– The foreign aid mentality prevailing in Africa has held back development,
Kenya’s permanent secretary for information Dr. Bitange Ndemo said today during
a keynote address in Atlanta at the 2nd Kenya Diaspora International conference
and Investment forum.
secretary said Africa’s future lies in innovation to make the continent
competitive. “Without innovation we cannot become a competitive
nation”. Amid laughter, he said in
his own Kenya there have been cases where people pay a fee to learn how to
solicit for aid for their projects from overseas donors.
the innovation of Africans is currently in display in Kenya where the landing
of the fiber optic cable has given rise to entrepreneurs who are readying
services to offer to the public. He said the recent introduction of Digital
Villages by his government in remote places an offshoot of the fiber’s landing
has spurred new businesses such as one he saw where a young gentleman had
Kenyan women in one village crowding around one computer monitor to learn about
breast cancer and charging them ten shillings (about US 25 cts). ‘The
innovative capabilities of Kenyans will amaze you when given the tools”,
Ndemo’s keynote address which centered on the conference’s theme of Building a
Knowledge Based Economy in Kenya tackled the myriad of issues that face his
country including poverty. On poverty, the PS said that a contributing factor
is the unwillingness to embrace science giving the example of the U.S. where only
3% of the population feeds the nation as compared to 60% of Kenyans who are
involved in some form of food production.
said 1/3 of the global poor will be from Africa “if we don’t do
conference got underway yesterday and concludes tomorrow.
Follow conference updates on Twitter.
About Tom Gitaa Gitaa
Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was 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 Dish Network 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. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.
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