• Ruto said the government has unveiled the Presidential Innovation Award as it focuses its strategies on innovation as a vital part of its development plan.
• President said this year’s edition will be the pilot phase of the award and will consider submissions from all counties.
Innovators across the country have been encouraged to submit their products for recognition during the inaugural Presidential Innovation Award on Jamhuri Day.
President William Ruto said on Monday the government has inaugurated the awards as it focuses its ambitions and strategies on innovation as a vital part of its development plan.
He said the awards will recognise the most promising innovations during the Jamhuri Day celebrations on December 12.
"This year’s edition will be the pilot phase of the award and will consider submissions from all counties in the areas of food security and agriculture, digital transformation, healthcare, entertainment and gaming, climate action and green energy," the President said.
He spoke during the Kenya National Innovation Week - Commonwealth Edition - at the College of Insurance in Nairobi themed 'Innovating to Unlock Our Common Wealth'.
"I encourage innovators to participate and wish everyone success in their development and pitching. See you on Jamhuri Day," he said.
During the event, the President recognised the youth as the leading drivers of innovation in the country whose startups secured $700 million (Sh106.8 billion) in 2022 making Kenya a top African investment hub.
He said the youth, who form the bulk of millions of unemployed Kenyans are relying on innovations to unlock employment opportunities.
"As a young nation with a vision of an economically secure posterity, we have no choice except to recognise innovation as a highly promising instrument for unlocking the doors of unprecedented opportunity," he said.
As such, the President announced that the government is taking measures to enhance funding to the national innovation agenda from 0.8 per cent of the GDP to 2 per cent owing to the role innovation plays in the economic transformation of the country.
During the Innovation Week which was also attended by Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, the government unveiled the Kenya National Innovation Masterplan.
It is a 10-year programme that seeks to aggressively promote the achievement of innovation, value creation and competitive advantage as integral components of the country's development strategy.
"To achieve these objectives, the master plan therefore focuses on policy enhancement, infrastructure upgrades, the enhancement of skills, market growth and a start-up ecosystem," Ruto said.
The President said in its quest to facilitate rapid development of globally competitive innovators, the government is very intentional in promoting the innovative mindset, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, from an early age through the competence-based curriculum, all the way to the higher education level.
He said the Innovation Masterplan will complement the Kenya National Innovation Agency to entrench innovation into Kenya’s policy landscape.
The President said he will as part of this effort convene a Ministerial Roundtable on Science, Technology and Innovation on Tuesday cognizance of the high capacity the public sector is demonstrating in complementing the private sector and market-driven initiatives.