Kenya government commits to review labour laws to boost job creation after tour of Sama facility




In a site visit to Sama (previously Samasource), the leader in providing data annotation solutions that power the AI models of the future, the government of Kenya, through the State Department for Industrialization, reaffirmed its commitment to collaborate with industry stakeholders to address gaps in the country’s labour laws that are hindering job creation in the burgeoning digital economy.

During his visit, the PS in the State Department for Industrialization Dr. Juma Mukhawana, assured a closer working relationship with Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry stakeholders to address gaps in the labour laws and to prime the rapidly evolving digital economy to create jobs for the youth, in line with the Kenya Kwanza administration Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).

(TOP: Sama staff during a previous protest at the firm’s offices). 

Dr. Mukhawana said the Government acknowledges that current labour laws were formulated in 2007, a time when the digital economy had not been fully envisioned. Now, the Government is keen to work with the private sector to modify these laws to align with the realities of the present-day digital economy.

“To fully harness Kenya’s potential, the Government acknowledges the need to identify and address challenges that currently inhibit the creation of jobs within the digital sector. The plan is to work with the industry to create an enabling environment for businesses operating in the digital economy,” Dr. Mukhawana said.

In recent years, the digital economy has emerged as a transformative force globally.ue to a pool of talent and good infrastructure, Kenya has continued to attract global tech companies, including Sama; however, challenges to some labour laws hold the industry from its optimal potential.

To fully harness this potential, the Government acknowledges the need to identify and address challenges and barriers that hinder the growth of the digital sector.

The global BPO market is estimated to be valued at more than US$ 262 billion, with African countries continuing to emerge as the next BPO growth frontiers. The BPO sector is crucial in developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems that power the automotive, retail, agricultural and food technology sectors.

During the tour, Sama Director of Global Service Delivery Lilian Kiplang’at said that as Kenya forges ahead into the digital era, this partnership between the Government and industry stakeholders marks a significant milestone in propelling the nation toward becoming a digital powerhouse and a key player in the global digital economy.

“The digital economy is a catalyst for job creation and economic advancement in Kenya. At Sama, with the right operating environment, we have the potential to create thousands of jobs by 2024,” Kiplang’at said. “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the Government to develop clear and progressive policies that foster a conducive business environment for the digital economy to ensure it remains competitive on a global scale.”

Sama has been in Kenya for the last 15 years and continues to provide quality formal jobs for Kenyans, providing value chain AI solutions for self-driving cars, virtual reality gaming consoles, fashion segmentation and agricultural solutions for crop disease protection.

Recently, Sama unveiled Platform 2.0, a computer vision platform to reduce the risk of machine learning (ML) algorithm failures. The completely redesigned, scalable platform, consisting of SamaIQ, SamaAssure and SamaHub, offers greater transparency for clients to minimize rework and allows Sama to deliver annotated data and insights three times faster. Platform 2.0 has achieved a 99% client acceptance rate for AI training data through SamaAssure, the industry’s highest quality guarantee.

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