KoTDA hosts partners in preparation for 2024 global summit on innovation and science parks




Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) hosted local and international partner organizations as part of initial preparatory activities for the upcoming global summit on science parks and areas of innovation – the IASP World Conference 2024 – that is scheduled to take place from September 24 to 27, 2024, in Nairobi, Kenya

Speaking during the meeting in Nairobi, the PS for ICT, Innovation and the Digital Economy Eng. John Tanui took the opportunity to showcase the accelerated development of Konza Technopolis, Kenya’s innovation ecosystem and the African continent’s science, technology and Innovation priorities.

(TOP: The Kenya team after submitting a successful bid to host the 2024 IASP Conference). 

These, said Eng. Tanui, include Research and Development (R&D) Investment, STEM Education and Workforce Development, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure, connectivity and energy; Agri, health, water, climate change adaptation; Unemployment for the very youthful population among others.

He noted that these themes resonate squarely with the theme of this year’s conference, “Demographics, Entrepreneurship and Technology – Defining the frontiers of future economies.

“Africa’s Science, innovation ecosystem it still developing, but it urgently needs to mature to address the local challenges ensuring we are not further left behind in the wake of the 4th industrial revolution. It is our time to lead. Let us rise to the occasion, working with the rest of the world nations” added the PS, who doubles up as the President of the IASP Africa Division.

He also announced that a call or papers for the conference had been put out for potential speakers and presenters. There are 15 subthemes that cover the most pressing Global needs of this decade. These include Youth entrepreneurship ecosystems, Sustainable innovation for ageing populations, Digital transformation in education, Distributed global marketing and shared value creation, Innovation in emerging markets, Future of work and talent development, Ethical considerations in innovation and Inclusive innovation for underserved populations among others.

“We will now focus our dialogue with our various partners on collaboration opportunities that are expected to arise in the lead up to and during the conference,” explained Eng. Tanui.

KoTDA chairman Prof. Raphael Munavu added that the upcoming meeting is an excellent opportunity for Kenya and Africa in general, to connect to the ecosystem of over 100,000 innovative companies from all over the world and in line with the ambitions of Africa’s agenda 2063.

“As we bring the world to Kenya. We also have an opportunity to showcase our efforts in advancing Research Science, innovation and development by hosting technical visits,” said Prof. Munavu.

Echoing his remarks, KoTDA CEO John Paul Okwiri noted that even though the journey to winning the bid had been long and intensely competitive, the work to deliver the 2024 global conference needed the combined efforts of several stakeholders, each with a unique contribution.

“Science parks and innovation ecosystems are dynamic and diverse, and require constant adaptation and collaboration among various stakeholders. We believe that this year’s IASP conference comes at an opportune time in our nation’s development.

It is our moment to leverage our networks and platforms to support Kenyan and African innovation ecosystems, science parks, companies and communities, especially startups and SMEs, to evolve and commercialize to access new markets, resources, and opportunities by creating global linkages,” said Okwiri.

He added that Kenya will do this by fostering a culture of creativity, experimentation and collaboration and encourage the development of new products and solutions that meet the needs and expectations of the customers and users. This, he added, will include promoting the IASP Inspiring Solutions Program, a knowledge sharing initiative and a way to recognize excellence within the world of science parks and areas of innovation.

“It also means that we will be a catalyst for economic growth, social development, and environmental protection as illustrated in the various sustainable programs that we have rolled out at the Konza Smart City,” explained Okwiri

Partners attending the meeting included CEO of Kenya Space Agency, Brig. Hillary Kipkosgey; Prof. Walter Oyawa, the Director General at NACOSTI; CEO of the ICT Authority of Kenya, Stanley Kamanguya; the PS, State Department for Industrialization, Dr. Juma Mukhwana; the PS, State Department for Investment Promotion, Hassan Abubakar; PS, State Department for Higher Education, Beatrice Inyangala; VCs of Public Universities; Heads of Missions in Kenya; the Private sector and Development Partners.

IASP Global President Ms. Ebba Lund weighed in on the discussion, pointing out that the partners’ role will extend to among others actively engaging, and supporting the conference planning and positioning as a key event to look out for in Africa in 2024, leveraging synergies of STI players in Africa and the world. They will also integrate the IASP 2024 focus, into their action areas and conventions to enable a progressive engagement throughout the year as well as lead the conversations by adopting some subthemes and cocreating a workstream for collaboration towards success and impact long beyond the convention week.

“We invite you to support the conference by way of sponsorship under different categories in kind and financial support, submit papers for presentation at the conference and publishing, nominate their spaces for consideration for IASP technical and cultural visits and mobilize delegates to attend the conference,” she said.

The conference is expected to bring together experts from science and technology parks and other areas of innovation, technology-based incubators, academia, the public sector, and business to discuss and debate in depth on the latest trends in the industry’s increasingly complex structures for professional innovation support.

“The 2024 IASP Conference is themed, “Demographics, Entrepreneurship and Technology: Defining the frontiers of future economies.” This theme is inspired by the rapidly shifting demographics occasioned by technological advancements, climate action and a focus towards SDGs. Africa is broadly set to experience significant demographic changes in the coming years, and science parks & innovation districts such as the Konza Technopolis will play a key role in promoting entrepreneurship, job creation, and economic growth,” added Lund.

Konza, being at the forefront of technological innovation in Africa, presents a unique opportunity to showcase its cutting-edge technology and innovation ecosystem and demonstrate its crucial role in driving Africa’s digital transformation.

Key areas of interest for Kenya specifically in science, technology and innovation in line with the Vision 2030 and the national Institutional Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Strategy include County Technology and Innovations Delivery Services Programme, Coordination of the Technology, Innovation and Commercialization Programme, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Programme, Energy Technologies Programmes, Nano-Sciences, Material Science and New Production Technologies Programme, STI Performance Management Framework, Enhancing Science, Technology and Innovation Awareness, Intensification of Innovation in Priority Sectors, Developing a Highly Skilled Human Resource Base and Strengthening Technical Capacities and Capabilities.

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