KISUMU, KENYA: The government has called for increased public-private partnerships across the country in efforts to promote innovation in Kenya.
While citing the rapid growth of digital innovations across the country, Principal Secretary for ICT and Innovation and Youth Affairs, Jerome Ochieng said it will be easier for both public and private organisations to work together under a properly established framework for growth and sustainability.
The PS noted that a streamlined path for engagement between the country’s innovators- both in national and county governments will be instrumental in establishing a strong foundation for the country going forward.
Jerome also stressed the need to have start-ups information stored in the government database, saying it will make it easier to pilot solutions in different government facilities to increase opportunities and success.
Addressing participants during this year’s Lake Basin Innovation and Investment Week (LBIIW) which started on Tuesday and PS Ochieng indicated that the success rate of start-ups working with the government is relatively higher compared to those that are not unknown. The forum is being held virtually.
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“Once a government comes as a first client in any innovation approach, there is a likelihood of quick growth compared to a start-up working alone. The point of interaction between innovators and the government makes it easier for these solutions to be supported and piloted in various government entities,” he said, adding that a structured way of engagement will also increase transparency.
“I have been receiving requests from many people who want to get helped with their start-ups. If we streamline the way innovators engage the government, that would be a very good start point. It will also increase the transparency, hence building a fairly competitive environment for all,” he added.
In his address, the PS indicated that the partnerships with the government also places innovators at vantage positions as envisaged in the country’s digital economy blueprint.
The session themed Aligning Policies, Governance Structures and Public/Private Partnerships in Building Economic Resilience in the LREB (Lake Region Economic Basin) was also attended by Kisumu County Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyongo, Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) CEO, Eng. John Tanui, and SNDBX CEO Joram Mwinamo were all speakers at the forum.
On his part, Prof. Nyong’o urged innovators to work towards developing the best solutions that can be adopted globally. He pointed out that collaborations, training of innovators, and exposure of their solutions to the international market will increase the competitiveness of their innovations.
Governor Nyong’o asked stakeholders in the education sector to include innovation in the curriculum to streamline the innovation space in Kenya as part of nurturing and growing the digital space.
KoTDA CEO, Eng. Tanui indicated that through Konza, the government has put in place key measures that give priority to innovators.
“The home of the Silicon Savanna is taking shape and in the coming days, we are going to be stationing new start-ups in our headquarters for more opportunities. We have put in place elaborate measures so that other innovators can also learn and interact with both government and foreign entities on innovation,” he said.
He revealed that KoTDA is working with about 15 innovators to develop solutions geared towards establishing their presence at Konza Technopolis and also accelerate their growth from normal start-ups to national innovation firms.
The CEO added that apart from hosting the National Data Centre, KoTDA is also working to establish the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), which will be instrumental in supporting innovation hubs in Kenya.
Eng. Tanui also indicated that an open forum by national and county government together with the innovators will increase opportunities in all areas, in the process building solutions that will create more job opportunities for the youth.
The Lake Region Innovation and Investment Week (LBIIW) has brought together entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, policymakers, government, development agencies, and other ecosystem players who hold conversations that spur economic growth of the Lake Victoria Basin, through innovative business models, digitization, SME financing, and local manufacturing.