Phone maker Nokia has signed a multi-million dollar partnership with the Kenya government to grow the country's IT sector through development of mobile solutions that address socio-economic challenges.
The deal will see Nokia offer monetary and technical support to Kenyan mobile start-ups to create mobile and web-based platforms in education, agriculture, health, enterprise and religion.
The collaboration will develop mobile phone-driven platforms to help in teaching and instruction, enhance farmers’ earnings and productivity, disseminate health information services and simplify business processes through m-commerce solutions.
“Our objective is to support local talent in developing their skills, and to open up a channel for their innovations to reach both regional and global markets,” said Mr Jussi Hinkkanen, Nokia Vice President for corporate relations in charge of Middle East and Africa.
Speaking after signing the collaboration on Thursday last week, Information permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo said building an effective information society is a joint effort between government, private sector and civil society.
“We need to create more applications to solve Kenya’s challenges,” said Dr Ndemo.
The two-year renewable partnership to be coordinated by the Kenya ICT Board aims at connecting 100 schools to smart education solutions especially in teaching mathematics and sciences; develop SMS-based solutions to spur agribusiness and create health information apps.
The initiative will also involve local universities and tech innovation hubs such as iHub to help build technical and business skills of Kenyan mobile start-ups and train 200 students annually.