Strathmore University has officially unveilled @iLab Africa, a research and incubation facility that supports entrepreneurship programs in apps and software development.
The facility will operate under the Faculty of Information Technology and will focus on nurturing young technologists with the aim of encouraging innovation, growth and use of ICT, as Kenya leans on the sector to spur further economic growth.
This facility has been made possible by the partnership between @iLab Africa,Samsung Electronics, Safaricom Ltd., Google Kenya, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle, Ericsson, IBM and Kenya Education Networks (KENET).
ICT Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i lauded private sector players for their role in encouraging the growth of the ICT sector, which has been marked as one of Kenya’s top three growth drivers.
“I am proud to be here today to witness the official opening of what will no doubt be one of Africa’s leading technology research and innovation centres,” said Dr. Matiang’i. “Your investment in @iLab Africa represents another stepping stone towards cementing our position as Africa’s Silicon Savannah, which is in line with the government’s efforts to support the development, growth and uptake of ICT in Kenya as exemplified by the recent budget allocations to the sector.”
So far,more than 300 students have benefited from research and development funding, which has in turn provided opportunities for ICT solutions to be developed for sectors ranging from tourism and education to health, legal and entertainment.
“The launch of @iLab Africa marks three years of operations and work in the area of ICT for development, and serves as a milestone as we look back at our achievements over that period. We are looking ahead to broaden our footprint in Africa as a leading Centre of Excellence in ICT Research and Development,” said @iLab Africa Director Dr. Joseph Sevilla.
Of the 82 apps developed at The Strathmore Samsung Research and Development Lab – located @iLab Africa – 67 are already in use.
“Our support of this initiative comes with the knowledge that continuous investment and innovation in technology is critical to ensuring we not only maintain our position as a leading technology company, but that we do this while providing solutions to various challenges in the sector,” said Robert Ngeru, Samsung Electronics East and Central Africa Vice President.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said: “The launch of @iLab Africa marks a significant turning point for the ICT sector in the country since the industry is gearing up for robust telecommunications business and market growth not only in Kenya but in the region and continent as a whole.”