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Kenya Innovation Week 2023 energized by partnership with Commonwealth Secretariat

The Kenya Innovation Week 2023 – Commonwealth Edition will be held in Nairobi from November 27 to December 1, 2023.

The forum will bring together Commonwealth leaders, government officials, business and academic representatives, as well as a delegation from the Commonwealth secretariat, led by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth the Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland KC.

They will gather for the inaugural Commonwealth Edition of the event themed ‘Innovating to Unlock Our Common Wealth’.

The event which will be held at the Edge Convention Centre will explore the Commonwealth innovation system’s key actors, linkages, potential for growth, challenges, and existing opportunities for innovators where Kenya’s 10-year innovation masterplan will also be launched.

President William Ruto welcomed participation in the week’s activities, saying it would celebrate Commonwealth ingenuity and growth.

Ruto said that the event would not only shed light on the brilliant innovations coming out of Kenya but will also highlight the Commonwealth Innovation System’s key actors and their linkages, potential for growth, challenges, and existing opportunities for innovators.

“I am especially delighted to welcome Commonwealth countries to Kenya, to join us as we advance the potential that exists to facilitate our collective achievement of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development through innovation,” he expressed.

One of the highlights of the week’s activities will be the announcement of the winners of the Secretary-General’s Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards where each award winner will receive a trophy, a certificate and prize money of £3,000.

Further, award winners will also receive ongoing support for their work and the opportunity to participate in high-level forums.

Concurrently, Commonwealth Secretary-General (SG) underscored the importance of sport to the development of the Commonwealth.

The SG opined that investment in innovation would result in a more prosperous, more equitable and more resilient society for all.

With the advent of tools that are cheaper, easier to access and scalable, Scotland charged that Africa must maintain or accelerate momentum.

“There is already great progress, tremendous talent and solid innovation evident across the continent. But we can and should do more and the secretariat will create opportunities for you to do so,” she reiterated.

There are also other opportunities to hone and harness the skills of citizens from Commonwealth countries, for example, applications are now open until December 10, 2023 for the prestigious Commonwealth Africa Cyber Fellowship Programme that will help Cybersecurity experts from Commonwealth countries in Africa to exchange knowledge, foster partnerships and influence the policy work of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Secretary (CS) of Youth Affairs, Creative Economy and Sports Ababu Namwamba while welcoming the partners at a media breakfast on Wednesday at the Edge Convention Centre in Nairobi said that the Commonwealth is taking a frontline set to connect, combine and amplify talents and innovations across 56 member states of the Commonwealth.

He envisioned the power of invincibility because of combined efforts that portray deliberate intentional structured motion towards synergy and joining dots.

“This is an incredible platform to imagine a better country, a better commonwealth, a better world and to unleash the full force of that imagination. We are delighted as a Ministry to anchor this summit and also delighted as a government that innovation is the driver of the agenda of this administration,” stated Namwamba.

According to the CS, this is the Commonwealth’s first-ever event of this calibre and the bottom line, he urged, is for all hands to be deck and everybody to be involved.

Namwamba congratulated the organizers for the incredible work and assured the partners that the government is grateful, values and wants to work with them beyond the summit.

The five-day Kenya Innovation Week will include thematic summits, panel discussions, keynote addresses, fireside chats, workshops, and networking events. There will also be exhibitions from different participating organisations, groups and countries throughout the event.

Commonwealth activities include a Ministerial roundtable discussion on science, technology and innovation, as well as participation from the Commonwealth Youth Council and the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network.

Innovation as a platform for development is being interwoven into work being done by all teams within the Commonwealth Secretariat, and beneficial collaborations with partner organisations continue to be actively pursued.

 By Michael Omondi

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