Kenya Advances with Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy Validation

The Principal Secretary (PS), State Department for Higher Education and Research, Dr. Beatrice Muganda Inyangala, emphasized the milestone that Kenya had achieved considering the country has never had a National STI policy since independence and hence pointed out why we should reflect upon the crucial role played by science, technology, and innovation in the socio-economic development of our country.

During the speech, which was read on her behalf by Secretary Administration Mr. Fredrick Ndambuki, Dr. Inyangala said that the main Government document makes clear competencies and learning opportunities in technology. This is especially for industry and business enterprises to make sure there’s a policy environment ready for STI to flourish.

“The idea of a framework for STIs can be linked to the National Development Plan (1970–1974), which recognized how important these STIS are for our country’s social and economic growth,” said Dr. Inyangala.

The PS noted that there were other additional plans that came before the Science and Technology Act (CAP 250) of 1977, which were replaced when they introduced the Science, Technology, and Innovation Act in the year 2013. This new law emphasizes STI policy as per the Constitution and is based on Article 11: Right to Information & Research – it considers these rights fundamental.

The Kenya Vision 2030 blueprint views STI as a vital enabler that is expected to steer the national development agenda by making clear that all economic sectors are equipped with fresh technologies and sufficient knowledge for enhancing productivity and efficiency.

The STI Policy is focused on meeting the country’s long-term development objective of Vision 2030, which is consistent with the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA). It understands that genuine economic progress begins by promoting local communities, encouraging new ideas, and utilizing the changing capacity of STI.

She also added that the objectives of the STI Policy guide was to identify science and technology sector priorities, rationalize and restructure STI institutions, develop mechanisms for sustainable financial resource mobilization, as well as enhance the quality and capacity of human resources.

Dr. Inyangala mentioned that the STI policy was focusing on re-aligning the country’s education and training programs with national goals and industry needs. It also emphasizes strengthening STI infrastructure, promoting development/growth of technology-based enterprises as well as creating a culture of STI in the country. These objectives will be achieved by fostering an environment that supports talents and creativity along with having effective networks or linkages for knowledge generation and sharing at the national level as well as regionally/internationally.”

Even with other policies and legal structures that are specific to certain sectors like the KALRO Act 2019, Biosafety Act 2009, and University Act 2012, among many others, as the PS mentioned, STI Policy is going to be the main policy and a nationwide guideline for research, science-technology-innovation ecosystem in Kenya.

“This policy is about many things, like industry and globalization, innovation and starting new businesses, scientific research and development work plus learning from fresh technologies.”

The STI Policy’s focus is on helping the economy to change from one based on factors into a knowledge-centered economy. The final goal of this policy is to make STI mainstream in every sector by generating, acquiring, spreading, and using up available capacities.

Following the External Stakeholders’ Validation Workshop, the government will distribute the document to the Parliamentary Committee on Education to collect their input and comments. Once this step is completed, it will then be send for approval from the Cabinet.

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