Nairobi, Monday May 28th, 2012: The Kenyan Government will work together with the private sector to create incubation centers in the country to aide in accelerating innovation in the ICT industry.
Speaking during the official opening of Open Innovation Africa Summit (OIAS) in Nairobi, Permanent secretary in the Ministry on Information and Communication, Dr Bitange Ndemo underpinned the importance of Public-Private partnerships amidst ICT financing hitches.
“We plan to identify and collaborate with suitable partners in research and innovation to promote Kenya as being at the forefront of e-Government leadership in the East African Community (EAC),” reported Ndemo.
Dr Ndemo was optimistic that technological innovation similar to MPesa, will be realized in Kenya in sectors such as agriculture, tourism and transport.
More than 200 government executives, innovators, VC companies, academics and developers from 26 countries across the continent are engaging in three days of intense debate on ‘Leadership for Innovation’ at Safari Park hotel, Nairobi, which is hosted by Nokia, Cap Gemini and infoDev, a technology innovation program in the World Bank. The Summit focuses on four major themes, Financing, Mobile Society, eTransformation and Ecosystems for Innovation.
Speaking at the same event, Jussi Hinkkanen, Nokia’s Vice president of corporate relations and business environment for the Middle East Africa said
Africa needed to harness innovation towards ICT development “Without open innovation enabling business environment and seamless collaboration, creation of new innovative enterprises and promoting locally relevant solution, ICT development in Africa will be challenged,” the Nokia head said.
“After years of lagging in ICT, Africa is now emerging as a recognized innovator in areas such as financial inclusion and mobile app development, demonstrated by the growing number of firms from the continent now competing on the international stage” Jussi said.
Building locally relevant content is key, but so is helping African entrepreneurs to become successful commercially and to get their innovations to the local, regional and global markets.
“There is a very strong community element here, and the mindset is very flexible and innovative. We’re seeing some really interesting and unique apps that you don’t see anywhere else in the world – but a lot of those are given away for free due to monetization challenges, and what we need to develop are sustainable businesses that are able to grow and prosper,” remarked Jussi.
The summit looks at the leadership required to drive acceleration of African entrepreneurship and innovation, to grow the continent economies. It also aims at empowering African leaders to find ways to spur technological innovation within their own local context.