Nairobi Innovation Week brings Kenya under the spotlight
Nairobi Innovation Week, having taken place last March, provided a brilliant opportunity to bring Kenya under the spotlight. Kenya is the ninth richest African country with a GDP of USD 70.5 billion in 2016 (World Bank data) and an average of 5.2% growth rate per year between 2006 and 2016 (IMF). It is a major player in the regional economy with thriving tourism, agriculture, logistics and telecommunication. Kenya is also characterised by a young and growing population, strong private sector, skilled workforce, and stable macroeconomic environment.
Such features have enabled Kenya to rapidly develop start-ups under the influence of the Nairobi Innovation Hub, founded in 2010 to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship in the high-tech sector. The innovation ecosystem, fostered and nurtured by I-hub, and supported by the government and international organisations, has led to the organisation of the Nairobi Innovation Week.
Featuring 100 pitches of Kenyan entrepreneurs, and addressing contextualised issues such as food security, education and social entrepreneurship, the event has proven successful in bringing Kenya’s entrepreneurs onto the stage and highlighting the importance of high-technologies in the economy of Kenya.
The event has also given a chance to reinforce the importance of policies for an enabling environment. Kenya’s industrial policy, under the Kenya Vision 2030, foresees industrial development as a way to attain the Millennium Development Goals and help the country become a middle-income economy. Innovators took the opportunity of the innovation weeks to emphasize that Kenya needs to support innovation and the development of SMEs to ensure the success of the country’s industrial development and competitiveness. To be followed.