SPEECH BY HON. WYCLIFFE AMBETSA OPARANYA, EGH, MP, MINISTER OF STATE FOR PLANNING, NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND VISION 2030 DURING THE LAUNCH OF KNOWLEDGE MAMNAGEMENT AFRICA (KMA) 2007 NAIROBI BIENNIAL CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS AND KMA 2007 NAIROBI KENYA REPORT AT KICC NAIROBI ON 8th APRIL 2009.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, Dr. Edward Sambili,
The Economic Planning Secretary, Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, Mr. Stephen Wainaina,
The Director of Sectoral Planning Directorate, Mr. Moses Ogola,
Other Directors and Ministry officials present,
Ladies and gentlemen: Let me start by welcoming you all to this auspicious occasion of the launch of the 2nd Biennial Knowledge Management Africa (KMA) proceedings and the KMA 2007 Conference report of the conference that was held in Nairobi in July 2007.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank the Development Bank of Southern Africa for partnering with the Government of Kenya in supporting and successfully hosting the 2007 conference. We look forward to continued collaboration not only on KMA matters but also on other economic and social partnerships that will contribute to our collective progress in the continent. In addition, I acknowledge and appreciate the consultative exercise that involved our regional institutions of higher learning.
Ladies and Gentlemen: When the KMA mantle was handed over to the Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030, the objective was to develop KMA as an important knowledge platform for sharing broader African experiences and therefore in some way enable the Continent to consolidate its collective gains.
The aim of KMA is to assist our countries and regions to put in place mechanisms that can complement and revitalize national planning processes with a view to aligning them to actual national demands and realities. Indeed the purpose of drawing our knowledge institutions, for example universities, into the exercise under the planning portfolios in our respective governments was that it would inaugurate a dispensation in which knowledge institutions in Africa engage more directly with their employer federations and labour institutions to understand and respond more efficiently to stakeholder needs in terms of demand and supply of labour and skills.
Ladies and gentlemen: KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economic growth and competitiveness will depend on a dynamic and multidisciplinary knowledge base capable of integrating technology, management and labour. The key to building a competitive industrial base are knowledge, innovation and productivity. This is articulated in the Vision 2030, which recognises that the process of the emergence of the knowledge economy is always associated with an increase in science and technology related activities. To this end, Kenya has recognised the importance of knowledge in development by introducing Science, Technology and Innovation in the Vision. Indeed, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in the knowledge society of the 21st Century, there is little alternative to knowledge, skills and human resources development.
The expansion and strengthening of higher education in Kenya will promote faster technological catch up and improve our abilities to maximise our economic output. However in the knowledge economy, new technologies demand skilled labour to unlock the potential to increase productivity and economic growth. Hence for Kenya to become competitive in the global economy, its higher education systems must be fully revitalised so as to promote the emergence of strong institutions, profoundly engaged in fundamental and development oriented research, teaching and community outreach.
To this end, it is encouraging to note that, the launch of the report and the proceedings are being held at a time when we are all determined to truly transform the socio-economic and socio-political destinies of our country. I am sure that the real results of our aspirations are no doubt going to be achieved through the concrete actions that are underpinned by a proper intellectual foundation, proper national planning processes, as well as the application of the benefits of scientific and technological knowledge that humankind has assembled to date. It is my hope that when KMA becomes fully operational it will make worthy contributions to our continent. Indeed we all know that IT revolution is today the basis that is stimulating and moving the global economy.
Ladies and gentlemen: It is my belief that all forms of education, from basic education to higher education represent indispensable opportunities for Kenya and other African countries, not only to accede to knowledge but more importantly to transform that knowledge into a public good. Each level has its own specificities and functionalities with regard to the relevance and applications of the knowledge that could be created, packaged, delivered and learnt.
New technologies present us with a large platform to disseminate knowledge to an exponentially larger number of people than ever before. Distance education techniques also provide increased access to learning opportunities. This can be exploited to provide quality education at all levels for improved economic opportunities.
You will agree with me that every country in Africa and the World at large is today fighting with the challenge of social, economic and political transformation that can present real benefits to the people. Knowledge Management therefore provides the opportunity to engage in creating a paradigm shift that is necessary for the process of transformation.
Ladies and gentlemen: The first KMA conference was held in the City of Johannesburg, South Africa, in March 2005 under the general theme of Ã¢â‚¬Å“knowledge to address Africa's challengesÃ¢â‚¬Â. Subsequently, the decision was taken to hold the next conference here in Nairobi in 2007 under the theme Ã¢â‚¬Å“Knowledge to re-mobilize AfricaÃ¢â‚¬Â. The next conference is scheduled to be held in May 2009 in Dakar, Senegal under the theme of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Knowledge to Reposition Africa in the Global EconomyÃ¢â‚¬Â. I am informed that a number of Kenyans have sent their proposals to make presentations during this forthcoming conference. Kenya will send a delegation to this conference which will include various Knowledge Experts who have already been shortlisted by the KMA secretariat in South Africa. This is a clear indication of KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commitment in achieving the KMA goals. We will be moving to the next stage to institutionalize KMA through the proposed Kenyan Chapter.
Ladies and gentlemen: As I conclude my remarks, let me reiterate that the discussion on KMA has come at an opportune time when Kenya is implementing the Vision 2030. Here in Kenya, we feel that it is time to move the KMA agenda forward. It is in this regard that the Ministry plans to operationalise the KMA Kenyan Chapter later this year. This forum will be used to implement the resolutions agreed on during the 2007 Nairobi and the Dakar conferences recommendations. The proposed structure will consist of the Advisory Committee, Technical Committee which will mainly draw its membership from key Government Ministries, Research institutions, Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), Central Organisations of Trade Unions (COTU), Association of Professional Society of East Africa (APSEA).The Secretariat will be housed in the Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030.
I look forward to a level where knowledge management as a practice must inform the very future exercise of many of our collective national aspirations.
With these remarks, ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to officially launch the report as well as the conference proceedings.