[20 February 2019] Internet service provider SEACOM, Kenya Association of Manufactures (KAM) and British American Tobacco (BAT) Kenya, say that cutting-edge digital tools will play a key role in the advancement of the manufacturing sector, creation of jobs and economic development of the country, which are fundamental to the government delivering on its promise to enhance the sector and increase GDP contribution from the current 9.2% to 20% by 2022, as part of its “Big Four” agenda.
Speaking during a recent SEACOM Chat, Patrick Ndegwa, SEACOM Business Sales Lead noted that SEACOM has embarked on strategic initiatives to support growth of the manufacturing industry in Kenya. This is reflected in their expansion of Internet reach to enterprises beyond Nairobi.
“As a key Internet provider, we believe that technology is essential in providing solutions to increasing efficiencies in a sector that plays a lead role in the economic development of our country. Innovative technologies such as 3D printing, next-level robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) are and will continue to drastically transform operations at factories,” Patrick Ndegwa Said.
Technology has been seen to increase efficiencies and increase innovation such as the reduction of carbon footprint and incorporating efficient recycling processes, as evidenced by industrialised nations that have invested in enabling technologies, research and development as well as the requisite human resources to run smarter and more efficient factories.
Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) CEO, Phyllis Wakiaga stressed the importance of having a clear commitment from stakeholders in conversations on the development of the country, being cognizant of global trajectories of the fourth industrial revolution.
“The declaration of manufacturing as a top priority investment area for the country to drive economic growth has seen manufacturers and the government engage more towards this goal. However, while we have seen positive changes in the sector, the automation processes of many industries provide an opportunity for us to recalibrate our definition and value of work. We believe that our contribution towards revamping our production processes, and using them as centers of excellence towards skills development in the country will go a long way in catapulting our local industry into global standards,” Ms. Wakiaga said.
A strong manufacturing base for any economy is the foundation upon which long-lasting economic frameworks can be made, and in this digital age are blurring, thereby disrupting the manufacturing landscape.
In addition, increasing productivity gains from the use of digital technologies across the value-chain and maximizing employment gains from the efficiencies generated, is key for transforming the manufacturing sector and boosting productive employment.
BAT Kenya IT Business Unit Manager, Edgar Okioga, explained how as an organization they focus on the deployment of technology to centralize their operations right from the farms to the end consumer, upholding the belief that a sustainable and agile approach to doing business is key to their success.
“We have seen positive changes in the manufacturing sector and look forward to seeing the sector evolve further in the future. As a company, technology plays a critical role to the success of our business and through our partnership with SEACOM, we have been able to employ a variety of solutions to ensure we are able to track our processes, minute by minute, constantly seeking ways to enhance our efficiencies,” said Mr. Okioga.
Kenya is a celebrated African tech hub, renowned for exemplary innovations across various sectors – from finance to transport, education and general commerce. Consequently, it has earned its place on the global map as a hotbed of pioneering digital ideas and implementations. Underpinning all this is access to the reliable Internet and Internet-enabled solutions.
“We have advanced our services to suit the Kenyan market, particularly for players in the manufacturing sector and only through collaboration can we proactively find ways of super-charging sectoral growth. SEACOM strives to provide efficient and reliable Internet infrastructure as the rapid development of the manufacturing industry will be driven by incorporating digital technologies into operations and manufacturers becoming quick adopters of the latest trends to save costs and enhance efficiencies,” concluded Francis Ndegwa SEACOM Product Manager.