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CREATIVITY

Health, economy top in innovations to fight Covid

ICT Advisory Committee picks 63 innovations

In Summary

•The second call for submissions is ongoing and closes this Friday with a showcase scheduled for August 24.

•So far, health leads with 24 innovations, Economy(21), transport sector (eight), education (seven) while agriculture has three potential innovations.

Information, Communications and Technology CS Joe Mucheru
CONNECTIVITY: Information, Communications and Technology CS Joe Mucheru
Image: /FILE

Health and economy are the leading sectors targeted by innovators in the war against Covid-19 in the country, developments at the ICT ministry show.

This, as the Covid-19 ICT Advisory Committee picks 63 innovations for potential support and scale up, in the first round of call for submission of ICT innovations that facilitates the efforts towards combating the pandemic and beyond, as well as stimulating economic activities.

The 63 were identified out of 412 applications received in the first round of call for submission to the committee. The potential innovations identified have been divided into the five categories.

Health leads with 24 innovations, Economy(21), transport sector (eight), education (seven) while agriculture has three potential innovations.

Among the committee’s mandate is to identify, support and aid in scaling up local ICT solutions that can support the country in its efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.

It is chaired by Communications Authority of Kenya Acting Director General, Mercy Wanjau.

It will link identified innovators to government agencies and connect them to incubation hubs, funding opportunities and accelerators where applicable.

The committee on July 27, hosted a virtual forum where 15 out of the 63 innovations showcased.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has since said the quick response to call for innovations presented a clear demonstration of technical capabilities that Kenyans have, which the country must tap into as a way out of the pandemic and future national growth.

"The committee has forwarded several proposals to my office for review on key ICT initiatives and policies to respond to the pandemic and beyond, in order to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on individual livelihoods, communities and the economy,” Mucheru affirmed.

The second call for submissions is ongoing and closes this Friday(August 21) with a showcase scheduled for August 24.

The Advisory Committee strongly encourages ICT innovators to submit their applications through the following link: covid.innovate.ke for consideration by the committee,” the secretariat said in a statement yesterday.

The fourth industrial revolution is believed to provide a spring board for Africa to leapfrog the industrialization roadmap whilst leveraging Kenya's competitive strengths in health, research and development and ICT for preventive healthcare and development of diagnostic and therapeutic health technologies.

As such, it requires a sector specific innovation system that brings together government, academia and private sector to harness the scientific, innovative and entrepreneurial capacity, the committee notes.

There is a need for more sustainable homegrown solutions to ensure access to healthcare, it said.

This is based on the fact that Covid -19 pandemic has highlighted the fragile nature of the health system due to historical under-funding and over reliance on imported health technologies, which have been affected by the collapse of global supply chains.