Deputy President William Ruto has urged young innovators to take advantage of the Presidential Digital Innovation programme and deploy their creativity and innovation to advance Kenya’s socio-economic transformation. He said the initiative is primed to help the government fully digitize its operations and will heavily rely on the talent and ingenuity of Kenyan youth, particularly in the ICT sector.
The Deputy President was speaking Thursday December 4, 2014 at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology where he officiated the opening of JKUAT Tec Expo, an annual event where students showcase their innovations in various academic fields.
“Kenya Vision 2030 is very clear on the role of technology and innovation in our journey to prosperity and transformation. This expo is a strong intent to confront our challenges with commitment and imagination,” said Ruto.
Ruto equally lauded JKUAT for its initiative to assemble lap tops locally, a move that he said will greatly compliment the government efforts for industrial revolution; encompassing manufacturing, agro-processing and value addition.
Earlier the Deputy President led the ground breaking for the construction of the KShs. 1.4 billion Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre and Botanical Garden at JKUAT. The venture which is funded by Government of China is slated to foster bio-diversity research and environmental conservation in the region.
Mr. Tian Lin, Charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya noted that the Centre will be instrumental in applied research in the areas of ecological conservation, climate change, disaster reduction and environmental protection. The diplomat also reported that the initiative will promote China Africa cooperation, including intellectual exchanges.
“China is ready to work with Kenya and Africa and this initiative will greatly contribute to the realization of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and Agenda 2063 of the African Union,” said Tian.
Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi underscored the central role of the centre in conservation of knowledge and conservation of indigenous trees in Kenya. To promote and nurture innovation, Prof. Kaimenyi said, the government is setting up the national research fund amounting to 2% of the GDP.
By hosting the research centre, Prof. Kaimenyi asserted that JKUAT had further consolidated its place as the continental university of choice for science and technology.
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga said the University had established a culture of creativity and innovation among the students, a feat that she said had seen JKUAT graduates establish successful business ventures from their innovations.
“The JKUAT Tech Expo documents and refines student projects into market-ready products with functional purpose and capacity to cut a niche for themselves in the industry,” Prof. Imbuga averred.