Nokia and the Kenyan government team up to fund mobile startups

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Finnish mobile phone-maker Nokia has partnered with the government of Kenya through the Kenya ICT Board to work towards ensuring tech startups specialising in agricultural, health and educational apps benefit from technical and financial support.

During the two-year partnership, Nokia will fund the startups as well as provide technical expertise, while the Kenya ICT board will be in charge of the coordination of the activities.

Speaking during the signing of the partnership, Jussi Hinkkanen, Nokia Vice President for corporate relations in charge of Middle East and Africa, said: “Our objective is to support local talent in developing their skills, and to open up a channel for their innovations to reach both regional and global markets.”

Kenya’s information permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo reiterated the need to create more applications to solve Kenya’s challenges in different sectors.

“Building an effective information society is a joint effort between government, private sector and civil society,” Ndemo said.

The partnership will ensure mobile-based platforms are developed to increase productivity and earnings for farmers, simplify businesses and help in teaching and instruction.

Through the partnership, Kenya’s government and Nokia hope to connect 100 schools to smart education systems to help teach maths and science, develop SMS-based solutions to spur agribusiness and create health information apps, Business Daily Africa reported.

Tech innovation hubs and universities will also be involved to help in building the technical and business skills of Kenyan mobile start-ups and train 200 students annually.

Since the technology boom begun in Africa, the education and health sectors have not seen much developments in terms of applications and innovations to help drive its operations.

Experts believe that the health sector provides a huge market for exploitation on the continent, considering that 70 percent of Africans live in rural areas where access to medical services is a big problem.

This article by Elly Okutoyi originally appeared on HumanIPO and was published with permission.



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