Kenya Looking to Develop Digital Economy as Country Deepens Trade Ties with Austria

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Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy is making plans to develop its digital economy as the country deepens its trade ties with the Central-European country of Austria. The country’s President Uhuru Kenyatta recently held talks with the President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen at the Hofburg Presidential Palace on the sidelines of the recently-concluded Africa-Europe 2018 Forum in Vienna, Austria.

The two Heads of State, along with other leaders and industry stakeholders, held a roundtable meeting under the theme ‘Taking Cooperation to the Digital Age.’ Their meeting comes at a time when Austrian companies are among the best in the world, particularly in the fields of environmental engineering and energy, life sciences, infrastructure and traffic technology, as well as mechanical and power plant engineering, automation, and communication technology.

Austria is also a leader in research and development, offering products and services characterised by cutting-edge innovation, which enjoy strong worldwide demand.

Austrian companies often participate in international cooperation initiatives with their highly specialised technologies – examples include developments in the European space programme.

Kenyatta was joined by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for the East African Community (EAC) and Regional Development, Adan Mohamed, Ambassadors Johnson Weru and Mike Oyugi, and Catherine Mogaka, Director at the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Kenyatta and Van der Bellen discussed a wide range of areas of mutual interest to the two countries among them, the use of technology in wildlife conservation, Kenya’s exploits in the development of geothermal energy and the ongoing reforms of the education curriculum.

At the meeting, President Kenyatta received a geospatial map of Kenya’s wildlife resources from his Austrian counterpart. The topographical map was jointly developed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the University of Innsbruck. The technologically-advanced mapping system served as an indicator that Kenya is willing to embrace digital tech to grow its economy and address its environmental problems.

Underscoring the need to conserve wildlife resources for the prosperity of current and future generations, President Kenyatta thanked President Van der Bellen, the Government of Austria and the University for their support in developing the map, which he said will enhance Kenya’s wildlife surveillance and conservation efforts.

On his part, President Van der Bellen applauded Kenya’s growing reputation as a renewable energy powerhouse in Africa pointing out that the country’s push towards full transition to renewable sources of electricity by 2020 was commendable.

His meeting with President Kenyatta comes just days after Uhuru took stock of Kenya’s recent milestones in the digital space, especially in the development and deployment of disruptive applications that fuel the growth of the country’s digital economy.

“Kenya has managed to record impressive progress in e-commerce especially in areas such as mobile banking and e-government. Some of the breakthroughs are in sectors such as agriculture, health and money transfer,” President Kenyatta said.

He added that there is huge potential and that there are numerous opportunities for the industry’s growth in Kenya.

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