The Ministry of Education has completed a 10 year Master Plan for Science and Technology Parks (STPs) in Kenya, Principal Secretary State Department of University Education and Research, Amb. Simon Nabukwesi has said.
The ministry has developed designs for the pilot STPs at Konza Technopolis and Dedan Kimathi University of Science and Technology and is currently at the procurement stage for design consultant and construction supervisors for prioritized laboratories within the programme.
He made the remarks while giving an address during the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) Africa Division Forum Webinar hosted by Konza Technopolis virtually.
“This plan which provides a framework for the implementation of STPs in the next 10 years is indeed a major boost in our efforts to strengthen the country’s knowledge economy. We are at a good place as a country as we now have a framework for the implementation of the STPs in the coming years,”Amb. Nabukwesi said.
The forum brought together IASP leadership, global players in the technology space and key stakeholders in the Science and Technology Parks to discuss The Place of STPs in Africa’s Economic Recovery-Impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
Speaking at the same event, Amb. Dr. Samori Okwiya , Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD/APRM Kenya Secretariat, said the African Union had adopted Agenda 2063 which articulates the Continent’s sustained growth, competitiveness and economic transformation.
“In order to enhance opportunities, there is need to focus on innovation and entrepreneurship through collaboration between public and private stakeholders at both national and regional levels to facilitate co-creation and commercialization of innovation,” he said.
IASP has seven divisions namely Africa, Asia Pacific, Eurasia, European, Latin American, North American, West Asia and North Africa.
In attendance was Principal Secretary, ICT & Innovation, Mr. Jerome Ochieng, IASP CEO, Ms. Ebba Lund, Ms. Hauwa Yabani CEO, Abuja Technology Village FZ Co., Nigeria and President of the IASP Africa Division, Nigeria, Adv. Pieter Holl, CEO, The Innovation Hub, South Africa, Alan Phemelo Boshwaen, CEO, Botswana Innovation Hub, Botswana, Eng. John Tanui, CEO, KoTDA, Kenya.
The event hosted by Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) was also attended by Amb. Dr. Okwiya, Dr. Erick Mwangi, Director Research Science and Technology Ministry of Education Kenya, Dr. Rethabile Melamu, General Manager, Green Economy Unit – The Innovation Hub, South Africa, Patrick Tippoo, Executive Director of the African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative (AVMI), South Africa Dr. James Kimotho, Head of KEMRI Innovation & Technology Transfer Division (ITTD) and Mr. Ondari D. Mogeni, Associate Research Scientist, Epidemiology, Public Health, Implementation & Clinical Development Unit in International Vaccine Institute (IVI). KoTDA is a full member of IASP.
The PS indicated that there are six STPs proposed within three technology corridors; Nairobi, central and western to be implemented going forward. The proposed STPs are Konza STP Nairobi Technopolis Corridor, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) STP Nairobi Technology Corridor, University of Nairobi STP Nairobi Technology Corridor, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology STP in central technology corridor, Moi University STP in western technology corridor and Maseno University STP in western technology corridor.
In addition to the above, a virtual STP is also proposed for purposes of linking to all the other STPs and acting as the first step in the creation of a virtual workplace and market for the 21st Century.
Some of the developments that have so far been achieved towards establishment of STPs especially at Konza are; detailed architectural designs for the Konza science and technology park to BQ level, Konza STP site master plan, business plan for the Konza STP, preparation of a preliminary environment impact assessment and a call for expression of interest for the architect and construction supervisor for the initial laboratories in the STPs, Amb. Nabukwesi added.
The PS further stated that the ministry, in collaboration with the National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI), has also embarked on a programme to develop national physical sciences and research laboratories in energy, material science, engineering, minerology and nano technology, nuclear science and technology, forensic science, chemical sciences, metrology laboratory, bio technology, environmental science, theoretical and computational science as well as space science.
On his part, Mr.Ochieng said the Government has invested in the National Data Centre at Konza Technopolis which will support smart city facilities at the Technopolis while also providing investors and innovators a platform to host and secure their data and applications at a one-of-a-kind data centre in the region. The data centre is also supporting innovators by providing access to connectivity and hosting services.
Speakers during the conference were unanimous that commitment to cross border innovations will strengthen the economic situation of countries within the continent.