Kenyatta1

How would you feel if the president of your country pops in unannounced at your place of work? Surprised right?

Well, that was what the staff at the iHub –Nairobi, Kenya- must have felt three days ago when the president, H.E Kenyatta, paid them a courtesy visit with a keen interest to learn more about iHub, Ushahidi, Akirachix, Nailab and mLab, according to their website.

How is this significant? A lot apparently. A keen observer needn’t be told that Kenya is leading the pack when it comes to mobile money payment, apart from other tech innovations. Furthermore, the regulations required for such technologically inclined projects to not only work, but be sustained, is an article for another day.

The members of staff, who apparently, couldn’t hide their excitement (I wouldn’t if I was in their shoes too) had this to say on their website: “We really did not think anything will top our 5 years tech celebration, till midday today (20/03/15). That is the time H. E. Uhuru Kenyatta, the President of Kenya, walked into our community space at the iHub, unannounced! In a visit devoid of most formalities, the President took his time to listen, learn and inquire about all the technology labs and hubs at the Bishop Magua Centre”.

The president visited the mLab East Africa, a space where mobile-focused entrepreneurs are incubated and mobile developers test their products; he then proceeded to the NaiLab, another incubator partly funded by the government where he met the recent batch of startups.

Don’t let the president’s visit be misconstrued as a publicity stunt or political taekwondo, as an excerpt from BBC’s website aptly described him: “He is also eager to show that he is modern, in tune with the country’s youth and tech-savvy. While preparing the 2011/12 budget, he used Twitter to invite public contributions and since taking office he has been keen to show that he has a “digital administration” capable of developing Kenya. He has set up an anti-corruption website for people to report concerns directly to him and launched e-centres (aka Huduma) a “one-stop shop” to access and pay for government services electronically in order to cut corruption and bureaucracy”.

Apart from Kenyatta’s penchant for tech solutions, he may have paid a visit because of iHub’s interest in developing solutions that are homegrown and tapered towards the perpetuation of knowledge to the next generation of Kenyans.

And just as the president came, he left again, albeit, leaving an indelible impression on the people that were present at the historic visit.

Featured Image: iHub

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