Kenya held its first ever National ICT Innovation Forum this week. The two-day event, beginning March 3, brought together government, private sector industry players and young and aspiring innovators in Kenya's ICT sector to chart a path toward making the industry a key contributor to GDP.
In his speech at the event, Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta encouraged government to look to Kenya's local sector for the procurement of technology services, thus helping to build the local industry.
The forum set ambitious goals - the creation of 180,000 jobs in the ICT/innovation sector and the contribution of 8 percent to GDP by 2017. This is an addition to Kenya's goal of developing 55 global-scale technology companies with a footprint of 5 million plus users by 2020.
Kenya aspires to fuel upcoming companies by attracting substantial venture finance to the ICT sector over the next five years.
The East Africa Trade and Investment Hub shares the goal of enabling investments, particularly in the ICT sector. Our Investment and ICT component works to facilitate investments in ICT and promote technology transfer/adoption.
The conference was not just all talk, innovators were out to showcase their products and services. According to the chairperson of the event's organizing committee Mr. Mike Macharia, who is also the CEO of Seven Seas Technologies, the committee received more than 500 applications from innovators to exhibit their work. Among those exhibiting were well known brands such as Ushahidi's BRCK and Pesapal, as well as upcoming entrepreneurs and innovators. Three innovators from local incubator NaiLab also got a chance to pitch their innovations to the president.
The future looks bright for the ICT industry; the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub is looking forward to contributing to its success.