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Kenya Banks on ICT Innovations Identified by the Covid-19 ICT Advisory Committee to Steer the Country Beyond the Pandemic

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ICT CS JOE MUCHERU. / COURTESY

Kenya’s Covid-19 ICT Advisory Committee has picked a total of 85 ICT innovations for potential support and scale up. This follows  two rounds of calls for submissions that can combat the pandemic and beyond, as well as stimulating economic activities.

The 85 were identified out of the 706 applications received in the first and second rounds of call for submission to the Committee. The potential innovations identified are divided into the five (5) categories as follows: Health (35), Education (11) , Agriculture (6) , Transport (8), Economy (25)

The identified innovators have either been linked to Government Agencies or connected to incubation hubs, while some stand a chance of funding opportunities and linking them to accelerators where applicable. The announcement of the 85 innovators was made during the third showcase.

Read: Huawei Initiative Gives a Lifeline to e-learning During Covid-19 Pandemic

In furtherance to its mandate of establishing an enabling environment that will stimulate economic development through ICTs and increase digital employment by supporting enterprises, workers, investments and skills development, the Committee has undertaken various policy review considerations such as: The framework on Digital Learning; The framework for Commercialization of TV White Spaces (TVWS); Licensing of individual courier service providers to support the gig economy; and Draft guidance notes on access to data by innovators; e-commerce and digital economy; and Consumer protection.

The third and final Webinar was held on 13th October, 2020, in collaboration with the US based Thunderbird School of Management with the theme of “Building Forward Stronger”.

The discussions emphasized on the importance of collaborations in the African technology ecosystem and its ability to respond to crisis. Attention was also drawn to the importance of building a resilient technology-based SMEs, through policy and regulatory enablers as well as capacity building and finance.

Read also: ICT Authority Announces Presidential Digital Talent Award Winners

In addition, the session featured some notable collaborations from South Africa, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana, and Namibia, with a view to provide a practical understanding on how to build resilient and mutual beneficial collaborations between multiple stakeholders.

“When I inaugurated the ICT advisory COVID 19 Committee nearly six months ago, none of us knew what to expect. Today I can proudly state that from the overwhelming response and submission from over 700 potential innovations, the country is richly endowed with a bedrock of great minds with ideas that shall change and transform the way our society operates. This clearly reiterates our Kenyan spirit to adapt and synergize during times of great need,” said ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Cabinet Secretary Mr.Joe Mucheru who was represented by the Principal Secretary, ICT & Innovation, Mr. Jerome Ochieng.

Mr. Mucheru noted that various governance and policies mitigation issues have already been presented for progression and in due course the Ministry with its various agencies will be taking up the mantle to administrate and oversee the scaling up of the various innovations.

Read also: MCK Launches Media Grant To Help Community, Vernacular Stations Cover Covid-19

The COVID-19 ICT Advisory Committee was constituted on 21st April 2020 by Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru to coordinate ICT specific responses towards the pandemic, and is in the process of winding up its activities as it approaches its end of term on 21st October, 2020.

The Advisory Committee is chaired by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Ag. Director General Mrs. Mercy Wanjau, with Peter Njonjo as the Vice-Chairperson.

Other members include Dr. Joseph Sitienei; Ory Okolloh; Dr. Shikoh Gitau; Hilda Moraa; Mahmoud Noor and Kevin Atibu.

The Secretariat consists of Dr. James Njeru; Mercy Tepla; Alvin Amuyunzu; Rahab Juma; Augustus Munywoki and John Kiria. The Advisory Committee also co-opted four additional members namely; Dr. Humphrey Njogu; Justice Thuranira; Janet Kiprono and Victor Maina.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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