificial intelligence (AI), while also providing the necessary building blocks for a fourth industrial revolution (4IR) enabled economy.
In addition to this, regulation also plays a role in establishing fairness of competition, protecting consumers, and preventing the development of monopolies.
This is why Uber welcomes the ongoing process by the Ministry of Transport and the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to develop a legal framework for the regulation of certain aspects of ride-hailing companies’ operations.
These positive steps place Kenya on a path towards transforming its economy to derive maximum value and benefit from a digital economy in terms of job creation and a more prosperous future for entrepreneurs.
The technological solutions that enable ride-hailing have the potential to improve mobility for everyone. Ride-hailing platforms are already playing a critical role in ensuring Kenyan citizens and businesses have access and the capability to participate in an already growing part of the digital economy.
Effective regulation is a ramp to innovation and not a stumbling block
Technological trends move at rapid speeds in the fourth industrial revolution and while doing so, unlock innovative business models, applications, and services. For this to happen, the policy framework should support innovation and business growth, rather than overregulate the industry to the point of stifling both of these.
In the case of ridesharing regulations, these must not present barriers to entry for Kenyans for whom ridesharing presents a platform for accessing flexible earnings.
Regulation should ensure a commitment to safety for drivers, riders and the broader community.
For this to happen, ride-hailing companies working in close collaboration with relevant government regulatory and law enforcement agencies, can strengthen operational processes and further enhance safety and security in the sector.
Technology apps like Uber provide a platform through which millions of users can access more affordable, safer and reliable transport, and through which self-starter entrepreneurs and drivers can generate sustainable earning opportunities for themselves and their families. Additionally, Uber always strives to maximise the earnings of our driver-partners while also assisting in lowering their costs.
The writer is county manager for Uber in Kenya.