Kenya, ECA to work to protect and grow tech start-ups, unlock pension funds for development

President Kenyatta accompanied by other government officials meeting ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe at State House, Nairobi on June 20, 2018.

Kenya will work with the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to protect and grow start-up tech innovations and to unlock pension funds to deploy in developing the country, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

The President spoke when ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe paid him a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi, on her first visit to Kenya in her new role as leader of one of the United Nation’s regional development agencies.

Ms Songwe said that the ECA was prepared to assist Kenya develop policy and legislative initiatives that would make it harder for intellectual property abuse, and assist start-up tech companies grow to their full potential, bringing in jobs and revenue.

Ms Songwe also said the ECA would work in Kenya to tap global pension funds to invest in Kenya’s infrastructure – and especially in housing, one of the President’s Big Four agenda delivery initiatives. The pension funds would work with Kenyan pension funds to invest in the development initiatives.

“We are really keen, especially on tech start-ups. We have plenty of young people in innovation whose ideas are being stolen and they are not being allowed to grow or get revenues from their innovations,” President Kenyatta said.

“We will work with you to ensure we can protect the innovations and we can see them grow to global companies,” President Kenyatta added.

Ms Songwe also hailed the President for Kenya’s heightened campaign against corruption, and invited him to speak at the upcoming African Union summit in Mauritania at an event focusing on the often little-spoken about public servants of great integrity working across the continent.

Ms Songwe, a Cameroonian, will also join the President’s group of international thinkers, with whom he caucuses from time to time, to caucus focus on critical issues of development in Kenya, the African continent and the globe.

Cabinet Secretaries Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs), Joe Mucheru (ICT), James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure) and Ms Songwe will pin down details of how to implement outcomes of the meeting.