Developing a Knowledge Economy

This post was originally published on the blog, “Musings of a Civil Servant” by pre-Network Member Bitange Ndemo.

Yes there are four different Transnational Operators wanting to be in Mombasa. It could be related to the interest in building mega data centers here. These are possibly trying to entice content aggregators to have their point of presence here. There will be some positive to this considering the fact that we get the opportunity to develop capacity (improved real employment opportunities), significantly develop our energy sector and possibly drastically reduce cost of connectivity.

My frustration has been how we get our people to begin working on local content. We do not need cloud for content like Sesame Street when we can create local edutainment from local resources. Remember the local content you develop here is good for any African Country. If we automated our Government records, we shall have the chance to replicate the processes in 50 other countries. We shall get to my bet subject of intra-Africa Trade.

Check this blog and know where the future lies:

After my trip to IGF in Baku, I passed through London at the invitation of the John D. and Catherine T. MacAthur Foundation to join a multidisciplinary Research Network of thinkers and doers on “Opening Government” to analyze and realize the potential impact of technology on democratic institutions, specifically how we can use technology to create more collaborative ways of governing to solve the world’s hardest problems.

There were about 40 Professors meeting at 10 Downing Street. They were mostly from top Universities in the World. Some of the MIT and Stanford researchers have research going on in Kenya or planning to be in Nairobi for collaboration. Most of them mentioned Kenya as an emerging IT destination and hoped we can sustain the innovative capacity.

I realized that we must create an ecosystem that brings together researchers, government and developers together if indeed we want to sustain this innovative capacity. Most of our Universities have become teaching institutions that must now move to research. The real-time data most developers have been wanting must be data from research activities and some from institutions.

For example, any hospital must have its capacity data out there. We need to know which hospitals have Neuro-Surgeons, Cardiologists, Oncologists etc. What equipment is available in these institutions, capability of the labs etc. This is all knowledge such that if I have a heart attack patient I know where to get help instead of trial and error, and as you know Kenyans do not volunteer to say they have no capacity. This is what a knowledge society looks like.

One of the Professors presented life data from a mobile phone gathering data in a Central American country. Simple analytic on the data shows that teachers go to their respective schools for less than two days a week. These are some of the worst performing schools. There was a high correlation of poor performance and affiliation to Unions. Does this resonate with Kenya? Thought so!

Change is in our hands but we must begin to exercise our responsibility to change our country for the better.

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