Commonwealth ministerial roundtable in Kenya highlights innovation's role in sustainable development

28 November 2023
KIW ministerial

On day two of Kenya Innovation Week, high-level government officials and ministers met for the Commonwealth Ministerial Roundtable Discussion on Innovation, led by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Youth Affairs, Sports and the Arts, Ababu Namwamba and Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC.

The Roundtable served as a platform to exchange ideas, assess challenges, and explore strategies for accelerating innovation across the Commonwealth. The participants discussed the importance of directing efforts toward innovations that contribute positively to societal advancement while mitigating adverse effects on the environment and livelihoods.

Reflecting on the commitment made by leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali last year, the Secretary-General stressed the need to leverage innovation to advance sustainable development in her opening remarks.

“I am driven – indeed, our whole Commonwealth Family is driven – by the common commitment to put innovation at the heart of our efforts to advance sustainable development.

This meeting is an opportunity to share and collaborate on emerging innovation developments and reflect on what we need to do to strengthen the Commonwealth innovation ecosystem,” she said.

Acknowledging the transformative potential of digital solutions in various sectors, Secretary-General Scotland highlighted the pressing need to bridge the digital divide, especially in small and vulnerable states. She emphasised the importance of enabling these nations to catch up with rapid technological advancements, which would foster inclusive development and sustainable progress.

During the meeting, which took place at the Commonwealth edition of the Kenya Innovation Week, officials explored the role of innovation in diversifying economies, creating high-wage employment opportunities, and promoting environmental sustainability. They also considered revising national policies to integrate green technology and innovation strategies for cleaner and more competitive production across the Commonwealth.

Under the theme "Innovating to Unlock our Common Wealth" the discussions aimed to instigate a paradigm shift in harnessing innovation to benefit every member nation of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Ministerial Roundtable on Innovation showcased a collective determination to leverage innovation as a driving force for inclusive development, echoing a shared commitment to shaping a prosperous and sustainable future for all within the Commonwealth.

Youth summit

On the second day of the Kenya Innovation Week, several events also focussed on empowering youth innovation during the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit. The Secretary-General spoke to a large gathering of students as well as young and aspiring entrepreneurs. She encouraged them to join Commonwealth networks to help nurture and build their talents.

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Media contact

  • Rena Gashumba  Communications Adviser, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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