Thursday, 17 November 2016

Technology Incubation centres for youth development

 Hey, it’s been a long time since I did a post. Sorry......... I have been on a very thorough academic journey but now am done looking forward to be given more power to read during my graduation in a few days. However, I have a good lesson to share from the journey. This is about my research project that was focusing on Technology incubation centres for international youth development.

First, I have to recognize and appreciate Hon Isaac Mwaura who yesterday moved the most development relevant youth oriented motion in the recent past - at least according to my analysis. I was very impressed. The motion, which I feel was emphasising on my research project gave me inspiration to write this post. The motion was about 'Creation of an innovation fund and a national incubation system'. But I was a bit saddened though that there were very few members to support this motion in parliament.

The motion seeks to address challenges that afflict Kenyans on a daily basis and in return bring up legislation and administrative measures to support innovations. Of course this is in line with the Kenya Vision 2030 that seeks to make our country an industrialised middle-income economy in the next 14 years. Therefore, the motion advocates for a youth innovation fund and a national incubation system among other measures.

It is my prayer that this motion will pass so as to inform policy to this effect. It is important to understand that economic transformation in Kenya and in Africa at large will only be achieved if more efforts are put in Science, Technology and Innovations (ST&I). Therefore, investing more in education, science and technology, as well as building of the right skills cannot be overemphasized. In many cases, this has been lacking in the development process, thus creating a mismatch in available opportunities and the skills from the higher education sector.

Graduates’ skills and knowledge need to be matched up with the growing economic opportunities so that they can be of impact to the development of African countries. Ghana and South Korea who had similar GDP in 1957 are a classical case of how Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) can help transform a country. The difference between countries that have utilized STI for development seem to lie in the presence of evidence-informed policy on STI and commitment in implementing the policy.

In this regard, governments need to be committed to inclusivity through involvement of the youth and women who have often been marginalized.  This can only happen if the government commits to strengthening the legal, policy and institutional framework for technology incubation centres. 
With this in mind, there is need to introduce policies that address technology incubation centres directly and ensure that the funding element is well addressed while promoting international set standards and sound practices. The lack of funding too needs to be addressed as this affects the sustainability of the start-ups and they end up as dreams that cannot be actualized into real enterprises. 

In addition, the Kenyan government needs to give more direct support for the technology incubation centres as they are recognised as one of the contributors of achieving the vision 2030 goals. The Kenya vision 2030 policy document has five-year medium-term plans MTP 1 (2008-2012) and MTP 2 (2013-2018) that provide roadmaps towards its success. Under this plans, various institutions both private and public are tasked with the implementation of various operations and set up of technology incubation centres in Kenya. Kenya has also ratified to international conventions, declarations and protocols that are geared towards the modeling of the technology incubation centres into centres of excellence and economic development. 

However, in all these forward looking plans there are no direct plans on how technology incubation centres are supported and there are some roadblocks encountered in the implementation of these policy, legal and institutional frameworks. 

Thank you

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