Kenya will soon have a specialized regional lab for testing and validating viable products from incubation and innovation hubs. This will be under the Konza Technopolis Development Authority whose ground breaking is set for next month.
KoTDA Chief Executive Officer Eng. John Tanui says this is part of plans by the authority to drive Kenya’s efforts of becoming a knowledge based economy. “We are in the process of developing the Konza Regional Innovation Hub that will be home to innovative solutions for communications, business, and health, education and smart cities” said Eng.Tanui
He says the center will prepare products from incubation hubs and innovation for market launches as well as offer them support till the innovations endure the market forces.
Speaking during a public lecture at the University of Nairobi held on February 24, 2016 on the role of universities in building an innovation ecosystem, the KoTDA CEO called on employers to develop mechanisms that support students to develop business acumen at an early stage and begin to influence their research areas.
He urged employers to provide opportunities for young professionals to develop diverse professional networks through interactions with different groups, workshops or conferences. Eng. Tanui was optimistic of a huge impact to be created by Konza Techno city which is often referred to as Kenya’s Silicon Savanah. He explained: “I believe that the solutions from the Konza ecosystem will help address global challenges, creating a foundation for Kenya’s startups and SMEs to grow into multinationals.”
Konza City has three subject clusters of focus, namely ICT, life sciences and engineering which are expected to drive the country’s efforts to become a knowledge based economy. The KoTDA CEO said universities were a critical catalyst in advancing Kenya’s innovation efforts due to their wealth of mind capital and ability to generate as well as attract the best talent. He added: “Let us all embrace this very key partnership and help spur our country to greater economic power.”
On his part, University of Nairobi Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbithi noted that knowledge is replacing other resources as the key driver to development, adding that technical education has increasingly become the basis of individual prosperity. He reiterated the University of Nairobi’s commitment to meeting the needs of the industry by churning our graduates who have the necessary employable skills.
The don called on all stakeholders to work closely to realize the country’s dream to prosper. “To remain globally competitive as a country, the industry and the academia must work closely to produce innovative solutions that are scalable to solve the challenges that we face,” said Prof. Mbithi.
The forum held at the University of Nairobi’s Taifa Hall attracted among others former Information Permanent Secretary Prof. Bitange Ndemo who is an Associate Professor, School of Business at the institution as well as Safaricom’s Strategy and Innovation Director Joe Ogutu, lecturers, students and other stakeholders.