Africa Focus: Kenya launches maiden laptop into local market

Kenya on Friday rolled out into market its maiden Taifa Laptop that was conceived and designed by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

The computing device, which was conceptualized in December 2014, becomes the first locally conceived and designed computer to retail in Kenya.

“Taifa Laptop attests to the versatility of Kenyan innovations and affirms the country’s capacity to harness the vast knowledge in ICT and manufacturing to develop highly competitive products in the global market,” JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Mabel Imbuga, said during the launch in Nairobi.

She said the laptop is a product of collaborative research output by progressive stakeholders, including the Government of Kenya, who have shared a vision of making the country a robust economy in the region and Africa as well as a home to technological innovation.

The laptop was also actualized in partnership with Chinese software outsourcing and offshore software development company, Inspur, where the currently retailing devices were assembled.

Production of the Laptop, of which 4,000 units have been assembled, began in 2012 and is retailing at 520 U.S. dollars apiece.

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication and Technology, Fred Matiang’i, said developing and executing an idea takes a lot of work and thinking. He anticipated that the device will soon be a market leader in the country and region.

“Kenya cannot be an island of ignorance in a technological world where innovation is changing lives of people, and I am positive the Taifa Laptop model will contribute to meeting demand of the digital world,” the CS said.

Matiang’i said the brand will increase the need to meet the number of laptops, and estimated at about 1 million devices, which the country will require next year.

He called on the developers of the innovation to put emphasis on devising local content in order to sustain delivery of education on the digital platform.

“We need content that is generated within the Kenyan learning environment, otherwise Kenyans will only gain knowledge of foreign conceptions,” the CS remarked. Enditem