About 600 East African business, innovation and technology leaders gathered in Nairobi yesterday to discuss innovation opportunities for corporate and public sector organisations in the digital economy.
The SAP Kenya Innovation Day featured a line-up of local and global SAP experts who hosted interactive sessions focused on key business and technology trends that are shaping the East African innovation landscape.
According to Pedro Guerreiro, Managing Director: Central Africa at SAP Africa, public and private sector interest in building Intelligent Enterprise capabilities is at an all-time high.
He said:”Public and private sector organisations are reconsidering how they offer products and services to citizens and customers to meet high demands for quality, convenience and personalisation. As the pace of change in the digital economy continues to accelerate, leading organisations are increasingly adopting Intelligent Enterprise capabilities that will help them build the agility, capacity and speed to remain successful. Based on the quality of today’s discussions, organisations in the region are rising to the challenge, with potentially game-changing opportunities for businesses and communities.”
In 2008, the Kenyan government launched its Vision 2030, an ambitious development plan that aims to establish Kenya as an industrialising middle-income country that provides a high quality of life to its citizens. Current President, Uhuru Kenyatta, introduced the country’s Big Four Agenda, which aims to accelerate economic growth and inclusion, in 2017. It includes an expansion of the manufacturing sector, affordable housing, healthcare, and food security.
Keynote speaker, Professor Bitange Ndemo, Chairman of Kenya’s Blockchain and AI Taskforce, said the digital economy presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape the economy and accelerate the socio-economic development of the East African region. “Business and government leaders are taking notice and introducing much-needed reforms and interventions to connect people and businesses to the benefits of the digital economy.
“Kenya’s recently announced National Integrated Identity Management System – or Huduma Namba – is an example of this, one that will create a foundation for the rollout of blockchain-based government services designed to improve service delivery and enhance trust in government.”
Based on recent data, this drive to build intelligent enterprise capabilities in the private and public sectors is bearing fruit: Kenya improved its ranking on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index from 135 in 2015 to 61 this year. It was also identified as one of the three most innovative countries in Africa in the most recent Global Innovation Index (GII) ranking published annually by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and GII Knowledge Partners, behind South Africa and Mauritius.
S. Iyer, CEO of iMark Technologies, an SAP partner and key player in the digital transformation of organisations in the East African region, said: “It has been very exciting for us to see how organisations in the region are realising the promise of digital transformation by leveraging SAP technologies and solutions to effect transformational change. Many of these have gone on to successfully implement award-winning projects: in fact, iMark has been a winner at the SAP Quality Awards for five successive years.”
Sessions at this year’s Kenya Innovation Day included discussions over experience management powered by the Intelligent Enterprise, placing people at the heart of the intelligent enterprise transformation, and the intelligent supply chain.
“Kenyan organisations are on the move and ready to take advantage of Intelligent Enterprise benefits in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” says Guerreiro. “SAP will remain committed to helping customers in the region run better and build the agility and intelligence needed to succeed in the digital age.”
Barbra Nasimiyu, Nairobi