Remarks by President William Ruto during the opening of the 4th Engineering Partnerships Convention  

As the government pursues sustainable development for shared prosperity through the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, we remain constantly mindful of the need to identify and engage every stakeholder whose vision, mandate and intervention are like-minded. To deliver the best outcomes under the agenda for radical transformation and rapid growth, a coalition of able and willing actors, ready to make impactful contributions, is indispensable. 

For us to have any meaningful chance of staying in control of our development and remaining on top of the complex and dynamic challenges, which threaten to wipe out the fruit of our struggles, we must have clarity about the needs of our moment in history: How we will make progress in increasing well-being and for the most people by expanding opportunities, minimising threats, increasing wealth and employment and reducing poverty and inequality. 

Accordingly, we have resolved to focus our attention and strategic investment on the core pillars of the bottom up economic transformation in a radical plan that takes due account of our national commitments to the realisation of sustainable development goals, actualisation of Agenda 2063 and the implementation of the Vision 2030. 

It is highly encouraging to learn about the activities of dedicated professionals who are independently engaged in progressive endeavours that are nonetheless aligned with the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda. I must emphasise this: That the Engineeers Board of Kenya is holding this convention for the fourth year is impressive, appropriate and commendable.

It is important that Kenyan professionals meet periodically to reflect on professional standards and quality, service, impact, and their greater socio-economic institutional role. As they do so, it is essential for them to deliberate on their role and contribution to the national transformation agenda because Kenyans rightly expect it of them.  

As for you, our engineers, there is no better time to be contemplating essential professional matters than now. The reason is that our Agenda creates opportunities for substantial inputs from the engineering profession. There is definitely a fundamental role for engineers and engineering in the actualisation of important dimensions of the Plan.  

We have a target to enhance the contribution of industry to the national GDP to 20 per cent by 2030. To do this , we shall have to engage in competitive manufacturing on a large-scale. Agro-industrial manufacturing for value addition, in particular, is the most viable means of growing our manufactured exports. This, in turn, requires a robust capacity to support rising efficiency in every industrial process or, in other words, engineering and engineers. 

Modern medical technology has given rise to medical engineering as a profession, and the universal health coverage will require greater investment in state-of-the-art  equipment, technologies and innovations. The affordable housing plan and general infrastructure development have traditionally been synonymous with the engineering domain. Our commitments in ICT and the digital superhighway pillar intervene in a sector that employs a variety of engineering professionals. 

Not only do we need engineering professionals to guide the implementation of programmes and projects under the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, but we also have to go deeper. Competitive efficiency is essential for transformation and calls for constant innovation. The Low Volume Sealed Roads Standard, for example, is a creative approach to road construction that has enabled Kenya to build 10,000km of road, 6,000 of which are already completed. 

Similarly, our engineers at KenGen, who effectively benefited from technology transfers in the important area of clean and green geothermal power production, are now extending Kenya’s pioneering footprints in our region by leading projects in Ethiopia and Djibouti.  

These are the most recent instances of encouraging leadership from our engineers. I challenge this esteemed fraternity to go further and implement energy efficient innovations in transport and further improve e-mobility innovations. 

 I also believe that there is tremendous opportunity for Kenya through its engineering professionals to take leadership of the African and global energy transition by producing innovations for green energy production and efficient technologies for sustainable industrial processing of raw materials. The vision of a young, clean and green continent has you in mind, and you have no choice but to rise to the occasion.

These, and many other weighty matters, must occupy your minds and anchor your deliberations as you strategise on ways and means of facilitiating members of your profession to exploit emerging opportunities for innovation, and make their contribution to national socio-economic transformation. 

Therefore, even as you consider your agenda, it is important for you to reinforce your critical mandate in education and training by supporting the design, improvement and implementation of the most appropriate national STEM curriculum for our present and future productive and competitive needs.

You are also vested with the immense mandate of using innovation as a professional value and entrenching it deeply in Kenya’s engineering culture in all sectors, especially in education, research and practice.

I make this call for a very considered reason: Engineering is vital for national economic growth and development. The strong relationship between a nation’s engineering capacity and its economic development is well established. We are committed to developing an optimal national engineering capacity to support the transformation of our country.

It is, therefore, very urgent for us to use every opportunity to impart necessary skills and competencies to learners from an early age and, in fact, all the way from pre-primary to the tertiary level of education. In that connection, I am delighted to commission the 4th cohort of the Graduate Engineers Internship Programme today. The programme is designed to accelerate professional training and cut the time required to qualify as engineers from 7-12 years to only 3 years. 

In recognition of the needs of a transforming economy, the government is going to scale up the programme, from its current enrolment of 120 to 500 trainees in the next financial year

I am also delighted to have witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Engineers Board of Kenya and the Korean Professional Engineering Association to promote collaboration on a broad range of capacity building projects. 

The Government is also committed to the delivery of high quality engineering capacity by establishing a Kenya School of Engineering. We shall, therefore, support the Engineers Board of Kenya in this endeavour. 

Through the Board, we are facilitating total compliance with the highest standards of engineering by building contractors and developers. It should no longer be possible for projects to employ unqualified people or to proceed without employing an engineer altogether. Qualified engineers must supervise building works from the commencement to completion. A zero tolerance policy for non-compliant structures must be employed in order to take action against people responsible for collapsing buildings. 

I approve and support Kenya’s bid to accede to the Washington Accord under the International Engineering Alliance and to promote international recognition of Kenyan engineering programmes and qualifications. I also support the enhancement of global mobility of Kenyan engineers. Such initiatives, including the recent admission of the Engineers Board of Kenya as an affiliate of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations, bring our sector to international standards and expose our professionals to international best practice. This is good for Kenyan engineering and, therefore, good for our development agenda.  

There should be no doubt about the government’s commitment in the promotion and development of Kenyan engineering as a decisive component of our development. I encourage you to use this convention to define a clear roadmap for raising the overall engineering standard and capacity and making a catalytic contribution to the Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda. There is so much for you to do, and you must quickly get ready to start the work. 

I wish you successful deliberations and look forward with anticipation to receiving a report of your outputs and resolutions. I declare the 4th Engineering Partnerships Convention officially opened.

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