HOW KENYA BECAME THE CRADLE OF AFRICA’S TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION
A paradigm shift is underway in Kenya. New innovations are destroying old ways of doing business, and smart young startup entrepreneurs are at the forefront of this quiet but historic transformation. Teams of skilled developers and programmers have sprung up in innovation hubs, incubators and accelerators across the country to build information and telecom solutions that capitalize on the country’s mix of challenges and opportunities. At the same time, we have seen a number of spinoffs of Kenya’s unique entrepreneurial revolution reach across Africa and into other corners of the world, attracting global recognition for the country.
Digital Kenya addresses the many different aspects of these technological changes, innovations and entrepreneurial activities, including policy formulation, impediments and opportunities. It is the first book to chronicle the digital entrepreneurship revolution in Africa and describe how it has emerged in the face of high unemployment rates, poverty, lack of technological infrastructure and disparate cultural interpretations of entrepreneurialism and risk-taking. In this context, the book heralds a new way of thinking about and understanding emergent opportunities in the digital world and how best to exploit them in the face of significant developmental challenges.
We also show how the paradigm shift that facilitated Kenya’s digital revolution was the result of a number of overlapping factors. For one, India’s experience and policy framework served as a benchmark and source of inspiration for growth in the face of real challenges. As in India, innovators in Kenya learned that information and communications technology (ICT) has great potential to help propel the country out of unemployment and poverty. The percentage of Kenyans in gainful employment, compared with those actively seeking employment, has been estimated at 40 percent. The World Bank reported that of the Kenyan 800,000 youth (aged 15–35) that join the labor market every year, only 50,000 secure a job. Some 70 percent of them are unemployed.READ MORE