The inaugural Connect East Africa Summit took place on 30th March to 2nd April 2015 at the Leisure Lodge Golf and Resort in Kwale County. The Summit had been known as Connect Kenya from 2009 to 2014, but rebranded in 2014 when East African ICT Ministers proposed an expansion to East Africa and Kenya as the host of the inaugural conference.
The theme of the 2015 summit was ‘strength is in our networks’. The summit offered a platform where participants in ICT from the government, academia and private sector could exchange ideas on how to use ICT to deliver better services to citizens.
Some of the highlights from the summit include:
Women in STEM
Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Kenya held a networking cocktail yesterday, 30th March, in a bid to get women in STEM to have meaningful discussions around the challenges they face and brainstorm on possible solutions. The cocktail was sponsored by ICT Authority in partnership with Oracle. The session focused on creating a conducive environment for women to get into STEM, strengthening and supporting collaboration for women in STEM, mentorship and education, breaking barriers for women leaders and recognition of women excelling in STEM careers
The speakers at the session included: Esther Muchiri, chair of Women in STEM Kenya; Njeri Maina, Oracle Business Development Manager for Africa; Gilbert Saggia, Country Director, Oracle; Tonia Mutiso-Kariuki, Marketing Director for Microsoft 4Afrika; Eunice Kariuki, ICTA Director for Partnership, Innovations and Capacity and Hon. Rebecca Joshua Okwaci, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services. Others that spoke were Hon. Dan Kazungu, Member of Parliament for Malindi Constituency and Hon. Eng. James Rege, Member of Parliament for Karachuonyo Constituency.
Launch of Biz4Afrika
Microsoft launched an online hub that will connect SMEs’ across Africa by aggregating premium offers and relevant online services. The portal will be available at Biz4Afrika. Biz4Afrika is an Africa-wide network of SMEs designed to enable a sustainable and connected community of entrepreneurs which will impact on job creation, global competitiveness and wealth creation. The online hub aims to meet the needs of every start-up or SME whether in start, growth and acceleration phases.
The project was informed by a research that showed that tech-savvy SMEs create twice as many new jobs and grow revenues 15% faster than SMEs using little technology.
Enterprise Kenya is a national accelerator that will catalyze innovations and provide entrepreneurs with needed support in their innovation journey. The initiative was an outcome of the inaugural Kenya ICT Innovation Forum held on 2nd and 3rd February, 2015 in Nairobi. Enterprise Kenya will drive engagements with relevant government agencies; look at the establishment of an Equity Fund to support ICT innovations and the creation of ICT Centres of Excellence that are linked to government ICT spending.
The enterprise Kenya vision, fronted by the ICT Authority in conjunction with Ministry of ICT and private sector players will drive the agenda of “Buy Kenya IT, Build Kenya IT, To Build Kenya.
ICT Innovation Awards
The Vision 2030 Innovation Awards took place today, 1st April, at the Connected East Africa Summit. The awards seek to recognize Kenyans who have developed ICT solutions that drive economic growth and social development. The awards focus on two of the three pillars of Vision 2030: Economic and Social Pillars. This year’s awards were sponsored by Konza Techno City.
The winners were picked by a panel of judges that included: Daniel Obam (National Communications Secretariat Chair), Eng. Martin Obuya (iHub), Hillary Nyadwa (Konza Techno City Development Authority), Maina Muriithi (elimu TV), Calvin Kebati (JKUAT) and Eric Ndungu (Kenic).
The awards were hosted by Miss Tourism – Kwale County and graced by Victor Kyalo, CEO of ICT Authority of Kenya and John Tanui, CEO of Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA). The winners were: Boresha Limited – Educational and Training Category Winner, MobiChanga – Financial Services Category Winner, Kejahunt – Housing and Urbanization winner, Totohealth – Healthcare Delivery Winner, Kuhustle – IT and Telecoms Winner, M-Shamba – Local and International Trade Winner with the overall winner being Totohealth.
E-service delivery in East Africa
Dr Matiang’i, Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology CS, reported that a taskforce is working on a new regulation that will offer mitigation measures against vandalism and provide guidelines to better management of infrastructure right from the conception and design stages. The bill will be the first in Africa and is expected to be tabled in parliament in the next three months. Among the key players in its’ development include; Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Ministry of ICT, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Engineers Board of Kenya, Telecommunication Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK) and Safaricom.
The Kenya Revenue Authority has been updated by improving online security and hence enhancing accountability. E-payment strategy and e-bills are being implemented in Nairobi County with parking ticket collections going from Ksh 60 million to Ksh 100 million after e-payment was effected.