Yesterday morning, the Nailab, an ICT Business Incubation Lab based in Nairobi, hosted the 140 Friday. This forum, whose tag line was “tech debate beyond 140 Characters” was moderated by Larry Madowo and chaired by a guest panel consisting of:
- Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication
- Paul Kukubo,Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya ICT Board
- Linus Gitahi, NationMedia Group, Group CEO
- Mike Macharia, Group CEO and Founder of Seven Seas Technologiesand,
- Brian Longwe,partner at Chanzo Capital.
The deliberations in this forum sought to answer the following questions:
- Is government being fair in awarding MNC tenders yet claiming to develop local tech business?
- Do we have local capacity to handle some of this contracts?
- Are local tech companies being recruitment centers for the MNCs?
- Should private business depend on government contracts for growth?
- Are the same local companies giving smaller Startups and SME’s similar opportunities?
With regard to multinational companies (MNCs), Kenyans capacity for technology is growing exponentially. However, this capacity can only be leveraged if techies intergrate their knowledge. Partnerships remain key in taking the capabilities of the Kenyan Tech Industry to the next level. We need to realise that we, as the tech community, are part of the larger global community and so we need look at how to integrate with international firms.
Paul Kukubo clarified the claim that more international firms are being awarded tenders by the government despite the large local capacity, stating that 70% of government contracts have been given to local companies. He added that the selection of the firms is unbiased and follows the Company's Act. Moreover, he emphasized the need for collaboration between each other for there to be a huge impact in the tech commmunty with regard to working with the government.
What do you want the government to do for you? The need to re-organize you request.
The tech community needs to have a paradigm shift from what the government can do to how they can better partner with the government. The government further, needs an able sector for sourcing technology.
From the forum, there was a proposition to set up a team that will put up a policy paper at the end of this session so as to make sure that this event doesn't end up being just talk. The policy paper, on ICT policy, procurement policy, and recruitment policy, will be presented by March 31st, 2012.
This initiative is in response to the need to create " a vehicle to push policy and have commitment from the government to act."
Intern, iHub Research