The government has partnered with the Pwani innovation week to bring together innovators and investors to grow the tech space and provide the much needed job opportunities.
Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Nadia Ahmed Abdalla said the government is committed to boosting tech innovations in the country as it recognizes innovation as one of the enablers to address the huge unemployment among the youth.
Speaking on Thursday at a Nairobi hotel during a consultative forum with the sponsors and partners of the Pwani innovation week, the CAS said that the initiative is significant because coastal region is a hub and gateway into the East Africa region.
“Every time I travel outside the country I get to realize that people think that Kenya is Nairobi and therefore, there is need to market the diversity that the country offers. The coastal region has great young minds who have diverse talents and we need to tap their innovations to drive growth in the region,” said Abdalla.
She said government is glad to see how different government ministries, agencies, corporates and sponsors are partnering with Pwani innovation week which shows the interest that local innovations are attracting.
“Covid-19 has shown us that one doesn’t have to be in the office to work and the young people don’t need to wait for white collar jobs,” said Abdalla.
The CAS said that there is also need to sensitize parents about innovations and online work so that they can support their children who are pursuing tech and innovation and stop pressuring them to get formal employment.
“Kenya offers a good environment for innovation. I was in Ghana last week and I met 15 Ghanaians who told me that they are moving to Kenya to open Fintech companies which is very good for the country,” she said.
Swahilipot founder who is also the coordinator of the Pwani Innovation week, Mahmoud Noor said that they want all the people in the tech space including the national and county governments to be down in Mombasa to support the young people and give an opportunity for young innovators and startups to showcase their stuff.
He said that they are co-hosting the event with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Mombasa chapter together with the county government and other partners like the National Museums of Kenya supported by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage and technology partners like Liquid Telecom, Safaricom, Huawei among others.
“Our aim is to connect innovators to investors and government agencies because you find that people have innovations or they are doing business but they need certain government interventions. Most innovators are young people who are not well networked and we are giving them that platform so that they can meet the CEO’s of the different companies,” said Noor.
He said there are opportunities for funding for the innovators since there will be investors there, adding that they also have funding from the National Government through the Youth Enterprise Fund, Women Enterprise Fund and the Mombasa County Government which offers a revolving fund.
He explained that the Pwani innovation week will be taking place between the 28th and 31st of March 2022.
State Department for East African Community (EAC) Principal Secretary (PS), Dr Kevit Desai said, that that the government is developing the prerequisite infrastructure and policies to support innovation in the country.
The PS said that he is excited that the EAC is about to add the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a member to form the seventh largest population in terms of region with approximately 275 million people which will offer a bigger market for innovators and other producers.
Communications Authority (CA) of Kenya Director General Ezra Chiloba said that they will be supporting the Pwani innovation week boost camp through training on cyber security.
“Our effort is to ensure that we use all the available opportunities to tap the talents that the young people possess and invest in the talents which will create innovations and solutions to our problems,” said Chiloba.
He said solutions which target people at the bottom of our social setup need to be sought diligently, explaining that CA intends to add value to such kind of initiatives through the Pwani innovation week.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a