Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), has today rolled out to the Kenyan market, the Taifa Laptop. The computing device, conceived and designed under the TAIFA Brand, is a maiden product of the Nairobi Industrial and Technology Park (NITP), a subsidiary of JKUAT.
The Taifa Laptop, launched last December, becomes the first locally conceived and designed computer to retail in Kenya. The Laptop will be available in selected stores in Nairobi, beginning this week, and will offer an opportunity to Kenyans to buy a homegrown innovation that is poised to transform the country’s technological landscape, as well as enhancing our sense of national pride in Kenyan products.
Speaking during the rollout, JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof. Mabel Imbuga said, Taifa Laptop attests to the versatility of the Kenyan innovations, and it affirms the country’s capacity to harness the vast knowledge in ICT and manufacturing to develop highly competitive products in the global market.
“Taifa Laptop is a product of collaborative research output by progressive stakeholders including the Government of Kenya, who have a shared vision of making the country, not only a robust economy in the region and Africa, but also home to technological innovation,” Prof. Imbuga said.
The Vice chancellor further said that JKUAT envisions a Kenya in which the citizens are confident of their future because we have built strong foundations through research, collaborations and public private partnerships aimed at equipping the young people with relevant knowledge that will improve their lives and help create sustainable wealth for our country,” she added.
Prof. Imbuga added, the laptop was actualized in partnership with Inspur, an international firm based in China, where the currently retailing devices were assembled.
Following the success, a multipurpose assembly line to be commissioned in September 2015, is currently being installed at the Juja-based Nairobi Industrial and Technology Park.
In his remarks, JKUAT ICT Director – who is also the Technical Project Lead for the TAIFA Brand – Mr. Kiula Mwirigi said, the Taifa Laptop has been designed to offer great user experience and derives from the latest computing technologies available in the market.
Mr. Mwirigi noted that the product, whose conceptualization and subsequent production begun three years ago, is now available to the Kenyan consumers and will be sold through appointed agents and retailers across the county. So far, 4,000 units have been assembled and are available for purchase at a competitive price.
“For us, the TAIFA Brand is a pure Kenyan dream that envisions a robust local manufacturing capacity for a range of high-value electronics products and homegrown solutions meant for the local, regional and international markets,” said the Director.
The Laptop will be distributed by Red Dot Distribution and retailed at BJ’s, Innovative and Avenue Electronics in Nairobi.
“We are also in talks with other retailers and we shall make announcements in due course and hope that Kenyans will support Taifa Brand with undying patriotism,” he said.
NITP Director Dr. Suleiman Oketch speaking at the function, described the laptop as an embodiment of the Kenya Vision 2030 and a product that carries the inherent entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Kenya.
“NITP is a pragmatic solution designed to bridge the gap between research, innovation and commercialization, as identified during a joint workshop with JKUAT and the Ministry of Industrialization in October 2010,” Dr. Oketch said.
“The Taifa Brand is premised on a simple but powerful concept of harnessing technology to inspire innovation and is fully captured in our slogan ‘Technology inspiring Africa,” Dr. Oketch affirmed.
The Project is modeled along a cost-effective production and manufacturing framework that involves importation of custom design and general design parts then locally assembling them into whole units within the TAIFA range of products.
According to the functional team, eventually, research, innovation and commercialization of locally and internationally generated intellectual property will lead to local manufacturing of the parts (in varying percentages and in recognition of best-fit partnerships.
TAIFA Brand is the conceptual name that shelters a range of products that will be unveiled to the Kenyan market aimed at addressing specific market needs and also spur the country’s economic growth especially in ICT equipment manufacturing.