The government is urging youth to embrace innovation and technology to curb the unemployment menace. According to ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, the youth possess impressive skills that which should be cultivated, built up, and assimilated in order to bring about the necessary transformation in economic development
Speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), during the Kiambu County Youth Innovations and Entrepreneurship week, the CS said that Kenya was one of Africa’s major innovation and technology centres.
He added that Kenya had the requisite resources including high speed internet, good infrastructure, the Ajira Youth Empowerment centres and high quality basic primary and tertiary education to facilitate innovation in the country.
“The government has provided crucial supportive infrastructure for our innovative youths. We believe that major challenges facing the country like food, unemployment, security and health can be solved through these innovations,” Mucheru said.
Other supportive infrastructure targeted at helping innovators in copyright issues, he said, includes favourable policies for micro, small, and medium companies (MSMEs) as well as a workable legal framework.
Mucheru cited innovations such as M-Pesa, Ushahidi, Rhino, Lion Lights, M-Kopa and DamuSasa which have gained the country global recognition in technology.
“The government is doing a lot to exploit the innovative culture of our youth in the country. We are encouraging our youth to use the platforms provided by the government like the Kenya ICT Authority, KeNIA, Konza Technopolis Development Authority among others to grow and commercialize their innovations,” the CS said.
The Ministry has so far set up Studio Mashinani projects in Nairobi to enable the youth tap into their talents and innovations. They include six in Nairobi, Gatanga, Mombasa, Kisumu, Machakos and Kitui.
Kiambu Governor James Nyoro who hosted the event said the county government would ensure that top innovations are scaled up, and that they would support by linking them to financial institutions.
“We will also link our young innovators with established entrepreneurs so that they can commercialize their work,” Nyoro said.
Nyoro also said that plans are in the works to establish ICT hubs across the county in order to find and foster prospective business ventures.
“We will invest heavily in the innovations by our youth to not only beat unemployment but to get solutions to the many challenges that bedevil our society,” Nyoro said.
The four-day event attracted more than 400 youth from various higher learning institutions across the country.