Nairobi to Jerusalem; Learning from Israel.

Today I realized I needed to write about Israel. For those who love writing as I do, they can agree that the urge to write can be too strong on certain instances or even days as opposed to others. Today I felt that very strong urge to write. It was a specific urge that focused on Israel though it is the Christian city of Jerusalem that is more known. Israel borders the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, the Red sea, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel just like Nairobi is to Kenya. Israel covers a total of 20, 770 square kilometers. Kenya on the other hand has a total of 500, 367 square kilometers. Mathematically, Kenya is 24 times larger than Israel and there is a myriad lessons to learn from this small but yet enormous nation. Israel has a total of approximately 8.1 million (as of July 2016) people while Kenya has a total of approximately 44 million people. The size of Israel compares with the size of New Jersey in the United States of America which for fact is a fraction of our total land area.

Innovation and Technology

By last year, Israel was ranked the fourth country in the world in terms of innovation. In as much as the country is small, they have been able to cultivate a culture of creativity for their young people who happen to be the back bone of most of the world economies. I was watching a story about Israel technology and why it ranks on the top in terms of tech startups only to realize that it is not magic. The whole innovation is engraved in the Israeli culture and life. It is not unique to find a seven year old being told, “After all we have done for you, is asking for a Nobel prize a tall order.” With such a culture, most of the youth are pushed to the wall at a younger age which makes them accomplish much by age eighteen as compared to their peers elsewhere. We can embrace the approach and in a short while the challenge of joblessness will become a history.

Despite Jerusalem being the capital city, most of the technology innovations are based in Telaviv which is the silicon valley of Israel. Most of the multi global companies have invested heavily in Israel startups and some have had some of their operations managed from there. Intel for example had been relying heavily on its Israel offices for the electronic chip research and development. Google, Microsoft, Paypal among others realized that they could not overlook Israel just like that, it had and has become central to technology research. Once Israel had positioned itself strategically as a hub for tech, it realized it could have a huge bargain. Their project on becoming a green country by using only electric cars is soon becoming a reality. Agassi who has been spearheading the project got all the support from leaders like Shimon Peres who was the prime minister of Israel.

A pictorial of Israel’s Telaviv.

Kenya stands a very good chance of positioning itself as a technological hub of Africa. We need a lot of support from the government in terms of incubation centers. A mega project like the Konza Techno city which was instigated by the former regime should be done by now. The other projects like iHub and mLab should be replicated in other major cities and towns. In doing so, we are going to see a lot of innovations come up and by this, we will position ourselves to welcome all the major global players to our market. The leadership on the hand should support the initiatives being brought up by the private sector for consideration. The education sector, private sector and the government should work closely with each other and support each other in totality.

Agriculture and water

Israel has its larger part dry, which means most of its parts have no access to water. Lack of access to water means that the country has a large problem with agriculture. That is far from true. The country which had been solely dependent on water from the Sea of Galilee realized it was not very sustainable to depend on it alone. They looked to the Mediterranean and right now they are desalinating most of its drinking water used throughout their country. As a matter of fact, they are looking forward to selling and exporting their surplus water to their neighbors, Jordan being number one one the list.

I spoke to some of my friends, Lewis Munene and Clinton Ogero, about the need for us to build a large desalination plant at Mombasa for the supply of drinking water. A few weeks ago an idea struck me, a pipeline can be built to supply the water to the coastal and eastern region. Israel did build large canals to supply water to the agricultural farms from the Sea of Galilee and river Jordan. Most of our arid area have water bodies. Turkana has L. Turkana, Baringo has L. Baringo, L. Nakuru, L. Naivasha, L. Elmenteita and many more lakes can help change the face of our arid areas and at the end of the day they will become food baskets of our country. Salt lakes can supply water to grow plants that are salt tolerant e.g. grapes and help for fish farming. We can install water treatment technologies for the lakes to provide and supply water for drinking and other domestic uses.

We still stand a lot more chance to grow and become our very best. With devolution, we stand chance to become greater than we are today. The point lies in understanding that we are not close to being there. With such a mindset, tribalism and corruption can be put aside, then we will push ourselves to innovate, learn from others and efficiently implement those innovations for the good of our people and for the generations to come.

Copyright @ 2017.


Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Politics, Policy, Technology, Current Affairs, Opinion, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Governance, International Emerging Issues, Society, and culture. For featuring, promotions or support write to us at
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Lewis Munene
Lewis Munene
6 years ago

Wonderful post and thank you for the s/o. Indeed the israelis work to the best of their ability, which is indeed terrific and everyone knows it is, at least according to the rosh gadol (big head)

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