New CA, ITU initiative seeks to use ICTs to spur employment in Kenya

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), is working on a blueprint on how ICT can be used to enhance job creation and drive social-economic inclusion.

Under the agreement, ITU will conduct a comprehensive review of ICT National Innovation Ecosystem, taking into account Kenya’s experience and challenges.

(TOP: A Call Centre in Nairobi, Kenya).

The two organizations recently held a public workshop aimed at getting views on how the country can create a framework to enhance the digital innovation.

The workshop brought together sector players from , public, private , financial, entrepreneurs/ innovators ,support institutions for the innovators e.g. incubators, accelerators, lawyers etc, academia and curriculum developers.

“If we do not collaborate, we will not be able to draw out the best from the incredible potential of the new digital economy – and we will all be poorer as a result,” said Francis Wangusi, Director General, CA. “This is why we urgently need to examine how we can best work together across public and private organizations, between the government entities and vertical sectors, and within the ICT industry itself.”

ICT CS Joe Mucheru said the formulation of strong innovation ecosystems is a key component of national development, as innovation, especially in ICTs, is a driver of economic competitiveness and growth modern economies.

“Innovation is the engine that drives entrepreneurship; and its entrepreneurship that opens up opportunities for our young people and creates jobs that sustain and reward them,” Mr Mucheru noted.

According to Global Innovation Index 2016, Kenya is ranked number 80 out of 128 countries. In Sub-Saharan however, Kenya is ranked as the top achiever, towering over countries such as Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Madagascar.

The need for the review of the national digital ecosystem is also driven by a number of factors, including, that the range and number of different stakeholders in that ecosystem continues to grow.

The adoption of technology to make a difference in vertical sectors as diverse as education, health and agriculture, has brought on board experts, professionals and partners from many separate industries.

Another factor is that large ICT companies are increasingly finding competition from innovative, nimble SMEs and from new Internet players with different business cultures and approaches.

And that the borderless world of the Internet is opening up new markets in developed and emerging worlds alike.
According to the 2015 Global Innovation report from World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), many countries have inefficient innovation policies yielding low returns on investments made in their innovation ecosystem.

In Kenya, there exists an innovation policy but there is no strategic plan that has been put in place. The existing policy also is not specifically on ICT but on science and National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) is the overseeing technology in general

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