Press Release

The IREN Technologies and Innovation Challenge 2018 (ITIC-2018)

165 Technology Innovators from Kenya’s 14 Lake Region Economic Bloc Counties to Drive Food Security Solutions

Inter Region Economic Network in partnership with The Friedrich Naumann Foundation is training 165 promising participants from Kenya’s 14 Lake Region Economic Bloc Counties to develop smart food security solutions through The IREN Technologies and Innovation Challenge 2018 (ITIC-2018). The challenge aims at identifying scalable food security compatible technologies and innovations for use by farmers and enterprises in agribusiness value chains.

The challenge partly ties in with the aspirations of the fourteen governors in the lake region economic bloc who have identified food insecurity as a challenge in the bloc that needs to be addressed through technology and innovation, among other tools. In a joint statement recently read by Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), the governors note:

“The main impediments to optimum agricultural productivity in the region include subsistence farming rooted in the low levels of technical know-how among farmers. We want to enhance food security through coordinated agricultural strategies, facilitated sharing of human resources, and a public-private partnership.”

Already the training participants aged 18 and above who  hail from Bomet, Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kericho, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nyamira, Nandi, Siaya, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga have been grouped into County Technology & Innovation Solution Hubs to conceptualize and develop food security technologies and innovations. They will showcase these innovations during the IREN Technologies and Innovation Challenge (ITIC-2018) Trade Fair later in November, 2018.

“Finding innovative solutions to food security challenges facing the Lake Region Economic Bloc counties is paramount to the Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s mission. We are proud to be partners in this challenge,” says Veni Swai, Senior Programme Officer for Friedrich Naumann Foundation, East Africa.

“We are delighted to host these innovators from the Lake Region Economic Bloc counties. They hold the key to helping the respective counties confront and counter the huge food security challenges,” says Leonard Mwasi, ITIC-2018 Programme Manager.

The ITIC 2018 secretariat welcomes interested educational institutions, NGOs and for profit organizations resident in the Lake Region Economic Bloc counties to partner, network and showcase their smart solutions during the ITIC-2018 Trade Fair in November 2018.

About The FNF

The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is the foundation for liberal politics in the Federal Republic of Germany. It aims to promote the goal of making the principle of freedom valid for the dignity of all people and in all areas of society. The support of human rights, rule of law and democracy in more than 60 countries form the core of the work of the regional offices in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Central America. International and transatlantic dialogue programmes are used to promote these three values.

In East Africa, the foundation supports development of think tanks that network liberal thinkers, come up with shared concepts for development and progress by working with liberal partner organisations in the political realm as well as civil society. The Foundation is also working on a project to promote secure property rights with the aim of improving food security in the country.

About The Inter Region Economic Network, Ltd. (IREN)

IREN has managed over 18 business competitions for the last 15 year years. IREN has for the last three years created screening and training platforms for Start-ups and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises across the East African region. IREN ‘s three focus areas include Think Tank for public policy analysis targeting wealth creation in Africa; Enterprise Development to promote investor ready enterprises and consultancy.