By Leo Mutuku
  Published 02 Dec 2011
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Last week, November 24-2th, The Linkage of Industry with Academia conference was held at the Laico Regency Hotel here in Nairobi. The event themed “ICT Capacity Development to realize knowledge based economy.” was attended by various notable stakeholders from the Private Sector, Government and Academia.

Linkage of Industry, Academia and Government in Kenya was conceived at the 13th Annual IEEE - Engineering Student Exhibition and launched inJune 2010. It was hosted by the Ministry of Higher Education Science & Technology and supported by the Commission of Higher Education, National Council Science and Technology, Kenya Education Network Trust (KENET), IEEE Kenya Section and Google Kenya.

LIWA 2011 had four focus areas under discussion namely:

  • ICT4Infrastructure Development for academic institutions
  • ICT4Research and Development
  • ICT4Curriculum Development
  • ICT4Academic Accreditation

Under each of these thematic areas, the discussionscenteredon outlining current challenges faced whileidentifyingrealistic points ofpartnershipandaction between industry, government andacademia with defined timelines for implementation. From these discussions, it was apparent that while industry can provide the expertise, on ground experience andemergingtechnologies, academia provides research and capacity building through thetrainingprograms in the institutions and governmentfunding where possible as well as facilitating policies and regulations.

In order to achieve MDGs and Vision 2030, it is necessary for these unique bodies to come together to form a network with points of partnership and collaboration that fuse together each of their strengths.

iHub, m:lab and iHub Research, through their work and on going projects, are constantly forming and maintaining similar linkages and were therefore invited to LIWA as a case study. They have formed several partnerships with corporate companies and other private sector institutions as well as with government and academic institutions in several ways: corporate membership and service provision, local digital content provision, research, funding and trainings among others.

Some of the stakeholders present included various senior university professors, government officials, researchers,manufacturersand other industrial and sector executives. Within the next few months, LIWA hopes to begin implementing the initial frameworks developed at this meet and identify sustainable partnerships to project into competitive global markets,as the country continues to work to achieve both the MDGs and Vision 2030.

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