Kenya will soon be a technological hub following University of Nairobi’s move to support development of new innovations, vice chancellor Peter Mbithi has said.
In line with this year’s Nairobi Innovation Week being held at the institution, Professor Mbithi said on Thursday that the university had identified specific projects and programmes that are aligned to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The theme for the innovation week is: Innovating to solve pressing local and global challenges.
“We are also revising curricula and launching new academic programmes,” said Prof Mbithi.
Further, the university has also started the Bicycle Sharing initiative that will transform urban mobility and reduce over-reliance on motorised transport.
“We have built new partnerships to enhance our commercialisation of research, among other initiatives,” added Prof Mbithi.
This year’s innovation week has attracted over 150 exhibitors among them university students and commercial companies.
The university has a 10-years-trategic plan on innovation that is aimed at building a world class Innovation forum in the country.
The main purpose of the innovation week is to champion relevant policy discussions on invention within institutions and in the country.
UoN is also seeking to showcase and recognise innovations by researchers, startups and organisations.
Further, the forum seeks to promote practical skills necessary to create innovations that truly impact on people and societies; and to provide a support mechanism for innovations that have been developed to gain traction and scale.
On Thursday, the university held several panel discussions and for the first time a whole day symposium dubbed “Financial Innovation and Accountability in Entrepreneurial Public Universities.”
Among the partners in this year’s innovation week include, the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Ministry of ICT, Ministry of Education, Finnish Embassy and Unicef.
Barclays Bank of Kenya Chief Executive officer Jeremy Awori said the bank will open a digital branch at the university that will allow students to deposit and withdraw cash from the automated teller machines (ATMs) 24 hours a day.
“Technology has brought a lot of change in the banking sector, therefore we intend to use the digital branch for testing our new technologies,” said Mr Awori.
ICT cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru said universities should take the lead in coming up with innovative ideas that will see various challenges faced in the country solved.