Tech Giant Kenya Shines Abroad With Little For Local Innovators

Charles Wokabi | Nation | October 29, 2012

As far as innovation in the technology world goes, Kenya stands among the giants, with acclaimed titles that have had a massive impact on the global economy. M-Pesa and Ushahidi are world known innovations that have challenged the old order and triggered a new wave of innovation in financial services and search and rescue measures.

Such and more innovations have seen the country referred as the Silicon Savannah, in comparison to the Silicon Valley located in the US. But apart from the fame, local tech-innovators have had little going in for them and this not for lack of trying. Efforts to encourage even faster growth of this sector are evident with Nairobi spotting several tech incubation hubs full of young people as they strive to actualise their ambition to become the next Microsoft’s Bill Gates or Facebook’s Mark Elliot Zuckerberg.

Analysts presenting various views in last week’s inaugural DEMO Africa conference noted that one of the biggest challenge for the local tech-innovators is inability to push their innovation to a viable business idea. During the conference 40 tech-innovators made a pitch to potential investors with the hope of securing funding that would help monetise their ideas. “It is completely different when you come up with an innovation solution to a certain problem in society and when that particular idea evolves into a profitable venture that an investor would be interested in,” Ms Nivi Mukherjee told Smart Company...