KNOWLEDGE BASED ECONOMY AND KENYA’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

Kenya intends to become a knowledge-led economy wherein, the creation, adaptation and use of knowledge will be among the most critical factors for rapid economic growth.

The Kenya Vision 2030 recognises the role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in a modern economy, in which new knowledge plays a central role in wealth creation, social welfare and international competitiveness. The Kenya Vision 2030 recognises that STI will be critical to the socio-economic transformation of the country. Kenya harnesses science, technology and innovation in all aspect of its social and economic development in order to foster national prosperity and global competitiveness. Science, technology and innovation will be mainstreamed in all the sectors of the economy through carefully-targeted investments.

The introduction and use of internet in many rural areas in Kenya has impacted positively on individual lives in the rural villages making them the catalytic and developmental potential nerve of the entire economy. The internet has changed people‘s lives empowering them to live more sustainable. Another major innovation that is widely viewed as a success story to be emulated across the developing world is M- Pesa services, an SMS based money transfer system that allows individuals to deposit, send, and withdraw funds using their cell phone. M-PESA has grown rapidly, currently reaching approximately 38 percent of Kenya‘s adult population.

The service allows users to deposit money into an account stored on their cell phones, to send balances using SMS technology to other users (including sellers of goods and services), and to redeem deposits for regular money. Charges, deducted from users‘ accounts, are levied when e-float is sent, and when cash is withdrawn. The ongoing projects in the development of ICT in Kenya shows that people and communities in rural and urban areas benefit from ICT both socially and economically and therebeing able to use the internet for the same purposes as people in western countries, such as communicating with others, searching for information and buying goods and services.

It has also been noted that Indigenous Knowledge and innovation provides the potential for local communities to go beyond poverty alleviation and generate wealth utilising their local knowledge, innovations and resources. A Case Study in Kenya Mr. Ngumbi Kimeu of Kitui District, entitled: ‗Rethinking Indigenous Knowledge in Beekeeping for Sustainable Livelihood demonstrated how local communities in the district use their knowledge and innovations developed over the years to promote beekeeping activities for sustainable income generation. As envisaged in the Kenya Vision 2030, Strategies for promoting science, technology and innovation and hence the management of knowledge are;

  •  Strengthening technical capabilities: Kenya will strengthen her overall STI capacity. This will focus on creation of better production processes, with strong emphasis on technological learning. The capacities of STI institutions will be enhanced through advanced training of personnel, improved infrastructure, equipment, and through strengthening linkages with actors in the productive sectors. This will increase the capacity of local firms to identify and assimilate existing knowledge in order to increase competitiveness.
  • High skilled human resources: Measures will be taken to improve the national pool of skills and talent through training that is relevant to the needs of the economy.
  • Intensification of innovation in priority sectors: To intensify innovation, there will be increased funding for basic and applied research at higher institutions of learning and for research and development in collaboration with industries. Measures will be taken to identify and protect heritage. In order to encourage innovation and scientific endeavours, a system of national recognition will be established to honour innovators.

In order therefore to attain Knowledge-based economies, the following should be done;

  • Provide community development services – a knowledge-sharing hub supporting a collaborative, network of knowledge networks. This can only be stimulated to develop organically – supporting knowledge networks to address particular shared interests and goals such as, for example, government service delivery, governance, management of HIV/Aids, promotion of women‘s rights. The goal is to connect forward-thinking leadership and change agents throughout the African continent and its Diaspora, creating a strong and effective continental and global support network;
  • Facilitate monitoring and evaluation, benchmarking and learning for different aspects of development and service delivery. service-delivery challenges stored and continuously improved through a shared library;
  • Develop a shared knowledge repository, linked to benchmarking measures of related challenges and solutions, where solutions include action-learning resources, services and providers, and infrastructure approaches.

Knowledge is an acquaintance with facts, truth or principles as from study or investigation critical for decision making. Knowledge is informed understanding that germinates from combination of data, information, experience, and individual interpretation is referred to as Knowledge . Within the context of organisation, knowledge is the sum of what is known and resides in the intelligence and competence of the people.

Personal knowledge existing within people that enables them to know how to do things based on their experiences and which informs their judgment, insights, experience, know-how as well as personal beliefs and values is called tacit knowledge. This knowledge is exhibited at individual level. For instance, one may have training materials but may not have the experience to deliver training that would lead to transfer of knowledge or skills. He or she therefore lacks the tacit knowledge which is the know-how based on previous experience. On the other hand, information that has been documented and can be shared with someone is referred to explicit knowledge. Based on the training materials read and interaction with others a trainer may know the exact sequencing of steps conduct and deliver his or her training. Though viewed as tacit knowledge, intensified activities involving research and documentation through coding or recoding will subsequently transforms IK into explicit knowledge. Pract itioners observe that, much is yet to be captured and time is running out.

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