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Kenya to use smartphones to conduct 2019 census


Nairobi (Xinhua) Kenya plans to use smartphones to conduct the 2019 national population and housing census, a senior government official said on Wednesday. Henry Rotich, Cabinet Secretary in the National Treasury, said this in Nairobi.



Rotich said that the government had planned to acquire approximately 165,000 mobile devices for use by the census enumerators for the exercise that will take place in August.



“We are going to use mobile technology which will enhance quality of the data as it has in built checks and can correct inconsistent responses as well as cross validate data with other records,” Rotich said.



He said that Kenya seeks to follow in the steps of other African countries such as Egypt, Senegal and Ethiopia which have conducted paperless census.



He noted that the last census which was conducted on 2009 indicated that the east African country had a population of slightly less than 39 million people.



He said that the census will provide statistical information on the size, distribution and the characteristics of the Kenya population that will be used to describe and assess the socio-economic and demographic status of the country.



In another development, Kenya remains a relatively low-risk nation for local and international businesses in spite last week’s terrorist attack at a Nairobi business complex that claimed 21 lives, an expert said on Wednesday.



Friederike Lyon, Marketing Director, Europe and Africa for international risk consultancy firm, Control Risks, said that Kenya is likely to weather major security disruptions in the near future. Lyon advised Kenya to be on guard to ward off attack by Somalia-based militant group al-Shabab.

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“Control Risks has not raised its risk rating for Nairobi or Kenya since last Tuesday’s attack. We do not believe it is any more likely that an attack of this scale and coordination will happen in the near future than it was prior to last week’s,” said Lyon.



Kenya suffered a major terrorist attack on Jan. 15 after a prolonged lull when al-Shabab militants stormed 14 Riverside Drive located in Nairobi’s upmarket Westlands district, which is home to dusitD2 and several offices for multinational companies.



The heavily armed attackers, who included a suicide bomber, shot aimlessly at office workers and hotel guests before they were killed by Kenyan commandos after a stand-off that lasted about 18 hours.



Kenyan security apparatus have intensified man-hunt for individuals involved in planning the terrorist attack at the Nairobi business complex.



So far, 10 suspects who are believed to have crucial ties with the assailants are in police custody where they are undergoing interrogation.



Lyon said that al-Shabab could focus on smaller and poorly coordinated attacks in north-eastern parts of Kenya in the near future hence the need for heightened vigilance.



“A country needs to be resilient against any form of crisis, including a terrorist attack. It is worth noting that terrorism is a global issue and not just a risk we are facing in Kenya or Africa,” said Lyon.



Lyon said that Kenyan security forces acted professionally, timely and well-coordinated manner during the latest terrorist attack.

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Lyon added that Kenya’s vulnerability to frequent al-Shabab attacks, compared to the neighbouring countries, is because the east African nation has a larger presence of international organisations that have elevated its prestige.


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