The Faculty of Business & Management Sciences and the World Data Lab have launched a strategic partnership that is expected to provide data-driven insights and solutions to one of the country’s most pressing problems of youth unemployment. The Launch event took place on Wednesday 8th March 2023 at the Confucius Institute- University of Nairobi.
The University of Nairobi, a top-tier institution of higher learning, is home to renowned senior data scientists in every field, including the arts, engineering, social sciences, health, agriculture, and computer science among others. The world Data Lab is a Data enterprise that produces the most consistent and credible data insights. These two institutions have specialized in research and handling big data that can inform government policy and will leverage on their strengths and expertise to drive change and influence policy.
The Department of Business Administration will host this collaboration between the University of Nairobi and World Data Lab. Experts from the Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science and Technology, and Department of Economics from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will also participate in this multidisciplinary project.
The launch was officiated by Eng. John Tanui, PS State Department of ICT and Digital Economy. “I am happy to be in a place where people are discussing data. Data is the most valuable Resource. We have many expectations in this partnership; we are looking at you data scientist to give us answers. The data you have should be able to guide the government on which direction to take as a country.” Eng. John Tanui; said.
Prof. Francis Mulaa representing the Vice Chancellor said, “We would like industry to support data science but we also need data science to support industry. When academia partners with industry we are able to jointly provide innovative solutions to the challenges we face.” Prof. Mulaa also highlighted the Data Science program that was launched by the Faculty of Science and Technology. The program is specifically designed to equip students with critical skills like; big Data Analysis, Data Visualization, Data Modelling & Machine Learning.
The Chief Executive Office, World Data Lab- Dr. Wolfgang Fengler gave a detailed presentation on “Africa 2030- Where will the jobs come from?” his presentations focused on real-time data the organization is gathering through an innovation developed in conjunction with MasterCard Foundation “Africa Youth Employment Clock' to track youth unemployment until 2030. “So far the data shows, only 60% of Kenya’s young labor force is employed. The service industry accounts for 57% of total youth employment” Dr. Wolfgang said.
The Dean, Faculty of Business and Management Sciences, Prof. James Njihia said; “We have partnered with World Data Lab to demonstrate that informed decision-making is critical for effective implementation. Through this Partnership we will largely focus on mutual exchange of data, capacity building, exchange of staff and students, collaborations on publications and joint research projects as well as co-hosting conferences and workshops.”
Dr. Florence Muindi, Chairman of the Department of Business Administration expressed her delight at the commencement of this collaboration and hinted that it speaks to the collaborating partners' objective of innovation, collaboration, and quality. "The participating faculties and partners will work together and leverage on technology, leverage on our capabilities, and leverage on our expertise to achieve more in the short and long term. We pledge to assist you in the successful implementation of this project from start to finish," she stated.
The launch also featured a presentation by Kevin Obuya, a Masters student from the Faculty of Science and Technology who won the Hackathon organised by World Data Lab as a pre-launch event on the 6th of March 2023. In addition, there was a panel session Chaired by Dr. Resham Sheoraj from World Data Lab, The panellists were Ms Josephine Etenyi, Director of Youth Development, Prof Jackson Maalu, University of Nairobi and Mr Wickliff Omollo, an alumnus of the University of Nairobi. The panellists shared insights on youth employment and the various interventions the government is employing across the country to ensure youth are exposed to as many opportunities for gainful employment.