Dr. Tonny Omwansa as the New CEO

In September 2020, I joined Kenya National Innovation Agency as the first substantive CEO. It’s with great excitement and enthusiasm that I look forward to working with as many partners as possible to strengthen the innovation system in Kenya.

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For a number of years, I have worked in academic, research and consulting circles, collaborating with various partners from institutions of higher learning, government agencies, private sector, development partners, civil society and media to contribute to a stronger innovation and startup ecosystem in the country. Driving the innovation agenda in whichever capacity has been an exciting agenda for me over the years.
My past experiences and collaborations come in handy as we set a new journey to propel this new agency that has a huge and potentially transformative mandate.

The agency has a mandate to develop and manage the National Innovation System, which translate to the mission statement: “To develop and manage a dynamic national innovation system that facilitates taking ideas to the market”. Therefore, KeNIA’s measure of success would be the extent to which innovation efforts enable social economic development.

The Agency mandate is aligned to the Kenya’s constitution, vision 2030 and the Big 4 Agenda. Innovation efforts do happen across the country and in all sectors. The agency will therefore play a coordination and catalystic role. We will thrive to align to priorities and efforts of county governments, local and regional development authorities, innovation hubs, academic institutions while collaborating closely with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies. Private sector, development partners, media, civil society will be very close partners to help propel the momentum as well as sustain the aspired growth and impact.

There are six priority areas that the Agency will focus on within the current strategic plan. I summarize them as follows:

These six strategic objectives, in my view will be manifested in two pillars. The first being the strengthening of the national commercialization infrastructure and the second is the growth of the national startup ecosystem. These aspects will shape what our energies will be directed to in the coming several years.

I must observe that for us to succeed and make significant impact, we are going to need big and strategic thinking, significant collaboration and synergy, good data management coupled with a robust and effective communication agenda.

In coming weeks and months, I will be breaking down specific goals and targets, in a manner that stakeholders can relate and plug in.
I am very eager to attract strategic partners in all fronts that will get Kenya’s commercialization and startup movements to the next level.

Thank you,
Dr. Tonny Omwansa
CEO, Kenya National Innovation Agency (KeNIA)

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