Presidential Innovation Awards Winner from Kenya, Mr. Joseph Nguthuri (far left) being awarded his dummy cheque by Her Excellency the Vice President of Uganda, Hon. Jessica Alupo (centre), assisted by the Chairman of EASTECO Governing Board/DG NACOSTI-Kenya, Prof. Walter Oyawa (far right). Also present were the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Uganda, the Minister of Transport, Uganda, the Minister for Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Economic Planning.
Kenya has demonstrated its prowess and leadership on impacting innovations geared towards enhancing prosperity and livelihoods in the East Africa Region. Mr. Joseph Nguthuri, a graduate of Egerton University, was selected to be part of the the six Top Young Innovators in the East African Region following competitive selection by a pool of eminent experts established by the EASTECO (East Africa Science, and Technology Commission of the EAC). Mr. Nguthuri received his Presidential Innovation Award from His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni who was represented by Her Excellency the Vice President of Uganda, Hon. Jessisa Alupo, in the presence of EASTECO Executive Secretary, Dr. Sylvance Okoth and EASTECO Governing Board Chairman Prof. Walter Oyawa, as well as other Governing Board members of EASTECO. The Occasion was also graced three eminent Cabinet Ministers of the Uganda Government, namely the Minister of ICT and National Guidance, the Minister of Transport, and the Minister for Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Mr. Nguthuri’s innovation is likely to be a game changing global innovation as it seeks to convert or transform the troublesome water hyacinth into biodegradable alternatives for single-use plastic products. The innovation primarily converts water hyacinth (world’s most problematic aquatic weed) into biodegradable alternatives for single use disposable plastic products like wrappers and plastic straws, tumblers and party plates. Plastics developed through Mr. Nguthuri’s innovation biodegrade within 3 to 6 months. The Chairperson of EASTECO Governing Board, Prof. Oyawa, has commended EASTECO Management, through its Executive Secretary, Dr. Sylvance Okoth, and expressed EASTECO’s determination to identify and work with young innovators in the region by providing necessary guidance and experts on innovation protection through patenting, innovation scale-up and commercialization, innovation legal framework, Innovative entrepreneurship, and innovation royalties. He further reiterated that the innovation fits well with Kenya’s regional Leadership on climate change mitigation, and may be easily scaled-up to serve multi-purposes relating to the use of plastics.
Mr. Joseph Nguthuri’s award comes at a time when Kenya has also emerged as top with the most innovative companies in Africa (three Kenyan companies out of a total of six in Africa), as presented in the World Economic Forum, in its annual 2022 Technology Pioneers list. The World Economic Forum list includes firms employing technology and innovation to positively impact on business and society.