ICT has transformed both the public and private sector. It has made government more efficient, transparent and productive. This is why there is need for these sectors to consume local innovators not only to help build the businesses but save the economy from spending a lot of money on foreign systems and licences and in turn channel the money to innovators.
To realize this, Kenya’s President Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta created Enterprise Kenya -a national accelerator that will catalyse innovations and provide entrepreneurs with needed support in the “innovation journey” for which he further, established a Presidential Innovation Task Force which will be the country’s face of innovation.
Speaking in the just ended national ICT forum themed ‘Mind the Gap. Close the Gap” aimed at addressing challenges in the innovation ecosystem with a view to creating viable Kenyan businesses which can be scaled regionally and globally, Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i promised that the forum would meet clear measurable targets by the year 2017 as dictated by the ICT masterplan.
By harnessing the capabilities of both private and public sectors, the forum can formalize the innovation ecosystem and make it a key driver of the state’s economy. The leading trend that Kenya has set through the growth of its ‘Silicon Savannah’ can only be catalysed by more investment and opportunities for home-grown products and solutions. As it is, there can be no better way to achieve that than to actualize the great ideas that will be generated at the National Innovation Forum.
Among the key discussions topics tackled in the 2-day forum were promoting ‘Buy Kenya IT, build Kenya IT’, Unlocking Capital, Talent development and employment, Co-Innovation, Research and Development, growing IT exports and the place of incubation and accelerators in the innovation ecosystem.
The forum which included a showcase of ICT innovations at their various stages, made a commitment to create 180,000 jobs, contribute to 8 per cent of the GDP, create at least 55 globally competitive companies by 2017 if innovation is given the right environment which included a local content policy and review of procurement laws.
Others deliverables are generation of an upsurge of US$ 500 million, create one billion shillings in IT exports and provide internships to more than 15,000 interns in ICT.
The event was also attend by Ms Ann Waiguru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Devolution and Planning, Aidan Muhammed, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialisation and Hon Edwin Yinda, Chairman, ICT Authority among many other dignitaries.
The forum, spearheaded by the ICT Authority, and implemented through a consortium constituting the private sector will be held on annual basis.