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Innovation key to economic development, Mucheru says

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The government is working on innovative projects that will enhance the country’s profile as the go-to innovation platform that will propel economic development.

Speaking Tuesday at the launch of the Nairobi Innovation Week (NIW) 2018 concept note and the Vision 2025 blueprint, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said innovation in the sector will enhance efficiency in government delivery of services and create digital jobs for the youth.

The innovation week, projected to take place early March will provide a platform to stimulate conversations between the ICT industry, the innovators, academia and the general public.

“I am appealing to the private sector to include the Nairobi Innovation Week in their annual plans. Similar forums around the world such as Chicago and Oslo Innovation Weeks have largely succeeded due to the heavy involvement of the private sector,” said Mucheru.

The CS said that the government has prioritized development of ICT infrastructure, formulating vibrant ICT policies and legislative frameworks and broadband connectivity.

This will spur technological innovations in the country’s 47 counties and facilitate citizens to access online government services, he added.

Mucheru noted that the government supports innovation platforms as they are an avenue to evaluate the country’s progress in innovation and provide innovative solutions to challenges facing the country.

In the agricultural sector, the CS said, ICT is being used to predict weather patterns and market forces. It is also helping in research to develop smart agricultural practices and crop varieties that are tolerant to extreme weather conditions, contributing to the government goals of promoting food security.

The University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Prof Peter Mbithi emphasised on the need for the country to shape its innovation environment, with the Nairobi Innovation Week being the starting point.

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“Startups are at the core of innovation and we are committed to providing consistency in pushing their agenda by providing a platform for various stakeholders to network,” Mbithi said.

Kenya Private Sector Alliance chairperson Nicholas Nesbitt, who was also in attendance, said lack of the right skills, experience and funding have been the major challenges facing startups and innovators.

“The private sector is working closely with the University of Nairobi to build a platform that equips students to acquire the right skills toward their innovation ventures,” Nesbitt added.

 

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