The digitization of the Jua Kali sector is something that is necessary as the workplace evolves.With more jobs in the formal sector almost being non-existent the youth are turning to the informal sector for employment opportunities.Things have taken an unexpected shift and the economy has taken a hit with many not being able to put food on the table.
Spearheading the digitization process in Kenya is Victor Otieno who is an employee of the county government and is known as one of the best in his line of work.
In his he statement,he said,”I am the Chief Officer Digital Economy And Startups Nairobi county.The digital economy and startup sub sector is established under executive order 1 of 2022 with an overall objective of supporting the already vibrant startup and innovation ecosystem that exist in Kenya as well as digitalization of Kenya’s jua kali sector especially informal manufactures to expand their market presence in Kenya, the region and continent underpinned on regional economic blocs such as EAC,COMESA and ultimately AFCFTA.The sector approach to supporting digitalization of Kenya’s jua kali sector especially informal manufactures is codified under CIPD 2023-2027 and adopts user centered design and market driven approach in its implementation by choosing to work very closely with stakeholders in the ecosystem as represented during Innovate Nairobi Tech week that took place in August 2023 as well as the wood conference.”
He added,”Key sector program areas as espoused under CIDP 2023-2027 and that the sector continues to seek partnerships are:
Establishment of an annual startup & digital economy report
Expansion of capability of InnovateNairobi website a platform that showcases Kenya’s ‘Hotbed of Innovation’
Establishment of ward based incubation centers/sector centers of excellence
Global investment tours for startups
Technology capacity building
Intellectual property and general legal support to innovators
Innovation funding support
Digitization of informal/jua Kali sector
These activities are In line with HE the governor and Deputy governor’s vision of creating economic opportunities for our youth.The wood conference is especially critical to Nairobi county as we seek to explore opportunities for jua kali in light of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that brings together Africa’s 1.2 billion population and combined market of 2.5$ Trillion.”
He also stated that,”The digitalization of jua kali if implemented well will accrue benefits first to local entrepreneurs and government through economic expansion and job creationBenefits of digitalization to jua kali being to;
Improve their efficiency and productivity
Market expansion underpinned on online marketplaces and social media
Improve the quality of their products and services.Regulatory compliance
Attract and retain talent based on modern and attractive work environment
The wood conference seeks to explore solutions that will unlock the true value of Kenya’s wood value chain through expert-led conversations and real life industry immersion at GearBox and The Kenya Forestry Research Institute with the objective of establishing a practical collaborative model to support wood based jua kali artisans .The conference seeks to further explore the possibility of incorporating distributed Manufacturing as an Innovation Model under the County Aggregation & Industrial Parks (CAIPS)
The wood conference will unpack the following critical topics: areas we shall be talking are, technical skills development in the wood and woodworking industry.
Nairobi City County Government policy for the wood and woodworking industry.
Fit for purpose models that can support development of wood and woodworking industry in Kenya
Financing solutions for wood and woodworking industry
Raw materials, sustainability and technology in wood and woodworking industry.Just as agreed during The Innovate Nairobi Tech week in August 2023 to focus on tangible outcomes , the wood conference is aimed at developing practical solutions as per our objectives and we commit to share a report of our success and failures during Innovate Nairobi Tech week 2024.Let me finish with an African proverb ambayo ni ya kutfakari
He who wants to fly like a bat must first learn to see in the dark.”