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[NBS Working group representation] SMEs & indigenous startups NOT involved!

Dear Listers,
The National Broadcast Strategy was drafted by over 70 participants representing 40 organizations. On closer scrutiny, the private sector (and non-profit) representation appears heavily skewed in favor of big-corp interests with over ~90% of participants representing large entities (or mid-size entities in partnership with, or historically associated with advancing the interests of, large entities).

Here’s the breakdown:

* 10 Local companies (of which 60% are the largest, most visible Kenyan ICT corporations).*   9 Foreign companies or MNCs*   5 Non-profits*   2 Universities* 14 Government Agencies
*   0 Indigenous ICT SME stakeholders (non-startups)
*   0 Internet Startup Stakeholder(s)*   0 Indigenous tech innovators / inventors
*   0 Indigenous tech policy representative(s)—–  40 organizations (~71 participants)
—–
This elucidates why government policies tend to be *heavily and unfairly biased* towards large corporations, multinationals and NGOs to the detriment of SMEs and indigenous startup ecosystems (despite SMEs being the actual bedrock of Kenya’s economy; the most innovative sector – albeit neglected and lacking opportunities for exposure; and the biggest jobs creators overall).
Big corp’s dominance at policy level is unfairly hogging government attention and thus preventing the development of a well coordinated tech-startup ecosystem based on a national ecosystem master-plan that would significantly and exponentially boost our economy within a very short period.

This is one reason why our top graduates and innovative youth are jobless – relying on NGO handouts for survival (or having to grovel in the media to get PR-motivated “rescue offers” from companies that would otherwise have turned down their application for merit-based consideration).

I think it is hypocritical, unethical and wrong for big corp to say it “cares” about the community when doing CSR – when behind the scenes it is busy hoarding all the meaningful opportunities, resources and government incentives that would be far more helpful to the same community in a sustainable way.

Our President’s call for promotion of SMEs, local Innovation, self-employment (“Tujiajiri”) and millions of jobs for our youth might never materialize if things continue this way. The important role of SMEs and indigenous startups / innovations in supporting the Big 4 agenda needs to be emphasized and promoted.

We need proportionate (and affirmative) policy representation at SME and Indigenous Startups / Innovations level. These representatives should be actual, experienced founders / innovators (who have been in the trenches and truly know where the shoe hurts) – not private “incubators” who will always be conflicted in favor of the hands that feed them (their MNCs / big-tech / big-corp partners).
I humbly request government stakeholders on this list to kindly take note of the above problem and take action to remedy it please, in public interest. Opportunity should be equitably distributed in line with the spirit of our Constitution. Millions of jobs can be created (and we can avoid massive capital outflows) if this is done properly.

Adopting the right policies is what made China take 700 Million people out of poverty in just 40 years. They have shown that it can be done. Let our policies be driven by similar goals, in line with Big 4 agenda: To take 40 Million Kenyans out of poverty and into a path of sustainable prosperity within 5-10 years.

Have  good evening.Patrick.

Patrick A. M. Maina[Cross Domain Innovator | Independent Public Policy Analyst – Indigenous Innovations]

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