Home Africa Nairobi Innovation Week Prioritizes Collaboration for Enhanced Innovation

Nairobi Innovation Week Prioritizes Collaboration for Enhanced Innovation

Nairobi Innovation Week as a platform by the University of Nairobi to bring together different players and stakeholders, a linkage between the industry and the academia to provide solutions

by Kwabe Ben
Nairobi Innovation Week

During the Nairobi Innovation Week, a two-day event at the University of Nairobi, stakeholders together with academia, industry stakeholders, innovators, and start-ups as well as the student community came together to discuss how to bolster the country’s innovation ecosystem.

The event was conducted under this year’s theme dubbed ‘Strengthening Innovation Ecosystem in Higher Education Institutions through Academia-Industry-Government-Community Linkages for Sustainable Development’. Its occurrence is a crucial step toward creating more opportunities for the youth population which stands at 19.5 million, with projections to increase by 16 percent to 22.7 million by 2030.

Notably, a majority of these young people are well-educated and inclined towards innovation-driven growth attributed to the report unveiling that in the investment space, in 2023, Kenya was the largest recipient of fintech investments across the African continent, receiving approximately 670 billion dollars spread across 665 start-ups, making Kenya Africa’s top destination for start-up funding. 

It’s evident that the technology landscape has rapidly evolved and as of March 31, 2023, the number of mobile subscribers reached 66.1 million, with 17.86 million internet users recorded in January 2023.

According to Cabinet Secretary for Investments, Trade & Industry Rebecca Miano, there is a need for stronger linkages between training institutions and the industry revealing her target to double foreign direct investments as well as domestic investments, increase exports, and reduce imports of products that we can produce in the country and grow our manufacturing industry from 7.6% to 15% to drive a double-digit economy by 2027.

However, CS Miano stressed that this can only be possible through accelerating innovation in the country which is key for industrial breakthroughs and economic growth. She commended the University of Nairobi for bringing together a convening rich of stakeholders within the innovation ecosystem.

Nairobi Innovation Week

Absa Bank Kenya MD & CEO Abdi Mohamed, University of Nairobi DVC Academic Affairs Prof Leonidah Kerubo, Elgon Kenya MD Dr. Bimal Kantaria, University of Nairobi VC Prof. Stephen Kiama and Innovator of the Year and Soapstone Shop Chief Soapstone Officer Mogusu Momanyi share a light moment during the 2024 Nairobi Innovation Week held to strengthen the innovation ecosystem through government-industry-academia linkages.

Based on the World Intellectual Property Organisation ranking, Kenya’s innovation ecosystem is at number 8 out of 28 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa in its 16th edition of the 2023 Global Innovation Index Report. An essential recognition of Kenya’s workforce among the best globally in innovation, creativity, and productivity.

Absa Kenya MD Abdi Mohamed remarked that Kenya is a pivotal market for innovation calling attention to the global spectrum. Kenya is viewed as one of the hotspots of innovation in agriculture, health, and fintech sectors gaining the name ‘Silicon Savannah’ for Kenya.

Mohamed stated that as a private sector entity, they acknowledged their significant role in driving the innovation ecosystem and expressed their eagerness to participate in such discussions. He mentioned that the approach at Absa was to perceive innovation as an ecosystem that could be commercialized to scale up ideas from innovators and start-ups, potentially leading to the emergence of entities like Absa or M-Pesa. He emphasized the importance of strategic partnerships in advancing this dialogue.

Regarding innovation, Mohamed highlighted the priority of nurturing entrepreneurial skills and preparing the youth for both employment and entrepreneurship. He noted that in 2017, Absa had launched the Ready To Work program, an online training initiative aimed at providing young individuals with essential digital and soft skills. Mohamed stated that the program aimed to train 1 million youths, and so far, it has impacted over 300,000 young people, aiding in their smooth transition from higher education institutions to the job market.

The host University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Kiama echoed the importance of Nairobi Innovation Week as a platform by the University of Nairobi to bring together different players and stakeholders, a linkage between the industry and the academia to provide solutions, that is through innovation and entrepreneurship, to problems that confront us as a nation and contribute to the 2063 African Agenda and the attainment of SDGs.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

OKB price
5909.46 KES+1.8%