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PM wants Kenya to rely on science

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 2 – All sectors of the economy need to start relying on science and technology to help drive the country’s development, Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said.

The Premier said on Wednesday that Kenya must become a knowledge-led economy if it’s to achieve the goals envisaged in the development blueprint, Vision 2030.

“We live with the reality that the economic performance of any country is closely tied to the application of science and technology. Adopting science and technology is no longer optional. It is mandatory for nations that want to compete in the increasingly globalised world,” he stated.

The Premier acknowledged that Kenya faces the twin problem of low access of technology and the slow application of the little that exist thus the need to address the problem.

Policies and strategies that are geared towards enhancing the country’s scientific and technological capacity will have to be developed, he said.

“We believe that investment in and reliance on technology will enable our companies to get products out in less time at less cost,” he said of the benefits that the private sector would accrue from the adoption of these skills and knowledge.

He however regretted that some of the country’s research findings are lying idle instead of being utilised by Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to grow their businesses.

“The time has come for us to make this information readily available to businesses as a way of technology transfer locally,” he emphasised.

Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kenya Data Networks’ (KDN) Data Centre, the Premier urged the private sector particularly those involved in the provision of ICT services to ensure transfer technology in all parts of the country.

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He called upon telecommunication service providers to adopt and provide new and emerging technologies in order to promote the development of the ICT sector.

The Wi-Fi technology for example which provides broadband connectivity would need to be spread in all areas where internet penetration is still very low, he pointed out.

“We must not be left behind in this information race that will determine who fails and who succeeds in the 21st Century,” he cautioned.

During the function, KDN Chairman Naushad Merali said the Sh600 million state-of- the-art centre, which should be ready for use by January 2011 would provide data storage security for East and Central African regions.

“This investment is a Kenyan first and when completed, the facility will deliver data centre capacity at a lower cost to corporate organisations, the government and international organisations,” Mr Merali said.

He added that the firm would spend additional resources to commission the installation of a solar power facility to power the centre as their way of keeping their ‘green goals’ objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer Kai Wulff said the facility would bring considerable savings to corporate organisations that spend as much as two to four percent of the IT budget on disaster recovery planning.

“The completion of the data storage facility will enable these companies to avoid major losses and damage resulting from interrupting of the company’s IT infrastructure and data,” he added.

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