Konza, Embassy of Israel Partner to Stage Innovation Challenge

Israel Ambassador to Kenya H.E Oded Joseph(R) and Konz Technopolis CEO Eng. John Tanui (L)

Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KoTDA) and the Embassy of Israel in Kenya have collaborated to stage an innovation challenge to address the technology-driven needs of the upcoming smart city.

Named “Konza Innovation Challenge”, the competition will focus on innovations in response to the advancement of Konza Technopolis, that will utilize technology to power the City’s smart ambitions.

Eng. John Tanui, Chief Executive Officer KoTDA, says that the challenge will provide an opportunity for innovators in Kenya and Israel to solve the immediate and long-term needs of Konza Technopolis with a focus on smart access control, intelligent asset management, Smart parking management, and smart traffic management solution.

Eng. Tanui further adds that the challenge shall provide an opportunity for innovator cross-pollination and deepen collaborations between the two countries.

Speaking at Konza Technopolis during a networking session with innovators from hubs across the country, Israel Ambassador to Kenya, H.E Oded Joseph said his country is keen on developing cooperation on innovation, adding that Kenya is an excellent partner.

“Here we can find the heartbeat of talent and a thriving innovation system. We see many hubs being grown here. The fact that there are growing hubs here is very important and that is a field for cooperation with Israeli hubs. We have promising partners like Konza Technopolis, a smart city that is known as Silicon Savannah,” he said.

H.E Oded Joseph said he is looking forward to seeing the youth develop solutions that can be adopted in Konza, and hopefully, do it together with the youth from Israel. In his remarks, the Ambassador pointed out that challenges in Israel such as security, food security, and water have been major drivers to developing solutions for the country.

The winning teams will pilot their solutions at Konza and upon successful completion have them utilized.

Unsuccessful implementations will not be discarded. Konza will provide a space through the National Data Centre where digital applications can be hosted and supported through an acceleration program to be implemented in partnership with innovation hubs currently working with KoTDA.

“We have seen many start-ups which are born global at the start and those are some of the opportunities we want to create for Kenyan innovators through linkages with other innovation ecosystems,” said Tanui.

Presented as Kenya’s pioneering smart city, Konza is a model that can be replicated in Kenya and the region.

The city’s management says that it is attracting global attention, and the innovation challenge will provide an opportunity for Kenyans to give ideas and meet some of the challenges the country is facing.

Israel has more than 9,488 start-ups, with its high-tech industry producing about 1,000 new innovative companies every year. The majority of these investments are in cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, Fintech, and Foodtech.

In 2020, despite the COVID-19) Pandemic, investments totaled USD10 billion in 607 deals exceeding 2019 results by 31% in capital and 20% in the number of deals.