•ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said young people in the country possessed impressive innovative skills that need to be nurtured to bring desired change in economic development.
• Mucheru cited high speed internet, road networks, electricity connections and high quality basic and tertiary education as key facilitators of innovation in the country.
The government has challenged the youth to invest in innovations and technologies as a way of taming runaway unemployment.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru said young people in the country possess impressive innovative skills that need to be nurtured, scaled up and absorbed to bring the desired change in economic development.
Speaking at JKUAT in Juja during the Kiambu County Youth Innovations and Entrepreneurship week that ended on Saturday, the CS said the country was among the major Innovation and Technology hubs in Africa.
Mucheru cited the high speed internet, road networks, electricity connections, the Ajira Youth empowerment centres and high quality basic and tertiary education as key facilitators of 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.
He cited friendly policies to micro-small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as well as a working legal framework as other supportive infrastructure aimed at helping innovators in cases of copyrights.
Mucheru said innovations like Ushahidi, M-pesa, M-kopa, DamuSasa, Lion Lights and Rhino have made the country earned 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.
Other areas that the Ministry has helped the youth grow their talents and innovations include the setting up of six Studio Mashinani projects in Nairobi, Gatanga, Mombasa, Kisumu, Machakos and Kitui to help develop the youths creative talents and enable them to earn from it.
Kiambu Governor James Nyoro who was the host said they will tap into the top innovations and will ensure they are scaled up including linking them to financial institutions for support.
“We will also link our young innovators with established entrepreneurs so that they can commercialize their work,” Nyoro said.
Nyoro also divulged that plans are in the offing to put up ICT hubs across the county to identify and incubate innovations into viable commercial 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.
More than 200 youth from various universities and colleges showcased their innovations at the four-day event.
One of the innovations that attracted many is the LPG Gas Monitoring System by Kheri Aisia from Mount Kenya University. The system is designed to monitor gas weight and signal real time notification to the user via SMS.
Aisia, a computer and electronic systems student, came up with the innovation to eliminate the inconveniences that Kenyans face when cooking gas gets depleted without prior information.
Further, the device automatically makes calls to the gas user in case of gas leakage thereby helping thwart possible emergence of fire that often leave a trail of destruction of properties and loss of lives.
“With enhanced capacity the system can be fitted with a real time clock module that can help approximate the amount of gas used on a daily basis and approximate the days it will take for a cylinder to get depleted,” Aisia said.
He urged Kenyans to embrace the use of technology at home to provide key solutions to daily challenges that they face.
At the exhibitions, a middle-aged man has come up with a motorcycle speed limiter with tracking capabilities.
The innovation was developed to solve key challenges that plague Africa’s most popular mode of transport.
According to Ken Mwangi, the inventor, the device which was developed over the last eight years has the capacity to counter the second leading cause of motorcycle related deaths – over speeding.
It also lowers the severity of impact and probability of death or severe injury.
Mwangi said that the new device is tamper proof, a feature that enhances its applications.
Another innovator showcased a new way of farming that allows usage of small spaces and minimum water.
Josh Njane, the inventor of Urban Smart Garden said his invention allows a farmer to plant a variety of crops thereby enabling Kenyans who have small parcels of land especially in urban centers to continue farming, limited space notwithstanding.
“Agricultural land spaces are shrinking everyday and this spells doom for food in the market. My invention will ensure that food production is sustainable even with less land spaces,” Njane said.