Young innovators urged to help solve export challenges
Innovation and technology has been acclaimed as a critical driver in supporting Kenya’s bid to boost its export earnings after years of sluggish growth despite trade liberalisation and export promotion policies.
Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency CEO Wilfred Marube said currently in every shilling that Kenyans earn in export, they spend three in importing items, pointing to a wide exportation gap that requires to be bridged for Kenyans to earn more from exports.
He underscored the critical role that innovation and technology holds in the socio-economic development and export sector, urging young innovators to fast-track exploitation of the opportunities hidden in the global market.
“The reliance on free trade and exports as a catalyst of economic growth in Kenya has been impeded by the export of primary goods. We now need innovators to boost Kenya’s export earnings. Innovations pay better than the agricultural products that Kenya and most developing countries mostly rely on as exports,” said Marube. Speaking during Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Open Day, Marube averred that, with the African Continental Free Trade Area being in effect, there exists a great opportunity for innovations and solutions originating from universities.
“The future is not just about Kenya; the future is Africa. As we innovate our products, embark on our studies and our careers, let us be aware that we must think beyond our borders, because Africa intends to trade as one,” he added.
Vice Chancellor, Prof Victoria Ngumi, underpinned the critical role of innovation and technology in the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s Agenda 2063, terming it a silver bullet and a catalyst of accomplishing long-lasting social impact. A total of 19 secondary schools attended the Open Day, with close to 1000 students in attendance