Ex-British PM, Mr. Tony Blair, in a speech during his recent visit to Nairobi, Kenya, lauded Kenya’s Gearbox for stimulating innovation in the country and being an example of practical innovation for the continent.
Commenting on his visit to the Gearbox facility in Nairobi, Mr. Blair said; “What you are doing here at Gearbox is an amazing example [of innovation] and I really do congratulate you.” He added; “Gearbox is a really practical way in which things can be done.”
“Gearbox creates a platform to which people can come and get help, and, over time, hopefully Gearbox can expand so what it is provided here (in Nairobi, Kenya), for a limited number of people can be provided on a much larger scale. In the end, it is about scaling up these opportunities,” added Mr. Blair.
Mr. Blair emphasized that the application of innovation is key to positive change. Whilst access to information is important, it is the application of technology, that solves real problems.
There’s a need for a strong degree of guidance on how the youth apply their ideas on the continent, and Gearbox is well placed for that.
“It’s about teaching our young people to be creative thinkers, the Internet and technology can give you the information, but the teachers are going to have to become guides in order to enable people to think creatively because when you think creatively, you come up with these types of inventions,” he said. “That’s when you have the ability to adapt as the world around you changes. The one thing for sure is, these changes are going to accelerate.”
Kenya, within the context of Africa, is known as the center for technological and innovation, Mr. Blair added and also applauded Kenya’s role in pushing Big 4 Agenda to encourage local manufacturing.
Gearbox, which began as an iHub arm, has been recognized globally with commendations from a wide range of global leaders, including; Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, The French Presidential Council – delegation of President Emmanuel Macron, delegation of British Ex-Prime Minister, Teresa May, President of Slovakia, His Excellency Andrej Kiska, The Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Development and Digital Agenda of Belgium, Alexander De Croo, The British High Commissioner, Nick Hailey amongst others.
Gearbox, as a building maker space, provides support to local makers sustainably, while casting the widest possible net to encourage local innovation.
“Technology can and should be made by the people who live with the problems it solves. This is a key driver for the existence of Gearbox and is one of the reasons I opened this hub. For people to manufacture goods that will solve their everyday issues, they need access to powerful tools and support” said Gearbox founder and Executive Director, Dr. Kamau Gachigi.