Key Takeaways From Enactus Kenya Leadership Forum - 2024

Published on 29th February 2024

Key Highlights

  1. A riveting roundtable on low-carbon solutions threw the spotlight on the convoluted mesh of allure, polarisation, and ambivalence associated with decarbonisation, especially when the entire value chain leading to the so-called clean products is interrogated.
  2. The mining sector exposes how the process leading to clean energy solutions, if not clean and just, can end up rendering the end products clean from a truncated view of reality that looks at the end of the chain only, but unclean on balance and in violation of human rights from a systemic view of the entire cycle.
  3. Edge computing will drive further miniaturisation of devices and the prospects of quantum computing will create a new fascinating age of quantum information science.

The 2024 Enactus Kenya Leadership Forum was held at Kabarak University over the period February 24-25, 2024. By February 2024, Enactus had a membership of 33 universities in Kenya, under Enactus Kenya. In Africa, ten countries have Enactus chapters in their universities. Globally, 33 countries have Enactus chapters in their universities.

An impressive number of university students drawn from various public and private universities in Kenya attended this epic event. The forum paves the way for well-informed participation in the upcoming national innovation challenge. The challenge will peak in the Enactus World Cup 2024, to be graced in Kazakhstan, a vast Eurasian country measuring more than 2.7 million square kilometres. Taita Taveta University (TTU), the hosting Kabarak University, St. Paul’s University, Multimedia University, Kenyatta University, Pwani University, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University, Maseno University, among others, were well represented by their respective Enactus Student Clubs, faculty advisors, and Enactus patrons.

The Diversity and Dialogues

The main dialogues, bringing together both faculty and students, focused on developing young leaders of tomorrow and low-carbon technologies. A riveting roundtable on low-carbon solutions threw the spotlight on the convoluted mesh of allure, polarisation, and ambivalence associated with decarbonisation, especially when the entire value chain leading to the so-called clean products is interrogated. An example drawn from the mining sector exposed how the process leading to clean energy solutions, if not clean and just, can end up rendering the end products clean from a truncated view of reality that looks at the end of the chain only, but unclean on balance from a systemic view of the entire cycle (e.g., through the emissions associated with electricity production, manufacturing of renewable energy products, cement production, fugitive coalbed methane, and the end-of-life dilemma for electronic waste in a linear model, where no circularity measures are in put place). There may also be a violation of human rights e.g., the possible violation of children rights, gender rights, labour rights, environmental rights, and land rights – which have been documented in a public inquiry report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, dwelling on mining and human rights in Taita Taveta County, Kenya. As such, blockchain technology for origin and destination mapping was advanced as a promising intervention for streamlining sustainability into a sector as key and sensitive as the mining sector. 

Peering at the Era of AI

Have you heard of foundation or large language models, the metaverse, digital twins? Can we avoid the AI wave in education and the workplace? Are the traditional window shopping and sales promotion mechanisms getting retired soon? What are the coping strategies, especially for the youth?

In a modest attempt at demystifying these searching questions, the Founder of IBD made a presentation entitled Youth Skills for Sustained Relevance and Productivity in the Era of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Recognising the recent surge in intelligent solutions due to generative AI, and the aspirational state of general artificial intelligence, this talk showcased real-world examples of how AI and Big Data are influencing efficiency gains in the modern era, including research – deep-sea and space exploration – geoengineering to combat climate changedrug development cycles, intelligent navigation – self-driving cars, flying carsmachine guidance, digital image processing and interpretation based on satellite imagery and data from laser scanning and various ground-based and space- or air-borne sensors, automated journalism as exemplified by the Newsweek and the Associated Press (AP), and generating automated equity research reports by early AI adopters in the banking sector, such as Commerzbank

Local examples of satellite image classification using AI algorithms and enhanced 3D models generated using laser scanning were shared, an excitement to geography and geomatics engineering students. How Reinforcement Learning continues to enhance results in language translation, predictive risk modelling, automation, and robotics, as well as how Transfer Learning can help enhance earthquake prediction, were highlighted in the presentation. These interesting examples excited the students of linguistics and of actuarial and engineering sciences. How Augmented Reality (AR) disrupts traditional window shopping to make for more vibrant e-commerce is undoubtedly a major area of interest to business students. Again, the Internet of Behaviour (IoB) is opening new frontiers in personalised recommendation algorithms to match customer preferences. Evidently, no disciplinary area is left out in the AI boom and boon.

The talk on applied AI drew on the IBD youth mentorship and training series, focusing on how Big Data and AI are opening new frontiers in transferrable skills development and career opportunities for today’s youth. The talk challenged the university students to graduate from mere digital literacy to digital fluency, stressing that there is no longer employment security, but only career security, a new reality which calls for lifelong skills development and a borderless mindset embracing interdisciplinary research and collaboration. 

Looking ahead, edge computing will drive further miniaturisation of devices and the prospects of quantum computing will lead to a new fascinating era of quantum information science. Ultimately, AI has huge promises for the youth in the emerging global technology marketplace that is hyperconnected online. The Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Everything (IoE), and Internet of Behaviour (IoB), among others in the evolving technology landscape, make for an engrossing future in the era of AI. Don’t forget! Training AI models is an energy-intensive process and therefore associated with substantial carbon footprints. After all, AI may not be the obvious route to achieving a low-carbon economy in the near future. Furthermore, the abuse of these hi-tech advances in examples such as deep fakes poses a critical challenge. Ultimately, sound AI governance must be a top priority for policymakers.  

By Nashon J. Adero

Nashon, a geospatial expert, lecturer and trained policy analyst and youth mentor and founder of Impact Borderless Digital.


This article has been read 449 times
COMMENTS