Written by PMPS
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Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called on African countries to add value to the natural resources on the continent by processing them into products that fetch high values.
Noting that Africa is endowed with enormous natural resources including oil, natural gas, gold, copper and iron ore the PM emphasized that Africa should stop simply exporting natural resources and instead process them as value addition.
He challenged young people to take risks and come up with new innovations citing the mobile money transfer, a Kenyan innovation, as case in point where fresh ground was broken with phenomenal success.
Dr. Odinga was speaking on Monday at the opening ceremony for the first Science, Technology and Innovation week at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi.
Saying innovation is a catalyst for change, the Premier challenged the young people who want to innovate and invent to seize the opportunities abound in Africa to bring positive change on the continent. He added that even natural calamities like floods could be stemmed and at the same time be turned into avenues of prosperity.
He said, “With a bit of engineering, we can better control the flow of rain waters and even save them for the coming dry season.”
Noting the same ingenuity could be extended to other areas, Dr. Odinga expressed confidence that with the level of education in the country, Kenyans should for instance be able to invent and install a device that protects electricity transformers from bare-handed barely educated thieves.
He added, “We can create hundreds of thousands of jobs for our young people by applying a bit of advanced science in our Agriculture, we can stop degradation of the soil and enrich its fertility by rejuvenating native insects and bacteria.”
The PM appealed to large institutions to take up the innovations and inventions from young Kenyans and even consider adopting a few.
Saying the government is strongly committed to science, technology and innovation the Prime Minister disclosed that the government is in the final stage of preparation for a policy that will integrate all available science, technology and innovation capacities into national development agenda.
“The government is also developing a robust legislative and institutional framework to promote biosciences development and nuclear science and technology,” he said.
Dr. Odinga urged academic institutions to place a high premium on regional and international collaboration saying they should benchmark their academic standards to the best practices in the world.
He further encouraged the academic institutions and private businesses to forge a closer partnership in advancing technologies, noting a number of global corporations with the most advanced research capability and huge financial resources are now locating their regional headquarters in Kenya.
He added, “We now have a Public-Private Partnership policy and are keen to apply it to collaborate with science and technology.”
The Premier said there was need to upgrade the National Council for Science and Technology into a Commission with a mandate to oversee the national innovation system and improve the coordination between various actors.
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