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Kenya Diaspora Conference: Universities Vital for Economic Development


Friday, August 21, 2009
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Editor’s note:  the Mshale team is reporting live from the
conference site of the 2nd Kenya Diaspora International Conference and Investment Forum. Periodic
postings are appearing on the special conference section of Mshale under
Conventions. Click on the Kenya Diaspora ’09 tab. And also on Twitter.

ATLANTA
– Universities can be a mechanism for tapping and aligning the Kenyan Diaspora
with Kenya’s economic goals and innovation, a MIT scholar, Mr. Martin Mbaya has
said. He was speaking at the ongoing Kenya Diaspora International Conference
and Investment forum going on here this weekend.

“Universities
are institutional players in economic development,” Mr. Mbaya said. He
said universities are centers of excellence that are active participants in
many commercial ventures including research. Strathmore University in Nairobi
is one such institution that is actively involved in activities that are
directly impacting the economy by collaborating with the private sector. Over the last decade, Strathmore has built a world class institution through
global collaboration with MIT and Harvard and a concerted strategic Diaspora outreach.

The MIT
Africa Information Technology Initiative that brought together JKUAT, MIT and
Strathmore brought together top talent from Harvard and MIT that started a cell
phone programming program in Kenya. “Such activities have a net result on
the Kenyan economy,” he said. This past summer students from Strathmore
University, University of Nairobi and Jomo Kenyatta University of Technology
underwent an intensive six week course on how to develop mobile technologies.

The
Africa Information Technology Initiative (AITI) is an example of an initiative
by a Diaspora Kenyan that has proven beneficial for the country. The initiative
was first envisioned by Paul Njoroge in 1998 while a student at MIT. He teamed
up with fellow students Martin Mbaya and Solomon Assefa to plan and launch.

Mr.
Mbaya urged policy makers and the Diaspora to look at universities anew as partners in enterpreneurship and innovation going beyond the traditional view of being centers of providing knowledge and training.

Follow
conference updates on Twitter.

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Editor’s note:  The Mshale team is reporting live from the conference site of the 2nd Kenya Diaspora International  Conference and Investment Forum. Periodic postings are appearing on the special conference section of Mshale under Conventions. Click on the Kenya Diaspora ’09 tab. And also on Twitter.ATLANTA - Universities can be a mechanism for tapping and aligning the Kenyan Diaspora with Kenya's economic goals and innovation, a MIT scholar, Mr. Martin Mbaya has said. He was speaking at the ongoing Kenya Diaspora International Conference and Investment forum going on here this weekend. " />
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About Tom Gitaa

Tom is the President and Publisher of Mshale. As the founder, he did a lot of the reporting during the humble beginnings of the newspaper. While he still does the occasional reporting, he now concentrates on the publishing side of the news operation.Tom was also the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dishnetwork satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states such as the president of  The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh at State House, Banjul.Tom also serves in the board of directors of the Minnesota International Center (MIC), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as President of the Board of Directors of Books for Africa, the largest shipper of donated books to Africa.

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