The Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) and the Thunderbird School of Global Management under Arizona State University, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support the development of the knowledge economy in Kenya.
The partnership, witnessed by Amb. (Dr). Amina C. Mohamed EGH, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage will focus on the co-creation of programs that support startups and innovators, capacity building programs for technology, ICT skills development and creative economy in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The two institutions will further seek to set up the ever-first Global Partnership on smart cities and other youth empowerment programs.
Speaking on the partnership at the launch of the 100 Million Learners Initiative in Nairobi, Eng. John Tanui, Chief Executive Officer of Konza Technopolis noted that the partnership presents a great opportunity to both Konza Technopolis and Thunderbird in knowledge economy development.
“We have signed this MoU to lay a very strong foundation for us to get engaged. At Konza, we are seeking to get partners, the very best from across the world to lay the right foundation for Konza Technopolis to achieve its vision of being among the leading global innovation hub. For us to succeed in ICT, Engineering and Life Sciences, we need like-minded partners in these spaces,” he said.
He added that the MoU will enable Konza to access the best talent in the world, access the best programs to help startups and all the stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem.
Eng. Tanui noted that the signing of the MoU will go a long way in supporting education which is one of Konza Technopolis’ drivers. Konza Technopolis is currently developing the country’s first graduate-only university – The Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) which will provide specialized research and training in various cutting edge engineering technologies and advanced science disciplines to support Kenya’s development into a newly industrialised economy.
On his part, Dr. Sanjeev Khagram, Director General and Dean of Thunderbird School of Management noted that Thunderbird’s partnership with Konza will seek to accelerate their technology and innovation impact in the country.
“Konza is a true leader in innovation and technology in East Africa. We are so proud of this partnership that will help us in attaining our goals on the 4th Industrial Revolution. The future is incredibly bright and we know that innovation will play a key role in the next 20 to 30 years.” he said.
He added, “In this partnership, we are focusing on several areas including space technology and exploration, creative industry, engineering and leadership and management. All technology and innovation development need good leaders and this is something we shall be seeking to achieve.”
Through the Francis and Dionne Najafi 100 Million Learners Global Initiative, Thunderbird aims to offer accredited online global, world-class education in 40 different languages to learners across the globe, at absolutely no cost to the learner.
Women and young women will account for 70 percent of the 100 million learners that the program will reach worldwide.
Sports CS Amb. (Dr.) Amina Mohammed, who read President Uhuru Kenyatta’s speech urged Kenyans to take advantage of the initiative and grab a good share of the opportunity to train 100 million learners.
“As a Kenyan who values education, I would kindly urge all Kenyans, especially our sportsmen and women, to grab this opportunity and fill our education gaps. Of the 16 million learners, we can have our share as we look forward to advancing our country to the next level. I once again commend all the parties involved in this initiative. Kudos.” she said.
The Global Initiative will further advance Thunderbird’s mission to empower and influence global leaders and managers who maximize the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to advance equitable and sustainable prosperity worldwide.